Who told you that you were naked?

Sin and Disobedience

Daily Spirit & Word: The Fall of Mankind into Sin.

“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Good morning my friends, my holiday is over, I’m back at work, it’s been awesome to have a long break from my usual routine, but it’s also good to get back to ‘normal’. It’s early morning and I’m up with my Lord Jesus. You know something, I’ve been meeting with Him every single day of my holiday, because you cannot have a holiday from being a follower of Jesus.

Yesterday someone came around to my house and asked me this question; “How many times can you go away from the Lord before you finally and fully fall away?” It was a simple and honest question. When someone asks me a question like that, I know that it’s like a loaded-gun or an iceberg, there far more below the surface than above the water. Some people have said to me, “How can you fit 120 men inside one of those, referring to my Submarine?” Then I have to explain, “You know my friend, an Submarine is much like an iceberg, there’s far more beneath the water than there is above” If you could see a Submarine in a dry-dock then you’d realise what I mean, it’s an immense piece of exciting engineering which always reminds me of a whale.

My response was, “You only need to go away from the Lord ONCE before it becomes permanent.” His face fell immediately, because, as I’d guessed, he was looking for a way to excuse his life of sin. You see my friends, we cannot have a holiday away from the Lord once we’ve started upon the journey of faith with Jesus. Do you remember the Lord’s words on this subject?

Hand to the Plough:

Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But I’m going through Genesis at the moment and a phrase jumped out a me this morning:

Genesis 3:7-11 7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 
8  Then the man and his wife heard the sound (voice) of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 
10  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 
11  And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 

Thankfully, those who’ve trusted in Christ Jesus have been SAVED:

Colossians 1:13-14 13  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

When we come to Jesus who knows the end from the beginning, He knows your whole life, even before you gave in and trusted Him as your Saviour, so He knows those times that you’ll yield to temptation, that you’ll be weak and fall into sin. And He still gives you the blessings of the knowledge of forgiveness and a new heart to obey Him. What amazing grace and mercy.

Yes Jesus has ‘rescued’ you from the dominion of darkness: However, we still get those same, Adam like, feelings of separation when we sin. Remember how Adam and Eve, once they’d eaten the forbidden fruit, made coverings for themselves out of leaves and hid themselves in the garden of Eden. What was it that made them hide? They heard the voice of the Lord in the garden. The Lord was either singing or saying something out loud, and the voice of the Lord became a terror to them. They knew that they were naked; i.e. that the Lord could see what they’d done, it was open before Him who’s eyes see and know everything. It’s the same with anyone who sins, even just a little, the mere fact and act of disobedience has the exact same effect, we all want to run away and hide from God, from his presence, from His Holy voice. We don’t want to see Him, we don’t want to hear Him, we don’t want to be anywhere near Him, so we run away and hide and try our best to cover-up our shameful nakedness.

Asking that question, “How many times can we go away from God before it becomes permanent?” is like asking “How many times can I choose to sin and get away with it?” The answer is “NONE” You’ll never get away with it, God knows it all and He’s right there as a witness to every single act or thought of disobedience.

Alexander Maclaren has said it brilliantly: “These are still the two lies which wile us to sin: ‘It will do you no harm,’ and ‘You are cheating yourselves out of good by not doing it.’ Alexander Expositions of Holy Scripture – Genesis.

When God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” He KNEW that Adam and Eve had eaten and had received the knowledge of Good and Evil.

My friend related how he’d been feeling; that there was an emptiness, a barrenness, how God seemed distant, far away. Then he said something amazing, “You know, I know, that God has not moved away, it’s me”…

Temptation to sin: We’ve already lost the battle when we’re thinking to ourselves; “I wonder how many times I can do this and get away with it?”

Disobedience: Acting or Thinking sinfully; results in cutting us off from the Lord. Even after we’ve come to faith and trust in Jesus. Until we get right with Him again we’re separated from Him, we’re not walking with Him, we’re in the darkness and there is a feeling that we want to cover-up our shameful nakedness, to hide our inner-self from the Lord. There is no peace when we’re walking in the darkness. There is no joy in our hearts.

“Who told you that you were naked?”

When we choose to sin, afterwards it’s like the LORD is not there, as if our relationship has died, we’re cut-off from Him. We’ll also get fearful and want to run and hide from God, because we become aware that He can see right through us. 

When Temptations Come:

We’ve got a choice: We can listen to God’s voice, His witness within, our Conscience, that will be crying out to us; “This will lead to the death of your relationship with God”. Or we can reason with ourselves and con ourselves into believing; It’s not that bad, everyone else is doing it, everybody thinks it’s OK, it won’t do me any harm, why not enjoy yourself, you deserve it, you’ve earned the right to enjoy it”

But Moses Chose A Different Way:

Hebrews 11:25  “He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

When we choose to follow God’s WAY: It’s costly in terms of dying to self, in saying “No!” to the pleasures of sin for a season.

