John 4:14 (KJV) “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Good morning my friends, do you know there have been so many wonderful praise and worship songs about how the Lord satisfies the needs of the follower of Jesus Christ? I’ve found myself moved so many times, in tears I’ve praised the LORD and He’s come to meet my needs.
He gives me living water and I thirst no more…the joy of the Lord is my strength.
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.
Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.
Take us to the river, take us there in unity to sing, a song of Your Salvation…
Here’s my cup Lord, fill it up Lord, come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me and rest, lay down my weary one”…
All the way my Saviour leads me …
It’s amazing the way that the Lord does take away all the cravings for the things of this world. The follower of Jesus has enough in His Lord to satisfy every soul longing in life. All these praise and worship songs have been written because the Lord has shown Himself to be faithful to those who wrote them.
Hymn Story: “Here’s My Cup Lord”
For instance, I read somewhere about the little song “Here’s my cup Lord, fill it up Lord” that the Pastor, Richard Blanchard was waiting for a couple that he was preparing for marriage and they were late. He was sitting at the piano, impatient and his heart was getting angry that they were late. So he began to tinkle the ivories and this song came to Him:
Life was never to be a bed of roses for Richard Blanchard.
A severe lung problem developed, and Blanchard was left with one-third of his lung capacity. But a diminished physical well-being did not stop young Blanchard.
In 1953, he became the pastor of a church in Coral Gables, Florida, and one day, was asked by a young couple to perform their marriage ceremony. However, the couple was quite late for their counseling appointment.
Blanchard told his secretary, “I will wait for thirty minutes and I’m leaving.” He then went to a nearby Sunday school room and sat down to play the piano for a while.
He later said, “When I was not in the mood to be used of God, God was in a mood to use me.” In less than thirty-minutes, as he waited for the young couple, God gave him the inspiring song “Fill My Cup, Lord”
“When I was not in the mood to be used of God, God was in a mood to use me.”
(1) Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”
CHORUS: Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, feed me ’til I want no more-
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!
(2) There are millions in this world who are craving
The pleasure earthly things afford;
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.
(3) So, my brother, if the things this world gave you
Leave hungers that won’t pass away,
My blessed Lord will come and save you,
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray:
Even when you are feeling your worst and most un-usable by the Lord, then the Lord Jesus can and will use us for His glory. Think about Jonah, Moses, Gideon and Solomon: reluctant to take the call and the role the Lord had allotted them, they were all used in such mighty ways by Him who changes situations, people and even desires.
Jesus really is the true SOURCE of our HAPPINESS, JOY, PEACE and PROVISION in life.
It’s truly awesome the way that He comes;
When you are feeling weak, He gives you strength.
When you are lonely He there in a moment of praise.
When you are broke, He sends the ravens to feed you.
When you are thirsty, He sends the rain to give you to drink.
When you are hurting, His stripes are for your healing.
When the storms in life come, He invites you to walk on water.
When you are hungry, He can turn stones into bread or send mana from Heaven.
When you are rejected, abused, neglected, you’ll find Jesus is the one who sticks closer than a brother.
John 4:14 (KJV) “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus really does give us living water so that we will thirst, hunger and want; no more. He’s enough, He’s enough to SATISFY all our longings in life. His WELL will NEVER run dry.
Good morning my friends, how many times have we said or heard said, “I try my best” or “I’m trying my best to be good”. The feeling and thinking behind the statement: We all want THE BEST in our lives. As Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who try and live by the Word of God, we want to be the best we possibly can be and we want others to think or know that we are God’s holy people.
However, the reality is, we’re only as good as our BEST. You see the Lord doesn’t want us to be as good as WE can be, but He wants us to be LIKE Jesus. Why? Because He knows that Jesus standard of goodness far exceeds our own, because Jesus was and is perfect. Hence the reason Jesus said, “I AM the Vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing”… We are only as GOOD as our closeness to Jesus.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
If we are ‘trying our best’ without getting close to Jesus Christ first: then our best means or is worth NOTHING. Even if you’ve got the whole Ten Commandment and are trying to live according to them, and you only fall down at just one point in God’s Commands, perhaps you covet a little. Then we’ve become God’s Law Breakers and we’ll be guilty before God on Judgement Day.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “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.“
Jesus wants us instead of trying our best to draw near to Him then we’ll be doing what’s best, to come close, to live our life with Him: When we respond, then we WILL BE FRUITFUL.
You see my friends, it’s not OUR BEST that God is going to be looking for, but how much of Christ is in us, how much we’ve become like Jesus Christ, there’s only ONE WAY to do that: BE WITH Jesus. The more time, the more energy, the more focus you put upon actually being with Jesus as you go about your daily life in this world, the BETTER you will be at being what you know your heart’s desire is.
Sadly, too many Christians get into other things, these good things get in the way of our relationship with Christ, we become like a detached branch, we become like a branch that’s actually been cut off from the Vine. What happens when a good Christian looses his first love, looses his connection with the vine? We begin to wither and die: Our Joy goes: Even our desire for worship and being with other brothers and sisters dries up.
It happens very Slowly of course:
Did you know a vine branch can live for a little while apart from the main branch? You can plant a vine branch in the soil a couple of weeks after it’s been cut off from the vine and it will still begin to put down it’s own roots and grow. I know this, because I’ve done it. We had an uncultivated vine for a while, but it only ever produced tiny little bitter grapes.
However, when a branch begins to grow on it own; apart from the Lord, it’s a wild vine you’ll have, not a cultivated one. It will not have the root-stalk of the old vine and will have it’s own nature. A cultivated root is selected for it’s characteristics of the wine it produces, and the actual vines that are grafted into it will be protected by the cultivated root vine.
Jesus said, “I AM the Vine, you are the Branches: We’ve been grafted into this Heavenly Cultivated Vine. It’s Holy life giving sap flows through our veins. Jesus gives us the NEW WINE of the KINGDOM.
YBH: Yes But How? How do we “Do our Best”?
It’s easy to say something and much harder to actually do it. How do we stay close to the Vine and connected to the Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus said it and the Apostles applied it in the rest of the New Testament.
Jesus said: “If you obey my Commands, you ARE my Disciples”: so it’s obedience to Christ’s Commands.
Paul said to Timothy: 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved (tested and tried), a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Do Your Best: Stop saying “I’m trying my best” start thinking “I’m DOING my best”: The BEST thing you can do is get close to Jesus every single day. You are to strive with all your might to get ready to stand before God: You will already have been; tried and tested by Him. You do your best: to handle correctly the word of truth. This means: To understand and apply God’s Word to your life. To live according to what you know and understand. It’s going to take your own personal effort to draw and remain connected with Jesus Christ and to read, understand and apply God’s Word to your own life.
