The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender

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

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

The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said, “Adrian, I had rather not.”

I said, “No, I want to know.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SURRENDER not COMMITMENT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see if that is TRUE:

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

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

When we YIELD or SURRENDER to Temptation, we SIN.

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

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

However, there is HOPE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A PRAYER Of Complete Surrender to Jesus Christ. 

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

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

Have an awesome weekend,

Don.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Prayer Week Day 2 Winning The Battle For The Lost

Winning the battle for the Lord, taking captive the Lost for Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 738:

Winning The Battles For The Lost.

The Good News of Jesus Christ: Is God’s Terms of Surrender.

It’s God’s PEACE Treaty: With a Rebellious World.

 

Pentecost Prayer Week: Day 2: TAKING The Rebellious Captive for Jesus.

Good morning my friends, I was so encouraged by the response to the invitation to come and pray yesterday. We had a good group come first thing in the morning. KEEP THE FOCUS… “Praying for National Evangelisation”. That the whole body of Christ may, during the lead-up to Pentecost Sunday this year, be seeking the LORD in prayer for Evangelism.

I said on Sunday, EVANGELISM sends shudders down the spine of most ordinary believers in Jesus, but a committed follower KNOWS that when he / she begins to follow Jesus, He foods their souls with His LOVE and a new DESIRE to SAVE OTHERS.

  • This DESIRE: is not saying you are better than anybody else.
  • This DESIRE: is not saying you are any less sinful than others.

However, it’s knowing God HEART to win and save and call EVERYONE to repentance, to put their own faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ, so that they too can experience His love flooding their souls, be transformed by that love, and come with you to win some more people for Jesus.

HOW TO BE PRAYING FOR YOUR OWN OIKOS:

Once you’ve put together your own LIST of those who know you well: Your OIKOS: (those in your life who know you are a follower of Jesus).

Begin to pray about their lives, take your friends to Jesus in prayer. DO IT NOW… Spend a few moments thinking and praying for your friends (I’m going to do that too).

NOW: Write down some of the thoughts that came to you as you were praying for them.

Do you know what my first thought was? “They’ll reject it again”…

I’ve shared the ‘good news’ of Jesus many times with most of the people in my own OIKOS. What going to be different now? I’m praying for them MORE. I’m asking Father God to move into their lives in advance of me TALKING with them. I’m asking HIM, by Holy Spirit, to change their HARD hearts towards God and the GOSPEL… It’s the LOVE of sinning that’s keeping most of them away from Jesus.

Whenever anyone, who’s heard and understood the Gospel, refuses to come into the light, then YOU must KNOW what it is that keeping them in the DARKNESS.

Isaiah 9:1-4 (NLT) The People Walking In Darkness.
1  Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2  The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3  You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4  For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
What does this passage say to you?

It tells me: They are walking in deep darkness (they are blind).

It tells me: They are going to see a LIGHT… (the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the LIGHT: Jesus is the light of the world).

It tells me: The LIGHT is not going to shine on them, but IN them. (Their HEARTS need the LIGHT of Jesus).

Why Don’t They Come To Jesus?

It’s not intellectual, because the Gospel makes total sense to even a simple little child. Jesus came and took our punishment for sin, when we trust Him, we too can be cleaned-up and forgiven for every sin.

It’s not because they believe in a different religion: though some believe in a god that tolerates sin, this is a different religion from Biblical Christianity. But that’s not what’s keeping them away from Jesus.

It’s their LOVE of sin that keeps them in the DARKNESS.

Sin is transgression of God’s Law: To refuse to come to Him is the greatest sin. To refuse to believe in Him is worse than any other sin. People don’t want to come into the light, because like Jonah, they would rather rule their own affairs, run their own life, take charge of everything themselves. Once they hear and understand the Gospel, they suddenly KNOW that coming to Jesus means surrendering that control over to Him. To allow Him to be KING of their hearts and lives. It’s their LOVE of independent living, of living without God ruling over them, that’s what’s keeping most people who’ve heard and understood the Good NEWS in the DARKNESS.

John 3:18-21 (NLT)
18  “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him (i.e. who puts their faith and trust in Jesus), But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
19  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
20  All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
21  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

PRAY: That God will MOVE into their DARKNESS and let His light shine in their DARK HEARTS.

NOW: Let’s TAKE them Captive: Catch them in Jesus’ fishing net.

Pray about their LOVE of the DARKNESS: Ask the Lord to show them the darkness is not a friend. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom to be able to reason with Him.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)
3  We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.
4  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
5  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Our WEAPONS: Prayer, God’s Word, God’s Law {The Ten Commandments} (A schoolmaster to lead people to a knowledge of their need of Him).

  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without Prayer.
  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without God’s Word, God’s Spirit, Jesus Presence, His Light.
  • Don’t EXPECT to WIN: Without God first breaking down their hard-hearts…

YOU CAN WIN:

  • Use the WEAPONS God has provided: Prayer, God’s Word, God’s Law…
  • Wear His Gospel Armour, Ephesians 6:10-20. Because you’ll come under fire.
  • When you pray, seek God’s Word, plead with the LORD for their Salvation.
  • Cry for your loved ones lost condition. Feel their darkness and separation from the Lord.
  • ASK GOD: To give you a heart that loves them enough to share Jesus with them.

Our War Hospital: The Gospel is God’s CURE after the battle has been won. i.e. don’t give the gospel too soon. Win the battles first, then offer them the cure. His PEACE treaty. His terms of SURRENDER. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s PEACE TREATY for a rebellious world.

My friends, I firmly believe we are going to SEE a mighty move of God in our land. We’re going to see countless thousands SURRENDER to Jesus Christ as Lord. We’re going to see so many lost people SAVED for Jesus. We’re READY LORD. Bring in the Lost Sheep.

So today, let’s CAPTURE those who’s rebellious thoughts and hearts want to stay away from the Lord Jesus, in the Name of Jesus.

Their stubborn refusal to believe in Jesus: Turn them Lord, because we KNOW this is Your heart’s desire.

Break their heard hearts and give them a heart of flesh, soften them up LORD, because we KNOW this is the Father’s heart.