Hebrews 11:25  “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”

Yes we can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, but whilst we’re doing so, we’ll be doing it away from Jesus and it will be as if He’s dead to us, as if He’s not real, as if there is no God. The realisation will come to us that we’re NAKED and we’ll want to run and hide like Adam and Eve. But just like a dark-cloud hides the sun, the sun still continues to shine behind it’s dark lining; so God continues to reign and rule behind the darkness of our disobedience.

Just as God called out in the Garden of Eden for Adam: “Adam, Where are you?” He’s calling out to you and me today: “Where are you?”

  • Are you walking with the Lord?
  • Are you seeking to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season?

Have an awesome day with Jesus. Choose LIFE, JOY, PEACE and FELLOWSHIP with God today. It’s going to be FREEDOM and FOUNTAINS of LOVE flowing within.

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, I pray today that when temptation comes, I’ll be listening to You in my heart. Help me to know that choosing to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season is like death to my relationship with You. This day Lord; I’m choosing LIFE and the joy that comes as I walk with You. Help me Lord! Amen.”

Don.

 

Faith Comes From God

Faith is a gift from God

Daily Spirit & Word 578: Faith Comes From God.

Good morning my friends, I’m still enjoying holiday time. Recently we’ve been having family staying and it’s been really great catching up on our daughter’s life. Hearing her joys and hardships and experiences; stories that without meeting up would remain untold or forgotten. It’s amazing how many things don’t get said often enough.

Faith doesn’t come from inside the individual: It is first generated by God.

We often imagine that faith comes from our own efforts:

I recently bought some silicone sealant: It comes in great long tubes and it’s really difficult to get them flowing at first, requiring great effort to squeeze out even a tiny dribble of the thick-creamy-goo from the nozzle. However, once it’s flowing it’s quite easy to keep it going, getting it to go where you want it to go is another thing though. I’ve watched trained craftsmen and they’re just dazzling they way they make straight lines with silicone; mines are more often than not; wobbly, lumpy and with peaks resembling a lemon meringue pie 🙂

Some people think that faith needs to be squeezed out like that, but it’s not by effort or force that faith comes.

Listen to how the Bible tells us that faith comes, and from whom it comes, because once you know this you’ll be less likely to be frustrated by your own and other people’s lack of faith. Also, If you want other people to come to a living faith in Jesus, then you’ll know how to achieve it, because you’ll be freed from many false expectations and you’ll also be able to set other people free too.

1) Faith is a Gift:

 Ephesians 2:8 (NLT) “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

It’s not by our own effort of good works or anything else we do, it’s a GIFT from God.

2)  Faith comes by hearing:

And it comes into a person’s life by hearing God’s Word.

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

The ‘message’: (Read Romans 10:8-17 in Context below) It’s the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ: How all have sinned against God, what it means that we’ve sinned, how we have sinned, the consequences of sin, what happens to sinners if they were to die in their sin, God’s heart for sinners and how He demonstrated His love by sending His Son Jesus to save sinners from the wrath to come, then what it means to trust in Jesus by repenting and receiving Him as Lord: That’s the MESSAGE: People receive the gift of faith when they hear that message, it’s a gift that comes from God.

Sometimes as you share the ‘message’ of Christ, you’ll actually see faith coming upon a person, it changes them physically. Once a person has faith enough to believe, then all that’s needed is for them to exercise that saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Rom 10:8-17.

3) Faith grows:

The more you exercise your God given faith, the more it will grow and the easier those mountains will be removed.

1 John 5:4-5  “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

That’s Mountain Moving Faith:

Matthew 17:20-21  “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief (lack of faith and trust in God): for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

4) Faith is BELIEVING:

Remember that faith is BELIEVING in God, or believing what God has said. Jesus reminded His disciples on many occasions that they could move mountains if they had just a tiny amount of faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed. When you’re ready to believe God, what God has said in His Word; you’re ready to do ANYTHING.

Hebrews 11:1-13 Faith is Believing (Trusting / Risking Everything in and on God).

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2  This is what the ancients were commended for. 
3  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 
4  By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 
5  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
6  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 
7  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 
8  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
9  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
10  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 
11  By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
12  And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 
13  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

Conclusion:

“Faith comes from God; it’s His gift to those who hear the Gospel, but it needs to be exercised for it to grow stronger, exercise your faith and you’ll see mountains being moved.”

