Seeking The Presence of God

He is with you forever once you come to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 812: Seeking The Presence Of God.

Good morning my friends, what an awesome Sunday we just had. The church was full of people, because we had three Thanksgivings for babies. It was so good because as we praised the LORD, sang songs, listened to His Word and prayed, we sensed the presence of the LORD.

Acts 23:11 (NIV) “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””

There’s absolutely nothing more encouraging for any Christian than to KNOW the presence of the LORD. When you know that He is with you, then you can endure anything in this life.

It was true of some of the Ancients in the Bible: St Paul and Joseph, both in PRISON sensed, knew and experienced the presence of the LORD.

  • Paul in Prison in Jerusalem and Philippi Acts 23:11, Acts 16:16-40.
  • Joseph in Prison Genesis 39… That LORD was with him.

Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)
20  Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21  the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder.

Of course we can’t forget many others; Jacob, Moses, Abraham, Elijah and King David who begged the LORD not to take the presence of the Holy Spirit away from him.

My friends, when you are going through stuff in this life, troubles, hardships, tests and trials, attacks from people and persecution for you faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, then know this truth, the abiding presence of the LORD will encourage you, strengthen you and sustain you through it all.

It’s good when friends stick close in troubled times, but it seems to me that friends will always let you down when you need them most. It was true of Jesus and King David, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, Paul’s companions abandoned him when he was thrown into prison in Rome, and it will sometimes be true for you as well. So many Christians have been let down by those they expected would be there for them in sickness or hardships. However, the LORD would never leave you, that’s His promise once you’ve come to Jesus and put your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin. There is NOTHING we need more, and nothing more we need, than the abiding presence of the LORD.

There is NOTHING we need more, that to know and experience the presence of the LORD.

  • He will never leave you.
  • He will never forsake you.
  • He is with you forever.

If there’s any verse that a Christian should take to heart and memorise it’s this one:

James 4:7-10 (NKJV)
7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

God’s saying to you today, “…Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

YBH: Yes, but HOW? 

It’s easy to say, “Draw near to God”, but how do we actually do it?

Try this my friends and you’ll soon discover that God will reveal Himself to you in awesome ways.

  • Praise: Sing a few songs of praise. Look what happened when Paul and Silas did that in Prison (Acts 16).
  • Prayer: Honour God first by Praying The Lord’s Prayer, then Confess any known sins.
  • Repent: Repent afresh and seek His cleansing and forgiveness.
  • Trust: Trust in Jesus Christ again for your Salvation… Keep TRUSTING…
  • Seek: Seek the fullness and presence of God the Holy Spirit right now.
  • Praise: Worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD.
  • Seek to Serve: Be obedient to what the LORD is showing you to do today. God’s always got something He wants you to be doing for Him, every day. Just do it… You’ll be amazed when you listen to that prompting of the Holy Spirit.

 

There is NOTHING you need more, that to know and experience the abiding presence of the LORD.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

If ever I’m feeling troubled and need the LORD’S presence and fullness, that is what I do.

Have an awesome week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

 

Remember The Coming King

Remembrance Sunday PEACE

Daily Spirit & Word: 809: Remember The Coming King.

Remembrance Sunday: Sacrifice & Peace.

Zechariah 9:9 (NIV) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Good morning my friends, today we REMEMBER: It’s Remembrance Sunday, we’re gathering around the Memorial Cross outside the church today, which co-memorates those who died in times of war. However, we’re also thinking about our LORD Jesus, and Remembering that before His ultimate sacrifice, giving His life for all mankind, first He rode into Jerusalem just one week before He was arrested, faced a mock trial and was brutalised then put to death upon the Cross.

In riding into Jerusalem in such a way, in fulfilment of God’s purpose and design, foretold in the prophets such as Zechariah 9:9 above. In doing so, Jesus was allowing people now, because the time had come for him to die, to praise and worship Him as King, because He knew that this would enraged the Jewish authorities and seal his own fate.

 1) Hear the Prophesy:

Zechariah 9:9 (NIV) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

2) Hear the Fulfilment of the Prophesy:

Mark 11:1-11 (NIV)
1  As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,
2  saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
3  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ “
4  They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it,
5  some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”
6  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
7  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.
8  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.
9  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
11  Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

REMEMBER: Who Jesus is.

Jesus was always the KING: He is the KING of Kings: i.e. Remember the little book, our Queen gave her testimony and said, “Jesus is the KING that I serve”…

  • One day every King will bow and kneel before Jesus.
  • One day every soul that’s ever existed will kneel and bow bore King Jesus.

Men will go to war and give their lives in service of King and Country. Most go to war hoping to return, but in doing so, there’s always the great danger that by taking up arms, they will never return.

Jesus is heading into a WAR knowing in advance that He really is going to loose His life in the most cruel way.

REMEMBER: How Jesus Came:

Gentle and riding on a Donkey’s Colt.

Most Kings coming in Triumph would ride on a chariot or a white horse. However, just like King Solomon, Jesus comes as a King on a Donkey.

What’s So Important About A Donkey?

A King coming on a Donkey symbolised PEACE.

The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to war to conquer, this king would enter in peace.

Zechariah 9:9 Highlights the Gentleness of Jesus (The Coming King)

Zechariah 9:10 Highlights His Peace: (The Universal Reach of King Jesus Peace).

Zechariah 9:10 (NIV) “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Note the many details symbolic of King Jesus’ PEACE:

  •  “Take away the chariots”: an end to the main vehicles of war: Today we have Tanks, Planes, Rockets etc…
  •  “Take away . . . the war-horses”: no need for horses used in war: Today we have Fast moving armoured cars…
  •  “The battle bow will be broken”: no need for bows or arrows for fighting: Guns, Pistols, Mortars… BROKEN.
  •  “He will proclaim peace to the nations”: His message will be one of reconciliation. WORLDWIDE PEACE (Peace between men and God & Each other).
  •  “His rule shall be from sea to sea”: the King will control extended territory with no enemies of concern.

Oh how we pray for a day when all wars will cease and true and lasting peace prevails. However, we know, that until Jesus Christ returns, there will, sadly, be many more wars, because the hearts of men have not yet been changed to hearts of peace. However:

NOTE: In contrast to the weapons of war above, the Christian’s weapons and the way we war is to be different now: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Jesus rules His Kingdom of PEACE today: 

When we pray the prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come”

We are declaring that God (Jesus) is our KING: And that we want to be His subjects in His Kingdom of PEACE and LOVE.

NOTE: Jesus is King and rules in a Kingdom of PEACE which is Universal (no borders).

Jesus Kingship recognises no borders, no other rulers, He is the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords. Jesus KINGDOM is not land-locked or land-based, but HEAVENLY and it is in the HEARTS of Men and Women over the Earth.

LASTING PEACE IS POSSIBLE:

Today, we enjoy PEACE in the UK because of the sacrifice of so many in two World Wars.

  • They gave their lives and died so that we could live in peace and security.
  • However, wars have not stopped, Britain has been involved in many hundreds of mini-wars since the World wars.
  • Though they gave their lives hoping for peace, it didn’t happen, because it didn’t (couldn’t) change men’s hearts.

In contrast to the forlorn hope of WAR-Won PEACE: We can receive a PEACE in our hearts today because Jesus won His battle. His is a lasting PEACE.

Today, we can enjoy LASTING PEACE: Because of Jesus sacrifice.

  • He gave His life, so that we can enjoy eternal PEACE with God.
  • His peace is different, when we get the PEACE of God in our hearts, we’ll never again want to go to war with any man.
  • God so fills our hearts that He enables us to LOVE our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us.

————————————————

  • Jesus PEACE really does extend across the whole Earth,
  • Jesus REIGN as KING: is in the hearts of people all over the world, in every country.
  • There are Citizens of Heaven’s Kingdom all over the world today.

JESUS KING OF PEACE

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He allowed them, for the first time, to declare His Kingship.

Mark 11:9-10  “Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

So I’m asking you today:

  • Is Jesus your King?
  • Has Jesus brought His PEACE into your Heart?
  • Has Jesus broken your war instruments and vehicles?
  • Has Jesus taken away all conflict from your heart, so that you want to live at PEACE with everyone?
  • Has Jesus taken up the reign of your soul?
  • Is Jesus your King of PEACE?

If not, them make Jesus your KING right now: Enjoy PEACE in your soul. Be forgiven, be cleansed and freed from sin, receive the Kingdom of Peace.