Open them up to You Lord.

Now, let me speak to them about You Lord Jesus, and Your LOVE for them, what you did so that they could be saved from their sins and help them to submit to You. Amen!

Have an awesome day praying for National Evangelisation of our NATION.

If you can, join us in praying for our NATION:

If you can, come and pray with us at 8.00am in St Luke’s Church, West Norwood.

If you can’t come PRAY at home, at work, on the way to work.

We’re praying for EVERY Christian to have a heart for those who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord.

Don.

NOTE: Tomorrow we’ll be thinking of strategic ways to reach into the lives of those we LOVE with God’s Love.

Heaping Burning Coals.

 

How to remain in Christ’s Love

Contending for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints

Daily Spirit & Word: 703: Jude’s Encouragements.

Build Yourselves Up In Your Most Holy Faith.

How to Remain in Christ’s Love.

Good morning my friends, I enjoyed a wonderful day off yesterday in the garden pulling up blackberry brambles that had spread like wildfire, creeping into the cracks of a rockery that once contained a pond. It’s amazing how the weeds spread and do so much damage. Last year I couldn’t do much in the garden because of a sore back, but now I’m almost free from pain, it’s an amazing joy to be able to be active again. Yet I’m surprised by just how invasive the weeds in London are.

Jude 1:20-21
20  But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
21  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

As I read through Jude this morning, I could almost physically hear the Lord Jesus Christ in my head, saying, “Remain in My Love”

  • Where did Jesus say that?
  • What did He mean?
  • What does Jude mean? “Keep yourselves in God’s love”

Jesus said it: In His Awesome Teaching On the Vine and Branches.

John 15:7-16
7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
12  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13  Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14  You are my friends if you do what I command.
15  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

Jude epistle (God’s Word) wants us to know that we must “REMAIN” in the Love of Jesus Christ. That we must keep building ourselves up in the most holy faith.

He starts his letter by reminding those to whom he’s writing that we’re in a BATTLE, there is CONTENTION about what “THE FAITH” is. Many have entered into Christ’s members and twisted the pure Gospel that was once delivered to the saints.

Our BATTLE or CONTENTION:

It’s not over church decoration, pew placement, chair arrangement, the worship band singing too loud or too quiet. Nor is it the latest whole church campaign, but it is a real CONTENTION about the faith that has been handed down and entrusted to us from the Apostles and our Lord Jesus Christ. We really must keep up the battle, when we see error we must expose it, because so many youngsters in the faith are being drawn away and enticed into false Gospels. Remembering of course that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, i.e. not people, but against spiritual forces of evil.

Jude 1:3 “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

The Faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

We have been entrusted with the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s our most holy duty to preserve the whole Gospel and to CONTEND for this faith entrusted to our care.

We see the Gospel being partially delivered in the media.

A partial Gospel is a watering down of the full Gospel message.

Even our Prime Minister says quite openly “Britain is a Christian Country”… but his government is the first in history to want to monitor, control and dictate what we are teaching in our Sunday Schools, enlisting OFSTED to ensure that we’re NOT radicalising youngsters. He wants us to promote British Values: but many of Britain’s Values are not “Christian” or “Biblical” values.

For instance: forcing mothers who’ve got young children back into work. Who’s the best person to be looking after infants? I believe with all my heart that it’s not pre-schools, but their own mothers. Yes toddler groups are great for encouraging youngsters to mix and learn to be sociable, but pre-schools? No, I believe mothers not nurseries are best for our infants. They need the love that only a mother can give. We should be encouraging parents and supporting them in bringing up their own children.

Benefits Cuts: This government has given TAX BREAKS to those who are the richest in society, and cut the benefits that the poorest people receive. They want to force people into work, but we’ve known countless numbers of people who are practically unemployable because of their mental condition or social circumstances, who’ve been sanctioned and had their benefits stopped all together. British Values????

Bombing Syria: IS: The UK Governments (British Values) voted to bomb Syria. But Jesus did not say, “Bomb your enemies” He said, “Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you”. ISIS definitely hate everything that the UK stands for, but we’re to LOVE our enemies. Show them Christ’s LOVE not weapons of war. I know it hard, but that’s what we’re called upon by Jesus to do. British Values??? Let’s LOVE each other as Jesus has loved us and gave His life for us.

  • Christian values: Parents bring up your children in the ways of the Lord.
  • Christian values: feed the poor, love your enemy, do good to those that hate you, look after widows and orphans.
  • There is a BATTLE going on for the “Faith once and for all time entrusted to the saints”..

BTW: Those “saints” in Jude’s letter are not those who’ve died and been made saints by the Roman Catholic Church, but every single Christian who’s been set free from sin by the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s you and me, if you’ve trusted Christ as your Lord and received Him as your Saviour: You are the SAINT to whom Jude is writing.

What is that FAITH we’re to CONTEND for?

Jesus tells us clearly in John 15:16 “I chose you and appointed you”

When you became a Christian it wasn’t your idea to follow Jesus. It was because Jesus was already, by the Holy Spirit, drawing you to Himself. He chose you to become a believer, a follower and a disciple.

It was the LORD’s initiative that brought you to trust: That Jesus died upon the Cross for the sins of all mankind, because of God’s love, He rose again from the dead and now reigns in Heaven. He’s calling all people to REPENT and receive forgiveness for their sins, so that they can escape the judgement that coming. They’ll be SAVED from Hell if they repent and trust the ONLY Saviour of Mankind.

When Jesus chose you to become a Christian, His desire and our Heavenly Father’s desire, is that you BE FRUITFUL in your walk with Him.

How are we going to be “Fruitful”?

By remaining in His love… John 15:8-10…

How do we “remain in His love”?

By being obedient to His Commands. The Commands of Jesus Christ. John 15:10.

How do we know Jesus Commands?

By reading and understanding the WORD of God, by hearing the Word of God and by DOING the Word of God.

That is HOW we do what Jude is calling us to do:

Jude 1:20-21
20  But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
21  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

We keep ourselves in God’s love and build ourselves up in the most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, obeying Christ’s commands in Scripture and wait for our Eternal life that He’s promised to all who live for Him.

