Seeking The Presence of God

He is with you forever once you come to Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YBH: Yes, but HOW? 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Have an awesome week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

 

All About That Bass, No Treble

call down fire from Heaven

Daily Spirit & Word: 802: Bless Those Who Curse You.

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

Do Good to Those Who Hate You.

Speak Gently To Your Children.

Good morning friends, I love having my grandchildren over, because they are full of life and song. Sometimes, it’s good to see them go again, because they are SOOOO FULL OF LIFE! Exhausting 🙂 However, they just love singing songs and dancing. I’ll get my Kingdom Speaker out (a little bluetooth speaker that I use for worship when I do home visits or in small group worship). One song they love dancing to is “All About That Bass, No Treble”. by Meghan Trainor. That song on YouTube has over 1,500,000,000 hits. No kidding, 1500 Million hits and rising. It’s a song about prejudice and attitudes towards people of different sizes.

The LORD Just gave me: “It’s ALL about my PEACE, No TROUBLE”.

“It’s All About My PEACE, No TROUBLE”

 

We worry about all kinds of things in life, and sometimes we get a zeal for them.

  • Some people hate eating meat and get so zealous they want everybody to become vegetarians. However, I love Bacon, Lamb and sometimes Beef. 🙂 
  • Some people get a zeal for different size people and put people down if they are not the same; size, colour, shape as they are. So many are nervous to even go outside, because they think people are looking at them. 
  • Some people get a zeal that’s just wrong.

My friends, we’ve got to check our ZEAL to know if we’re operating in a different kind of Spirit than that of the Holy Spirit.  On Sunday we heard all about James and John wanting positions on the left and right of Jesus, today, here they are wanting to call down fire from Heaven to consume some Samaritans, just because they turned them away from their Village.

Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV)
51  Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
52  and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.
53  But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
54  And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55  But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
56  For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Now we all know, I think, that the Samaritans and Jews in Jesus time, didn’t mix or associate with one another. It’s a bit like Catholics and Protestants wouldn’t mix or associate with each other in Scotland when I was a kid. For very similar reasons, they had a different theology. So the Disciples had a natural dislike for Samaritans, an inbred prejudice against them. Today we’d call it Racism or Sectarianism.  So when those Samaritans didn’t do something the Disciples (Jews) wanted them to do, that inbred hatred rose quickly to the surface, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” They felt justified in reacting in such a spiteful way.

This request was met with an equally immediate rebuke from Jesus lips, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of” or What kind of spirit you are operating out of.

You see my friends, Jesus Christ did not come to destroy men, but to save them. This is awesome, because Jesus is putting into practice his own teaching from Sermon on the Mount. Where he told his followers very clearly; “Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those who curse you”…

Call fire down from Heaven? No my friends, that was a ZEAL too far.

They were getting too zealous. They were not thinking about Jesus, but that natural hatred for Samaritans, that’s what was driving their zeal.

My friends, if people don’t accept you, or even reject you, or even resent your presence, then don’t let your natural dislikes dictate your responses to them. Instead, bless them. I’m serious, it’s amazing what can happen when you actually respond in gentle ways. Bless those who curse you.

In Proverbs God reveals and tells us this awesome truth: “A gentle answer turns away wrath”… I’ve seen this TRUTH of God’s Word in action my friends, many times.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Now, we don’t know what would have happened if the Disciples had said to those Samaritans “OK, so you don’t want us in your village, well may the LORD of Heaven richly bless you in every way. Have a good evening my friends”… Imagine, if they’d learned Jesus’ lesson on the Mount?

We know that rejection hurts, but as Jesus’ followers we can turn even rejection into an opportunity to BLESS PEOPLE. That’s the Spirit we should endeavour to operate in. That’s What God would do an does do. He did not reject you did He? He didn’t turn away from you, just because you’d sinned. No instead, God blessed you and me, by sending His Son Jesus Christ into this world to SAVE sinners.

Endeavour Means: 

Noun: endeavour
1. A purposeful or industrious undertaking (especially one that requires effort or boldness)
2. Earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something

Verb: endeavour
1. Attempt by employing effort

What a wonderful world we could see if we put as much ZEAL into our reactions as Jesus demonstrated to His followers that day.