There are many ways to do it today: Thank God for the internet, the WWW (World, Wide, Web), here you can find so much “Good Teaching” and “Application” of God’s Word: This will help you to understand it. However, don’t just stop at getting an understanding of God’s Word: Stay close to Jesus Christ yourself: pray, be with Him in prayer, and He’ll guide you. Get filled up with God’s Holy Spirit every day. Pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, fill me with the Holy Spirit, I need Him, I’m asking in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Saviour. Amen”….
Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Monday is magnificent, be with Jesus today, start your week right and keep at it every day.
STOP saying, “I’m trying my best” START saying, “I’m DOING my BEST to stay connected with Jesus Christ” Amen!
One of the best and most practical ways to Keep Close to Jesus: Is to take captive every thought and bring it into subjection to Jesus Christ’s teachings:
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “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.”
It’s our Thought Life: where battles are won and lost. Let’s take captive EVERY thought that’s going against what we KNOW is God’s Word.
Daily Spirit & Word: 603: The Harvest Feast For All Nations.
This Harvest Sunday: God wants you to be fruitful and to increase.
Good morning my friends, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go back to the Jewish way of celebrating Harvest: Tabernacles (Tents or booths): It’s mentioned a few times in the Old Testament, it was a feast primarily for the People of God; the Israelites, but it was also a feast for ALL NATIONS. As I was reading and studying Tabernacles in the Bible I’d forgotten just how much of a LIGHT TO THE NATIONS God had called His chosen people to be. Also that He makes every follower of Jesus into a kind of TABERNACLE (Dwelling place of God, by His Spirit).
The Feast of Tabernacles: (Booths):
Deuteronomy 16:13-17 Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing-floor and your winepress. 14Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. 16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
It’s a FEAST for Everyone: Even the ALIENS amongst the Jews.
It’s a FEAST of Joyful Celebration.
The Feast of Tabernacles was for ALL NATIONS:
Zec 14:16-19 — Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
I’ve brought some pears from my garden for the Harvest Celebration today.
Come and help me take a look children: Let’s cut open a pear and see if there are any seeds inside. Let’s count the seeds: How many are there? How many pears are on my pear tree each year? Probably a few hundred. How many seeds are in each pear? How many seeds over the lifetime of a pear tree? How many pears are in the SEED?
My friends, when the LORD calls His People, to become HIS People: He expects fruitfulness. He wants us all to be A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS. He wants us all to live in such a way, that many, many, countless others will be influenced to also come and LOVE and Worship the Lord our God.
Oh my friends how this DARK WORLD needs the LIGHT of Jesus Christ: You are that light: Yesterday the news broke here in the UK about another shooting in a school in America. Many people were killed, but countless hundreds are being killed every day with bombs, guns and all kinds of evil ways that we hurt each other. My friends if there has ever been a time that this world needed Jesus; it’s TODAY. Only He can change our hearts so that we will NOT want to be evil anymore.
My what a a wonderful Feast we had on Friday Night: Dancing, Eating wonderful foods from people who’ve come from all over the world: Jerk Chicken, Jollof Rice, Mexican Chicken, Chapatis, etc… Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a REVIVAL came and we were able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to bring thousands of people to our FEAST OF HARVEST CELEBRATIONS.
When we think about my pears and the number of seeds: We can see that just one seed, when it is planted and grown into a tree can re-produce countless thousands of other pears and more seeds. That is how fruitful the LORD wants you and me to be in bringing others to know about the Lord Jesus Christ: He really is the LORD of the Harvest. (Remember the Parable of the Farmer? How the Lord Jesus explained that He wants to see FRUITFULNESS, hundreds of times the number of the seed that was sown into your heart).
Jesus calls us to Celebrate Harvest: But also be ONE of the ones who’s going to be fruitful in bringing in the harvest of souls.
He wants People: He wants people from ALL NATIONS. Jesus Christ is for EVERYONE.
It is my hope and prayer that you will be able to Celebrate Every Harvest with great JOY before the Lord.
It is my hope and prayer that you will be FRUITFUL every years in bringing souls into God’s Kingdom.
Let us pray to the Lord of the Harvest:
Let us ask Him to send out labourers into His Harvest Field.
Les us ask Him to give us His heart for those who don’t know Him yet. Amen.
I hope you all enjoy an amazing Harvest Sunday today: Let’s go out now into the FEAST and Sing to Lord and bring in the Harvest of Souls.
P.S. Think also about the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit in your life: This is how fruitful the Lord is going to make you:
Also: Just as the LORD Tabernacled with the Israelites for 40 years in a Tent in the Wilderness: So Jesus Christ came and Tabernacled upon the Earth: John 1:14 (ANIV) 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (tabernacled). We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
You are NOW a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (You are the Tabernacle: God’s Meeting Place)
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”
God has always wanted to TABERNACLE: Be with, Dwell with His Chosen People: If you are born-again of God’s Holy Spirit: Then you ARE the dwelling place of the LORD. He’s in you no matter where you are on the Earth. He’s with you always.
So be the LIGHT to the World that Jesus has called you to be: Be fruitful and increase. That’s God call for you today, that’s always been His desire, command and will for everyone He calls to Himself.
See Also John 15, the great chapter on FRUITFULNESS. (The Vine and the branches).
Thousands of years ago God told the Jews to celebrate the harvest, today we discover the real reasons why He did so.
The Israelite / Jewish year was punctuated by different festivals – these were called “Feasts of the Lord”.
Some festivals were timed to coincide with the changing seasons of the year. They were for reminding God’s chosen people about His amazing provision for them, but they were also a way of enabling the Jews to offer something back to God as a way of thanking Him for the great generosity and grace. There were other festivals in the Jewish year that celebrated some of the great events of Israel’s history: Passover, Tabernacles, Pentecost: these festivals helped the Jews to continually remember all the ways that God Almighty had miraculously intervened to help the chosen people in times of great distress and need.
The Jewish Feasts Are:
Beginning in the spring, the seven Jewish feasts are;
Passover: Reminding the Jews about the night the Angel of Death passed over Egypt and because they had the blood of the lamb painted on the door-posts and lintel of their homes they were saved. Whilst during this last of the Ten Plagues of Egypt the firstborn of the Egyptian children died.
Passover reminds followers of Jesus (God’s One and Only Son) and about how He brought our Salvation from sin.
It was the time when Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sins to save us and give us life everlasting. It is on that basis alone that God can justify the ungodly sinner.