  • Saints, we need to be in God’s WORD ourselves.
  • We need to gather together around God’s Word: To study it together (Discipleship).
  • We need to keep listening to Preachers who really do LOVE God’s Word and Jesus Christ as their LORD and Saviour.
  • We need to keep doing what God’s Word tells us.
  • That way we will build up our faith.
  • That’s the way we’re going to remain in Christ’s love.

When we do all of these things, then our Love for Jesus will grow stronger.

When we do all of these things, then our Love for our fellow saints in Christ will be enriched.

What did I learn on my day-off yesterday?

The Brambles will grow when we’re not looking.

The Weeds will spread, when not attended.

False Gospels and wrong teaching will creep into the church if we are not contending for the faith.

Jesus wants me to Contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints.

It’s a never ending battle to maintain the pure holy Gospel faith that has been entrusted to us, the Saints in Jesus Christ, we need to REMAIN IN CHRIST’S LOVE and keep building ourselves up in the most holy faith. We’ll be fruitful when we’re being obedient to Christ’s commands.

Keep going for Jesus my friends,

Contend for the pure Gospel once for all delivered and entrusted to the Saints: You are those Saints.

Have a glorious weekend.

Don.

Tomorrow’s Teaching: Do you know how much of a friend we have in Jesus?

John 11:49-52 (NIV)
49  Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!
50  You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51  He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52  and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

 

A Postcard From Heaven

Jesus is communicating at a heart to heart level

Daily Spirit & Word: 696: A Postcard From Heaven.

Jesus Knows What You Are Going Through.

Revelation: Letters to the Seven Churches; Smyrna.

Good morning my friends. With three couples we had another session of Marriage Preparation last night in Church, we were chatting mainly about communication, levels of communication. How there are five levels of conversation ranging from Hello: Which says very little at all, then sharing facts (it’s raining), then sharing of Views (I know it’s going to be sunny later), then sharing of Thoughts (I think I like the rain), then sharing of Feelings (when the rain splashes on my face it makes me feel awesome), then sharing of the Heart (How does the rain make you feel?). As we chatted it soon became obvious that there was a need to be sharing and communicating at a heart level more in all our relationships. When we share at a heart-to-heart level we don’t need to say very much at all.

In our second letter from Jesus to the Churches, you’ll observe that He doesn’t say very much at all to the church in Smyrna, it’s like a Postcard to the Persecuted Church, but we must bear in mind our LORD Jesus is communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level: He’s skipped over saying “Hello” and “I know this” and “I think this” and “I feel this” to “This is what it is”…

Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
9  I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Such a short letter to a church that’s undergoing severe persecution, but within such a few words so much is communicated. It’s like a well crafted line on a Valentines Card to a LOVED ONE: “Roses are red, violets are blue, storms may blast, but I’ll always love you”…

Jesus is encouraging those poor, poverty stricken, faithful under trial, persecuted and suffering believers. He wants them to know that He KNOWS. He sees everything that happens under the sun. He even sees into the Heavenly realms and knows all about Satan’s tactics to bring those brothers and sisters down.

Keep in mind as you go through the book of Revelation the whole counsel of Scripture. Within the pages of the Bible believers are warned by God, by Jesus and by the Holy Spirit that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. We might just think we’re going through trouble, because trouble is natural, earthly, but most trouble is stirred up by Satan to “Afflict” the saints on earth.

  • Remember how Satan came to Adam and Eve? They were in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) with everything they could ever need.
  • Remember how Satan came to Jesus in the Wilderness? He was in a Desert Place with nothing.

Satan will come and tempt you, when you are in plenty or in want in your life. There is no place on this earth, no circumstance that he will not use to try to get at you. Once you are a follower of Jesus, then Satan takes note of it and begins to attack you, trying to tempt you, trying to stop you following Jesus Christ. No one is exempt. If Satan can come and try and tempt Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who Created the Universe, then my friends, he is going to come and try and tempt you too. He hates the fact that you’ve been saved and are following Jesus.

Verse 10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer” is a real encouragement to me today.

There’s NO NEED to BE AFRAID. Because you’ve got Jesus watching, you’ve got the Holy Spirit empowering, as Jesus did in the wilderness and overcame, you’ve got a Heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you and is watching out for you. He has promised that NOTHING in all Creation will be able to snatch you out of His all powerful hands. Submit yourselves to Him who is able to keep you from falling. Amen!

Verse 10: “I will give you the crown of life”… My friends, the gift of Eternal Life is waiting. Keep going!

NOTE: In the letter to Ephesians Revelation 2:1-7 yesterday, the promise at the end was: “I will give the right to eat from the tree of live, which is in the Paradise of God”… Today it’s “I will give you the crown of life”… Awesome promises from our Blessed Lord Jesus.

Like a Postcard To A Persecuted Church.

Like a Valentines Card Communicates His Heart.

You might be tempted to think: “They were going through all that trouble and hardship and that’s all that Jesus has to say to them, surely He could have encouraged them just a little bit more?” My friends, when you are communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level as Jesus does, you don’t need to say very much at all. Just as a Postcard reveals beautiful place and that everything’s going well. Just like a Valentines Card communicates the heart of LOVE: My friends, Just ONE WORD from the LORD will be enough to sustain you and keep you. Seek the LORD whilst He may be found.

Be blessed in Jesus today, be full of the Holy Spirit and you will be able to stand your ground against the enemy. Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).

BTW: Please, remember the levels of communication and try to get further than levels 1,2 and 3 to 4 and 5. Commune with one another at a Heart-to-Heart level.

LOVE: In Jesus,

Don.

NOTES: On Smyrna.

From The Commentary by J. Vernon McGee.

Smyrna is the martyr church, the church that suffered martyrdom for Christ. The word Smyrna means “myrrh” and carries the meaning of suffering.

The city of Smyrna is still in existence in our day. It has a Turkish name, Izmir, which may lead you astray, but it is the same city. It has been continuously inhabited from the time it was founded. I have been there; in fact, we stay in Izmir when we visit the sites of the early churches in that area. It is a commercial city. There are those who have told us that Izmir will soon be larger than Istanbul. It will certainly be a larger commercial center. There is a tremendous population there. The modern city covers so much of the ruins of ancient Smyrna that you are apt to miss the beauty which was there.