If you have received the King of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, then know this;

  • He wants His PEACE to be in the Heart of EVERY human being alive today.
  • His Kingship from shore to shore, extending over all Creation.

PRAYER: On this Remembrance Sunday:

We PRAY for Jesus Christ’s PEACE to take up position in men’s hearts.

Let’s enroll in Jesus PEACE Army and take the message of PEACE and Good News to all men. Amen!

That war may cease, conflicts die, weapons used no more in anger. Amen!

REMEMBRANCE:

We also remember the seven people who were killed this week in the tragic tram-car accident in Croydon just a few miles away from here. We stop to remember them outside and those, over fifty, who sustained serious injuries. Let’s pray for their families and ask the Lord to bring the comfort and peace that only He can bring in times of grief. Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

 

Further Reading: Christian Weapons of War:

2 Corinthians 10:2-5 (NIV)
2  I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

Four Awesome Weekend Truths About Jesus

Creator, Beginning, Universe, Jesus,

Daily Spirit & Word: 803: 

Four Awesome Truths About Jesus.

Christian, your Lord Jesus Christ is GOD Almighty.

John 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 Good morning my friends, it’s so good to KNOW the TRUTH, because knowing the truth will set you free. It will enable you to live following Jesus with confidence and sustain you through all kinds of attacks. Jesus of course is the TRUTH, so it’s all about knowing Jesus personally and getting to know Him better every day. Through God’s Word we can know certain truths that enable us to thwart any attacks of the world, Satan or even our own fleshly nature.

Many people love the modern myth that all ‘religions’ lead to God. My friends, there is ONLY one God and ONLY one way to God and that’s through faith and trust in His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ THE LORD.

 In the Gospel of John we have four awesome truths about the Lord Jesus Christ in the very first verse, these reveal so clearly that Jesus was before TIME began, that Jesus is the Word of God, that there is plurality of persons in God and indeed that He was God.

1) Before Time Began: In The Beginning.

Before anything was FORMED or CREATED, Jesus Christ already existed. Awesome!

Some people think that Jesus was just a man, like one of the prophets or simply a teacher or healer. However, God’s WORD, The Bible, shows us so clearly that Jesus Christ is far more than just a man. He was God in human flesh. He took upon Himself mankind’s fleshly nature to come a rescue us from Satan’s grip.

2) Jesus is The WORD of God:

John, through the Holy Spirit, goes on to reveal that Jesus CREATED EVERYTHING, because He, Jesus, was and is the WORD of God.
Oh what an awesome TRUTH: No wonder Jesus could just speak something and it had to happen:
  • Water into wine,
  • Storms being stilled,
  • Feeding thousands with just a few loaves and fish,
  • Deaf people hearing again,
  • Blind people seeing,
  • Dead people coming back to life again,
  • Crippled people being able to walk and leap and jump for joy.
With JUST a WORD Jesus did all these things, because He was and IS the WORD of God.

3) There’s Plurality In God:

Father, Son and of course Holy Spirit (One God in three persons)…

 If ever anyone doubts the TRINITY or as some other religions try and tell Christians they are worshipping more than ONE God, then all you need to do is read John Chapter 1 and Chapter 14. Here’s a portion from chapter 14 that clearly reveals (REVELATION) that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are but one and the same GOD.
John 14:15-26 (NIV)
15  “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever—
17  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19  Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
20  On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
21  Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
22  Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23  Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25  “All this I have spoken while still with you.
26  But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
 You see my friends, God is TRINITY, three persons, but ONE GOD: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, we don’t just have to take John’s Gospel as our source of information concerning TRINITY of Persons in God, because right from Genesis to Revelation the fingerprints of the Trinity are all over the Scriptures. Just read Genesis 1, slowly and you’ll see; Father (God), Word and Spirit: How it also says in Genesis “Let US make man in OUR image”… Each and every person has the unique features of God, because we are made just like Him, TRINITY: Body, Soul and Spirit.
KNOW THE TRUTH:
AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

4) Jesus IS God:

John gives us this awesome revelation about the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. “The Word was God.”

Oh my friends, you couldn’t get it any clearer than that; “The Word was God”… John 1:1.
  • Some people might possibly dare to deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, but you cannot deny that the Bible teaches it.
  • Some people might possibly dare to doubt the Trinity, but again you cannot deny that the Bible teaches it.
  • Some people might possibly dare to doubt the Creation and believe this world was formed by accident (Big Bang), but you cannot deny that God’s Word, the Holy Bible, teaches us plainly that Jesus Christ CREATED all things.

We live in a CREATED and ordered Universe sustained and maintained by; The WORD of God: Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)
15  He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
This Universe, the World and everything in it, atoms and electrons, you and me, are held together by The Lord Jesus Christ. Awesome!
So my friends,
  • Jesus was in the Beginning.
  • Jesus is the WORD of God,
  • Jesus was with God in the Beginning,
  • Jesus is God.

All things were CREATED by Jesus Christ: He made everything out of NOTHING…

So don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory any-more, believe is Jesus Christ, because He’s the ONE (God) who CREATED everything at one point in time; The Beginning.

 When I dwell upon these four great truths, when I meditate, think about and chew over these FOUR awesome truths about Jesus Christ, I’m ready to face the world with confidence as one of His Disciples (followers) today. I want to live in obedience to His teachings and have Him living in me and the POWER of the Holy Spirit renewing my mind, emotions, will and desires. Because of who Jesus is we can KNOW Him, He’s God, He’s alive, He’s knowable and everyone can EXPERIENCE God on the inside today. All it takes is to REPENET of your sins, believe that Jesus died in your place, receive Him as KING of your life and live for Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you ready for the greatest adventure of your life?
I hope that this teaching of 4 Awesome Truths about Jesus Christ has the same affect upon your soul today.
  • Praise Him,
  • Worship Him,
  • Adore Him,
  • Kneel Before Him,
  • Submit to Him,
  • For Jesus is LORD of ALL.
Have a fantastic weekend my friends,
Don.

Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

When the LORD calls you to do something for Him, expect opposition.

Good morning my friends, when you do a good work for the LORD you can expect opposition. If you are of the world, the world will accept you as one of it’s own, but if you are a Citizen of Heaven, working for another KING, then this world and it’s king (Satan) can never accept you and you are going to be opposed, persecuted and sometimes martyred. However, far from being in a position of weakness and fear, we’re going to be encouraged today to see that we can be God’s awesome power of LOVE in this world.

Opposition comes in many forms, but how can we react to opposition, no matter what form or guise it come in?

Let us take Nehemiah as one of our examples of what to do when opposition comes, and we’ll look at what God’s Word tells us about persecution and opposition for Him and for the Gospel.

First, Nehemiah:

An Example of how to proceed when your work for the LORD is opposed, ridiculed or hindered.

Nehemiah 4:1-23 (NIV)
1  When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2  and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
4  Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6  So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7  But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10  Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11  Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12  Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13  Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15  When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16  From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah
17  who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18  and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19  Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
20  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
22  At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.”
23  Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

INTRODUCTION:

When you get busy for God, opposition will inevitably raise its ugly head. So no matter how GOOD the thing that you are doing is; be it a service for the poor people of this world or proclaiming the Good News of Jesus or taking a moral stand. Like Nehemiah discovered, when you do something for the LORD, the world (influenced by Satan) hates it with a vengeance, and will oppose you. However, they are not really opposing you, they are coming against your God, who’s called you to that task.

But we must bear in mind what it is that’s driving any form of opposition:

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV) When Opposition Comes: Be strong in the LORD and STAND.
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13  Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Read the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD Eph 6:14-20).

We must not resort to worldly ways of reacting to opposition:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

Who was Nehemiah? His name means “the comfort of Jehovah.” His purpose and calling by the LORD really was a worthy one; He was instructed by the LORD to reconstruct the walls of the city of Jerusalem and in the process to rebuild the faith of the people of Israel. Yet, as soon as he began, Nehemiah was confronted by the dreaded opposition. So don’t be surprised by opposition, instead; expect it.

1) PRAYER:

When you get busy for God and the expected opposition comes, the first ingredient that will lead to success is PRAYER. “But we prayed to our God,” the Bible says (Nehemiah 4:9). Prayer was a key ingredient in Nehemiah’s spiritual life (1:4). When OPPOSITION came, Nehemiah looked up to Heaven first taking captive those opponents of God’s word with Spiritual weapons, before he persisted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.