Just as the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the doorpost of the Jewish homes caused the Spirit of the Lord to pass over those homes during the last plague on Egypt (Exodus 12), so those who have been covered by the blood of the Lamb will escape the spiritual death and judgement of God. He will judge everyone that rejects Him by sinning: and all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards (Rom 3:23). All will receive their due payment for sin (Rom 6:23).
So my friends, of all the Jewish festivals, Passover is the greatest and most important, and so it is with Christians, because at Passover we also remember what happened to Him: What He also taught during His last Passover meal on the earth (Matthew 26:17–27). In passing the bread and the wine Jesus was telling the disciples to eat of His body and drink His blood (not literally, but symbolically), Jesus was presenting Himself as the ultimate Passover Lamb. His blood shed upon the cross is like the blood sprinkled on the doorpost and lintel and only His shed blood can save us from sin.
Unleavened Bread: The day after Passover, the Jews got rid of all yeast from their homes. It was to remind them of their escape from Egypt and the fact that they couldn’t allow the time for the yeast to infect the whole lump of dough. Now for Christians it’s a reminder of how sin can spread in our life. Jesus gave warning about the “Yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6). And the Apostle Paul also wrote about how sin can spread in our lives like yeast (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and Galatians 5:9).
Feast of Firstfruits: After the feast of unleavened bread, Firstfruits was celebrated to remind God’s Chosen People of His provision of the Promised Land: A fertile land flowing with milk and honey. For us as followers of Jesus it’s a reminder of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead: How He is the firstfruits of those who’ve died and one day the promise of our resurrection from the dead to eternal life with Him forever (1 Corinthians 15).
Feast of Weeks: (Pentecost).
The Feast of Weeks was 50 days after the Firstfruits and was to be celebrated the end of the grain harvest (the Greek word Pentecost means “fiftieth”). The main focus of the festival was gratitude to God for His provision.
For followers of Jesus this feast reminds us of the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to send “another helper” (John 14:16) who would indwell believers and empower them for ministry. Pentecost: Was the Day when this coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, it was also guaranteed (Ephesians 1:13–14) that the promise of salvation and future resurrection will come to pass. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in every born-again believer is what seals us in Jesus Christ and enables / empowers us to witness to others, He also reveals Jesus and confirms us in our walk with Him. He witnesses with our spirit that we are indeed “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16–17). It is by the Holy Spirit that we know that God is indeed our Father and we are members of His Holy Family forever. (Romans 8:15).
Feast of Trumpets: This is an amazing Feast for the Jews and for all who follow Christ today.
The Feast of Trumpets was commanded to be held on the first day of the seventh month and was to be a “day of trumpet blast” (Numbers 29:1)
Also in Leviticus 23:23-25.
23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.’ ”
God loved using Trumpets at Important times: Remember how Joshua won the battle of Jericho? The walls came tumbling down; judgement had come and God’s enemies were to be defeated.
God loving heart is always to warn people before He executes His judgment. God warned the people before the Flood, and He warned Niniveh before it was ruined. He warned the Israelites long before they were sent into Exile in Babylon and Syria. The Feast of Trumpets reflects God’s desire to call out to us, to summon His chosen people to come in repentance so that He can save them all from His wrath and anger against sin on the day of His judgement. He warns people today through the proclamation / preaching of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s love is made clear, that He doesn’t want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). See also Matthew 24:31
Feast of Trumpets, in September each year, was to commemorate the end of the Israelite agricultural year..
For the followers of Jesus: The Feast of Trumpets signifies the second coming of the LORD. We see trumpets associated with His second coming in verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” Of course, the sounding of the trumpet also indicates the pouring out of God’s wrath on the earth in the book of Revelation. So this feast of Trumpets points toward the coming Day of the Lord.
When God blows His Trumpet next: Those who’ve trusted in Jesus Christ will be taken away to be with their LORD. But those who’ve yet to trust in Jesus will await His coming judgement.
Matthew 24:30-31 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Day of Atonement: (Yom Kippur) The Day of Atonement occurs just ten days after the Feast of Trumpets. The Day of Atonement was the day the high priest went into the Holy of Holies each year to make an offering for the sins of Israel.
Leviticus 23:26-32 26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
Once a year on the Day of Atonement: The Only Day the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies (Just once a year). This shows the importance of coming into God’s presence and the seriousness of sin. Two Goats were taken: one to be killed and it’s blood sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant. The other to be released into the wilderness with the sins of the people upon it’s head. (Leviticus 16:1-34)
The significance of the Atonement Sacrifice for the followers of Jesus Christ today:
The sufficiency and completeness of the sacrifice of Christ is also seen in the two goats.
The blood of the first goat was sprinkled on the ark, ritually appeasing the wrath of God for another year.
The second goat removed the sins of the people into the wilderness where they were forgotten and no longer clung to the people.
Sin is both propitiated (made peace with) and expiated (made amends for) God’s way—only by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Propitiation is the act of appeasing the wrath of God, while expiation is the act of atoning for sin and removing it from the sinner. Both together are achieved eternally by Christ.
When He sacrificed Himself on the cross, He appeased God’s wrath against sin, taking that wrath upon Himself: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:9).
The removal of sin by the second goat was a living parable of the promise that God would remove our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and that He would remember them no more (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).
Jews today still celebrate the annual Day of Atonement, which falls on different days each year in September-October, traditionally observing this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
Christians don’t need to celebrate this feast, because Jesus has forever made Atonement for our Sins. Think of Atonement like this: At One With God: At-one-ment… Jesus death means we can be AT ONE with God. We are made clean by His blood and set free from sin forever.
Feast of Tabernacles: The Feast of Tabernacles takes place on the 15th of the Hebrew month Tishri. This was the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar and usually occurs in late September to mid-October. The feast begins five days after the Day of Atonement and at the time the Autumn harvest had just been completed. It was a time of joy filled celebration as the Israelites remembered God’s continued provision for them in the harvests and also His provision and protection during the 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
34 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’S Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. 37 (” ‘These are the LORD’S appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD’S Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.) 39 ” ‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths 43 so that your descendants will know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’ “
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD.
ALL The Jewish / Israelite FEASTS:
God’s Chosen People: Glorify God.
The Jewish feasts are closely related to Israel’s Spring and Autumn harvests and agricultural seasons. They were to remind the Israelites each year of God’s ongoing: powerful presence, protection and provision. How God will provide a way for His chosen people to be cleansed from their sins and eventually to be Saved and spend all Eternity in His presence.
Some were occasions of joy and celebration reflecting on all the good things that God had given to and done for his people. Some were times of self examination and repentance, where the people could come close to their Creator God and ask for forgiveness and cleansing.