So my friends, if you have found that your own faith has begun to smoulder, then you know how to get it glowing again; get into God’s Word and let Him speak to you afresh. Avail yourself of all that He’s provided to enable that GIFT of faith to grow.

Secondly, if you’ve got friends who don’t yet believe or know God personally, then don’t simply say “Believe in Jesus” because that’s like trying to force silicone-sealant out of the tube with your fingers instead of using the device that’s been provided to make it easy. Faith is a gift from God, it comes by HEARING God’s Word, then it needs to be exercised to make it grow.

Another way to think of faith: It’s like a muscle. We’re all born with the gift of muscles, but some people get really huge muscles because they exercise them, the same is true with faith, God will give the gift of faith to anyone, but to make it grow it needs to be exercised. The way to spell faith is RISK 🙂

Have an awesome day, growing in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Share your faith by letting those who don’t know Jesus know His Word and see how faith explodes into life in those professing atheists 🙂 Watch them backslide away from atheism.

Don.

NOTES:

Read Romans 10 in Context Below:

Romans 10:6-17 6  But the righteousness based on faith [imputed by God and bringing right relationship with Him] says, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into Heaven? that is, to bring Christ down;
7  Or who will descend into the abyss? that is, to bring Christ up from the dead [as if we could be saved by our own efforts].
8  But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach,
9  Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10  For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
11  The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.
12  [No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].
13  For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.
14  But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
15  And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]
16  But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us?
17  So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).

 

 

When It’s Good to be Salty

Salt and Light for Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word 576:

When it’s GOOD to be SALTY.

As many of you know, I served in the Royal Navy for 17 1/2 years. That half year is so important, because the last six months was really difficult. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was leaving, I wanted to leave, but there were things that you just get so used to in the Navy. There are privileges that no one, except another Matelot, would understand. You get an I.D card when you join up and that gives you instant access into any and every Naval base and establishment, but when you leave you’ve got to hand back your I.D. Card and keeping it as souvenir, memento or keepsake is not an option.

As a Christian we’ve also got a kind of I.D. Card too, it gives us instant access into the presence of God. It’s instantly recognisable by Heaven and from the moment we have it God sees us as one of His own. What is it? It’s the robe of righteousness, when we are wearing that robe all Father God can see is His Son Jesus Christ. We are totally righteous in His sight, our sins are covered over in the Love of God, washed away and cleansed, He sees us as we are in Jesus; Holy, Good and Salt and Light. Therefore we’ve got access into His presence and we can come before Him with joy and boldness. No one, but a true Christian, can understand the privilege it is to have this robe of righteousness.

After I left, there was no going back, no getting into the Establishments. No amount of pleading with the gate staff would enable me to gain entrance, without an I.D card I was just like every other civilian. However, when we are given our robe of righteousness, we’ll never have to hand it back again, we can keep it forever.

Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” 

This was a verse that I sang on many occasions in the depths of the sea on a Submarine. In the heat and sweat of the Engine room or Reactor Compartment, I’d be singing my heart out to the Lord at the top of my voice. You know my friends, when you sing something over and over and over again, instead of the tune getting boring, the truth begins to impact your soul.

  • You can DELIGHT in the LORD!
  • Your Soul will REJOICE!
  • He’s CLOTHED you, you are not naked anymore. You are clothed in righteousness. Think about that one for a moment, Adam hid in the garden to cover his shameful nakedness, but once you are righteous in the LORD you don’t need to hide any longer you can just come out of hiding and boldly come before the LORD, because He has clothed you in His righteousness.
  • He has CLOTHED you with GARMENTS of SALVATION: Once you come to put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, once you’ve REPENTED and RECEIVED Him as Lord and Saviour, you take on His garments of SALVATION and His ROBE of RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Now sing it again: “I delight, greatly, in the LORD. I delight, greatly, in the LORD” Now ask yourself why you are delighting in the LORD? “Because He has clothed me with garments of SALVATION” and “Because He has ARRAYED me in a ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS”.

Now can you see why I’d emerge from the depths of the heat of the Reactor Compartment energised. No I’d not be contaminated with radiation 🙂 No it’s wasn’t getting those rays into my soul, but the JOY of the Lord came flooding in and when I came out it was obvious to everyone. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces.

Another time, when in the Engine room, we’d been cleaning up and oil spill and it was dirty and hot, but after singing praises to the Lord I emerged onto the platform where everyone gathered for a rest and a cup of tea, and they stopped and looked at me in astonishment. I was full of joy and energy in the LORD and it was obvious to them all.

One Chief, my superior at the time, came and asked me, “Ginge, how can you be so happy with such a (swear-word) job?”

“Everybody else came out of that Engine room moaning and complaining about the heat, the mess and feeling horrible being covered in oil, but you are literally beaming with glee, what gives?”