2) PERSISTENCE:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the second ingredient that will lead to success is PERSISTENCE. Prayer is not a substitute for working at what you’ve been called to do. So often people will retreat and just pray, but you’ve been called to more than prayer. Instead, know that PRAYER preceeds PERSISTENCE. When opposition comes don’t just carry on regardless, get down to prayer first and then carry on regardless. PRAYER is a PRELUDE to PERSISTENCE. For the God’s Word says; “Nehemiah took their thoughts captive (He used Spiritual Weapons) Nehemiah 4:4.   “…the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6).

I don’t know who said it first, but whoever it was, this thought encapsulates the KEY INGREDIENTS when opposition comes; “I pray as if everything depended on God. Then I work as if everything depended on me.” I love that saying, we’ve got to PRAY and WORK at what we’ve been called to do. (See James Faith and Works).

3) POWER:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the third ingredient that will lead to your spiritual success is THE POWER OF HEAVEN. When confronted by the fear of the people, the fear of man, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of failure; then Nehemiah 4:14 says that Nehemiah arose and spoke to the people about the power of God, and about the purpose of their work. When we are reminded of the purpose to which God has called us, and the power with which to accomplish that purpose, then we will be encouraged to move on toward the completion of our task.

So simply remind yourself of God’s calling and purposes: To share the Gospel, to help the poor, to cure the sick, to make disciples, to follow the teachings of Jesus, to live by them and if need be to die for them. Remember also the POWER of HEAVEN, the Weapons are not worldly, we take our stand against opposition with the Armour of God in place: Ephesians 6:10-20. And bear in mind; Jesus is with you always. Holy Spirit has filled you and equipped you for this work for the LORD.

When you know and experience the POWER you will keep going at what He’s called you to do.

CONCLUSION:

Yes my friends, you will experience all kinds of opposition to what you’ve been called to do by the LORD: Demonic and Worldly OPPOSITION: Expect it, and react like Nehemiah the prophet and the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • Get down to PRAYER,
  • Get up to WORK by being PERSISTENT,
  • Get into the POWER of Heaven.

Through prayer and persistence with the power of Heaven, you will be able to overcome any of those troubling opponents.

As one great preacher has said,

“You’ll be able to turn those stumbling stones into stepping stones”

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

“Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Christian upon his knees.”

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

For most people it’s a rest day, to be with family and friends, but remember Jesus is your BEST BFF (Best Friend Forever).

So make and appointment and keep it with Him first. Then no matter what happens today, you’ll be ready. Amen!

Don.

 

The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender

Surrender to Jesus, don't just make a commitment.

Daily Spirit & Word: 799: Real Surrender: End The Cold WAR.

The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender.

How to WIN when you are feeling like there’s a Cold War between you and God.

The Cold War has started again. Just like the 1960s and 70s, the Russians are back to their old Cold War tricks, sending their Navy into UK waters. That’s what it was like when I served in Submarines. We played like Hunt for Red October, but it was a deadly game. Let’s commit to praying for this situation that it might not escalate into full-scale aggression.

However, my friends, today the LORD has reminded me that Christians are in a constant HOT WAR BATTLE with the powers of darkness and the evil forces in the Heavenly realms. It’s like the Christian is in a constant state of being battle ready. We’re also in a battle against our old nature, the flesh life, it wants to jump back onto the throne of every Christian’s life a take back complete control and make you its slave.

So many wonderful and sincere people in this world today have been duped into thinking they are Christians, that they are right with God and their place in Heaven is secure, but what they don’t realise is there’s a vast difference between making a ‘Commitment’ to following Jesus Christ and Surrendering your life to Christ.

REAL SURRENDER: How to win in the battle of the flesh.

I was re-reading an old book by Adrian Rogers (The awesome Baptist preacher and pastor). The book is called “The Incredible Power Of Kingdom Authority”. In the second chapter he recounts a meeting he had with a Romanian Pastor.

God does not give Kingdom Authority and all its potential to rebels.

In fact, most of us have about all the authority with which God can trust us.

When we teach our teenagers to drive, where do we begin? The accelerator? The steering wheel? No, always with the brake! If you can’t get your teen interested in the brake, then you aren’t interested in showing him the accelerator. In the same way, you will never really know the release of the Spirit until you yield to the restraint of the Spirit. We must first master our spiritual brakes. We must learn that strength comes from surrendering.

I had the privilege to preach in Romania shortly after God brought spiritual revival to this nation that had been liberated from a cruel Communist government. One of the leaders in that revival was a man named Josef T’son. Part of what made this man a mighty servant of the Lord was his exercise of Kingdom Authority in his life. Suffering at the hands of the Communists with brutal beatings, imprisonments, and death threats, he learned the victory that comes so sweetly in surrendering to the Saviour.

As Josef and I rode along in his car, I said, “Josef, tell me about American Christianity.”

He said, “Adrian, I had rather not.”

I said, “No, I want to know.”

He then said, “Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I’ll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment.”

I said, “That is good, isn’t it, Josef?”

He replied, “No, it is not. As a matter of fact, the word commitment did not come into great usage in the English language until about the 1960s. In Romania we do not even have a word to translate the English word commitment. If you were to use commitment in your message tonight, I would not have a proper word to translate it with.”

Josef continued, “When a new word comes into usage, it generally pushes an old word out. I began to study and found the old word that commitment replaced. Adrian, the old word that is no longer in vogue in America is the word surrender.”

“Josef,” I asked, “What is the difference between commitment and surrender?”

He said, “When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to. But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told.”

He said, “Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be the slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I had to say “Amen” in my heart. Never were more profound words spoken. And never a greater challenge given than those words to me that day. Of course, there are many things we may be committed to in a godly and wholesome way, but nothing can take the place of absolute surrender.

I did some more reflecting on this. In Titus 1:1, Paul says that he is a doulos of Jesus Christ. This word refers to a slave. It speaks of one who is in a permanent relationship of servitude to one whose will is swallowed up in the will of another. Specifically, it signified one who was born a bond slave in contrast to an andrapodon—one who was captured or sold into slavery.

In the New Testament, the word doulos is often translated by the word servant, which sounds a little softer. The New Testament uses this word to show the sinner’s relationship to sin. Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). After the bondage to sin has ended, however, doulos is then used to describe the believer’s new relationship to God. Believers are not merely servants; they are devoted slaves of Jesus Christ.

The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld. Adrian Rogers.

SURRENDER not COMMITMENT.

It’s amazing how just one word can get you thinking. I had to reflect on my own ministry and the times I’ve used that word, calling on people to make a “Commitment” to Jesus instead of asking them to “Surrender” to the the LORD.

When we make a commitment, we’re withholding, we’re retaining control, we’re not letting Christ have complete Authority in our lives. I had to examine my own life too, I’ve made so many commitments over the years, but I have to be honest, the only times I’ve experienced that wonderful fullness of Holy Spirit is when I’ve surrendered to His leading, guiding, equipping.

Every time an opportunity to sin comes before me, I have to make a choice. If I SURRENDER to my flesh; I’ll be a SLAVE to my flesh again. However, if I surrender to the Holy Spirit, I’m a slave to RIGHTEOUSNESS (Living in surrender to the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ).

Adrian goes onto recount the Biblical story of Surrender and Authority: The Centurion that made Jesus marvel because of his understanding of submission and authority in Luke 7:1-10. That’s Kingdom Authority and Kingdom Submission. The Centurion knew he was under authority, so when he gave an order of issued a command, he knew his men would obey him. He knew (Believed) that Jesus was operating under the authority of the Lord God Almighty and that’s why when Jesus gave an order or issued a command, things had to happen.

But I want to go back to Romans 6 where God reveals in His Word: That what we surrender ourselves to, we become slaves of that thing.

“Yield NOT to Temptation: For Yielding is SIN.” A wonderful Gospel song by Al Green. (See bottom of page).

We don’t use the word YIELD much these days, but it means the same as SURRENDER.

  • When you give into temptation you are surrendering all your rights as a child of God.
  • When you give into and surrender and yield to temptation, you become a SLAVE of whatever SIN you are surrendering to.

Let’s see if that is TRUE:

Are we SLAVES of what we SURRENDER, YIELD or SUBMIT to?

Romans 6:5-23 (NIV)
5  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7  because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
10  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
15  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
16  Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we YIELD or SURRENDER to Temptation, we SIN.

In surrendering we become a SLAVE of what we’ve given into.

Note in verse 19 “…ever increasing wickedness…” The more we give into sin, the more wicked the sins we commit become. i.e. if we steal a sweet from a big superstore, the next time we might steal a whole packet of sweets, the next time …. EVER INCREASING WICKEDNESS.