We know that they were never intended to be observed out of mere formality and empty ritual. The prophets warned the people against reducing all these festivals to that level. In fact there came a time when God declared that He hated their ‘religious’ observance of ritual and sacrifice and offering: Because their hearts were not in it. The real purpose was spiritual – a great and glorious meeting together with God and His people. That is all that God has ever wanted and commanded: a close relationship with those that He’s created.
It’s amazing how Jesus Christ not only fulfilled God’s will revealed through the Old Testament Prophets, but also how it was fulfilled in time: during the most important and significant FEASTS of the Jews, God’s Chosen People. It was a witness to them that Jesus Christ was indeed their Messiah. And for all followers of Jesus Christ today it signifies God’s omnipotent and complete control of times and seasons and history, how He is always working in the Seasons of our Life.
God is calling all people today to trust in His awesome provision of a way to enable us all to draw near to Him for all eternity. It can only happen through His One and Only Son: Jesus Christ, who shed His precious life-blood upon the cross, the symbolic doorpost and lintel of our hearts. All God requires of us, is that we turn from going our own sinful ways and to His Son for forgiveness, cleansing and empowerment through His Holy Spirit to live a regenerated NEW LIFE in Jesus.
Good morning my friends, did you see the Blood Moon yesterday? For some strange reason I awoke just as the shadow of the Earth began to cover the moon, so I watched it for a while. The moon looked quite big, they called it a super moon, but I’m sure I’ve seen even bigger moons than that when I was a child 🙂 Overshadow? I’m thinking what the Lord may be saying about that today.
I can’t give a reason for EVERYONE’S suffering, but sometimes the Lord wants to teach us something.
My friends Roy Hutchinson shared this on FB today:
Psalm 73:14-17 (ANIV) 14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
If you read that whole Psalm, you’ll see the Psalmist is complaining to the LORD: Why do ‘good’ people have to suffer?
When we suffer sometimes we ask the question “Why?” Why am I suffering. Sometimes Christians get ashamed about their suffering or the duration of their suffering, because they think it’s the judgement of God. Other brothers and sisters sometimes don’t help, because they say things like; “You should pray about that” or “Perhaps God is disciplining you”… When you are suffering you want people to show some sympathy and empathy.
But it is GOOD to ask the question: “Why am I suffering?” but we should always ask the LORD not other people, because, unless they’ve been given a word of Knowledge from Him, they will not know.
1 Peter 4:12-19 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
However, there are some great reasons why we suffer, but it’s good to ask the Lord the question “WHY?” He may reveal something that, unless the suffering had come, you would continue to be unaware of in your character or walk with Him.
Two verses jumped out at me from that passage today (perhaps another speaks to you in a different way), the verses were 15 & 17.
Verse 15 “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a thief or any other kind of evildoer (criminal), or even as a meddler (someone who interferes in the affairs of others).”
How many ‘good’ Christians do you know, who are meddlers? The Church is rife with people who meddle, we should not do it.
If you are a meddler, then you are an obstacle to someone else’s pathway in life.
If you are a meddler, you are interfering in an obtrusive, noticeable way.
Verse 17: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
It is so easy for the follower of Jesus to skip over the first part of verse 17 and focus upon the outcome of the sinner who doesn’t respond to the Gospel when they hear it. However, the first part could quite possible be even more enlightening for us; “For it is TIME for judgement to begin with the family of God”. We don’t like to think that Father God will judge us, but it’s good for us if He does.
God disciplines, and judges those who belong to HIM NOW: “God disciplines those He loves”. He’s perfecting, training, shaping and moulding our Characters to become more and more like Jesus Christ, it is far better to KNOW that you belong to God’s family and experience His loving discipline now rather than wait for the judgement to come. We should invite the Lord to show us where we need to be transformed. “What’s next on Your agenda for me Heavenly Father?” Because our earthly nature, though it was put to death when we were baptised and united with Christ, is NOT completely dead, and will try and creep back up onto the throne of our life and kick the Lord Jesus Christ off.
It’s TIME for Judgement to begin with the Household (family) of God.
In other words, it is good for us when the Lord of Heaven disciplines us. So it’s no wonder this passage begins with “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” and continues with “rejoice”… It’s GOOD for us to experience some suffering, so we should never be ashamed or down-hearted or beaten down: Instead Christians should Rejoice! Sing hallelujah! Praise the LORD! Why? Because we are becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ.
So what should we do when we’re suffering?
First: REJOICE and PRAISE THE LORD: I know how hard that is sometimes, but it is what happens to us when we do it. JOY comes into our hearts when we praise the Lord, even when we’re in pain and suffering all kinds of trials.
Next: Continue to do Good: Verse 19 “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
Continue (even when you are suffering) to do good.
When I had a bad back just recently and found it difficult even to walk, there wasn’t much good I could do, but I prayed, studied God’s Word and shared with people in fellowship and online. It is the CONTINUING: Keep going even when the going gets tough.
Jesus will help you and give you the comfort, encouragement, and strength that you need when you are suffering. There were so many wonderful encouragements I received from the Lord whilst suffering in agony. Praise the LORD!
So it’s good to ASK the Lord, “Why Am I Suffering?”
Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.
Hope you all have a fantastic, wonderful, tremendous Tuesday with Jesus.
P.S. Please PRAY for us as we gather for Discipleship Fellowship Tonight @ 7.30pm in St Luke’s Church.
Good morning my friends, this is the day we begin to study afresh the Gospel according to Mark. As you know there are four Gospel writers in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each gives us quite a unique view of the life, message and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew’s Focus: Audience: for the Jews. Reveals the Messiah who fulfilled OT Prophesy.
Luke’s thrust: Audience: Greeks (Gentiles: Non-Jews). Reveals Jesus as The Son of God, Empowered by Holy Spirit who came to Seek and SAVE Sinners.
John’s thrust: Audience: For people with a Greek and Roman World View: Jesus is the Creator, Divine Son of God, The Sacrifice who Gives His Life so that mankind may receive Eternal Life.
However Mark reveals Jesus as the Servant King: The thrust is on What Jesus did. Main focus of His Gospel (Half of it) The Last three weeks of Jesus life. (Mark wasn’t one of Jesus Apostles: He was a close associate of Peter and Paul.).
In the beginning he sets out to declare the Gospel (The Good News) of Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:1-8 1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “ 4 And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”
“The Gospel” is a phrase that slips off our tongues easily, and we use it so frequently that we rarely stop to think about it’s meaning.
Usage of the Phrase: “The Gospel” Not used much by the other Apostles: But Paul and Mark use it regularly in their writings.