I said, “Chief, I was singing to Jesus and the job became a delight”. He scratched his head.

There is a saying in the Navy, “Salty old sea dog” it’s used for someone who’s been in the Service for a long time and knows a thing or too about the Navy. My friends, when you get to know Jesus, after years of hardships and service in His Kingdom, you’ll get the title SALTY old Christian. Jesus said, “You are the SALT of the earth” and “You are the LIGHT of the world”

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 
14  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

You too may be having a hard time, you might be toiling at a meaningless job, you may be experiencing the heat and no matter how hard you try, you can’t get out of the situation. Rejoice, praise, pray and sing to Jesus; His LOVE will lift you up. His presence will come into your heart and soul and you’ll be a shining light for everyone to see. Sing the song, “I delight, greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me in garments of Salvation and arrayed me in a robe of Righteousness” you’ll be coming into the throne room of Heaven. You’ll be transformed and the toil and hardship will seem as nothing.

Jesus wants you to be SALTY and make a difference in the world, He’s given you access into the throne room of Heaven and when you come before Him, clothed in His Salvation and robed in His Righteousness, you’ll be full of delight and you’ll sing His praises. Let’s be SALTY for Him and let the LIGHT shine from our faces today for Jesus.

It’s good to be SALTY sometimes.

Don.

 

Desiring To Become A Prophet

The Holy Spirit On All People

Daily Spirit & Word 575:

Do you desire to become a Prophet of the LORD?

It’s amazing, you know when you are reading the Bible and come across it’s great characters that were used by the LORD in wonderful ways, do you ever get a hunger or desire to be like them for the LORD today? Think about Moses or Joshua or King David and Solomon, how the LORD used them: Think about Samuel, Elijah and Elisha and how the LORD used them: Think about Deborah, Esther, Elizabeth, Mary, Phoebe, Lydia and Chloe and how the LORD used them. These people are just a few, but think about down through history and how the LORD has powerfully used individuals to influence the times in which they lived. In each era of human history the LORD has chosen and anointed many thousands of people to become an influence for good, in such a way that countless thousands of others have been encouraged and inspired to become more holy, righteous and good themselves. Because of the way they’ve lived, people are hungering and thirsting to get to know the LORD Jesus Christ even long after their death:

Think about modern times, who’s recently been used by the LORD as an influence on a world-wide scale for good, that even non-Christians know about them? Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Reinhard Bonnke.

The Bible (God’s Word) reveals that before the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, it was only certain individuals who were possessed by the Holy Spirit to prophesy and influence their world for good and for God’s glory, but long before Jesus came, one of those Prophets of the Lord tells us a time will come when everyone will become a prophet.

The Day of The LORD:

Joel 2:28-32 28 “And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
29  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30  I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

32  And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. 

By this prophesy Joel was forthtelling or foretelling the future. Forthtelling = the immediate future and foretelling speaks about the distant future. Joel was doing both in his prophetic utterances. Sometimes the prophet was aware of this and sometimes unaware that he was being used by the LORD.

We can see a two-fold foretelling unfolding from Joel’s prophesy: When he declared that there would be signs in the heavens and on the earth; you would think it’s all to do with the signs that accompanied the arrival and birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem: The Star followed by the wise men from the East. The miraculous pregnancy of Mary and Elizabeth. The Angels appearing to Shepherds and their vision of Heaven. However, we also see it being unfolded in the lives of the Apostles after Jesus returned to Heaven: The Day of Pentecost when Peter and the other disciples began to prophesy and thousands came to trust in the Saviour.

Peter said about that incident: (It’s quite a long reading, but please don’t rush it, take time over the words and ask the LORD to be speaking to you today as you read them again). The PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT.

Acts 2:14-41

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
15  These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16  No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 
17  ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 
18  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 
19  I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 
20  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 
21  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 

22  “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23  This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

25  David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 
26  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27  because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28  You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 

29  “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.
30  But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31  Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33  Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34  For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35  until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ 

36  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 
37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 
38  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 
40  With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The PROMISE:

My friends, this is a promise from the LORD: When you REPENT AND TRUST in the LORD Jesus Christ and get Baptised in His Name for the forgiveness of your sins, then you too will receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit and you too will begin to prophesy (proclaim the Word of the Lord).

We always think that Prophesy is foretelling future events, but sometimes it’s just forthtelling (in a Spirit inspired and gifted way) what’s about to happen immediately or what is already happening. God gives Spiritual insight to those whom He has called, both men and women, young and old, WOWzer!

Like King David, who was probably not fully aware of the significance of his words, he was used by the LORD thousands of years beforehand to proclaim future events. You too may be used by the LORD in that way, but more importantly, you are going to be used by the Holy Spirit to be an influence for good in your own time. He’s going to give you His gift to prophesy and proclaim God’s Word in your own generation.