However, there is HOPE:

When you realise what’s been happening, how you’ve lost your JOY, PEACE and the PRESENCE of the SAVIOUR and SELF-CONTROL, then you know that you’ve taken a WRONG ROAD. Somewhere along the pathway of your life you’ve made a wrong choice. In doing so you’ve surrendered control of your life by yielding to temptation. To get back control, self-control, you need to once again come under the Authority, the absolute authority and surrender yourself to Jesus Christ again (if indeed you’ve already surrendered to Him, for many are false converts these days).

For one who is already a Christian: That means honest Confession, going through with God how you’ve been using the parts of your body in sin. Repentance (turning from those sins towards Jesus and letting them go), and re-submitting to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master. Once you do you’ll soon see the Divine Power of Heaven comes flooding afresh into your life once again. You’ll notice an supernatural ability to be self-controlled and to rule and reign with Christ over your desires.

If you are not a Christian yet, it’s not about making a Decision or a Commitment to Jesus, to being religious or to strict rules and regulations. However it is all about SURRENDERING TO HIM AS LORD. Making Jesus the KING of your whole life.

It really does mean you are ready to have Jesus Christ come into your life, to take control, to rule and reign as your KING. That’s what a King does, He comes to reign and rule in a Kingdom.

So my friends, don’t make a commitment, be surrendered to Jesus Christ.

This is how we can know if we’ve really come into Jesus Kingdom:

John 14:21 (NIV) “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Have you experienced Christ’s self-revelation? He will come to those who have submitted themselves to Him as KING. We’ll know we’re submitted when we’re living in obedience to Christ’s commands, because we’ll know that we love Him.

Remember Paul was a willing dulos (Slave) of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in becoming a slave, living in surrender and submission to Jesus, he experienced true freedom.

A PRAYER Of Complete Surrender to Jesus Christ. 

I thank you today Lord Jesus Christ, that when you died for my sins, you died for all of them. I’m coming to you today Lord Jesus and I want to surrender my life completely to You. All the parts of my being; my head (thought life), my hands (doing life), my feet (going life), my stomach (feeding life), my desires, (inward inclinations of my heart)… O LORD, I realise that I’ve been away from You. I’ve taken back the throne of my life and I’ve let myself be fooled into thinking I was back in control, but in reality, I’ve lost control and become a SLAVE to ever increasing wickedness. I come to You Lord Jesus to surrender and I know that You will set me free, so that I can live in freedom and regain Holy Spirit self-control. Come Lord Jesus and be my King take your rightful place on the throne of my life and be my King, because today, I’m surrendering to You LORD. Amen!

You can use your own words, be specific about how you’ve sinned against the Lord, how you’ve become a slave again, let it all come out into the open before the Lord, but don’t wait around to make HIM your KING today. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend,

Don.

“Yield NOT to Temptation: For Yielding is SIN.” A wonderful Gospel song by Al Green.

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

– Refrain:
Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

– Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

– To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown,
Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down;
He who is our Savior, our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

 

A little bit of faith goes a long way

Jesus is only a prayer away.

Daily Spirit & Word: 793: A Little Bit Of Faith Goes A Long Way.

ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN

Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
13  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Good morning my friends, over the last few days my family has been through a bit of a wringer. My son Joe’s little baby girl Millie, who is just four weeks old, suddenly took ill. Laura (his wife) took her to the Doctor who immediately called for an ambulance to take her to hospital. We got a call almost immediately in London, Joe was in tears asking us to pray for Millie. My son is a big tough Royal Marine, he’s served in Afghanistan and been shot at by the Taliban, but when his daughter was at death’s door he wept bitterly. Joe cried his eyes out in front of everyone in the hospital. Millie was rushed into the intensive care unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, but when they could not stabilise Millie, they called for the specialist unit at Bristol. Another ambulance was sent down with a trained specialist unit and cot with hundreds of wires and tubes. Millie was sedated and another rush ensued. However, just before they departed from Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Julie and I arrived just after 4.00am. It was just in time to pray before Millie was whisked away to Bristol Children’s Hospital and the PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit).

I shared with some groups on WATSAPP what was happening and got some of our Prayer Group to Pray (And many from our Church and Christian friends and family).  What a wonderful family the LORD has given to us. Thanks so much for all your wonderful words of comfort and prayers. You will never know fully this side of Heaven what that means to us and to the LORD!

Julie, my wife, stayed in Plymouth to look after their other three children, whilst I went to Bristol with Joe in his car, because only one parent could travel in the ambulance with the baby. Of course Laura couldn’t let Millie out of her sight. By the time Joe and I arrived the baby was in the PICU all wired-up and looking so vulnerable. I’ll tell you, you can’t look at a little baby in PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) and not feel how fragile life is. That room was filled with babies in all sorts of conditions and so many nurses and doctors and parents with sad and serious faces. Little Millie’s life was hanging by a thin thread. She looked so small, so vulnerable and fragile.

“DID HE KNOCK THE WIRE?”

The nurse was lovely, she explained about all the tubes and what they were doing, the wires and what they were monitoring. One little line was her oxygen levels, and it was a green trace on the screen. Every time Millie took a breath for herself, the line turned a little bit red. There were very few red bits in the trace. So I put one finger on her tiny chest and prayed, “Lord Jesus, give little Millie the breath of life, let Millie’s life return to her body. In Your Name I pray Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!”… Immediately, the trace turned from green to red. Laura asked the nurse, “Did he knock the wire?” No, there were no wires where I touched Millie. We all looked at each other and just smiled. I knew it was the LORD.

From that moment on, Millie slowly began to recover. There were moments when things took a turn for the worse. We got shocked again when we heard they were going to sedate her. She stopped breathing, had mini-strokes, but slowly Millie began to get better. She’s now been returned to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to continue her recovery with Laura and Joe at her side. I’ve just returned to London. Julie stayed on with Joe and Laura for a few more days till things settled down and they don’t feel they need her any-more. Millie was finally diagnosed with viral meningitis.

I want to praise my wife Julie: Because she won’t do it herself. She’s a real ROCK in times of trouble. Ready at a moments notice to rush to her children’s side. Whenever they call, she’s there in a moment without hesitation. Not only that, but she’s practical too, helping to take care of the Grandchildren and slowly make the whole house ready for Millie’s return. Abigail our other daughter in Plymouth, came around to help too and both of them were looking after the kids, washing, cleaning and ironing so that Joe and Laura will return to a gleaming palace, with little to bother them so they can relax and just look after little Millie. That’s my Julie 🙂

It’s amazing what God can do.

Every life is so precious to Him. Our friends and family were all marvellous. One verse stuck in my mind the whole time; from Psalm 139:13-14, about how fearfully and wonderfully we are all formed by the LORD. Even the Doctors were stumped to know what was wrong with Millie initially. They just didn’t know what went wrong with her little body. It’s such a frightening experience. All the tests they carried out came back negative. So they took some more, a lumber-punch.  They thought it was Meningitis, Strep B or some other virus, but they couldn’t be sure.

However, we know, those who LOVE Jesus, that God KNOWS EVERYTHING. It was He who formed Millie’s body, He who put her heartbeat into her little chest, He who put breath into her nostrils. Oh my friends, those Doctors and Nurses were marvellous, they did care, they tried their best, they worked so hard to bring Millie back, we can’t fault their dedication. Some even stayed beyond their shift many hours to give their time and skill, but in the end, when all is said and done, our life hangs by a thin thread and ONLY GOD can give life, because His Word tells us; “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away”… Praise Him, because He chose this time not to take away.

We’ve had so many wonderful Christian friends, who’ve lost infants, some who’ve lost their babies in the womb and others, like Millie, who’ve experienced a wonderful miracle of recovery. We don’t know God’s plans for every life, but my friends, we’ve simply got to trust Him. It’s the hardest thing to do, when someone we love is going through it, but it’s the only thing we can do.

If it were not for the Doctors and Nurses, I’m sure Millie wouldn’t be here now or if Laura had neglected to take her to the Doctor when she did. Thank the LORD for Mother’s Instinct: she knew in her heart something was seriously wrong with her little baby girl and did the right thing. The Doctor immediately recognised something was seriously wrong and the staff at the hospital reacted immediately. Praise the LORD for the National Health Service (NHS), they were there when we needed them most. However, Joe, my son knew, he needed to call in the BIG GUNS: The LORD the Giver of Life. Joe prayed and cried to the LORD.