I have taken some pictures of it and use them as slides in an illustrated message. I try to point out the beauty of that harbor. It is very large and one of the most beautiful harbors that I have seen. In fact, Smyrna was one of the loveliest cities of Asia. It was called a flower, an ornament, and it has been called the crown of all Asia. The acropolis is located on Mount Pagos. In fact, the early city that goes back to about 2000 B.C., a Hittite city at that time, was built around the slope of Mount Pagos. Later Alexander the Great had a great deal to do with building it into the beautiful city that it became. There were wide boulevards along the slopes of Mount Pagos. Smyrna was called the crown city because the acropolis was encircled with flowers, a hedge, and myrtle trees. The city was adorned with noble buildings and beautiful temples — a temple of Zeus, a temple of Cybele (Diana), a temple of Aphrodite, a temple of Apollo, and a temple of Asclepius. Smyrna had a theater and an odeum, that is, a music center — it was the home of music. Also it had a stadium, and it was at that stadium that Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and student of the apostle John, was martyred, burned alive in A.D. 155.

In Christian literature, Smyrna means “suffering.” The Lord Jesus, in His letter addressed to the church there, said that He knew their sufferings and their poverty. He had no word of condemnation for them or for the church at Philadelphia. They were the churches that heard no word of condemnation from Him, and it is interesting that these two cities, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are the only two which have had a continuous existence. Their lampstand has really been moved, but there are a few Christians in Izmir. Although they are under cover, they have made indirect contact with us when we have been there. They do not come out in the open because Christians are persecuted even today in modern Turkey.

Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.

 

Be Still And Know At Christmas

The Baby Jesus is God

Daily Spirit & Word: 657: Be Still AND Know At Christmas

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I AM God”

Good morning my friends, what a fantastic visit we’ve just had. It was a whirlwind of a joy to see six of our young grandchildren being natural, playing, getting along and enjoying one another’s company. So much so, that when it came time to depart they wanted to STAY longer. When we get to really KNOW God, we’ll long to STAY in His company, to be with Him not just for a visit, but forever. We’ll never want to leave His presence ever again. How would you like to meet someone that you just love being with them? We imagine that’s what it’s going to be like when we meet Mr or Mrs RIGHT. We think that another person will satisfy our every desire and fulfil our every wish in life, but we were designed with that deep hunger inside us, and it will never be fully satisfied until we come and KNOW God.

When God tells you to “BE STILL AND KNOW”

What’s HE telling you to do?

1) He’s NOT telling you to be ‘religious’.

So often we imagine that to know God we’ve got to somehow become a ‘religious’ person. i.e. Be a goody two shoes and go to church or to kneel down and pray. To pray certain prayers in such and such a way. No my friends, I want to dispel that myth immediately, God is NOT telling you to become religious.

2) God wants you to KNOW something.

He wants you to be STILL long enough to KNOW HIMSELF.

When God tells us to do something, you must simply, like a child, TRUST that He’s telling you as a good father would, that this is going to be really GOOD for you. He wants you to know GOD. He wants you to experience Himself. But WHY?

3) When you are STILL in His presence, then you’ll KNOW:

When you are still in God’s presence then you’re going to know:

  • Comfort,
  • Peace,
  • Joy,
  • Satisfaction in life,
  • Happiness,
  • Deep joy,
  • Overjoyed,
  • Did I mention Happy Feelings 🙂

Oh yes my friends, no matter what’s happening in your life, when you are still for a few moments in the presence of God, the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE: You’ll KNOW all these things, you’ll know what He’s like, His Character, His will, His direction, His plans, His purposes for your existence upon His Earth. Oh WOWzer! All that just from being STILL in the presence of God.

NOT RELIGION: BUT KNOWLEDGE OF HIMSELF

It’s not ‘religion’ that God wants for you, but it is that deep knowledge of Himself. When you get that revelation, you’ll get HOPE, JOY and Assurance that EVERYTHING is going to be OK. Why? Because God can walk on water. God can change water into wine. God can change bad characters into Good Characters. God can do the impossible. God can make crippled people walk, blind people see, deaf people hear. God can make storms completely calm. God can make fish leap into nets. God can make vines grow in a day. God can make the Sun and Moon and Stars of Heaven with just a Word. How do we know God can do that? Because He’s already done all of these things, He can do it again. He will do it again. That’s who God is and what God is like: He’s the CREATOR. The maker of all things, including you.

Who is this God? Be still and KNOW:

God is Jesus, Jesus is God. (John 1)

How to be still and KNOW God?:

Recognise who you are first: A sinner: You’ve broken God’s commandments: AND you Know it. Your conscience bears witness with your mind. You’ve lied, knowing deep down that telling lies is wrong. You’ve coveted (an inordinate desire for the things of this world), that’s just two of God’s Commandments that He’s written upon your heart, but because of His immense LOVE for you, He sent Jesus His SON, the Son of God, God the Son into the world. Recognising that you need God the Son is the first part of Knowing Him. YOU need the forgiveness for your sins that Jesus won for you when He gave His life in your place upon the cross. Jesus died in order that you might truly KNOW God. When you know God, your life is going to be different.

Be still and KNOW Him.

Confess: Confess your sins to God. Confess that you need His forgiveness. Confess the way’s you’ve broken His Commandments. Confess the fact that You’ve NOT put God first in your life (None of us have). When you confess, it’s like you are surrendering to a powerful force, like when a soldier in a battle gets surrounded and all he can do is either die or throw down his weapons and surrender. That’s what you are doing to God. You’re saying “OK God, I give in, I give up, I surrender and admit that I’m defeated in Your presence, I KNOW I’m a sinner, I confess it, I admit it, I want you to know that I KNOW you are God.” That’s true confession of God. One day the Bible tells us, everyone will surrender to God. Every knee will one day bow before Him and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God, to the glory of God the Father.

Be STILL and KNOW God NOW! Do it today and find total freedom and peace with God.

Accept: Accept the offer of forgiveness and peace.

