A Time to Fast

Your Heavenly Father will reward you.

Daily Spirit & Word: 792: A Time To Fast.

“When you fast”

In the life of the Spirit there is a time to fast, but let’s do it right.

Good morning my friends, I don’t know about you but I find fasting quite difficult. Going without food is not natural or normal. We were born hungry, just observe a tiny little baby and you’ll soon see that when it gets hungry it cries out loud, sometimes very loud. So too when we get hungry, we might have gone without food for a few hours and we’ll return home and say to our family; “I’m starving” or “I’m famished”… but we’re not really, we’re just a bit hungry. So eating food regularly is natural and normal. Going without food is not, so why would we fast? Why would we go without food on purpose?

However, notice Jesus’ words, “When you fast”… It’s like Jesus expects His followers to fast regularly, because He does not say, “If you fast”..

Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV) FASTING
16 “When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18  so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (He will REWARD YOU: Openly or Publicly).

Like giving and prayer (See yesterday’s devotion), this open or public reward by our Heavenly Father should not be our motivation for fasting. However, accept it as a promise of the LORD that when you fast with right motives, your Heavenly Father will reward you openly.

Verse 16: In ancient times in Israel people fasted regularly. The religious Jews fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). However, they also had a tradition that they’d dress in a certain way and put things on their faces so that everybody knew they were doing something ‘religious’. Some I’m sure were trying to get closer to God, but others, as our LORD points out, were doing it to impress other people. Jesus has harsh words for them, “Hypocrites”… They’re not really doing it to honour God or draw closer to Him, they’re just doing it for show. You can’t FAST and have sin in your heart and expect the LORD of Heaven to bless you.

Verse 17: “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face”…

i.e. Don’t let anyone know by your appearance that you are going without food to get closer to God. In the same way don’t go getting all dressed up for a fast, if that is not your normal attire. Just be as normal as you can be when you are fasting for God.

Verse 18: Jesus gives us the reason we’re to be as normal a possible: “So that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father”… Only the unseen God of Heaven will know you are going without food.

If you are married, then your wife or husband will probably know too, that’s to be expected in any close relationship. But don’t let anyone else know.

REWARD: “When your Father in Heaven sees what is done in secret, He will reward you openly or publicly”.

Secret Devotion Yields Rewards.

When you really want to get close to God, He will always reward you.

Let’s see if that’s true:

James 4:8-10 (NIV)
8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What’s God saying in this little passage from James? “Come near to God” what will God do? “He will come near to you”… i.e. there’s no question about it, He will come near to you. This is a wonderful promise of the LORD of Heaven to come to you when you come to Him. However, we’ve got to believe, trust and accept it by faith. Because without FAITH it is impossible to please the LORD. If we don’t come expecting then we won’t get anything.

James 1:5-8 (NIV)
5  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
6  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

In FASTING when you draw near to God, by going without food, if you don’t come expecting, then you won’t get anything.

So my friends, FAST regularly, draw near to God, believe His promises that He will come to you; He’ll lift you up, bless you openly (publicly), He is the rewarder of those who seek Him out.

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

Faith is a gift from God, He gives it to EVERYONE who comes to Him (It’s a gift so that we can’t boast about our great faith ….)

WOWzer! Look at those awesome promises today:

  • He will reward you openly.
  • He will lift you up when you come to Him.
  • He will reward you when you seek Him in faith.

Finally: ASK, SEEK, KNOCK:

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Sometimes we don’t get because we don’t ask. I’ve known many wonderful Christians who’ve loved the LORD, but forgotten to ask when they are in need. I’ve done it myself. Just the other day, I was in a hurry to get out the house to go and pick up my wife, but I couldn’t find my wallet. I searched frantically but to no avail, then I stopped and prayed. “LORD, I need to find my wallet, You know where it is Lord, please show me”. Within a few seconds I got a picture of a shelf in my study, I put my hands up and there it was. I didn’t find until I asked. The LORD has amazing ways to remind us to seek Him and search for Him and when we do, we’ll find Him, always.