Listen again to Jesus response to them that day;

Luke 9:55-56.
55  But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
56  For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Now they are heading off to another village having been rebuked. It could have been so different. They could be skipping along to the next village full of joy with the Lord, if only they’d learned Jesus’ lessons from the Sermon on the Mount.

So my friends, when you are getting a bit angry, annoyed, upset with people; let’s just slow down, listen carefully to the Holy Spirit, because He wants to guide you. And check your motives and your feelings and your prejudices, before you react, before you speak, before you respond.

The Apostle James learned that lesson well from Jesus that day, because later on he wrote;

James 1:19 (NIV) “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

i.e. SLOW DOWN: Don’t get all het-up, don’t get heated too quickly.

How many times have you said something hurtful in response to someone, only to regret it later? I know I have, many times, but the LORD is teaching me again today; “Donald, you must slow down, don’t speak too quickly, don’t respond in anger or haste. Don’t listen to your prejudices or petty hates or dislikes. These are real people who NEED the LOVE of God in their lives. Jesus didn’t come to destroy, but to SAVE” Amen!

This just came to me:

A moment on the lips,
A lifetime on the hips.  🙂 

It’s the SAME with our WORDS: “A word from the lips, a lifetime on someone’s heart”

“A word from our lips, a lifetime on someone’s heart”

It’s half-term, the kids are off school, mums and dads, be patient with them. Love them! Speak GENTLE words to your kids, they won’t be kids for long. They’ll soon be off into the world. How you love them now will be carried into their adult lives. BE SLOW to become angry with everyone.

Have an awesome day with Jesus, grow in your knowledge and love of the Saviour.

Worship Him now, then go out on your mission in the world, to show His love. Amen!

Don.

“It’s All About My PEACE, No TROUBLE”

All About That Bass No Treble. Meghan Trainor.

 

An Extra Hour In Bed

Service in Jesus Kingdom Family

Daily Spirit & Word: 801: AN EXTRA HOUR IN BED.

Jesus is Drawing Near To Jerusalem.

“Can YOU Drink the Cup that I Drink?”

It’s the most wonderful night of the year, an extra hour in bed, because the clocks go back an hour, but will you get a good night’s sleep? When that night comes don’t you just love having that EXTRA hour?

I’ve been thinking about that word, EXTRA:

“EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT” That’s what Newspaper Sellers used to shout. As if we’d want that newspaper over and above the others because we’re getting something EXTRA.

But what does EXTRA mean?

EXTRA = More, than is needed, desired or required. More is added than should be measured. More than you’d normally get.

When we hear the word EXTRA, we think MORE often we think “More for FREE“…

In shops you’ll see on a packet of Cornflakes “An EXTRA 10% Free”.

“WOWzer! That’s awesome, an extra 10% for FREE, give me two packets”. 🙂

EXTRA LIFE: For some people, their whole life is consumed with looking for the EXTRA: As if what they’ve been getting is not enough. You know those types of people who hoard stuff, save coupons and get all the bargains with EXTRA to boot?

  • People want EXTRA: Money in the pay-packets: i.e. a surprise bonus from the boss (Extra Pay).
  • People want EXTRA: TIME… When the School closes down because of Snow and the kids get an EXTRA day off: Joy. EXTRA time off work. EXTRA time in bed 🙂
  • People want EXTRA: ??????? What EXTRA do you like to get?

Extra:

  • Savings on fuel,
  • Returns on Tax,
  • Bigger percentage OFF: Not just 30% but an extra 10% off the normal asking price.
  • More time on this earth before we need to go into the next life.

NEGATIVE: However, there are Negative Connotations too: EXTRA as in “A minor actor in a crowd scene”… “A subservient part in a play”. An extra on a football team is called a Substitute or Standby.

Today, we’re going to see this in both contexts in our reading of God’s Word from Mark’s Gospel as we continue through chapter by chapter: EXTRA as in more… and EXTRA as in a minor part to play.

Mark 10:32-45 (NIV)
32  They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.
33  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles,
34  who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

35  Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with?”
39  “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with, 40  but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41  When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
42  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
43  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
44  and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • First Jesus Prediction of His Death:

Jesus KNEW what was going to happen to Himself. Mark 10:33-34.