Most soldiers realise that once they are surrounded and completely defeated, that it makes sense to surrender and save their lives. It’s just futile to give your life once you’ve been beaten. It serves no purpose, the battle has already been lost, why would anyone throw their life away. You’ve been surrounded by God since the time you were born, but you’ve been battling, trying with all your might to live your own way. Now it’s time to surrender and admit that you’ve been defeated. God’s PEACE offer is on the table: Be at PEACE: Be STILL and KNOW HIM: He’s Good, He’s Loving, He’s Kind.

God wants you to know that once you recognise who you are and once you’ve confessed your sinful condition and are ready to turn away from it, that He’s going to forgive and cleanse you from ALL your sins. He’ll wash you clean. You cannot do it yourself, you can’t make sin go away, it needs to be washed out of your soul, it can only be washed out with something totally pure and holy. The holy thing that God has chosen to wash you clean is the life-blood of His Son Jesus. Only the blood of Jesus can wash you clean from your sins. Accept His total forgiveness and be clean in Jesus Christ. Then your soul will be completely at PEACE with God. Nothing, no storm in life can ever disturb that PEACE that forgiveness brings.

The war is over, the battle is won, Jesus is the victor, so surrender to Jesus.

Receive: Receive the Lord Jesus as your LORD.

It’s like taking down your own FLAG and Hoisting HIS FLAG of VICTORY.

Believe in Jesus, that He’s won the Victory: It’s OVER, the Battle is Won.

He wants you to KNOW Himself, but you can only really know God when you are prepared to allow Him to rule in your life. When you are ready to do that, you’ll know, because you are ready to TRUST Him with your everything in life. He’s got such great plans for you and your future, but you can only ever know them when you’re ready to TRUST Him with them. Let go and let God BE your God. He wants you to KNOW total love, freedom, power for life, joy and peace. That’s ALL God wants to give you, but that’s more than enough. It’s better than Gold, Silver or anything this world has to offer. It’s even better than the most expensive things in life. God is able to SATISFY you completely.

Can you see now why God wants you to be still and KNOW.

For me it makes sense to KNOW God.

Be still for a few minutes today and really get to KNOW God.

It’s great to be in the company of family and friends at Christmas, but it’s even more exciting and joyful in God’s presence. We’ve just got to be still and know Him. Don’t be religious, be real, be with God today. He’ll be with you forever. Amen!

So, I’m encouraging you, in the madness and rush of life, to take a few moments and BE STILL and KNOW HIM.

You’ll be GLAD that you did. Have a JOY FILLED Christmas.

Don.

Psalm 46:1-11 The KNOWING God Psalm.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
6  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8  Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
10  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Jesus Died For His Enemies

Jesus gave His life for His enemies

Daily Spirit & Word, 630: The Extent of Christ’s Love.

He Died For His Enemies

John 15:13 “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Good morning my friends, what joy filled my heart this morning as I sat outside watching the sunrise and the sheer beauty and colour in the sky and clouds; Awesome is too little a word for it. Thank you Father for your brilliance!.

Yesterday we had our Remembrance Service in St Luke’s Church. A few of our congregation stayed away, because they think holding a Remembrance Service is like rattling swords and glorifying war. However, I believe we should honour those who’ve been called up to serve their Country. Yes, we must all admit that Politicians can get it wrong, that sometimes we go to war for the most foolish and evil reasons, as the UK did during the Iraq war. The Nation was led to believe that Saddam Hussein was about to use WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). However, it was just a made-up excuse for what the Americans were calling “Regime Change”… They wanted to get rid of Saddam. In the process so many innocent people lost their lives, the beautiful country of Iraq now lies in ruins, with many hundreds of thousands dead, many more than would have been if Saddam had been allowed to govern and we’d used Diplomacy to bring him in line with the modern civilised world.

So perhaps is not right to glorify war: But there are times when EVIL needs to be fought: The evil of the Nazi Germany for instance, hell-bent on the destruction of the Jewish race and world-wide domination. However, was that the reason that Britain went to war? No! It was because of our treaty with Poland; only later on did the population discover the horrors of the Nazis.

The Beautiful Sky: The red tones of the sunrise reminded me of the crimson red of the poppy and the blood of the Lord Jesus.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

But Jesus didn’t just give His LIFE for His friends; He gave it up for His enemies too: for the whole world.

Jesus Died For All His Enemies:

Romans 5:6-11 Why Christ Died: To Reconcile Us To God.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
10  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
11  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

AMAZING LOVE: oh what sacrifice:

My friends, look at the text above, whilst we were still powerless: i.e. we couldn’t save ourselves from God’s wrath, nothing we could do could remove the stain of sin, we were God’s enemies. Jesus went to war with SIN, gave HIS LIFE, to satisfy God’s righteousness, anger against sin and His holy justice, now we can be reconciled to God through His DEATH, He won the war. The Enemy has been defeated and we can be changed from God’s enemies through His Son’s death to His friends: Reconciled. More than that we can become members of God’s own family. What an amazing and beautiful crimson picture of God’s love.

In Flanders Fields (Poem) 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Don’t think of that poem as keeping war alive or getting revenge for dead comrades, but for our LORD’S SAKE we take up His torch against His enemy SIN.

Imagine, we could all give our life for a friends, but Jesus did it for His most bitter opponents: What LOVE!

We want to put and end to war, true, but let it be the war against sin that rages on until Christ returns. We owe Him a debt of gratitude, so let’s get into our battle armour (Ephesians 6:10-20) and wage the war with our Saviour watching our backs. Let’s SAVE as many souls for Heaven as we can whilst we have the torch in our hands.

REMEMBER: How much Christ loved you; whilst you were still His enemy, Jesus Christ died for you. That’s how much He loved you.

Don.

 

Do Your Best

Do your best; stay connected to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 604: Do Your Best.

Good morning my friends, how many times have we said or heard said, “I try my best” or “I’m trying my best to be good”. The feeling and thinking behind the statement: We all want THE BEST in our lives. As Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who try and live by the Word of God, we want to be the best we possibly can be and we want others to think or know that we are God’s holy people.