So today, FAST, it’s not easy, it’s not normal to go without food, but it yields rewards for your Father in Heaven.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to you today in faith, believing Your promises that when I seek you, and seek you with all my heart, I will find you. (Jeremiah 29:13).

I’m going to ask You Father for my needs …………………………… (Name them specifically) I believe Your promise that I will receive.

I’m going to seek your direction for my life …………………………….(What decisions do you have looming in your life?) I believe Your promise that I will find.

I’m going to knock on doors ………………………………… (take steps in the right direction and try some doors). I believe Your promise that it will be opened.

Your Heavenly Father’s Heart is to REWARD His beloved children.

Be blessed in Jesus and full of Holy Spirit today,

Don.

 

Enter Like A Little Child

The Kingdom of Heaven is God's place, to get in, you must become like a little child.

Daily Spirit & Word: 788:

Enter Like A Little Child.

The Way Into God’s Kingdom.

“No BIG People Allowed”

 

Good morning my friends, yesterday we had an awesome day. In the morning on the way to worship I bumped into two men. They initiated the conversation after I said, “Good morning”. They had so many questions about faith, God, Jesus, Christians and life. It was inconvenient, so I knew it was a God MOMENT… Instead of rushing ahead to get things ready for our gathering, I stood and took some time with them, answering as many as I could, but listening to the Holy Spirit. I ended up by saying, “If God is real, and heaven is real, will you be spending eternity with Him or with the Devil?” They both said, “Well, we’re good people, so if God is good, then He’ll let us in”… That’s what the MAJORITY of people in the world believe. It’s like this is the de-facto-faith of the whole world today. They only live next door to me, so I’ll be fixing a time when we can meet for a coffee and a chat. They enjoyed our conversation so much, they readily agreed to meed. Please pray!

Also, below is the message I proclaimed in church yesterday morning. Be blessed and please let me know how it impacts you today?

ENTER LIKE A LITTLE CHILD.

We noticed at some theme parks like Lego-Land there are little height bars; a lower one and sometimes a higher one.

  • The Lowest Bar: Determines the smallest person. (For safety reasons, people smaller than the bar can’t go on the ride).
  • The Highest Bar: Determines the tallest person. (For who knows what reasons, big people can’t go on these rides) 🙂

What they are really saying is “No BIG People Allowed”… Some of those rides looked really cool too. I was wishing I was a little kid again. Those rides that I couldn’t go on always looked the most exciting.  🙂

Today we’re going to see that’s exactly what Jesus was saying about the entry requirements for the Kingdom of Heaven.

i.e. “To get into the Kingdom of Heaven you must become like a little child”…

Remember, two weeks ago, we talked about the Disciples and how they were ARGUING about who was the greatest in their group. They were jostling for position, but Jesus turned that notion on it’s head and said, “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, you must become the SERVANT of all”…

So, did the Disciples LEARN their lesson from Jesus? “NO!” They didn’t get it, because they’re at it again.

Let’s read God’s Word together now:

Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
16  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Let’s take a quick look at our reading from God’s Word:

1) The Disciples: Rebuking the People: What for? “They wanted Jesus to “TOUCH” their children”…

Why is it so important to get a TOUCH for these Parents (from Jesus upon their children)?

It was typical for Jewish mother’s and fathers to have their child blessed regularly by a famous Rabbi. If a Rabbi visited, they’d flock to him and ask him to bless their kids.

My friends, if we’re going to see and hear anything about this passage today, then let it be THIS: Jesus was the kind of person who LOVED to have time for the little children: It casts one of the Brightest LIGHTS upon our Lord Jesus Christ, and the kind of person He was:

  • He wasn’t gloomy (though He knew he was facing the Cross and Death).
  • He wansn’t too serious all the time; because children wanted to come to Jesus.
  • He was the kind of man who had time for children (everyone) was welcome into Jesus arms.

No wonder those mums and dads couldn’t wait for Jesus to TOUCH their kids.

In similar ways, we can draw close to Jesus and have Him touch our lives today. Not physically, but none-the-less, just as real a touch from Heaven.

BUT: THE DISCIPLES (instead of welcoming the children) REBUKED THE PARENTS.