33  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34  who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

JESUS DIDN’T SHRINK BACK FROM HIS DESTINY. Mark 10:32-34.

Jesus knew what was about to happen, but did He shrink back? Did He try to avoid it? Did He try and change the outcome?

No He did not, notice in our reading, “He’s LEADING THE WAY to Jerusalem” He’s AHEAD of the whole crowd of followers.

It’s like Jesus just can’t wait to get it over with. Jesus wants to complete His mission on the earth. He came to die.

He’s revealed so far in Mark’s Gospel: three times, why He came down from Heaven:

  • He came to PREACH the Gospel of the Kingdom: Mark 1:38.
  • He came to CALL sinners to repentance: Mark 2:17.
  • He came to DIE a cruel death; betrayal, condemnation, mocked, spat-upon, flogged, killed. Mark 10:33-34.

Jesus Christ knew all of that, and set his heart on fulfilling that mission and completing it in Jerusalem.

“He set his face like flint”

Luke 9:51 (KJV)
51  And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

Oh yes my friends, Jesus knew and was fully resolved to get His mission done.

2) Second: James and John’s Request.

What would you want to do if Jesus had just revealed to you he’s about to be; BETRAYED, CONDEMNED, MOCKED, SPAT-ON, BEATEN, FLOGGED AND KILLED? I hope that I’d be a bit more sympathetic than James and John, that I’d not be thinking about myself, my desires, my wishes. I hope I’d be thinking about what my Master had just told me would happen to him. Surely normal human compassion, sympathy and empathy would kick in and you’d CARE? Right? Well, that wasn’t the case with James and John.

NO, that’s not what happened: Listen to James and John’s request.

“Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

They are NOT thinking about Jesus, about what He’s going to suffer, but about themselves. They are ALL WRAPPED-UP IN SELF.

Imagine that, how insensitive can anyone possibly dare to be?

How would you feel if you’d just related to your best friends or family how you are suffering and they change the subject back onto themselves? I’m sure you be Hurt, right?

You know, some people are following Jesus in that exact same way as James and John today:

They’re following Jesus only because of what they can get out of Him.

  • People want to be blessed,
  • People want to be healed,
  • People want to be happy, successful, rich, powerful, anointed, have a long life and EXTRA years on this earth, and eternal life as well. (It’s like getting a Cornflake Packet that will never run out).

So they start following Jesus for what they think He’ll give them or what they can get EXTRA (Over and above the normal) out of Him. They are not that bothered about what Jesus really wants them to be doing with the rest of their lives. He had a mission Himself, but He’s also got a mission for each and every one of us as well. But sometimes we can’t hear Him because we’re all wrapped up in self, just like James and John. We’re not satisfied with our lot, so we ask Jesus for more.

Today, we’re going to see that Jesus turns ALL of these NOTIONS of EXTRA on their heads.

Jesus asks them a question: Mark 10:36. “What do you want me to do for you?”

It’s like this my friends, “I’ve just told you I’m going to die, but OK what is it that you want?”

They have the EXTREME AUDACITY: To ASK for EXTRA… (Over and above what the other Disciples are getting).

It’s a bit like Oliver, in Oliver Twist, “Please Sir, can I have some more?”

Listen to what they are after my friends, and listen carefully;

Mark 10:37.  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

They want the POSITIONS of HONOUR & GLORY: 

They’re still thinking that Jesus is going up to Jerusalem to be crowned KING: When that happens, they want the right and left hand positions when Jesus is on His throne. They’re after; Honour, Glory, Power, Rule, Dominion. To be ABOVE other people: They want to be like KINGS themselves. They didn’t realise yet that before every CROWN of Glory, there’s SUFFERING, SWEAT and TEARS.

SORRY For James and John: I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit sorry for James and John (The Sons of Thunder). They were really THICK…(Thick skinned as well as Thick-headed). Thankfully they were transformed at PENTECOST and that thickness didn’t last too long, they went on to become two of the most beloved and devout Apostles of Jesus Christ. (Read James’ book and all of John’s writings, including Revelation). However, here, at this point in their journey towards glory, they’re really hurtful to Jesus and their fellow Disciples (Mark 10:41). No wonder the others got a bit annoyed with them.