However, the reality is, we’re only as good as our BEST. You see the Lord doesn’t want us to be as good as WE can be, but He wants us to be LIKE Jesus. Why? Because He knows that Jesus standard of goodness far exceeds our own, because Jesus was and is perfect. Hence the reason Jesus said, “I AM the Vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing”… We are only as GOOD as our closeness to Jesus.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

If we are ‘trying our best’ without getting close to Jesus Christ first: then our best means or is worth NOTHING. Even if you’ve got the whole Ten Commandment and are trying to live according to them, and you only fall down at just one point in God’s Commands, perhaps you covet a little. Then we’ve become God’s Law Breakers and we’ll be guilty before God on Judgement Day.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Jesus wants us instead of trying our best to draw near to Him then we’ll be doing what’s best, to come close, to live our life with Him: When we respond, then we WILL BE FRUITFUL.

You see my friends, it’s not OUR BEST that God is going to be looking for, but how much of Christ is in us, how much we’ve become like Jesus Christ, there’s only ONE WAY to do that: BE WITH Jesus. The more time, the more energy, the more focus you put upon actually being with Jesus as you go about your daily life in this world, the BETTER you will be at being what you know your heart’s desire is.

Sadly, too many Christians get into other things, these good things get in the way of our relationship with Christ, we become like a detached branch, we become like a branch that’s actually been cut off from the Vine. What happens when a good Christian looses his first love, looses his connection with the vine? We begin to wither and die: Our Joy goes: Even our desire for worship and being with other brothers and sisters dries up.

It happens very Slowly of course:

Did you know a vine branch can live for a little while apart from the main branch? You can plant a vine branch in the soil a couple of weeks after it’s been cut off from the vine and it will still begin to put down it’s own roots and grow. I know this, because I’ve done it. We had an uncultivated vine for a while, but it only ever produced tiny little bitter grapes.

However, when a branch begins to grow on it own; apart from the Lord, it’s a wild vine you’ll have, not a cultivated one. It will not have the root-stalk of the old vine and will have it’s own nature. A cultivated root is selected for it’s characteristics of the wine it produces, and the actual vines that are grafted into it will be protected by the cultivated root vine.

Jesus said, “I AM the Vine, you are the Branches: We’ve been grafted into this Heavenly Cultivated Vine. It’s Holy life giving sap flows through our veins. Jesus gives us the NEW WINE of the KINGDOM.

YBH: Yes But How? How do we “Do our Best”?

It’s easy to say something and much harder to actually do it. How do we stay close to the Vine and connected to the Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus said it and the Apostles applied it in the rest of the New Testament.

Jesus said: “If you obey my Commands, you ARE my Disciples”: so it’s obedience to Christ’s Commands.

Paul said to Timothy:  2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved (tested and tried), a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Do Your Best: Stop saying “I’m trying my best” start thinking “I’m DOING my best”: The BEST thing you can do is get close to Jesus every single day. You are to strive with all your might to get ready to stand before God: You will already have been; tried and tested by Him. You do your best: to handle correctly the word of truth. This means: To understand and apply God’s Word to your life. To live according to what you know and understand. It’s going to take your own personal effort to draw and remain connected with Jesus Christ and to read, understand and apply God’s Word to your own life.

There are many ways to do it today: Thank God for the internet, the WWW (World, Wide, Web), here you can find so much “Good Teaching” and “Application” of God’s Word: This will help you to understand it. However, don’t just stop at getting an understanding of God’s Word: Stay close to Jesus Christ yourself: pray, be with Him in prayer, and He’ll guide you. Get filled up with God’s Holy Spirit every day. Pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, fill me with the Holy Spirit, I need Him, I’m asking in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Saviour. Amen”….

Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Monday is magnificent, be with Jesus today, start your week right and keep at it every day.

So;

STOP saying, “I’m trying my best” START saying, “I’m DOING my BEST to stay connected with Jesus Christ” Amen!

Don.

One of the best and most practical ways to Keep Close to Jesus: Is to take captive every thought and bring it into subjection to Jesus Christ’s teachings:

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

It’s our Thought Life: where battles are won and lost. Let’s take captive EVERY thought that’s going against what we KNOW is God’s Word.

Amen.

 

How Are You Getting Things Done Today?

Doing it God's Way

Daily Spirit & Word: 571:

How Are You Getting Things Done Today?

The Camping Trip:

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

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

NOT BY OUR OWN STRENGTH:

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

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

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

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

John 15:5-8 5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay blessed in Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Discover The Spirit Filled Life

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

 

The Christian’s Enemies: THE FLESH.

Conflict Spirit and Flesh

Daily Spirit & Word 568:

Know Your Enemies: The Flesh.

Good morning my friends, I’m back with the mini-series on the Christian’s enemies; Catch the first one here : The World:

The Second Enemy: THE FLESH:

Whilst we face all kinds of enemies as followers of Jesus, they all come under three main headings; the world, the flesh and the devil. Today we’re going to face the most personal enemy the flesh life within each one of us.

A Christian is SAVED the moment they trust the Saviour for Salvation, the Battle is WON by the LORD, but the mopping up operations are not finished. Jesus defeated our greatest enemy on the Cross: DEATH, that is why it’s not on the Christian’s list of enemies. We are given the awesome gift of LIFE from the moment we’re born again.

THE FLESH

We’re not against our bodies, we live and long for our Eternal body, but we’re not against this temporary tent we’re living in, we’ve got to take care of our body, because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, our body here on earth is HOLY because God lives in every follower of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20  you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.” 

You BODY is HOLY: But there is still a part of you, even though you’re saved that desires to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and there’s a daily battle going on for your soul.

The BATTLE is in the MIND:

If we loose the battle here then we’re in danger of corrupting our flesh, it can lead to death.

What is LIFE like for those who are loosing the battle, for those who are being CONTROLLED by the SINFUL NATURE (The Flesh)?