Our passage tells us: “When Jesus saw it, He became INDIGNANT”…

See this my friends;

  • The Disciples told the Parents off:
  • The LORD told His Disciples off:

When we’re getting things wrong in this Christian life: Jesus will also tell us off. (The LORD Disciplines EVERYONE He accepts as a child).

What was it the Disciples were doing that was so wrong? So wrong that they got told off publicly by Jesus?

FUNDAMENTALS: When we get something fundamental, foundational, critical to our FAITH and Belief wrong: God’s going to bring in His rod of correction.

Samson: Got his hair cut off, His eyes poked out, His ankles chained and He had to grind the wheat for God’s enemies. (Samson didn’t LISTEN to God’s warnings). He was being led astray by his flesh (Read Proverbs 7, it could have been written for Samson). When we’re being driven by our fleshly desires, we’re headed for trouble like a fool who can’t see the danger ahead.

When we get the fundamentals wrong; we’re ready for Discipline from the LORD:

CHILDREN:

So often in Church we get it so WRONG: i.e. We wait for little George, Jenny or Mark to become an adult to accept Jesus and come into God’s Kingdom.

Jesus is turning that notion on it’s head today my friends, he’s saying to you and me; “Unless you become like a child Donald, you can’t get into My Kingdom of Heaven: You must RECEIVE the Kingdom like a child receives something awesome”

GIVE IT A TRY: I’ve been leading people to Jesus for years. I’ll never forget the time a man came to Jesus. He was so proud. He said, “I’ll give Jesus a go for a couple of hours, if it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to my old life”… Thankfully, it did work, Jesus came into that man’s life and BROKE his proud heart. He wept all night long, he was crying, asking for forgiveness, repenting. Jesus came into his proud heart and showed him what he was like. In the morning, he was like a new man; a babe in Christ. He ran up to us, to me and Ronnie Chew and said, “He’s real, it works, He came”… You know, when I walked away from that man, I didn’t think he’d ever come into Jesus Kingdom Family… I thought to myself, but didn’t say it out loud; “Give Jesus a try for a couple of hours, you’ll never follow Jesus”… How wrong I was. But Jesus came and broke his proud heart…

So often, many people approach Christianity like that today: “Oh I’ll give it a go” or “I try it and see”… “I’m exploring my options”… 

What they’re really doing is putting God to the test:

  • To see if God works for them.
  • To see if God improves their life down here on the Earth.
  • To see if God is real, before they’re ready to fully commit.

They’re not really coming to Jesus because they see their NEED to be; forgiven, cleansed or renewed: They’re coming to give the Christian RELIGION a shot, as they would any other religion.

However, Christianity is NOT a Religion: It’s FUNDAMENTALLY A RELATIONSHIP:

“Christianity is NOT a Religion: It’s FUNDAMENTALLY A RELATIONSHIP With God”

To enter that relationship, Jesus said, “We must become like children and RECEIVE the Kingdom like a child does”… i.e. You can’t try on the Kingdom of Heaven: If you do, then you’ll soon shake it off again… (Because when you come to Jesus you are then going to experience the 3Ts; Trials, Tribulations and Temptations. Yes! Jesus tests our faith / commitment / decision, to see if we’re genuine Disciples). So we must come like a child to Jesus. You’ll note that a child, when things get tough in the family, won’t cling to those hurts, they move on quickly, because they know their place in the family. So a genuine Christian, who’s trusted Jesus like a child, won’t leave God’s family when things get tough.

What is a CHILD LIKE:

We’ll see now what we must become like to enter into God’s Kingdom.