3)Thridly, Jesus tells them about His BAPTISM and His CUP:

  • His Baptism: He’s talking about the CROSS and DEATH. Luke 12:50 and Psalm 69.
  • His CUP: Refers to His submission to His Father’s will: Mark 14:36 and John 18:11.

Jesus is determined to go through with it.

He’s asking if they are willing to go through with it too.

They said they would, but they didn’t fully understand what Jesus was talking about. So Jesus knowing their minds are upon earthly things, explains what Kingdom Service under God’s Authority is going to be like.

4) TRUE KINGDOM LEADERSHIP:

So Jesus goes onto explain; TRUE KINGDOM LEADERSHIP: He contrasts it with worldly leadership: Mark 10:42 (LORD it OVER)…

If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, you are not going to LORD IT OVER people, instead you’ve got to learn to be; THE SERVANT OF ALL.

I’ll say that again, “If you want to be GREAT IN GOD’S KINGDOM, then you must learn to be; THE SERVANT OF ALL”. Mark 10:43.

Do you Remember that Children’s Gospel Song?

Jesus goes on to tell them why?

Mark 10:45  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus gave His LIFE: As a RANSOM:

  • A Ransom: Is the the PAYMENT required to set a slave FREE.
  • A Ransom: It’s like what you have to PAY a Kidnapper to set their CAPTIVES free.

Jesus death brings freedom in so many different ways;

  • Freedom from Judgement.
  • Freedom from Sin,
  • Freedom from Satan,
  • Freedom from Fear of Man,
  • Freedom from Fear of Death,

That’s why Jesus could say, “Know the Truth and the TRUTH will set you FREE”

He also said, “I am the WAY, I am the TRUTH and I am the LIFE.” John 14.

And that is why Jesus came to DIE, that’s why He set his face like flint, to complete His mission in Jerusalem. He died to set us free so that we too could complete the Mission to which He’s called each and every one of us; to be SERVANTS of God and others.

Conclusion:

We can forgive James and John, because they didn’t realise that before you can wear the Crown of Glory, you’ve got to Suffer the Cross of service of suffering of sweat and of shame and pain.

Service in God’s Kingdom: Means; Sweating, Self-Sacrifice (Time, Effort, Money,), Sympathy, Empathy (walk in people’s shoes, feel what people feel), Not like James and John who were so wrapped up in themselves they didn’t even take in what Jesus was about to suffer.

Listen to people, listen to their hurts and do whatever you can to life them out of the slippery-pit of despair they’ve fallen into.

Service in God’s Kingdom is NOT an EASY ROAD to GLORY, it’s crowned with the thorns of service along the way.

CAN YOU BEAR TO BE LIKE ‘An Extra’ IN GOD’S KINGDOM SERVICE?

My friends, when we come to Jesus, we really do get EXTRA: More and above what we can ever expect or deserve or imagine.

But, it’s NOT an EXTRA Hour in BED.

However, we don’t FOLLOW Jesus for what we can get out of Him do we? We’re not like that at all, are we? We all want to serve Jesus as SERVANTS don’t we? We’re not like James and John, are we?

No, once we truly come to Jesus, in repentance and faith, we’ll want to serve God the Father, just like He did.

Like the Apostles James and John eventually did:

  • James was the first Apostle to be a Martyr and
  • John was put into exile on a Roman Prison Colony on the Island of Patmos. (They did get their own Baptism and their own Cup).

We do want to be GREAT in God’s Kingdom. Of course we do. But to get there we must learn to be; “THE SERVANT OF ALL”…

Before we can wear the CROWN of Glory, we must Endure the Cross of Service: Then we’ll win a Crown and gladly cast it at Jesus feet in His Glory in Heaven.

How is Jesus calling you today? In what ways can you learn to be SERVANT in God’s Kingdom: At home, at work, in your neighbourhood? Is there anything the Boss at work has been asking you to do, that you’ve done begrudgingly? Get Jesus attitude at work as well as in the home and in church, be the SERVANT Jesus wants you to be in the SMALL THINGS and He’ll give you even greater things to do as well.