PANIC STATIONS, PANIC STATIONS:

In the Navy we had a term for when we needed to be ready for action at all times. A broadcast would be made; “ACTION STATIONS, ACTION STATIONS”. Everyone would then rush to their place of duty during action with an enemy. However, sometimes, some men just panicked. Some lost their heads during action stations. So we used to say instead, “Panic Stations, Panic Stations”… It’s Navy humour at it’s best. 🙂

But seriously friends  when the proverbial hits the fan, there is no need to PANIC, because the LORD knows all things. He’s in control of this ship called CREATION, because He made it all. He’s at the wheel and our Captain knows what’s coming before it ever hits us. So when trouble comes trust the Captain of your soul.

A Smouldering Wick & A Storm:

A strong wind blows out a candle, but no matter how strong the wind, a little ember keeps burning in the wick. God’s Word tells us; “A smouldering wick I will not snuff out”… In other words, a little bit of faith goes a long way. When the winds of trouble hit your life, keep trusting Jesus in the storm. Cry out to Him and He will lift you up. We all get that sinking feeling in the storm, just as Peter did, but turn your eyes again to Jesus and cry to Him. He WILL LIFE YOU UP AGAIN. You, will be able to walk through the storms holding onto the hands of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 12:20-21 (NIV) Smouldering Wick.
20  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.
21  In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Matthew 14:30-31 (NIV)
30  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

My friends, when the storms or winds of trouble come to try and sink you or snuff out your faith, don’t look at the storm, the wind or the trouble, look to Jesus Christ. He is the Author and Perfecter of your FAITH. Faith itself is a gift from Him to you and if you are lacking He can re-supply your need.

The Carpenter From Wales:

I was sitting in the parents waiting room of the Bristol PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital. Joe and Laura were in with Millie, so I was in there having a cup of tea. A young man walked into the room, he was a Carpenter from Wales. Their little girl had undergone a heart operation and was about to have her chest closed-up. We’d been chatting a few times. He knew my son Joe was a Royal Marine, and that I’d been a Submariner, but he didn’t know that I was a Minister in the Church of England. I’d asked him all about his life, so he said to me, “What is it that you do now that you’ve left the Royal Navy?” I said, “I’m a minister who serves the Lord Jesus in the Church of England”. There was no response, just silence. His face went RED. I’ve never seen a response like that before. So I asked him, “Do you have a faith background?”. He cleared his throat and said, “I used to go to the Salvation Army when I was a boy, but they tried to force it on me, they were too pushy, so I left at a young age.” He explained that Rugby Football was more appealing than attending the Salvation Army.  I asked him, “And what about now, do you believe now?” He said, “A little bit” I said to him, “You know something, a little bit of faith goes a long way. All the way to Heaven”

I reminded him of a story he knew well. “A smouldering wick, He will not snuff out”… If our faith is all but blown-out by the storms of this life, then God’s just waiting to bring it back into a blazing flame again. I assured him of our prayers. Before I left he returned with the good news, they’d closed his little girl’s chest and she was settling down into recovery.

These last few days have been a tremendous test for many people that we know and love. We’ll all go through times of testing, trials and tribulations and temptations. We jokingly call it the 3Ts. (Trials, Tribulations and Temptations). However, my friends, if you’ve put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, He proves faithful ALWAYS  even in the storm that you are walking through. We do not always get the answers to the prayers the way that we want. But like Peter in the storm, all you can do is; Cry, cry, cry; cry out to Jesus. Weep, weep and weep for what you could loose or have lost. Life is so precious, one moment we’re here and the next is ETERNITY.

You know something, Laura (my daughter-in-law) said something to me. She said, “When we’re going through something like this, it really brings into sharp focus what’s really important in life”. It really does my friends. Children are so precious, work, money, jobs, homes, clothing, etc… even food… but nothing is more important than your LIFE. However, there is one thing much more important than your life down here on this earth; Eternity. Where will we be spending eternity when this life is over? This is much more important than the here and now. God is only a prayer away. He’s waiting for you to turn to Him. He’s longing for you to cry out to Him. He’s a Father who’s waiting to hear your heart’s cry. You might be bitterly disappointed with the way things have turned out. You’d never choose the situation you are in right now, but God’s ways are not our ways. He might just be using this storm to bring you back to Him.

Of course there’s something we need to do: Humble yourself and pray. Return to the Lord. Repent of Sin. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ as both Saviour and Lord.

Then your Eternity will be secured forever. You will have a HOPE in your heart, that no matter what storm might come your way.  You will know the Captain and where you are eventually going to be, so TRUST Him.

2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (NIV) REPENTANCE, RETURN, REVIVAL. 

13  “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14  if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

I’ve been praying for all my family and friends to come to a living and active faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The battle for their souls is raging. Satan doesn’t want to let them go. He’s blinded some of their eyes so they can’t see the truth of the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:4). Oh LORD, OPEN their eyes and let them see Jesus for who He is: LORD OF ALL. Amen!

Storms come our way, sometimes, it’s a TEST. Sometimes the LORD allows it to shake us to the core of our being, to get our attention, to open our eyes, to let us see and to get us to ask that question, “What is the most important thing in life?”… LIFE… DEATH … ETERNITY… HEAVEN … HELL???? We all love our lives down here. We all love our precious things; but what’s more important than life? Nothing! Jesus came down from Heaven to earth to bring LIFE to everyone who will turn to Him in faith. Not just eternal life, but the abundant life now… Oh my friends, if you’ve never received Jesus Christ by faith, receive Him now.

The Three T’s will come your way: Even after you’ve trusted Jesus; Trials, Tribulations and Temptations. Stay close to Jesus every day.

We’ve all sinned, we’ve all broken God’s Commandments; lying, stealing, lusting (adultery), coveting, hating (murder), disobedient to parents, not putting God first in all things and even creating a god (idolatry) that we are comfortable with. A god that will allow us to sin and get away with it. Everyone needs forgiveness, everyone needs to be cleansed from sin or we can’t go to God’s Holy place called Heaven. Sin needs to be removed from our souls to purify us for heaven. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away our sins. He died, He gave His precious life, on the Cross, so that everyone who trusts in Him can be cleansed, made ready for Heaven and saved. Hell is real and God’s judgement is waiting on the other side of death. If we die with sin still on our souls, then we’ll be spending eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. God doesn’t want that, that’s why He sent Jesus Christ to save sinners like you and me.

You are being called by Jesus Christ if you are reading this far into my message today: He’s calling you by name; humble yourself, repent of your sin, believe that Jesus died for you, receive Him by faith and be born again of God’s Holy Spirit, then your eternity in Heaven will be secure. Afterwards, read God’s Word, the Bible every day; it’s your daily bread from Heaven. Live the Christian life in the POWER of the Spirit (that’s what being a follower / disciple of Jesus is all about, following and living by the teachings of Jesus), then join with other believers who love the Lord Jesus Christ to worship and serve Him with the rest of your life here on earth. Lead others to trust Jesus Christ too, you’ve been called to be SALT and LIGHT. Let your light so shine before men.

Well, I’m back in London, ready to serve the LORD here. It’s been a horrific and blessed few days in my life, but I’ve seen the hand of the LORD. He’s there in times of emergency my friends, but let’s not wait until an emergency comes. Turn to the LORD in the light, before the darkness descends. If you are going through the darkness my friends, if your wick is just smouldering, turn again to the Lord and let Him kindle it into a roaring flame. He’s alive! He’s alive! My Jesus He is with me, He’s alive.

When trouble comes knocking at the door of your life, trust the Captain of your soul, He sees it before it arrives and knows how to deal with it. Amen!

Have a FANTASTIC Weekend with Jesus.

I’m so looking forward to gathering on Sunday for worship: We’ve got a Thanksgiving for a baby. We’ve got a Wedding Blessing. We’ve got the LORD Jesus Christ.

 

When the Gospel Becomes Good News

when the Gospel become Good News

Daily Spirit & Word: 787: When The Gospel Becomes Good News.

The Grinding Power of Sin.

Slaves Set Free:

Romans 6:19-22 (NIV)
19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Good morning my friends, it was a good night of witnessing on the Streets of West Norwood last night. We gave out a few tracts, but after just a couple of minutes were were into a wonderful Gospel conversation with a lovely young couple from Madeira (Portugal). Last night I teamed up with Judy (Ben’s wife) and we just got chatting by given the couple a Million Pound Note (One of our little Gospel Tracts). I asked the young man, “If it was real, what would you do with it?” He answered, “I’d return to Portugal”. And the woman said, “I’d return to Madeira”. I said, “WOW, that’s really interesting, why Madeira?” They said, “Life in Madeira compared to London is like heaven”. I said, “Here’s what we’re about tonight, do you believe in Heaven?” They both said, “Not really, we don’t think about Heaven as a place”… I said, “Do you believe in God?” They answered “No, not really”… I was intrigued and asked a few more questions about their beliefs. It turns out, they both had to attend religious education in Madeira until they were twelve, that was the tradition in Madeira. They attended church, but as soon as they were twelve years old they were free from the burdens of religious observance.