My friends, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ today, then you ARE a prophet of the LORD, just like the prophets of old. Now do you believe that? Do you accept that He’s going to use you? Are you ready and willing to be used by the Lord in such ways?

Prayer:

Have an awesome weekend, I’m praying that many more believers will recognise their high calling and be used by the Lord to be an influence for good in the home, the workplace, school, college, university, offices, streets and in the neighbourhoods. May people look upon your life and see the good that you are doing and glorify your Father in Heaven. When you open your mouth to speak, speak God’s Word in your time, Oh Holy Spirit please use us ALL today. Amen!

Be blessed today,

Don.

 

The Chains Fell Off.

Peter's Chains Fell Off

Daily Spirit & Word 573: The Chains Fell Off.

When you are feeling under pressure, when you know things are looking bleak, there is ONE who can and will help you my friends; you too can sit back and watch those chains fall off:

Acts 12:1-18 
1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
2  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
3  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
4  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 
5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 
6  The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
7  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 
8  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.
9  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 
11  Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.” 
12  When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
13  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door.
14  When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 
15  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 
16  But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
17  Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the brothers about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. 
18  In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.

 

Herod was the horrible puppet king, but he didn’t even think that Peter and the new believers were trusting another KING. Their KING was no ordinary king though, because Jesus has something written upon his robe and thigh:

Revelation 19:16  “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His robe? “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His thigh? KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

My friends, even when you’ve been handed a death sentence, when the bills are piling up, when your enemies are out to get you, when your family and friends don’t treat you the way you want, when you loose your job and you have a mortgage; Oh my friends, get a handle upon this, because when Peter was facing certain death, he fell asleep peacefully. He was behind iron gates, between soldier guards and in chains, but he fell asleep.

He was heavily guarded: He slept.

He was in prison: He slept.

He was in chains: He slept.

Peter was able to SLEEP, but why? Because He’d already died, He was now living for Jesus.

My brother remineded me today about his baptism, on the day he was baptised with my sister and the JOY of the New LIFE. He heard the congregation singing this song, “Up from the grave he arose”… WOWzer! You are alive after death in baptism.

My friends, when you got baptised into the Lord Jesus, you died to your old life and are now resting in the LORD to live a NEW LIFE. So no matter what the circumstances may be: You are living for The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Every earthly king will one day bow before HIM.

Every knee will bow and tongue confess HIM as LORD.

TRUST HIM and watch what happens to those problems as the CHAINS FALL OFF.

No prison can hold you:

No gates can keep you locked in:

No guards can keep you:

No chains can bind you:

You are FREE in Christ Jesus: Let those chains fall off, the gates open and guards struck dumb, walk free in Jesus Christ today.

LIVE today for the LORD. No matter what: You too can be a peace and rest in the Lord.

“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” Amen!

Don.

 

Celebrate New Life With JOY.

Pregnancy, Pregnatant, Expecting, Rejoice

Daily Spirit & Word 572:

Celebrate New Life With JOY.

Good morning my friends, it’s always great when we hear news of a new born baby. The joy of the first cry, the first hug, the first photos. We share them with a frenzy of delight and with all of our friends of social media, we click like on Facebook or give them a heart on Instagram. Some people even want to share them with their own friends: it’s great news when a baby is born, but I want us this morning to take a step-backwards, to when the New Life begins in the womb, because it’s at that point we should also be just as delighted.

We always think that a baby gets into the womb by the action of the mother and father, well it does, but then another force takes over, that force is GOD. We think that it’s just natural processes at work, but it’s not just the natural processes alone, there is a Divine hand at work in the Creation of every single new life on earth.

Psalm 139:13-18 “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.
15  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”

Recently, we had a precious and lovely couple of young Christians, who’d both just been baptised, who lost their baby in the womb, but this is the part of the Bible they chose for their daughter’s funeral. Why? Because they both KNEW that child was very special to the One they’d both come to know and love; the LORD God Almighty.

When I read that part of the Bible above I am often moved to tears, because it speaks of God’s plan in making me, but it also shouts aloud that the formation of every single human life is the intricate working of the Heavenly Father.

Deists believe that God Created the Universe, but once it was all set in place, spinning, He took a step back and just watches it perform, without any involvement, but here in Psalm 139:13-18 we see that God’s still directly involved in the Creation of every new life on earth.