When you give a child a present: Their eyes light up, “A present? for me? Oh WOWzer”

When you observe children:

  • You’ll Notice A Child is TRUSTING: Children, normally, are too young and innocent to be suspicious of people: That’s why they’ll walk up to a complete stranger and start chatting away.  There’s no thought in a child yet, to think they’ll be rejected by anyone. They’re not cynical; they’re trusting.
  • You’ll Notice A Child is OPEN: They don’t doubt anything. I’ve told hundreds of made-up stories to my children and grand-children over the years. They believe every single one. Only one child, Leila, says, “Granny, Papa tells stories doesn’t he”… LOL. Most children are OPEN to new ideas, they don’t doubt your word, they accept, because you are an adult, that you KNOW… A Child is OPEN (A Child Believes)… Are you open, do you believe in Jesus? Are you OPEN to the idea of New Life, Abundant Life, Full Life, Eternal Life, Holy Life, Cleansed Life, Forgiveness, Gifts of Holy Spirit?.. or have you begun to DOUBT? (If there is any aspect of Jesus teaching that you don’t or will not accept, then you are not open, you are CLOSED… then my friend, become OPEN like a child.)
  • You’ll Notice A Child Feels SHAME: When a child gets caught doing something, they’re readily admit it (sometimes after coaxing), when they admit it, they feel ashamed. It’s humbling when a child gets a RED FACE (It reminds me, Don you should be RED FACED about that; Ashamed). I know some people who are into SIN in their lives so much, that they FEEL NO SHAME about it. They are Brazen (Like the immoral woman in Proverbs 7). My friends, we need to get a conviction again about SIN in our lives. And FEEL the SHAME just like a child does. I don’t think you can ever really come to a true faith in Jesus until you’ve felt the shame of all your sins. Until you know your need of His forgiveness and cleansing from sin.
  • You’ll Notice A Child Receives Presents with JOY: They don’t think they deserve it, they know they don’t need to earn it, they know it’s theirs, they just accept it as it is FREELY GIVEN. My friends, you’ll never be able to earn or deserve God’s Kingdom: you must RECEIVE it like a child does a present.
  • You’ll Notice A Child is WILLING to RISK EVERYTHING: My son Joe, when he was a toddler, jumped into my arms (he nearly gave me a heart-attack at times). My grandchildren do the same: They’ll launch themselves off things and shout “Catch me Papa”…

Catch Me Papa: My friends, are you ready to RISK your EVERYTHING to Jesus Christ today? Will you Jump as a child would into the arms of the Saviour?

My friends, you can’t get into Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven: Until: You TRUST HIM, You are OPEN with Him, You are ashamed of your life without Him and You are READY and WILLING to RISK EVERYTHING to Jesus. (That’s what it means to be child-like).

Some people mis-interpret this teaching of Jesus: They’ll say, “A child is innocent, so we must become innocent like little children”… No my friends, we can’t EVER become innocent like children, because we’ve all sinned, we can’t make ourselves good, that’s why Jesus came, to make us good and fit for Heaven. So it must mean what I’ve just been saying;

 I’m going to tell you today; HOW to become like little Children to Enter into Heaven:

To do that my friends, you NEED to become like a little child to RECEIVE the Kingdom of Heaven.

Are you ready to come to Jesus Christ today?

  • Will you TRUST Him: He’ll welcome you. Be Trusting Jesus.
  • Will you be OPEN to Jesus: Believe Jesus’ teachings, Believe in Jesus life and death? BE OPEN to Jesus.
  • Will you come REPENTING? Be sorry and ashamed of your sinful choices in life.
  • Will you RECEIVE? Receive the KINGDOM without trying to earn it by your good works, religious devotion or something else. Salvation cannot be purchased or won by merit, because we’ll never achieve perfection. So we must receive it as it is offered to a child; FREELY.
  • Will you RISK EVERYTHING: TO the Lord Jesus Christ. Throw yourself into the arms of Jesus today.

My friends, thousands will testify, that

  • Jesus has CAUGHT them in His loving arms.
  • Jesus forgives all their SINS (They’ve experienced the cleansing of His blood).
  • He’s revealed the TRUTH: His Word is Truth: You’ll soon see that Jesus’ promises are ALL TRUE:
  • They’ve EXPERIENCED: The JOY of the Kingdom.
  • He’s TRUSTWORTHY: They’ve discovered that Jesus can be trusted with everything in their lives.

I visited Eleanor (An old church member), I took Holy Communion to her, we prayed, chatted; She’s been ill for a few weeks now; She said to me “God is so good and faithful to me, I don’t deserve it, but He’s looked after me so well”…

We sang the song; “Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee, ALL I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy Faithfulness, LORD unto me”…

When Eleanor and I sang that song, HEAVEN came into her house. It was such an AWESOME moment. The presence of the LORD was with us.