So I opened up the ‘Spiritual’ conversation again with, “Madeira is reputed to have some of the oldest people on the planet, some people live to well into their hundreds.” The woman, Tatiana, knew a woman who’d died at 119 years old. I continued, “If you live to 120 years, then you die, if Heaven is real, where will you go? Heaven or Hell?” They both stated, “Well I’m a good person, so if heaven is real, I’ll definitely go there”. It’s amazing, because we know from experience that most people believe what Tatiana and Pedro do, that ‘good people’ go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Also, that most people believe they are the good ones, and if Heaven is real they will be good enough.

I asked, “We’ve got a little test that shows you immediately if you’d be good enough for Heaven” I gave them both one of our Ten Commandment Coins. They took it and said, “WOW this is nice”… I said, “You can keep it, it’s yours. Now the Ten Commandments are like a mirror, they show a person the condition of their soul on the inside.” They both remembered the Ten Commandments from their childhood teachings. I asked both of them, “The Commandments say, ‘Don’t tell lies’, Have you ever told a lie?” They both admitted readily that they’d told lies. We got into a conversation about lying, and agreed that almost everybody has told at least one lie, even me and Judy 🙂 But they didn’t see the seriousness of lying. I asked, “How many lies do I have to tell to become a Liar?” They said, “Just one”. “That’s right” I said, “It only takes one lie to make a person a liar, but did you know that just one lie will keep you out of heaven for all eternity?” They said, “Then nobody is going to be in Heaven”… (Isn’t that sobering? The fact that nobody will go to heaven if they died in their sins?”)

Here’s the next one; “Have you ever stolen anything?” They both said, “When we were kids”, but then went onto admit they’d also taken things that didn’t belong to them as adults. Pedro had nicked from his mother’s purse. Tatiana had stolen music on the internet. However, neither of them saw the seriousness of their crime before God, yet 🙂  I said, “Are you aware the Bible teaches that no thief can enter into the Kingdom of God?”

Here’s the next one; “Pedro and Tatiana, you’ve both been really honest so far, but have you always honoured your mum and dad?” Family honour is very important in Portugal, they both said, “We’d never dishonour our mum and dad, but I took them back over the commands they’d already admitted and said, “Stealing and lying to your mum and dad, that’s dishonourable don’t you think?” They both nodded in shame. But the Bible teaches that when we dishonour our mum and dad, we’re cut off from the Kingdom forever.

So I asked, “That’s just three of the commandments, if God were to Judge you by that standard, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” They said, “Hell”… Then we got into a conversation about the after-life again and what they really believed. I brought it back after a few minutes, “but suppose it is real, Heaven and Hell, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’d be on your way to Heaven? You see Pedro and Tatiana, God doesn’t want to send a single soul to Hell forever, He did something 2000 years ago to give people the chance of going to Heaven, do you know what that was?”. They didn’t know, so I asked, “Have you heard about Jesus?” They both clicked, “Jesus was God come down to Earth to show us how to live a good life”… Then I asked, “How did Jesus die?” It was like turning a light on in a dark room. Pedro and Tatiana said, “He died for our sins”… “It’s not enough to know that Jesus died for sins” I explained, “To get forgiven and cleansed from our sins so that we’ll be fit for heaven, we’ll need to do something, do you know what that is?” They both said, “Repent and ask for forgiveness”… I said, “Yes that’s right, but there’s more. Everyone need to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, receive Him as Lord (Boss of their life), and ask for forgiveness, trusting that Jesus died for their own sins. Does that make sense to you?”

I asked them, (they both work in the Catering industry), if you took a delivery of chicken and one piece of chicken was rotten, would you put it in the fridge beside the good chicken?” They both said, “No, we’d throw it out,” I asked, “Why? Why would you throw out that rotten piece of chicken?” They said, “Because it would contaminate the rest of the chicken”. I explained, “That’s exactly why God will not let anyone who dies in their sins; lying, stealing etc into His Holy Heaven, because our sins would contaminate His Holy Heaven”… They both said, “Then nobody is going to Heaven”… I said, “That’s right, unless they repent and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for their sins on the Cross and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour”…

PRAYER:

You know my friends, Pedro and Tatiana both thanked us last night. We encouraged them to read the Bible and see if what we were telling them was the truth. We asked them to come to church. We said we’d be prepared to meet-up with them again and pray and read the Bible over a coffee. But I encouraged them, “Don’t leave it too long before you turn to Jesus”… They walked away chatting together.

It’s not enough to just proclaim the Gospel, we’ve got to try and help people to understand it, that takes time, love, care, gentleness, humour, but above all boldness to bring the conversation back to the most important topic, their eternal destiny. I thank the Lord for Pedro and Tatiana, will you pray for them, that they’ll both come to the point of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? We had a good laugh, but always got back to the seriousness of their spiritual condition. It’s amazing, but once people understand the Gospel, they are either thankful or disturbed. Pedro and Tatiana had never heard the Gospel explained or why Jesus died on the Cross like that before. Can you see the desperate need there is, to take time with folks and love them enough to share Jesus’ message of Good News?

Now, their God given Conscience will go to work, it will do it’s job of showing them their sins again (How? Because the Law of God brings light to the soul, it awakens the Conscience ), the Holy Spirit will use the Gospel to draw them to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

WHY USE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

Some people ask us, “Why don’t you just talk about the love of God and Grace? Why do you keep going on about the Commandments?” Well, if I was to just tell someone they are a sinner without explaining why, they’d be offended. It’s offensive to just say, “We’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” because most people don’t think they have, most people don’t know the seriousness of their sins. We’ve found that about 90% of people think they a good enough for Heaven. So we need to show a person just how serious sin is, before they’ll even consider listening to the Good News. The good news only makes sense when we see the seriousness of our condition without a Saviour.

Here’s the reason why we use the LAW (Ten Commandments) when sharing the Gospel with folks: It awakens the Conscience: “we become conscious of sin”… In other words, we see the seriousness of our sinful condition by opening up God’s law.

Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20  Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Charles Spurgeon said: Concerning The Law (Ten Commandments).

  1. The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt.

When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile, how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is sound asleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces on the jagged rocks beneath, and nothing more shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him—what shall be done! It is our position; we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminent danger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger, discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us. The law acts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men, though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, and how utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law.

Instead, however, of treating this doctrinally, I shall treat it practically, and come home to each of your consciences. My, hearer, does not the law of God convince you of sin this morning? Under the hand of God’s Spirit does it not make you feel that you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look ye here, have ye not broken these ten commandments; even in the letter have ye not broken them? Who is there among you who hath always honored his father and mother? Who is there among us who hath always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimes borne false witness against our neighbor? Is there one person here who has not made unto himself another God, and loved himself, or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you hath not coveted your neighbour’s house, or his man-servant, or his ox, or his ass? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the law; we have all of us transgressed the commandments. And if we really understood these commandments, and felt that they condemned us, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so of leading us to fly to Christ. But, my hearers, does not this law condemn you, because even if you should say you have not broken the letter of it, yet you have violated the spirit of it. What, though you have never killed, yet we are told, he that is angry with his brother is a murderer. As a negro said once, “Sir, I thought me no kill—me innocent there; but when I heard that he that hateth his brother is a murderer, then me cry guilty, for me have killed twenty men before breakfast very often, for I have been angry with many of them very often.” This law does not only mean what it says in words, but it has deep things hidden in its bowels. It says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” but it means, as Jesus has it, “He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” It says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” it meaneth that we should reverence God in every place, and have his fear before our eyes, and should always pay respect unto his ordinances and evermore walk in his fear and love. Ay, my brethren, surely there is not one here so fool-hardy in self-righteousness as to say, “I am innocent.” The spirit of the law condemns us. And this is its useful property; it humbles us, makes us know we are guilty, and so are we led to receive the Saviour.

http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/sermons/0128.htm

We saw that this is exactly right, it happened last night, when we opened up the law with Pedro and Tatiana, they soon stopped trying to justify themselves and wanted to know what they could do to be saved from the consequences of the law.