God answers that question in His Word:

Romans 8:5-9  “Those who live according to the sinful nature (the flesh) have their minds set on what that nature (flesh) desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
8  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 
9  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Question: Do you have the HOLY SPIRIT living in and controlling you? Is He directing your life, giving you; self-control, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and love. These are the fruits that are produced in the life of a person who’s full of God’s Holy Spirit, they are the evidence that you’ve been born of the Spirit, they are the signs of the Kingdom within your life. We’re NOT perfectly patient, kind and loving etc, but we’re beginning to show that fruit. If your answer is “NO” or “I’m not sure”, then you need to check to see if you’ve really come to a genuine faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s no good knowing about Jesus, we need to know Jesus as LORD of our life, because as the verse above states, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ”. If we don’t belong to Christ: i.e. He’s NOT our LORD and SAVIOUR then we don’t have the Spirit and we don’t have LIFE.

However, even if you do HAVE the Holy Spirit, there is still a BATTLE going on: The FLESH is at war with the Spirit within.

Galatians 5: 17 “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

LIVE BY THE SPIRIT:

We can WIN this battle, but in order to do so we NEED the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16-26

16  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 
19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

LOOK AT THE FRUIT:

Sinful NATURE FRUIT:

The list is not exhaustive, there’s much more, but these are given by the LORD as examples of those who are loosing control, loosing the battle:

The Sinful NATURE (Flesh): Desires what is contrary to the Spirit:

‘Contrary’ means = Very opposed in nature, character or purpose. In an opposite direction.

It’s like the wind blowing against the sail-boat keeping it out of harbour when you want to get into the harbour for the night.

So the FLESH (Sinful Nature) is very opposed to the control and desires of the Holy Spirit.

They are in CONFLICT with each other: Conflict means = An open clash between two opposing groups, forces or individuals. It’s a state of opposition between persons, ideas or interests.

The HOLY SPIRIT’S DESIRES: He wants what’s best for you and a good, full, abundant, holy life; but the SINFUL NATURE is bent on self-destructive desires; greed, anger, rage, war, factions, drunkenness, drug addiction, human-trafficking, slave-trade, extortion, extortionate interest rates, keeping the poor – poor, competition, beating everybody else, capitalism (building your own empire at the expense of others), illicit sex, pornography, abuse, and the list can go on and on and on. We’re brilliant at inventing new ways to be AT WAR with the HOLY SPIRIT.

But notice what the passage said of Christians: Those who’re filled with, led by, and live by the Holy Spirit: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” When you came to Christ your SINFUL NATURE was CRUCIFIED (It was Killed, put to death, terminated). However, it’s NOT completely DEAD: It’s like the horrible thing when a chicken has it’s head cut off or it’s neck broken, it can still run around and it takes ages to die. So it is with the SIN NATURE in the follower of Jesus, though it has been killed it’s twitching and running around waiting to be buried and finally put to death. That’s not going to happen until we see the LORD. So we’ve got a constant daily battle to win against the FLESH NATURE.

The PASSIONS & DESIRES:

The passions and desires of the flesh (Sinful Nature) are obvious; so when they do become ATTRACTIVE to us again, guess what? We need MORE of God’s Holy Spirit: We’re probably running on empty.

I know that for ages I was driving around in my car with the fuel warning light on orange, then when I stopped looking at the warning signs it slipped into the RED. My friends, many Christians are not living in the GREEN, they are constantly living in the ORANGE danger zone of holiness. They love to live in a kind of borderland; half way between HOLY and SINFUL. We’ve got to STOP IT: Stay constantly re-fuelled by the HOLY SPIRIT.

In London, you’d be amazed, but there are not that many petrol stations (gas stations for our American friends), so we’ve kind of got an excuse for running around in the ORANGE (Warning) Zone on the fuel gauge. However, if you are doing that Spiritually, you are ignoring your God given Conscience (The Spiritual Fuel Gauge), it’s blaring out a warning message the moment you enter the ORANGE Zone of Danger: You are in DANGER of going into the RED (SIN and DEATH).

So God says, “LIVE BY the Spirit and you WILL NOT gratify the desires of the sinful nature”.

THE CHOICE: “Shall I live by the flesh or by the Spirit today?”

Listen my friends, to your God given Conscience today, is it shouting out a warning that you need to be re-fuelled by the Holy Spirit. God wants you to live a FULL, ABUNDANT, JOYFUL and PEACEFUL life in your Holy Spirit filled temple of a body today. However, He’ll not force you, every day you’ve got to make a choice which way you are going to live, but one day we will face the Judgement throne of the Lord Jesus Christ and will have to give an account of how we’ve lived, then we’ll face either rewards of losses in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I want all my friends who’re reading this to experience fullness, abundance and joy, peace and LOVE this week. I’m praying that you’ll see HIS hand at work in your life and He wants much more POWER than we can ever imagine. LIVE in the GREEN: In the FULLNESS of the Holy Spirit this week.

Ephesians 5:15-20  “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
19  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Make the most of every opportunity, be filled with the Holy Spirit and sing praises to the Lord, giving thanks in everything, in the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ. Amen!

Have an awesome week.

Don.

 

Knowing Your Enemies: The World.

A Christian faces three enemies on the battlefield

Daily Spirit & Word 566: Know Your Enemies: The World.

Good morning my friends, it’s amazing but true that when you begin following the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, you come under attack from His ememies. Who would want to be an ‘enemy’ of the Lord Jesus? And why would anyone or anything want to take a stand against someone soooo loving, soooo kind, soooo gentle?

Well the truth is as a follower of Jesus Christ you have entered a Battlefield.

On a Battlefield, the missiles are exploding, guns are blazing, bombs are falling and booming, and casualties are mounting. Our first and natural inclination is to get off the Battlefield and save ourselves, but as a Christian you can’t.

As the wisest of Generals know, we should never underestimate our Enemies, but we need to know something from the off: Jesus is the WINNER of this Battle, but the Enemies will just not accept it yet. Satan has been defeated, when Jesus died upon the Cross, rose again from the Dead and Ascended into Heaven: So Satan now runs around like a wounded lion, but as you know a wounded lion is sometimes more dangerous and desperate than an uninjured lion.

Followers of Jesus need to know their Enemies: It’s been said that we have THREE major enemies: The World, The Flesh and The Devil.

Lets take them in turn over three studies:

Your First Enemy: “The WORLD”.