So what does “The Gospel” mean?
It means the Good News:
First of all it is the Good News of the Coming Kingdom: Proclaimed by John the Baptist, getting people ready.
Then it is the Good News of the King of the Kingdom: The Lord Jesus Christ and His mission upon the earth.
Then it is the Good News of The Lord Jesus Christ: Died upon the Cross, Risen to Life and Ascended and Reigning in Heaven.
So NOW when we think of The Gospel: We always think of it as the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ: He is the subject and message. He alone is the only way a person can enter into the Kingdom of God. He is God.
Whenever I hear the phrase “The Gospel”: I immediately translate it, subconsciously, as “The Good News of Jesus Christ”: But many others don’t think of it that way.
In Common Use: In the World:
You’ll often hear people in London saying, when they want to communicate that they are telling the truth: “Gospel truth brother” or in East End “Gospel guv, God’s honest truth guv”…
For example: When I was going to buy a computer the sales assistant in PC World said, “This is the best deal you’ll get, ‘gospel truth’ and we’ll match any other offer you get”….
The world uses “The Gospel” to associate TRUTH. They know when they hear the word Gospel it means truth. So when we’re out there trying to communicate the Gospel with people and we say I’m out sharing the Gospel, we’d better be clear, because they want to know what we’re telling the truth about. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Gospel Meets Your Deepest Needs:
Although the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, it’s also something that radically meets the needs of all mankind.
When we need: Only Jesus can meet those needs;
People Need Peace: People want real peace: Peace from war, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Middle East. But peace only ever lasts a short time. There will be wars. However, Jesus gives us a “Peace that the world cannot give”: Peace even in the storms of life.
People Need Gladness: Jesus give us gladness. We search the world for gladness and look to it for refreshment; (It does satisfy for a short while, like a McDonald’s burger, a holiday, but after a while, we’re hungry again) but we search for gladness in vain, because the world was not Created to provide it for us. Non-the-less we keep searching, trying, scratching, scraping, hoping, yearning, longing. The gladness or satisfaction we’re looking for can only be found in Jesus Christ, He Created the world, and He alone is the true (gospel) source of gladness and satisfaction in life.
People Need Understanding: The world seeks to KNOW: To know the world and the universe: The quest for knowledge is immense, people spend thousands of pounds on their education. However, if they’d but open up the Bible and turn to Mark’s Gospel, and ask God to open their heart they’d find: True (Gospel) Understanding (Enlightenment: When the Light of Christ comes into our hearts, our understanding, knowing is transformened into an experience of the Light of Christ: The Good News, the Gospel).
People Need a Clear Conscience: Most people are aware that they are NOT all they should be. God given each one of us a conscience, when we go against His Commands, the Conscience cries it’s warning, so we try to quieten our Conscience: Some do it by ignoring it: We’re pretty good at that. (It’s like ignoring the smoke alarm) Some take the batteries out of the Conscience too 🙂 They try to do some good things, thinking that’s enough to quieten the conscience. Even hardened Criminals give money or offering to the church; thinking that will remove their guilt. Only the Whole Message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, His death upon the Cross and suffering for the world, will remove the pain of a guilty Conscience. (Conscience means: Con means with and Science means knowledge, therefore when we sin we do so With-Knowledge.)
People Need A Strong Will to Live Right: Many people struggle with self-control. Many books are written on the subject. Self-help books litter the shelves of book stores and Amazon pops them up: How to eat well. How to live debt free. How to speak. How to write. How to …. ?????
Do a Google search for “an idiot’s guide to”: You’ll find a bewildering and enlightening list of the things that people are really looking for in life: from Science, Quantum Physics, Yoga, Relationships, Marriage, Politics, Debating, Dating, Friends, Management, etc… They’ve even got “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to: The Bible”… LOL.
My friends, people want to KNOW HOW to do their LIFE better: Only Jesus Christ can meet all these needs, desires, hungers and wants in life. That’s the Good NEWS of Jesus Christ.
Need for Forgiveness: (Not many books on An Idiot’s Guide to Forgiveness).
You won’t find any books (yet) on: “An Idiot’s Guide to God’s Forgiveness”… Perhaps it’s time to write it 🙂
Google search that and you won’t find it. Why? Most people don’t think they NEED forgiveness. There is NO HUNGER or Desire for it. It is not high on the list of most important things in life.
Most people don’t think they need to be forgiven by God.
They think they are ‘good enough’ deep down, just a little bit wayward.
So they don’t think they need the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
They think they can get along perfectly well without the hindrance of being ‘religious’.
Life is just to busy for ‘religion’… “Church: No thank you. I’m NOT religious”.
When we were out on Friday sharing the Gospel in Brixton: We got chatting to lots of different people about Jesus.
But four ladies that David and I were chatting with stand out for me: It ended with the ladies saying to us; “We’re just out having a good time, so please…” She didn’t say “leave us alone” but that’s what she meant and we got the message. It was a sad way to end a conversation about the LORD. However, people don’t think they NEED Jesus, they’re OK without Him, they’re having a great time without thinking about God. I ended the conversation with; “You know in your hearts you’ve broken God’s Commandments; you’ve admitted that you’ve lied and stolen and lusted, that’s only three of them, so I’m pleading with you, listen to your conscience, and think about what Jesus Christ did on the Cross so that you could be forgiven” They said they would and we left them to have a ‘good time’…. The next man we chatted to, about one minute after the ladies, thought that He was God. We sat down with him and had a very interesting time sharing the message of Jesus.
What Hit me more than anything else today: Is this my friends: People NEED the Gospel. We all NEED the Gospel: The whole Good News of Jesus Christ. We need to HEAR if: Because FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD.
We also need to RESPOND to it: Just as those who heard John the Baptist responded to his invitation to get ready for the coming Kingdom: They repented and were baptised.
After Jesus came; The Apostles (Early Church) proclaimed, preached and witnessed: The Gospel: People responded by:
BELIEVING (that Jesus Christ had indeed died upon the Cross for their sins)
REPENTING (Turning away from their sin and trusting in Jesus death)
RECEIVING: They responded by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives as both Saviour and Lord.
GETTING BAPTISED: This was to show the world that they’d been transformed by Jesus and were going to live a new life, in the power of the Holy Spirit and that they were dead to their old ways of living.
FOLLOWING JESUS: They then responded by living the Christian life, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, they became His disciples.