The Grinding Power Of Sin: Samson was in PRISON:

Judges 16:20-22 (NIV)
20  Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
21  Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.
22  But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

He was blinded, bound and made to grind the corn for God’s enemies.

That’s the condition of everyone who lives with sin in their life, until they are set free by the LORD Jesus Christ. Sin blinds, it binds and it makes us grind. Life is worth living to the full, but life like Samson’s is; darkness, slavery and drudgery. Until we’re set free by the LORD Jesus Christ.

The prison is a place of blinding, binding and grinding!

Grinding was considered to be woman’s work, this added to Samson’s humiliation.

Here is the point; Samson was born to be a liberator. He was raised up by God to lead the people of God out of bondage. He was given power so that he might use his energy for the glory of the Lord. But, here is the mighty judge of Israel, blinded, bound and grinding corn for the enemies of God. (Note: That is the power of sin! It will rob you of your power and leave you with nothing with which to serve God. There will be no time, no energy and no interest in the things of God. Your life will be dominated by the grinding power of sin.)

My friends, share the Gospel with the folks you love.

Get full of God’s love and you’ll want to set others free.

Their condition, as Charles Spurgeon has so eloquently put it, is perilous. They are on the cliff-edge, in danger of God’s judgement and hell. If anyone dies in their sins, they’ll receive God’s wrath against sin. Let’s set as many free by going, by showing, by loving them into God’s Kingdom family. Amen!

Be blessed today and stay close to Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Don.

 

You can read or listen to Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort.

or even watch it below:

 

Knowing God Better

The Valley of Dry Bones, Knowing God Better

Daily Spirit & Word: 784: Getting to Know God Better.

How to LIVE Forever, without being ‘RELIGIOUS’…

Ezekiel 37:13-14 (NIV)
13  Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
14  I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “

Good morning my friends, over the years I’ve met many people who consider themselves to be Christians, but struggle to know God personally. These are lovely genuine and sincere people who’ve done everything, they think, that’s required to get to know God.

  • They’ve repented of their sins, but nothing seems to happen.
  • They’ve asked Jesus to come into their hearts, but nothing seems to have happened.
  • They’ve believed that Jesus has died upon the cross for their sins, but still nothing seems to have happened in their lives, they got no assurance that God is with them and that they are saved from their sins. So what’s missing?

It’s often a case of mistaken beliefs; or misbeliefs.

Some people think they’ve got to do something extra. So they try being even more religious: Praying more, reading their Bible more, attending lots-n-lots of worship. Then they’ll go running around trying all the latest ‘religious’ fads; fasting, all night prayers, revival meetings. They attend courses, and lectures and they’ll even try getting a degree in theology and all because they want to get to know God. They are hungering for the one thing that’s missing, they know something is missing and they know they need it.

My friends, if there was anything you could do to get to know God, then Jesus would not have had to die upon the Cross.

Assurance comes from God: He, Himself, Alone lets you know when you’ve become His child, when the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in your life; i.e. You’ve been born again of God’s Holy Spirit. From the moment that happens, you won’t need anyone in this world to give you assurance that you are saved, that you are a child of God. You’ll not need to be religious any longer. You’ll be set free from the feeling of or need to be religious to be right with God.

In this little book of Ezekiel the Prophet of God tells us over 30 times: (in different ways) “My People Will KNOW that I AM The LORD” and How will they know it? Because as our verse tells us today: “I will PUT MY SPIRIT IN THEM” When God does that to a person, they KNOW HIM, they KNOW the LORD.

So often we settle for much less than God wants to give us, we stop short at being religious, when God wants us to be filled to overflowing with Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. Once we understand that, then all of Jesus other teachings begin to make more sense. We’ll see that because of and with His indwelling power and help, all things become possible for those who believe and trust in and rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus, talking about the Holy Spirit, told the woman at the well about the FOUNTAIN within, welling up… LIVING WATER…  Awesome! John 4

So my friends, a word from the LORD today: It’s God who puts His Spirit in you. When He does, you will KNOW Him.

And when you worship, it will be IN SPIRIT and TRUTH… John 4.

How do I get God’s Holy Spirit?

Ask, Jesus tells us, “Ask and it shall be given unto you”… (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9)

Ask, Jesus tells us, “How much more with your Heavenly Father give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask HIM”… (Believe and Trust). (Luke 11:13).

If you’ve;

  • believed that Jesus died upon the Cross for your sins.
  • that He rose again from the dead,
  • that He ascended into Heaven,
  • that He commands all people to repent and believe that Good News,
  • that He wants you to receive Him as LORD of your life,
  • that you’ve turned from sin in repentance and trusted in His death upon the cross,
  • oh my friends, you are READY: Now ask, receive by faith the Holy Spirit that God the Father wants to give you.

Be assured, He will come: He will make Himself KNOWN in your life, you will KNOW God.

THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

When He comes, He’ll begin to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life;

  • LOVE (For God and others),
  • JOY (much more and deeper than simple happiness, it’s a deep and lasting JOY in the LORD),
  • PEACE (Fear begins to dwindle when you’ve got the Holy Spirit),
  • PATIENCE (You’ll experience a degree of tolerance with other people, with situations, with your own desires and wants, they’ll change and you’ll begin to want what God wants),
  • KINDNESS (You’ll find yourself wanting to be generous with your time, your money, your self),
  • GOODNESS (You’ll want to be morally good, all the old habitual sins will become distasteful for you. You’ll hate what you used to like),
  • FAITHFULNESS (You’ll love being faithful to your promises, and feel bad when you can’t keep them. You’ll be faithful to friends, family, church leaders and brothers and sisters in Christ),
  • GENTLENESS (You’ll discover and NEW gentleness and desire to show mercy to those who don’t even like you),
  • SELF-CONTROL (You’ll experience a NEW degree of POWER to say no to; anger, bitterness, rage, temptation, etc)

 

It’s God who does these things in you, it will be a Super-Natural-Spiritual FREEDOM….

It’s God who puts His Holy Spirit in you: He also gives wonderful amazing SPIRITUAL Gifts… Receive them!

My friends, who doens’t want the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT?

Get to know God Better today, by receiving God, the HOLY SPIRIT by Asking Father God…

It’s not about being more religious, but calling out in FAITH, and believing the PROMISES of God.

Happy, Happy Day,

Don.

 

(NOTE: Go back and re-read Ezekiel chapters 28-39 and you’ll see just how much God wants His chosen people to know Him and how he’s going to do it through many different means, to bring them to the point and realisation; it’s through death to self and rising to new life in Christ Jesus in the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.)

 

Jesus Warns Of The Dangers Of Hell

The reality of Hell

Daily Spirit & Word: 783: Jesus Warns About The Dangers Of Hell.

Some people ask, “How can a loving God send people to Hell?”

Some people say, “It seems like the Bible is contradicting itself. If God is a God of LOVE, how could He send people to Hell?”

Most people will say today, “I don’t believe in a God who sends people to Hell? My God wouldn’t do it”

Well, it begs the question: Will God, who is loving, kind and forgiving send people to Hell?

Those people who say such things are right, their ‘god’ wouldn’t, but the God of the Bible tells us that His angels will.

The Bible’s answer is “YES!”

Jesus answer is “YES, He most certainly will.”

TEARS IN YOUR EYES:

Someone cautioned me once, “Don if you are ever going to teach or preach on the subject of Hell, do it with tears in your eyes”… I’ll never forget that, I didn’t quite fully grasp his meaning at first, but after years of working with people for Jesus, I can see what he means. It’s getting God’s heart for people. Knowing God and His love for people. His desire that He doesn’t want a single soul to end up in Hell and the reality that most people will be going there, because they reject Jesus and the Gospel. It does make me cry.

You see it’s only modern man who has a problem with a judgemental God: The Bible reveals God in fullness; His love, His Justice and His mercy.

Previous generations didn’t seem to struggle with it as much as we do.

In our modern society, we view all forms of PUNISHMENT as evil. We should NEVER hurt another individual, because it’s UNLOVING to do so. (Quite right, there are other ways to help people see the seriousness of their crimes, than merely punishing them). However, God is not like us. His ways are not our ways. He is kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, generous, but He’s also full of rage and anger against sin and rebellion. He hates it when people hurt each other.

And we would most certainly agree that we must be PEACEMAKERS wherever we can be an influence for Good in this world.

However, it was Jesus who said,

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

It’s a dreadful, fearful, horrible thing to fall into the everlasting arms of God who is angry with your sins. That’s who we should be afraid of seeing with sin still in our lives.