  • Who Created Your Inmost Being?
  • Verse 18: It’s GOD! God created your inmost being.
  • Who Created your child’s inmost being?
  • Verse 18: It’s God! He created your child in your womb.
  • Who Created your Grandchild’s inmost being?
  • Verse 18: It’s GOD! He Created your grandchild’s inmost being.
  • Who knitted you, your child, your grandchild together?
  • It wasn’t just the forces of nature, it was God who knitted the NEW LIFE together in the womb.

Scientists may argue and say, “We can create new life in a test-tube and then implant it in the mother’s womb”: But the Bible would argue with that assumption; because it’s Jesus Christ who is the source of all life. Scientists need an egg and some sperm to work with; God doesn’t. He Created the Universe out of nothing, and is involved in the formation still of every New Life on earth. He didn’t take a back seat and let human beings take over the act of generation.

My friends, whenever you hear someone saying that abortion is OK or it’s a mother’s choice what she does with her own body, then we need to take a step-backwards from the emotional arguments and look at the reality, every child is a NEW LIFE Created by God, we don’t have the right to take any life, no matter how emotionally charged the argument. No matter how inconvenient that new life is, we’ve got a responsibility to nurture it and take care of it and rejoice in it’s formation, because God made it. God knitted it together; He made it in a very special and precious and individual way.

New Life doesn’t begin at birth, but in the womb, created and crafted with Divine hands, therefore, every single child belongs to God first, not the mother or father or grandmother or grandfather, it’s God’s New Life: So thank Him, rejoice in pregnancy and celebrate and share the good news, a baby is on it’s way, God’s working on it right now. Praise the Lord!

However, I can hear the modern world still arguing with those facts: “What about when a mother’s life is in danger? What about when someone gets pregnant as a result of rape? etc etc…. There are many famous people in the world today, who became world famous and were the result of rape: Some of them are brave enough to speak-out about it; Jack Nicholson is an example. However, it’s a horrendous thing to happen to a woman or girl. We know that from personal experience. However, it’s NOT the innocent baby’s fault and God’s still knitting that baby together in the womb; so rejoice in the New Life, the good that comes from the most terrible act imaginable. It would be understandable if the mother couldn’t contemplate raising that child, but that doesn’t excuse the murder of the innocent.

When a mother’s life is in danger is a much more difficult choice. We’ve all heard and shared those miracle stories, when doctors advised parents to have the baby aborted, but because of their faith, they’ve battled against the odds and the child has survived. However, there’s still the cases of real danger to a mother’s life if she carries the baby full-term. In those circumstances I would support the decision either way. If the mother chooses to sacrifice her own life so that they baby can be born or chooses to live at the expense of the life within her womb. It’s a hard one though, but it doesn’t mean we should automatically or normally rush into a decision and opt for abortion.

Thankfully most pregnancies are normal and those hard to make decisions are rare; but what about the arguments from the social perspective? Those times when a new baby is so inconvenient that it would not be welcomed by the mother or father? When she knows that she / they cannot afford another new mouth to feed or that she just wouldn’t be able to cope on her own? I would argue that it’s NOT their choice, but God’s. He’s given them the gift of a New Life: but society should automatically see that every NEW LIFE is cared for and nurtured and celebrated. Why? Because it’s NOT the babies fault! We’re given the gifts of NEW LIFE to rejoice and show our humanity and love.

Perhaps much more needs to be done, to show that we’ll help, we’ll all care for and support every single pregnant mother, no matter what her circumstances. Instead of threatening to remove welfare for more than two babies, we should be extending and expanding the care and provision for every new life that comes into the world from the hands of the Creator.

We just need to have a deeper level of TRUST (FAITH) that God knows what He’s doing when He knits a baby together in it’s mother’s womb.

Further, we must rebuke politicians and social commentators when they come down hard on people from challenging backgrounds who continue to get pregnant. Who do they think they are? They’ve all made mistakes, every single one of us has fallen short morally from God’s high standards or righteousness. We’ve ALL without exception broken His Commandments, so we cannot judge anyone else in any way. So when someone makes a mistake or falls short, we should be there for them, we should be showing them a better way, we should be supporting because it’s NOT the child’s fault.

So the next time you hear someone saying, “I’m Pregnant”: Then REJOICE, praise God, because He’s busy Creating and Knitting and Forming a NEW LIFE.

That’s my rant and rave over for today 🙂 Praise the LORD!

Praise HIM for His creative genius in forming every New Life that comes into this world today.

Oh and BTW: My daughter is pregnant with her fourth child 🙂 Praise the LORD!

Amen!

Don.

John 1:1-14  Jesus the source of all LIFE (and NEW LIFE).

 

 

How Are You Getting Things Done Today?

Doing it God's Way

Daily Spirit & Word: 571:

How Are You Getting Things Done Today?