Most Christian Churches Today: The focus and thrust of good Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Charismatics is this: Believe, Repent and Receive (with a greater emphesis on the receiving end of the scale). Sadly so few, very few, focus upon the most important aspect, making Disciples (followers who’ll LIVE according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and God’s Word). They pander to people’s hunger for experience, excitement and fun; but focus little upon the sacrificial life that Jesus has called us to: Taking up our Cross Daily and following / living with Jesus Christ. However, it’s ONLY when we begin to die to self that we can truly know that the Gospel IS the Good News we’ve been longing to hear.
Worship: I Surrender ALL to You Lord Jesus.
We’re going to see over the coming weeks, as we unpack Mark’s Gospel of Good News of the Servant King: The Lord Jesus did some amazing wonderful things, he had Authority over all aspects of life and even death, you’ll not want to miss any of that teaching I’m sure.
For NOW: Today:
Know this today my friends, this Gospel can transform your life today. The Good News of Jesus is for every hungry human soul in this world. They don’t even know they need Jesus, we’ve got to show them their; needs, hungers and desires can only truly be met in the Gospel Good News and Truth of the Person of Jesus Christ: The Son of God who died for them.
First: Have you truly responded? Do you Believe, repent, receive and follow Him daily?. Are you following and living according to the teachings of Jesus Christ right this moment? (If you know you are not, then come and receive prayer. Perhaps you need to repent and receive Jesus afresh in your life today).
Second: Will you be obedient to Jesus Command: Go into all the world and share the Gospel? Make Disciples?
Third: If you have not yet responded to the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for you, will you turn and ask His forgiveness for your sins right now? Will you believe that He died upon the Cross for your sins? Will you receive Him as both Saviour and Lord? Will you seek His power and fullness of the Holy Spirit to enable you to live your life for Him?
Let us pray: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we can see today that we need a much clearer understanding of the whole Gospel message. It’s life and peace and joy and satisfaction can only truly be found in You Lord. Help us to respond as they first followers did, by giving our lives completely to You. Help us Lord and equip us Lord to spread this message that we know people are longing to hear, but don’t know it. Give us the desire to live like You Lord Jesus and LOVE people into Your Kingdom. Amen.
I hope you all read and re-read Mark’s Gospel.
Have an awesome Sunday and stay close to Jesus Christ.
Daily Spirit & Word: 599: How is the Gospel Good News?
God Has Planted ETERNITY Into EVERY Human Heart.
It was amazing last night going out into the streets of Brixton in London. After sharing with a few people it became abundantly clear that we were in the right place at the right time, God was leading us to people and many responded. We met up with quite a few ‘Christians’, (note the inverted commas), people who thought they were Christians, but who’s lives were not matching up to their profession of faith.
Also, there were so many ‘weird’ ideas coming from people’s mouths. One man thought that he was god, he determined his own future, his own life, his own feelings. As we talked it became clear that he wasn’t open to the good news, but we shared some things that hopefully were gems to dwell upon. He believed that this life is not all there is, that somehow he’d go on after death. I asked him, “Do you know why you believe that? It’s because God has planted Eternity into the heart of every human being?”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its (His) own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
You know what his response that statement was? “Ahhh so God plants thoughts and I’m just a robot then, I’ve got to respond to His input” he was touched and quite angry that God was the one responsible for his belief in ‘eternity’….. I said “Oh no! God does indeed reveal that this life is not all their is, but He’s definitely not made us His robots, He has given us free will, to either obey or disobey the Commandments which He’s also planted within our hearts, so that we’ll know His ways and be accountable for our life one day”.
We then went through a few of God’s Commandments: but each time, though he admitted his failure, he wasn’t touched nor was his conscience bothering him. Such a terrible condition for a human soul to be in at such a young age. I’m praying that the Lord will continue to use our conversation last night.
We got chatting about photography and things of this world for a while, but I finished with saying, “You know Grant it’s been lovely sharing with you tonight, but let me finish with this, God has planted eternity and His commands in your hearts, He’s also provided a way for man to escape His judgement for not living according to His ways, Jesus died for our sin on the Cross, for all our wrong choices, all you have to do is turn from your ways and trust in Jesus Christ.” He knew the Gospel, because his grandparents were Christians.
You see my friends, the Gospel is for those who are ready: It’s good news for those who’ve come to believe, understand or know that without a Saviour they are doomed, but for those who want to live life as if they were god, it’s definitely NOT good news, because they hear that one day, they are going to be made to account for their life of rebellion and sin. It would be a waste of time giving them the good news first, that really would be like casting your pearls before swine. So we finished off with a teasing glimpse of what the Lord has done to provide a way for Grant to be saved on judgement day.
The Gospel is NOT ‘good news’ for everyone, because some have already decided in their hearts that God’s ways are NOT for them. The Gospel becomes bad news, because it reveals there’s a consequence for choosing our own ways.
At the end of our conversation Grant thanked us for taking the time to share the things of the Lord. We thanked him for listening and sharing his views with us. Treating people with respect doesn’t cost a penny. We’re not out to win arguments but to bring people to the Saviour.
Other people were much more open to the Good News of the Gospel. There were believers, committed followers of Jesus and they were very encouraged and commended us our efforts in reaching out to the lost. There were also believers who’s lives had slipped and they too said, “This is a wake-up call” One lady said, “You know since we’ve been chatting, I feel my faith has gotten much stronger”… It’s amazing what the Lord does when we go out of our way to share the Gospel with folks. All those fears that we get vanish like the morning mist once we open our mouth for the Lord. He then replaces that fear with a holy boldness, but we become like Jesus, gentle, humble and ready to do the Father’s bidding.
I repeat yesterday’s little gem of a verse to encourage others (YOU) to go out and give it a go: Share the Good News with those who don’t yet Know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour:
Philemon 1:6 “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
How does that happen? Well the Bible tells us that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”, when you share the Gospel with folks, you’ll be speaking out God’s Word, your own faith will be strengthened, you’ll get an even deeper insight into what it means to be saved, you’ll get a full understanding of every good thing that you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s AWESOME!
The Good News IS always great news, the best news that anybody could ever want to hear, IF their hearts are ready.
Today, we’ve got the Blessing of Yeateman’s Funeral Home Chapel. 🙂 It’s Open Day. Praise the Lord!
Daily Spirit & Word: 598: Weakness Fear & Trembling.
Street Evangelism in Busy Brixton Tonight.
Good morning my friends, we’re going out tonight to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in Brixton, London. We’re going at ‘rush hour’, the busiest time of the week. Friday’s in London are manic, but there will be thousands of people. Some will want to stop and talk, but the vast majority will be either in a hurry to get home or on their way out for an evening of weekend fun. Brixton is busy because it’s a hub and junction for so many journeys across London.