Jesus wanted His Disciples to be serious about their own sin, in this life:

When we look at our passage from the Bible today from Mark’s Gospel: We’ll see just how serious Jesus viewed SIN and it’s consequences.

The SIN Jesus is alluding to is the Sin of Pride in life: Thinking they are better than others, this only leads to strife, competition and rivalry between each other.

Remember the CONTEXT: (Go back just a few verses to see what Jesus is talking about).

Mark 9:33-41 (NIV)
33  They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”
34  But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35  Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
36  He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
37  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

38  “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39  “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No-one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40  for whoever is not against us is for us.
41  I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

The Disciples had been arguing with each other about who was the GREATEST…. Jesus had a little child come into the room, He took the child to himself and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

“… John, the beloved Apostle, thought he was doing the right thing, told a man to stop driving out demons in Jesus’ name, He got a rebuke from Jesus…

Unfortunately, if you also read on in Mark’s Gospel, you’ll see they didn’t get this teach or the warning: Because they’re still trying to have the best place Mark 10: Peter and John’s request. (More about that later).

So we come onto our own passage today: SIN, HELL, Danger…

My friends, Jesus is again teaching His own Disciples about: Strife, Rivalry, amongst themselves, He’s not going to be with them forever, so He must get this point home and into their heads in the most serious and pointed way he can… So Jesus warns them of the consequences of this kind of SIN: It’s going to be HELL for you… Unless…. Unless you CUT IT OUT of your life.

Mark 9:42-50 (NIV)
42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
43  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.
44
45  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.
46
47  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
48  where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
49  Everyone will be salted with fire.
50  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

(Notice: The NIV leaves verses 44 and 46 blank).

Mark 9:42-50 (NKJV)
42  “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
43  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
44  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
45  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
46  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
47  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire–
48  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
49  “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
50  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

My friends:

“Their worm does not die”: The soul is eternal. Once you are born you will live forever in eternity: Either in Heaven or in Hell.

“The FIRE is NOT Quenched“: The fires of Hell are Eternal.

Some modern theologians are not happy with ETERNAL Punishment in Hell. They, again, believe that their “god” wouldn’t send anyone to hell forever. Perhaps if there is a Hell, then it will only be for a short time of purification. Then the prisoners in hell will be released into Heaven. Well, these ideas sound fine and tolerant and kind, but they are not true or ultimately loving. Because, people are not bothered about death, the love of life is diminished. If hell is not real, then there would be no point in Jesus dying upon the Cross. If there are no consequences for sin, if hell is not real, then Jesus Father must be very cruel indeed… However, if hell is real, and Jesus did die so we could be set free from sin, then God is the most loving being… He is! Hell is real! Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world. However!

That’s not what Jesus thought or taught though: Jesus is God and He clearly warns of the dangers of being thrown into hell. For Jesus, once you are in Hell, there’s no escape, there’s no way out of hell. Hell is forever.

Again Jesus warns us whom we should fear:

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

The soul is eternal, once you are born into this world, your soul lives on forever. There are two places we will go when we die; one is to be with the Lord forever in Paradise, Heaven. The other is eternal Hell and tormented by Satan.

The reason we’ll get into Heaven: Not because we’re good or have done enough good. Why? Because just ONE sin will be enough to keep us locked up in Hell forever. The only reason anyone will ever end up in Heaven is if they’ve Trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour: Having had their sins removed by His death upon the Cross.

The reason we’ll get into Hell: If we die in our sins. We’ll be carrying our sins with us, and the weight of our sins will pull us all the way into Hell forever.

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

To those who say, “It’s not loving to talk about Hell” I think Jesus would say, “It’s not loving to not warn people of the Danger of Hell”…

We’d all agree that Jesus was the most loving person who ever walked the earth; yet Jesus had very strong words for His own followers, warning His own Disciples of the Dangers of Hell: Causing one of these little ones, who believe in me, to sin… You’d be better off having a large mill-stone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea, than to face God having caused someone to sin.

Notice the parts of the body Jesus focused upon:

  • Hand:
  • Feet:
  • Eye:

When I preached this yesterday, I pretended to blame my hand for causing me to sin, “You silly hand, why did you make me do that? It’s all your fault hand, you made me do it” No! We can’t blame our hands, that is not what Jesus is saying … He was using a kind of Jewish humour, but the POINT was: Sin is very serious indeed. It will take you all the way to Hell. (I did the same for my feet and eyes)…

Oh how we need to stop blaming other things for the sins we commit; it’s not our environment, our upbringing, our genes, it’s us, it’s me who sins. I do it when I give into temptation, when I’m not being self-controlled, when I’m influenced by Satan or demons. We’re tempted to sin when we give into our desires.

All sin is rebellion against God: It’s going against our conscience: It’s breaking at least one of God’s Ten Commandments. Sin stains our souls and that stain cannot be removed by trying to be good.

Fire & Salt:

Jesus said, at the end of this message:

Mark 9:49-50 (NKJV)
49  “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
50  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

You will experience the fire: Fire is a form of purification: Even though you will go to Heaven if you’ve believed in Jesus and trusted Him as Lord and Saviour: You will experience a judgement:(The Believers Judgement 2 Corinthians 5:10) It will be like one escaping through the flames.

Note: This is not the same judgement as unbelievers: We who’ve trusted in Jesus, will not be judged like that. We have already passed from death (Hell) to life (Heaven). Our place in Heaven is secure, but we will be rewarded for the good we have done and purified from any remaining, un-confessed sin. John 3:13-21.

You will be singed (scorched with fire): the amount you will be singed will be determined by how much sin you are carrying since you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.

Keep Short Accounts With God:

You must repent of sin right now: you don’t know if you are going to die tomorrow. I don’t want to see lots of people that I know and love, in Heaven with singe marks all over their souls.

When you repent, you will once again be on fire with love for the LORD. It makes me cry so much when I think of all those lovely Christian brothers and sisters who’s lives have been overtaken by sin. Yes they will probably be saved, if they are truly born again of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, He also wants us to experience the abundant life now. You will never experience the fullness of the abundant life as long as you are hanging onto your sinful choices.

You can’t serve God and serve your pleasures: you will hate the one and love the other.

So my friends, get right with Jesus, repent and trust Him again. Turn from sin in your life and return to the LORD.

What happens when SALT looses it’s ability to savour?

I told the story of a trip to Southend on Sea: How I walked up and down the seafront with Julie. The smell of salt in the air only enhanced the smell of the fish-n-chips cooking. When someone walked past carrying fish-n-chips in a paper bag and it smelled strongly of vinegar… I just had to have some 🙂

The man asked me, “Do you want salt and vinegar?” It was a strange question to me, I couldn’t imagine eating fish-n-chips without salt and vinegar… “Oh yes please, lots of salt and vinegar”… However, when I put one of those chips into my mouth, it was bland, no salty taste… I put another in, the same thing. I went back and asked for more salt… Nothing… The salt had lost its ability to savour… I’d never experienced that before… Salt that wasn’t salty…. That’s what we’re like when we purposefully walk away from Jesus and choose to live in sin.

“Have SALT in yourselves”: AND “be a peace with each other”… Jesus didn’t want His followers falling out. He didn’t want us to be in competition with each other… He wants LOVE. He wants UNITY…

How’s your unity and love for your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Have an AWESOME week with Jesus Christ.

  • I don’t want to see any of my friends with a large millstone around their necks and struggling in the deep sea.
  • I don’t want to see you with no hand, feet or eye.
  • I don’t want to see you in Heaven with singe marks on your soul.
  • I don’t want to see you falling out and falling over each other.

Oh my friends, let us get closer to Jesus today. Admit our need for His forgiveness and walk with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Finally, believe in Hell: It will give you a wake-up-call. It will give you a desire to see others being saved by Jesus. It will enable you to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus. Hell is real, Jesus believed it, taught about it’s reality and warned His closest and most dearly loved followers about it.

Quotes: In a world of psychic hotlines, horoscopes, Wicca, and alternative spirituality, Christians must be able to share their beliefs effectively. They must proclaim clearly, consistently, gently, and lovingly, the possibility of heaven and the warnings of hell.

Apologist Peter Kreeft addressed the fact that ignorance or denial of the biblical teachings about hell comes often from within the church. “Of all the doctrines of Christianity, hell is probably the most difficult to defend, the most burdensome to believe, and the first to be abandoned.” P. Kreeft and R. K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 282.

 

God Is At Work In YOU.

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

Daily Spirit & Word: 767:

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

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

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you “Christ’s letter of recommendation”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

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

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

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

Don.