The Camping Trip:

One day a father and son went for a camping trip in the woods and they needed to build a good fire-surround for the duration of their stay. So the father and son started to gather rocks to make a wall for the fire. The little boy was helping gathering stones, but the father said, “Son we need rocks, big rocks, not little stones” So the son went out and found a great big rock, but after trying for ages he couldn’t lift it. The father saw his son’s sweat, frustration and exhaustion, so he asked his son, “Are you using all your strength?” The boy said, “Yes Daddy”, but then the father said, “You’re not son, because you haven’t asked me to help you”. He explained, “Son, you don’t just have muscles, but you have a brain, you know that you and I can lift that rock easily together.” So they did and together they built the best fire-surround-wall, now they could sit and relax and enjoy the warmth and utility of the fire for the whole camping trip.

My friends, so many Christians are doing things in our own strength today, but the Bible tells us how we can do it so much easier;

NOT BY OUR OWN STRENGTH:

Zechariah 4:6  “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”” 

not might, not strength, but by Holy Spirit
Spirit POWER

The Bible says it’s NOT by our own might or power that we’re going to get anything done, but by God’s Spirit. The HOLY Spirit.

My friends, Jesus said some things very like that too;

John 15:5-8 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. 6  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Jesus wants you to be able to be fruitful, but He knows that apart from Him that it’s impossible for you.

So many Christians are trying their best to be ‘good’ Christians, but they are NOT availing themselves of the POWER to be what God has called them to be, they’re trying their best in their own strength.

My friends, we NEED to stop being like that little boy, stop trying to get things done all by ourselves and cry out to our Father in Heaven, cry out to your loving Lord Jesus and cry out to the Holy Spirit: When you do, do you know what? You’re going to get a fantastic surprise, your Father in Heaven is like the father in the story, He’s waiting, He’s watching, He’s Longing for you to just admit you can’t do it all by yourself and you need His help.

  • He’s waiting! 
  • Are you tired of the struggle?
  • He’s Longing!
  • Are you weary of the battle?
  • He watching!
  • Are you ready to give up and try the BEST way to get this Christian life done?

Have an awesome day in the power and presence of GOD: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Oh dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for my pride and foolishness in thinking I can do it all by myself. I admit that I need You just as much today as I did when I started to follow You as my Lord and Saviour. Please Lord, help me to trust You with everything and when I feel the struggle, to cry out to You quickly for the help that I need, and I know now that You are just watching, longing and waiting for me to shout out to you for that help. I know You are available and ready when I’m going to call. Amen!

My friends, call to Jesus Christ today and know that He’s just longing to help you in everything.

Stay blessed in Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Discover The Spirit Filled Life

Doing it God's Way
Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.

 

The Essentials of Christianity

Discipleship, Faith, Hope and Love.

Daily Spirit & Word 570: The Essentials Of Christianity.

Over the last few weeks, since our Open Air Baptism, we’ve been running a Small Group Discipleship Course in church, but I’ve been thinking about it, the course that we’re studying emphasises many aspects of what life is going to be like for the follower / Disciple of Jesus, but it doesn’t really boil it down quite enough for me. What are the most important things every follower of Jesus must grasp? What are the Essentials of Christianity? Once we grasp that we can continue in our discovery of everything else that the LORD has prepared for those who love Him.

So what are the Essentials? Is it developing a strong prayer life? Is it a disciplined pattern of Bible memory? Is it to be a faithful witness to those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as Lord? Is it to be a worker of wonders?

Well there’s no doubt that those things are critical to every followers walk, but there are a few more basic elements.

I used to go down old Tin Mines with a group of friends in Cornwall at the weekends, we’d meet up in the London Bar in Redruth and then proceed on our adventure. Mike Merry, who was a Mine Assayer, had ancient abandoned Tin-mine maps and would lead us on trips into the wilds of Cornwall 🙂 to find the long-lost mine entrance. Once we hacked away at a hedge in a lady’s garden, she was amazed to discover that there was a great big hole she never knew was there, it was only covered by a little hedge, but that hole opened up a voyage of discover and a trip into Cornwall’s history. It was a hand-carved tunnel, shaped like a Key-Hole and it went straight into the solid granite; we found tools, miner’s lamps and bits a pieces down that mine. No one had been in there for hundreds of years. It was a real WOWzer! But going into old mines is dangerous, there could be a build up of toxic gases so we had to be vigilant.

Getting into the Essentials will enable us to know what’s MOST CRITICAL for every follower of Jesus, yes there are some really exciting aspects, but sometimes they are like those bits and pieces of treasure we discovered, they can become so alluring we forget what’s most needed in our walk with the Lord and it’s dangerous to ignore the Essentials.

1) HOW’S YOUR FAITH? — In our following Jesus are we believing in God?