How Did Paul Go Out?
1 Corinthians 2:1-5“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
He went with: Weakness:
He went with: Fear:
He went with: Trembling:
Weakness: Paul knew that in and of himself he could do NOTHING. When we recognise our powerlessness to convert a single soul without God’s Holy Spirit, we’re recognising our utter and complete weakness. We need the Lord with us, thankfully He’s promised not only to be with us, but to go before us to touch hearts and prepare them for the Gospel.
FEAR: Whenever we decide to do something for the Lord, Satan hates it and you’ll begin to feel FEAR rising within your heart and soul. It is especially true of Evangelism and sharing the Good News with those who don’t yet know the Lord. It’s amazing, you can be talking about all sorts of things, but the moment you begin to think about changing the subject to ‘spiritual’ things as a stepping stone to sharing the Gospel, FEAR will raise it’s ugly head.
It’s OK to be afraid, but don’t let that FEAR stop you. Pray out loud so the Devil can hear you. Get God’s Holy Spirit in you. Seek the fullness and He’ll come. Sometimes you’ll only notice that Jesus is with you when you actually open your mouth to speak. It’s amazing! He’ll give you words, wisdom and power when you are obedient to His Command to share the Gospel.
TREMBLING: It’s related to the FEAR: What if they don’t listen to me? What if I look foolish? What if they get angry? Etc etc etc…. All these thoughts will assail the mind of the person about to share Jesus Christ. You know something my friends, I get this FEAR and sometimes pannic attacks every time I’ve determined to share Jesus; and I’ve shared the Gospel thousands of times. You’d think that it would get easier as time goes on: Well it does actually, because with experience and persistence, you KNOW that Jesus Christ is with you and the Holy Spirit actually uses you to bring someone to the Lord. You’ll observe Him at work. We’re working together to bring in the Lost Sheep. However, the FEAR and Trembling still come, you just get used to it and KNOW: Ahhhh Satan’s taking note that we’re about to share Jesus. He hates it, but Jesus loves it and the Devil is no match for the Lord.
Put ON THE ARMOUR OF CHRIST:
We’ve found that taking a few moments to consider the meaning of the armour enables us to KNOW the Lord’s provision for the Battles when sharing the Gospel.
Ephesians 6:10-20 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Once you’ve got the Gospel Armour on and Open your mouth to proclaim the Gospel, the BOLDNESS will come.
Why? Because you are weak, but the LORD is strong: “Be strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power”…. We NEED the FULL ARMOUR, not just a part of it:
Helmet of Salvation: We KNOW that we are SAVED by Jesus. Not by our own goodness or good works.
BELT OF TRUTH: Know the truth and the truth will set you FREE: Jesus is the TRUTH. Knowing Jesus is KEY.
BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS: We’re righteous in Christ, not self-righteous, it’s His goodness that makes us acceptable to God.
Gospel Shoes: A readiness to share the Good News of Jesus: We’re going out to do that tonight. We’re putting our Gospel shoes on this morning :-)… Getting READY.
SHIELD of FAITH: Faith is your TRUST in the Lord: The Devil will attack you in all sorts of ways, but with the Shield up, you’ll be protected from all his fiery attacks.
The Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God: It’s a powerful weapon, the only weapon we take with us as we share Jesus. It cuts right to the bone. The core of a person’s being. We’ve actually seen proud mouths shut by the Word of God. It’s awesome!
Prayer In The Spirit: We get filled with the Spirit and Pray In The Spirit.
BE ALERT: Even as we share, we can’t let our guard down. The Devil doesn’t stop. He’s out to discourage us every moment we’re on the Lord’s business. Watch out for His evil schemes. Sometimes He’ll try and distract us, send red-herrings along to keep us tied up and prevent us from reaching the one’s Jesus is preparing. Be alert to His schemes and be prepared to move at the impulse of the Spirit.
Proclaiming Jesus: We NEED:
His Presence, Power, Provision & Protection.
Will YOU Go OUT to Share Jesus Today?
So if you’d like to come with Jesus and in the power of the Spirit, you’re going to see how the Lord won / wins people, we’re going to go out tonight to do it the way that Jesus did: First we’ll pray, seek the fullness of the Spirit, ask Him to guide us to those whom He’s been preparing, we’ll be listening for His guidance as we’re broadcasting the Good News.
Pray for us if you can’t come. We need your prayers. Pray that people will come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
We give out tracts and bibles and booklets: However our main objective is not to just give out tracts, but to engage people in conversation that might lead to sharing the Gospel with them.
We Pray for People: Sometimes the Lord leads us to offer prayer, and we’ve seen Him touch many people as we pray for them. Often this leads to an openness to the Gospel when they feel the touch of the King.
We Receive From the LORD: Whenever we go out to share about Jesus, the Lord does something wonderful in our hearts too. Because as we share, our knowledge of all the good things that we’ve received from the Lord is increased. WOWzer! What a blessing it is to be filled afresh with the deeper knowledge of Christ our Saviour. It’s a supernatural knowledge that you’ll get in no other way. Philemon 1:6.
Philemon 1:6 “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
(Tracts, Bibles and Booklets: These cost money; at the moment I fund this, but some brothers and sisters, who feel they can’t go out, like to be able to contribute and be a part of this mission. If God is calling you to support Evangelism, then you can give through our Church and tell the Administrator that you’d like to give towards the Evangelism Outreach Team).
I’ve had a little more inspiration this morning from two sources in the world: From Bill Withers’ song “Lean on me” and from the traditional British red telephone boxes in Kingston Upon Thames. “Lean on me”.
You know something my friends, there are times when we don’t always feel strong, at those times Jesus is calling out to us “Lean on Me, when you’re not strong and I will help you carry on”. “Call on Me brother when you need a hand”.
Now before you say, “Well Donald, you’ve lost your mind, that’s not Biblical” lets just check out God’s Word and see if that’s true.
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God doesn’t like it when we are afraid, because He knows that when we’re giving into fear, we’re not trusting or relying upon Him. Psalm 18 reveals that David had a level of trust in the Lord that was awesome in times of danger or near defeat.
Psalm 18:1-3. 1 [For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of King Saul. He said:] I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”
The Lord Responds When You Call Upon Him.
My friends, the next time you are feeling weak, when you are not strong, when you know trouble is coming or is already upon you, CALL UPON THE LORD.
Remember our Lord Jesus own words in this regard:
Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Who are we to come to? The Lord Jesus Christ.
When are we to come to Him? When we’re weary or burdened.
What happens when we come to Him? He will give us rest.
What does Jesus want us to do when we come to Him? Take up His yoke (follow His teaching and commands).