Is God calling you to EXTRA: Service? (Above and Beyond).

Does He want you to do MORE: in His Kingdom?

I’m sure you’ll be learning: God’s Spirit will be leading, calling, guiding and prompting and equipping you into DEEPER SERVICE in God’s Kingdom.

Have a blessed week with Jesus: Don’t MISS OUT on the EXTRA He’s got in store for you.

Stay close to Him, be filled with Holy Spirit, be blessed,

Don.

BTW (By The Way): On Sunday I thought the clocks had gone back one hour, that’s next week  🙂 What an booby I am 🙂 We all make mistakes right? I thought I’d had an extra hour in bed, and I felt fantastic… You know there are thousands of people in this world today who call themselves Atheists, well, could they too be mistaken? Watch Atheism the movie NOW

Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

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

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

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

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

First, Nehemiah:

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

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

INTRODUCTION:

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

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

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

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

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

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

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

1) PRAYER:

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

2) PERSISTENCE:

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

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

3) POWER:

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

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

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

CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

As one great preacher has said,

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

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

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

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

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

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

Don.

 

A little bit of faith goes a long way

Jesus is only a prayer away.

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

ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN

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

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

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

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

“DID HE KNOCK THE WIRE?”

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

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

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

It’s amazing what God can do.

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

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

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

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

PANIC STATIONS, PANIC STATIONS:

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

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

A Smouldering Wick & A Storm:

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

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

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

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

The Carpenter From Wales:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FANTASTIC Weekend with Jesus.

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

 

When the Gospel Becomes Good News

when the Gospel become Good News

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

The Grinding Power of Sin.

Slaves Set Free:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER:

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

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

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

WHY USE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grinding Power Of Sin: Samson was in PRISON:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don.

 

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

or even watch it below:

 

Knowing God Better

The Valley of Dry Bones, Knowing God Better

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

How to LIVE Forever, without being ‘RELIGIOUS’…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I get God’s Holy Spirit?

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

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

If you’ve;

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

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

THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Happy, Happy Day,

Don.

 

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

 

Jesus Warns Of The Dangers Of Hell

The reality of Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible’s answer is “YES!”

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

TEARS IN YOUR EYES:

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

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

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

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

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

However, it was Jesus who said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My friends:

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

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

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

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

Again Jesus warns us whom we should fear:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice the parts of the body Jesus focused upon:

  • Hand:
  • Feet:
  • Eye:

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

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

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

Fire & Salt:

Jesus said, at the end of this message:

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

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

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

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

Keep Short Accounts With God:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have an AWESOME week with Jesus Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Freedom From Fear

Your fears will vanish like the mist they are

Daily Spirit & Word: 779: Freedom From Fear.

Good morning my friends, we had a bit of a scare a few days ago (17th Aug 2016) for about 20 minutes my three year old grandson Karamoko went missing on a very crowded Camber Sands beach. Granny was digging a boat out of the sand with his help, but somehow he wandered away and got lost. Granny panicked, mummy panicked, the people on the beach began to panic. Granny phoned me and asked me to pray. I did of course, immediately, I talked to Father God through Jesus and asked Him to return Karamoko unharmed. A few minutes later I got another call back from a very relieved Julie, “He’s been found”… What do you do in a situation when you get fearful of what might happen?

Jeremiah 38:19 (NIV)  King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will ill-treat me.”

In the book of the Prophet of the Lord, Jeremiah, we read about the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. However, King Zedekiah was more afraid of being mocked and illtreated by his fellow Jews than he was of the mighty Babylonian King and his army. However, there’s yet one more person whom he’s also less afraid of; God.

 Zedekiah’s Fears

“And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.” (Jeremiah 38:19)

Jeremiah had, through the revealed Word of God, instructed Zedekiah, the king of Judah, to go to the Babylonians and surrender. Our verse tells us Zedekiah’s response. He did not want to do as Jeremiah / the LORD had instructed him. Zedekiah’s response reveals his fears. We note from this verse what he feared and what he didn’t.

What Zedekiah Feared. “I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.” Zedekiah was afraid of men and of mocking. He was afraid of what men might do to him. He feared being harmed by the Israelites who had gone over to the Babylonians. But if you are afraid of what men will do to you or might do to you, then you won’t do very well in doing the will of God.