If I were to ask you to spell FAITH you’d probably say, “F, A, I, T, H” right? Well is partially right 🙂 I would like to venture that we should think about FAITH as “R, I, S, K” because if you are not daring to trust God by believing ALL that He’s said, we’re beginning to get a bit stuffy in our form of Christianity. As you know, like ponds and old mines, things that lies still for a long time get stale and stagnant, so it is with your FAITH.

Are you demonstrating a willingness to take a RISK when the chips are down? Like David when he was a young man who wanted to face up to Goliath for God’s Name Sake. (David didn’t want Israel, God’s chosen people, to be shamed because of a mere man). Remember how Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s Den? and how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? (Daniel 3) faced the fiery furnace. Is your own faith really prepared to take those kinds of RISKS?

It was a sad day for everyone on Monday, we had the funeral of an Infant, Mina Esther Nystrom, who’d died in the womb. Though obviously devastated, John and Josi had been and were still going through the fire and had proven to have a faith that could be tested. They were both still praising the LORD. Yes they grieved the loss of their precious baby. Like every new parent, they had dreams for their child, but it was not to be. The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. However, they knew they could not deny their love for Jesus or for God’s gift of faith. In May, knowing there was something wrong with the baby, Josi and John got baptised in St Luke’s Church; In July (on Monday) they buried that baby. They had lost the most precious thing anyone could ever wish to loose and still they continue to walk with and praise Jesus. That kind of fiery faith is REAL.

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So what is it that God wants us to do?
John 6:29   “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.””

If the first ESSENTIAL is FAITH, then the second must be ….

2) HOW’S YOUR HOPE? — Are you living as a Member of God’s Kingdom? Is your thinking Kingdom focused?

I used to live in Plymouth, an ancient part of the City marks the spot where the Pilgrim Father set sail from England, to escape persecution and begin a new life in America. It’s still a very special place at sunrise, so peaceful and quiet. But they demonstrated that they would NOT LIVE in a world where their faith in Jesus would not be tolerated. What they showed the world was, that this place, Earth, was NOT THEIR HOME, but they had a hope of a better place and were prepared to give up everything to continue to worship Jesus. So quite rightly they’ve been called; “The Pilgrim Fathers”.

A Pilgrim is focused upon God’s Kingdom priorities in life and looks forward to their Eternal home in Heaven with deep assurance that it’s their real home.

Are YOU a Pilgrim Christian my friends? Are you living with this deep HOPE in your heart? It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it’s evidence of His presence in your life. You’ll demonstrate that HOPE by the way that you invest in your Eternal future, in your giving, generosity, kindness, because you’ll be INVESTING in your Heavenly rewards instead of Earthly things that you cannot take with you.

You’ll LOVE Heavenly Focused Hymns and Songs: Like, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory Divine”… that’s Pilgrim focus, that’s Kingdom mentality.

Hebrews 11:13-14 13  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth14  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. (A HEAVENLY ONE).

So the Essentials are Faith and Hope, but you’ve probably guessed the last one by now;

3) HOW’S YOUR LOVE? — The way that we really show God’s love is by how SELFLESS we are as followers of Jesus.

A true follower of Jesus will be so touched and transformed by Christ’s LOVE, that he or she will want to (NOTICE that, “want to”) show love towards others and serve the LORD with complete willingness. It’s a want to my friends, it’s not as if God has to poke and promt a true believer into action. Your heart’s desire will be to serve the LORD in any way He directs.

That will be very costly at times; in time, in money, in energy. It will mean sacrificing what you’d like of love to be doing and going the extra mile for Jesus.

You’ll be desiring to serve rather than indulge yourself.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16  So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

God’s WORD reveals these three; FAITH, HOPE & LOVE as the ESSENTIALS for the follower of Jesus. It does so in countless different ways, over and over and over again. Read about Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, Noah, Moses, Elijah, Samson, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, Solomon, etc etc etc… they ALL demonstrated these ESSENTIAL elements in their walk with God. An essential is something, that without it, it will not stand: i.e. a three legged stool will not stand with just two legs or one. Now it’s your turn, the batton has been passed, you’ve got the KEYS to the KINGDOM, now lets go and open the doors for others to see and seek God’s glory. Amen!

1 Corinthians 13:13  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Have a fantastic day my friends, I’m praying that you’ll be full of FAITH, HOPE and LOVE today. Amen!

Don.

P.S. Please, continue to pray for Josi and John as they grieve the loss of thier baby Mina Esther. Her death has touched so many people who know and love them, but we’re also encouraged by their testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and presence in their heart-wrenching trials. It’s such a joy to have led them to Jesus and know that they’ve found Jesus to be the LORD of ALL. Amen.