You might object about that, as I did, because isn’t the World that God made a beautiful and stunning place? I do love this amazing and awesome world and all that God has provided for our enjoyment. However, there is something that not quite ‘right’ with God’s Created World: Part of the Created World is Polluted: I’m not talking about Carbon emissions or global warming or nuclear waste though, but the pollution is; rebellion, rejection of God as King.

It’s that polluted part of God’s Good Creation that is in Rebellion against Him: That World System that loves the Darkness and Hates the Light:

John 3:18-21  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” 

Everyone: Who does EVIL hates the Light (Jesus).

The World System that hates Jesus is “EVERYONE” who does EVIL.

What is EVIL?

You might say, well I’m not ‘EVIL’: Simply put, ‘evil’ is rejection of God and all that’s good. We do ‘evil’ when we; lie, steal, cheat, lust, disobey our parents, covet (inordinate desire of things of this world) and blaspheme God (by using God’s name or Jesus Christ as a swear word). Now we know what the Evil World is: But there’s more….

However, we don’t really know the full effects of the sinful decisions that Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden and how that decision has infected every human soul since. We’re born into that same kind rebellion, we’re born on the opposite side, we’re born opposing Jesus, we’re born an enemy of the LIGHT.

Whenever anyone comes into the Light it’s as if they are like those who escaped from Communism during the Cold War: They had to sneak out of Russia or those Eastern Block countries that were part of the Russian Federation. The were called “Defectors“: When you come over to Jesus camp, when you come across over to the side of light, you are defecting against the rule and reign of Satan and the world system under his authority.

Evil is what we are when we are born: Because we’re born into sinful rebellion against the Creator and His wishes. We’re in the camp of the enemy until we defect (Repent and Trust in Jesus side).

We’re Born LOVING Rebellion:

Just as the Russians viewed Defectors as Enemies of the State: So Satan and his world system views everyone who comes over to the side of Jesus as Enemies: So your first enemy is the World (Governed by it’s Ruller: Satan). It’s the Evil World System, but not the world that God Created Good. (Hope you can now see how the world is polluted?).

What is this Rebellious World Like:

We know what living in rebellion against God is like, if we’ve traveled from the Darkness into the Light: We must have come through the darkness ourselves, we must have passed over into the light or we would not be Christians, we would not be followers of Jesus yet.

From DARKNESS to LIGHT: From Satan’s Evil World Order to the Rule and Reign of King Jesus.

Isaiah 9:2  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. “

Remedy: The Soul that Seeks The Light:

“The People Walking In Darkness Have Seen A Great Light”

It’s like there’s light, hope, joy, love, peace at the end of a long-dark-tunnel.

Those Defecting from Russia were escaping a cruel and hard Dictatorial Communist regime and crossing over to freedom in the free Western world governed by Human rights ruled by Democracy.

A Christian is Defecting: A world system ruled by Satan, who wants to enslave people and keep them in bondage. He wants to blind people so that they cannot see the light. He wants to keep people in Darkness and ignorance of their true condition.

Isaiah and John wrote the same thing;

In John’s Gospel we get a clear indication of How we can know the difference between the Kingdoms of Light and Darkness:

John 1:1-13
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jesus is God).
2  He was with God in the beginning. (Jesus is the Eternal God).
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Jesus is the Creator).
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (Jesus GIVES life to everyone).
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (Jesus came into the world).
6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. (John the Baptist).
7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.
11  He came to that which was his own (the Jewish People), but his own did not receive him.
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (Every Christian who comes over into Jesus side in this battle becomes a child of God).
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (The Holy Spirit of God brings about the new birth, you are born-again into God’s Eternal Family when you trust in Jesus Christ for Salvation or when you defect out of Satan’s World System)

The DARK Night Of The Soul: In this amazing and difficult book, John of the Cross reveals the dilemma for mankind; crossing over from Darkness into the Light: He calls it’

“Dark Night Of The Soul:”  goes on to say; “We may say that there are three reasons for which this journey made by the soul to union with God is called night. The first has to do with the point from which the soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself of desire for all the worldly things which it possessed, by denying them to itself; the which denial and deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of man. The second reason has to do with the mean, or the road along which the soul must travel to this union — that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to the understanding. The third has to do with the point to which it travels — namely, God, Who, equally, is dark night to the soul in this life. These three nights must pass through the soul — or, rather, the soul must pass through them — in order that it may come to Divine union with God.

Ascent of Mount Carmel.”

The Three:

Worldly Things: Love for the world and it’s pleasures, the sensual world, the rebellious world.

FAITH: Darkness, we don’t naturally possess faith. We don’t naturally understand faith.

God: We’re not born knowing God, we know that He exists, but we don’t know Him personally, we’re born estranged from God, we’re born in Darkness needing the light of faith and Jesus before we can ever see the light and cross over from the Darkness of this world into His Kingdom of light.

There’s nothing wrong with the things of this world, but it’s our inordinate affection for them: We want the world too much. We want to possess the world and have it all for ourselves, but this inordinate affection is nothing short of Idolatry: Making the World our God: Loving the World more than the Creator who made it.

Escape: The Bible tells us the Christian has escaped the ‘corruption of the world’.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

So we need to say, “Goodbye” to the World System and it’s Ruler.

The first enemy is the World for the Christian, the next Enemy is our own flesh and our arch-enemy is Satan.

PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, we’ve seen today just how important it is to know about our enemies. Today we’ve thought about the fact that when we are born, we’re born into a world system that is in rebellion against You. Lord Jesus, since I’ve come over to Your side by believing and trusting in You as my Lord (KING) and Master, please help me to live in this world, knowing that I’m part of a different Kingdom, that I am Your Ambassador Lord, please help me to represent You with love, gentleness, faithfulness and honour today. Please keep me from loving this world so much that I’m falling away from You. I don’t want to have an inordinate affection for this world Lord, so help me to LOVE YOU with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Thank You Lord for setting me free from the World and letting me see the awesome light of Your Kingdom. Amen.

Have an Awesome Saturday in the Kingdom of the KING of Kings my friends.

Don.

NOTE: The Gospel Good NEWS of Jesus.

Discover: The Spirit Filled Christian Life.