Zedekiah’s Greatest Fear: Zedekiah especially feared mocking. He had so much pride and did not want to be mocked. He was so afraid somebody would make fun of him for obeying God. Many Christians are no different. They cower before mocking and do not obey God or they might get laughed at by someone. If you are afraid of being laughed at, then you won’t be able to do much for the Kingdom of the LORD, because His ways are always the opposite of the world’s ways. He values what the world doesn’t. Remember that your Lord Jesus experienced lots and lots of mocking and scorning in order to provide Salvation for us. We must not hide our testimony for Jesus just because we’re afraid of a little mocking.

What Zedekiah Did Not FEAR:

Zedekiah did not fear to disobey God. He did not fear the judgment of God. Jeremiah had warned Zedekiah that not surrendering to the Babylonians would bring God’s judgment. But Zedekiah did not fear that part of the message of Jeremiah. He was more afraid of what men could do to him and that they might mock him.

Imagine that, Zedekiah had been clearly warned by the LORD what would happen to him, his country, his women and children, and yet he thought more about being mocked. He’d also been told that if he surrendered he’d be SAFE.

Zedekiah is not alone is this lack of fear of the LORD. To be honest we’re all a bit like that. We worry much more about what people think about us than what the LORD thinks. The truth is, even amongst Christians, there are very few people fear God today. We don’t fear His judgment upon their sins, but instead fear what people will think about us.

What do you fear today? Are you afraid of men and of mocking or do you fear the the Lord God Almighty? You are going to fear someone—make sure you fear God and His judgment more than man and his mocking.

Here are two more verses that might just help in overcoming our fear of men:

Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If only Zedekiah had listened to Jeremiah.

Matthew 10:28 (NIV) “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The major reason Zedekiah or every Christian shouldn’t be afraid is that the LORD is with us.

Psalm 118:4-14 (NIV)
4  Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures for ever.”
5  In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
6  The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
7  The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10  All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
11  They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
12  They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
13  I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.
14  The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

When FEAR took FLIGHT: I can’t forget the day that FEAR departed from my life. All my life I’d been afraid of the dark and death, but when I trusted Jesus my fears vanished like a mist. Fear really is a mist, it doesn’t exist except in our imagination of what might or may happen. So treat fear like the mist it is, and trust in something more solid, sure and certain: Jesus is with you. Amen!

So my friends, when fear strikes, TRUST in the LORD: Don’t listen to your fears: Don’t worry about being mocked: Why because when you’ve trusted in Jesus for your Salvation, then He is with you, you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (God Himself takes up residence in your life when Jesus becomes your King). From the moment you trust in Jesus there’s no need to be afraid of men. If fear creeps in, cast it out in the Name of Jesus.

If you are still AFRAID: Ask yourself this question: “Is Jesus really my King?”… If there is any part or aspect of your life that you’ve not submitted to Him, get on your knees now and hand your life over into the mighty hands of the Loving Saviour. He’ll deliver you from all your fears. Amen!

PRAYER: O Lord, I can see that I’ve been listening to my fears rather than trusting in You, forgive my foolish ways O Lord. Amen.

Don.

P.S. I can’t forget the day that FEAR departed from my life. All my life I’d been afraid of the dark and death, but when I trusted Jesus my fears vanished like a mist. Fear really is a mist, it doesn’t exist except in our imagination of what might or may happen. So treat fear like the mist it is, and trust in something more solid, sure and certain: Jesus is with you. Amen!

P.S. If you want to read all about Zedekiah and what happened when Babylon invaded, it’s an exciting read: Start reading at Chapter 21, it’s so good you won’t want to put your Bible down until you’ve read it all :-)…

 

How To Avoid Being A Shrewd Steward

How to avoid shrewd stewardship

Daily Spirit & Word: 778: How to AVOID Being Shrewd Steward.

Don’t Let Money Be Your Master.