What does He want us to do? To learn from Him: from how He lived life on earth/
Why does Jesus want us to do that? Because He is gentle and humble in heart.
When we learn to live like Him, following His guiding principles in life, we will find the rest that our souls need.
What will we discover when we’re following Jesus in this way? That His yoke is EASY and His burden is LIGHT.
WOWzer! Call upon Jesus: He’s crying out to you today, “Lean on Me, when you’re not strong, I’ll give you hope to carry on”.
You know, there are so many times when I’ve been weak, foolish, burdened and feeling heavy, but when I’ve called upon the LORD Jesus, He’s proven to be faithful every single time, even when I’m not. He’ll give you the strength you need for every battle that you are facing today. You don’t have to be the strong one, because we’ve got ONE who’s power is unsurpassed.
Daily Spirit & Word, 596: It’s Just Too Good to be True.
Mark 16:9-11 9 “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”
When they heard that Jesus was alive, they DID NOT BELIEVE IT.
Good morning my friends. Many of us have friends and relatives that just don’t seem to want to believe in Jesus the way that we do. We often find it difficult to understand why. Why won’t they believe in Jesus?
Perhaps one of the reasons might be this one, the fact that it is just too good to be true.
Note from the verses above: The Disciples, the followers and students of Jesus teachings, were mourning and weeping. Why? Because they’d just witnessed three days beforehand their LORD and Master and Teacher being put to death by the Romans upon a cross. They’d watched Joseph of Arimathea taking charge of Jesus’ dead body, wrapping it in a cloth and taking it to a tomb and putting a great stone in front of the tomb. To them Jesus was definitely dead and gone, now they were doing what every one of us would be doing if someone that we loved, cared about, trusted and depended upon had died: They were weeping and mourning.
It’s just too good to be true that our beloved would come back from the dead. Many people find death so difficult to accept that they believe they can see and hear their loved ones, long after the event, until time and reality hit home and they accept the fact that they’ve really gone. I’ve known widows who, because they’ve been with someone for many years, have whole conversations and then suddenly realise “Ahhh, he’s not here”… No, it’s just too good to be true to believe that he would be.
Too Good To Be True? It’s fantastical, crazy, foolish even, to believe the good news. Some people actually think that you are MAD to believe that someone could come back to life after death. That’s why the Word of God, the Bible admits that the GOSPEL is foolishness to those who don’t believe.
So how can we possibly ever convince those that we love, who find it hard to believe, that Jesus is ALIVE and can be known today?
Evidence of Belief in Others:
I’ve known far too many people who’ve become convinced of this central truth of Christianity to doubt it. Even if I had not experienced the resurrected Jesus for myself, the evidence of the many could convince me of it. History, and even recent history in Iraq and Syria revealse the sincerity of their conviction, even going to point of being prepared to die with joy in their hearts, rather than renounce their faith and trust in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. However, sincerity alone will not move, convince or convict everyone to accept the truth.
The KEY: That UNLOCKS Hearts:
Thankfully, we don’t have to believe in the resurrection first, we’ll become convinced of it later on though, once we’ve got the resurrected Jesus in our life. It is after we KNOW HIM that we become like those who could never renounce their faith. To renounce Jesus after knowing Him would be like saying, “I came into this world without a mother or father”… It’s IMPOSSIBLE to say we don’t believe in Jesus, we’d be lying. Once Jesus comes into your life, then you too become a witness like Mary Magdalene, and just as she found that those who even loved Jesus found it hard to believe, we too will find it almost impossible to convince people about the resurrection of the Lord from the dead. Praise the Lord though, because He’s given us a KEY to open up those barricaded minds and locked up hearts.
The Good News: That Jesus is ALIVE only becomes good news once a person knows their need for the Lord Jesus. It becomes good news once they realised that they are sinners and that nothing they can ever do can take away their guilty conscience or wash them clean from their crimes against God. You see it’s our need of righteousness that will convict us and compel us to believe and become convinced of the truth of the Gospel Story. Just as God’s Word tells us; “FAITH comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”…
To get us to that point of Belief: God’s Holy Spirit first convinces us of our need of a Saviour.
He first uses God’s Law to do it. God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) are like a Schoolmaster / Instructor to lead us to a knowledge of our need of a Saviour. Because without a Saviour we’re doomed to be judged by God’s Law for our sins. Because we’ve ALL broken His Commandments. We’ve lied, stolen, coveted and lusted, we’ve not put God first, every day of our lives. God’s revealed in His Word: the punishment for liars, thieves and those who lust or covet; death and Hell. Even if we’d only broken ONE of His Commandments, we’d become guilty LAW Breakers. Once we know that God would be just and right to punish us for our moral failures, we are ready for the Good News: Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
God’s Commandments show us what we are like and the Gospel shows us what we need to do to be made right with God.
When a person is convinced of their need of a Saviour, they are ready to hear the rest of the Good News.
FAITH to believe; but believe what?
God gives us the gift of faith to Believe that Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, came to die upon the Cross for the sins of the whole world and three days later to rise from the dead and then ascend into heaven. He gives us faith to believe that Jesus died in our place for our own sins upon the Cross. He enables us to know that we need to repent and turn away from our life of sin to Jesus Christ and to receive Him as our Lord and Saviour.
From that point on, once we’ve repented of our sins and received Jesus as our Saviour, we’ll know HIM and become totally convinced of the fact of the resurrection, because Jesus is alive in our own life. We KNOW the Saviour personally. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, gives us NEW LIFE: We get born again by God’s Holy Spirit once we repent and receive the Lord Jesus. Without repentance there is no remission of sins. Until we receive Jesus by faith, we’re dead in our transgressions and sins and await God’s righteous judgement.
Have an awesome Tuesday with Jesus your Saviour.
Imagine the JOY that those followers felt when they discovered that what Mary was telling them was TRUE. Then they KNEW as everyone can today, that it may seem “Just Too Good to be True”, but it is TRUE: Jesus is ALIVE TODAY and we can all know Him personally.
Don’t keep trying to tell or convince people that Jesus rose from the dead, they’ll just laugh at you and think you’re mad. It’s like casting your pearls before swine. Instead, use the God given KEY to open their locked-up hearts and set them free from unbelief: The Law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul. The Law (Ten Commandments) can open up previously locked-up hearts, hard-to-reach individuals who find that stories of the resurrection are just too good to be true. Once they know their need of the Saviour, God will use that knowledge to give them faith to believe in His Son.
Faith really does come by hearing God’s Word: It is sharper than a two edged sword. It cuts right to the heart and converts the soul.