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

Good morning my friends. You know the feeling you get when someone says something about you, behind your back, but somehow you get to hear about it? It feels horrible to think that people are thinking negatively about you. Well I had that a few years ago, and I didn’t realise that it had stuck with me. At the time I ignored it, but it got under my skin and into the core of my being. That’s the way RESENTMENTS build within us. What was it that someone said? They said, “Donald doesn’t understand money”… I can tell you now, honestly, that hurt. However, it’s not true. I do understand money, I just don’t want to be controlled by it. The LORD has set me FREE from care or worry about MONEY. Praise HIM for that. So I’m sure the LORD is right, the people of this world are more shrewd regarding worldly wealth than I am, but I don’t care, because the LORD owns the Universe and He’ll give me what I need, when I need it, right on time, every time. Trust the LORD with your finances and He’ll take care of the rest. Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. When you do, He’ll OPEN the floodgates of Heaven into your life.

In Luke 16:10 right in the middle of the parable of the Shrewd Steward (Manager of the household).

Luke 16:10 (NIV) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

As many of you know by now, I’m a bit of a wordsmith, I love looking into the meanings of words. Sometimes I’m surprised by my investigations, take the word ‘shrewd’ as an example. We probably all think we know what shrewd means, right? But when we think about it in light of this Parable in the Bible, we’ll see that being a ‘shrewd’ person is far from a praiseworthy accolade, because shrewdness is being totally self-serving rather than serving God or others.

Shrewd:  1. Marked by practical hardheaded intelligence. 2. Serving one’s own interests in an unemotional, analytical manner.

Other words that can be used (synonyms); astute, calculating, calculative, conniving, savvy, scheming, sharp, smart.

Shrewdness: Intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings).

Here’s one I uncovered: perspicaciousness. Perspicacious: 1. Acutely insightful and wise. 2. Mentally acute or penetratingly discerning.

Shrewd Steward:

You’ll know the Parable and what Jesus said about the Steward (Manager of the Master’s Household).

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

The Manager (Steward) was about to loose his job because he was not a good manager (Steward) of the Master’s household. Instead of working harder to serve the Master better, he began to serve himself (shrewdness), he made friends of the people who owed his master money by letting them off the hook and taking only a fraction of what they owed and giving it to the master. He cooked the books in order to feather a nest for himself when he eventually lost his job.

Each transaction amounted to very little, but when all calculated together, the Master would have a massive shortfall. However, the SHREWD STEWARD would be seen to be a ‘nice’ man in the eyes of those who’d been helped out of debt.

We also know that the STEWARDS Jesus was aiming this Parable at, like a bolt in a crossbow, were the Pharisees. They were the Stewards in charge of God’s Household (The Temple and the People of Israel), but they were NOT being good stewards. They valued wealth, riches, rich people were given preference, they showed favouritism to the rich, they were feathering their own nests, rather than leading all of the people back to God and to Godly ways of living. Jesus had very stern words for them at the end of this Parable.

Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)
13  “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
14  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
15  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

The Pharisees were being very SHREWD: calculating, cunning and crafty in their dealings with men. However, they didn’t give the Master (God) a second of thought. So Jesus is warning them at this point, they are the SHREWD STEWARDS (Household Managers) who are about to loose their positions of trust.

My friends, money is not evil, but your money, what you own and possess is a TEST or a GAUGE of your FAITHFULNESS to God.

When I served on a submarine, we’d have gauges for all kinds of things, some to measure pressure, some to indicate levels in tanks. The water tanks and fuel tanks needed to be monitored and kept watch over at all times.  Just one glance at a gauge and you’d know the level of the liquid inside the tanks.

In your life God uses the wealth and MONEY He’s given to you to GAUGE your level of faithfulness, commitment or spirituality.

You might declare “I’m not interested in money” (So God can’t accuse me of being an unjust Steward or a Shrewd Manager).

Well here’s a shocker for you, God IS INTERESTED in how you use your money.

You cannot SERVE BOTH: God and Money.

Why? Because your are going to LOVE the one and hate the other.

  • If you love money, then it’s like hatred towards God.
  • If you love God, then it’s like hatred towards Money.

So your Heavenly Father God will use whatever MONEY you’ve been entrusted with as a GAUGE to monitor your faithfulness to HIM (The Master).

When God looks at how you’ve used your money, will He see a FULL or EMPTY indicator?

Remember you cannot serve BOTH… i.e. there’s no in-between measurement. It’s either FULL ON for God or Empty.

If your trusting in God with your finances, then you are going to LOVE God’s ways of dealing with money and you’ll hate the worlds ways. You’ll be set free from worry about money. You’ll use money to serve God’s purposes in your life and wait for it, God Himself has promised to OPEN up the floodgates of Heaven into your life. If you bring into His storehouse what belongs to Him.

What’s God asking for?

It all belongs to HIM anyway, but He’s trusting you with it all: 100% Trust. Now He asks for you to give back to Him a portion of what He’s given you. That’s the TRUST element. He asks for a starting proportion of only 10%, then He’ll also move you to give generously to others and bring even more gifts to offer to Him. This is KINGDOM FINANCES and when you trust God with all your money, He’s going to set your completely FREE from worry, fears, temptations etc.

So, my advice would be:

  • STOP trusting in MONEY,
  • START trusting in God.

You know when you begin to really trust in God financially, you are going to be so on fire with LOVE for Him and for all His Kingdom priorities and values. God reveals His secrets to those who love HIM. You finances are God’s GAUGE to measure how much you really love and trust Him.

Jesus said so much about money, He spoke much more about money than He did; Heaven, Healing or Hell. Why? Because Jesus knew how this world ticks over every single day. He knows you think you need money to survive, but He’s got all the resources you’ll ever need, much more than you can even imagine, if you’ll just trust in HIM.

When GIVING is Tough: Kingdom Freedom Finances.

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
41  Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

If you are feeling strapped for cash at this moment in your life, believe me I’ve been there. It’s really, really hard to trust the LORD when you’ve got five kids to look after and you’ve just taken a pay cut from £25,000 a year to less than £12,000 and still try to give every week to God. For the first few years of ministry, serving the LORD, I struggled financially too. Then one day, through tears and crying out to the LORD a little miracle happened in my life. I’d started resenting the LORD, but He’s just so good, so kind, so generous and faithful. It took me to my knees to really cry out to Him.

If it looks bleak for you at this moment in time, financially, know this my friends, TRUST the LORD financially, keep giving to Him and He will suddenly open the floodgates into your life in ways you can’t imagine. Think about how much the poor widow really trusted the LORD with her finances, she put into the offering all she had to live on. ALL SHE HAD! That’s 100% giving to the LORD. That’s TRUST. However, the LORD isn’t asking for 100% from you to start with, not 50%, not 20%, but He’s only asking for just 10%… That’s awesome! That’s Kingdom Freedom Finances. All I can say is try it! You’ll see! He’ll set you free.

HOW TO GIVE TO THE LORD!

Bring in your 10% to start with into your local church to which you belong and you are a committed member. It’s not the church you are giving to, it’s God. Don’t give it to charity outside the church (this kind of charitable giving (offerings) is in addition to your Christian committed giving to the LORD’S family in the local church).

Some people say, “Oh I don’t give 10% to my church because I give to charities as well”… Well my friends, you are robbing God. You don’t get your shopping at ASDA and pay TESCO do you? You don’t go to Morrisons and pay in Sainsburry’s do you? No! You pay where you get your shopping. My friends, your local church is where the LORD feeds you with God’s Word, Worship, Fellowship, Teaching, Evangelism, Kingdom Family Friendships and Ministry: Bring in the whole TITHE into the storehouse of God’s Kingdom Family. You giving to your local church is a TEST (Gauge) of your trust and commitment to the LORD. How much do you love the LORD? It will be shown by how much you give to your church.

Malachi 3:6-12 (NIV) KINGDOM GIVING (Tithes and Offerings).
6  “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
7  Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
9  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.
10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
11  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.
12  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

YOUR MONEY: From God, is His GAUGE of your LOVE, TRUST and FAITHFULNESS to HIM.

Don’t be a Shrewd Steward of what the LORD has trusted you with.

Are you feeling a bit dry ‘Spiritually’, then how’s your giving going? Are you holding back on God? Review your GIVING to the LORD today! Get on fire for Jesus.

Be one who LOVES and SERVES ONLY the LORD!

Jesus is the TRUTH: Know the Truth and the Truth will set you FREE.

Have an awesome week with Jesus,

Don.