My friends, until you’ve become like a Child, you are NOT in the Kingdom of Heaven:

I’ll repeat the LORD Jesus’ words again;

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Childlike FAITH:

Childlike Faith: They trust, they believe, they accept, the feel shame, they are willing to risk everything to jump into the everlasting arms of Jesus.

Will you RECEIVE the Kingdom of God like a little child?

  • Repent, of ALL SIN.
  • Believe, ALL of Jesus’ teachings and what He did on the Cross for your SINS.
  • Receive, The Lord Jesus Christ as your LORD, SAVIOUR, MASTER, FRIEND, KING…

(NOTE: No BIG People Allowed: We must get low, humble, on our knees to get into God’s Kingdom). Receive it as a child would a gift freely offered.

PRAYER: O LORD, My Heavenly Father! I can see that to be able to enter into Your Kingdom, I must receive it like a little child. Please Lord Jesus, give me the faith of a little child, who trusts without questioning, who simply and gladly believes in You and runs into your arms to be blessed. Help me to come to You today Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many things in my life that I know have been wrong, I’m embarrassed about them Lord, I turn from all those things I know to be sinful. I’m filled with awe and amazement that You would choose to die in my place upon the Cross. I’m turning to You today Lord Jesus. Come into my life and be my Lord, my Saviour, my King. I want to be with You forever in Your Kingdom Family. Amen!

My friends, I want to see every single one of you in God’s Kingdom: So, become like children today.

Amen!

Don.

 

 

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:

 

The Most Shocking News

Heaven or Hell, In or Out, EU Referendum, Debate,

Daily Spirit & Word: 760: The Most Shocking News

In or Out: The EU Referendum?

Good morning my friends, I awoke at 2.00am this morning with this phrase buzzing in my head, “Headed For Hell: The Most Shocking News”… I thought, “You can’t be serious Lord, I can’t have that as a title for my daily Bible share? It would put people off forever”….

However, the most sobering news anyone can ever hear is not: “We’re now IN the EU” or “We’re now OUT of the EU”. Both of these statements are a BIG issues for folks here in the UK right now, but what would be even more shocking than either of those results is: “You Are Headed For Hell”… Imagine being told that upon waking from a good night’s slumber? Shocking isn’t it?

However, it’s TRUE: Because without some things most people are going to end up in Hell. To me that’s the most shocking revelation I’ve ever had and it’s horrible to dwell upon that truth. It’s no wonder that I was startled wide-awake this morning. I just had to get up and pray and get into God’s Word.

So two questions arise from that true statement: “You Are Headed For Hell” the questions are;

  1.  What things will make me miss Heaven and end up in Hell?
  2.  How can I avoid going to Hell?

What are those things?

  • Without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour: You are headed for Hell.
  • Without Being Born Again of God’s Holy Spirit: You are headed for Hell.
  • If you’ve BROKEN just one of God’s Commandments: You are headed for Hell.
  • If you’ve not REPENTED of your sins: You are headed for Hell.

Now if I said that to people they’d be offended right? And quite rightly so, because they don’t believe they’ve done anything bad enough that would warrant being sent to Hell. They would quite rightly DEMAND PROOF, because it just doesn’t seem reasonable that most people will end up in Hell.

So let’s PROVE IT’S TRUE:

Because of His LOVE for human beings God sent His One and ONLY Son to die upon the Cross. Why did God do that? Because if Jesus hadn’t gone to the Cross, then every human being would die carrying the load of all their sins with them to the gates of Heaven hoping to be allowed in. Only to be greeted by the LORD with the Gates firmly shut in their faces. Why? Because SIN cuts you off from God. (See Isaiah 59:2 at bottom of page)  He cannot bear the sight of sin, He cannot tolerate it in His presence. Sinning just once in your lifetime contaminates your eternal soul with sin. No amount of good deeds will wash that sin away. There is nothing you can do to remove the stain of sin. It’s like a tattoo upon your soul. You know when you get a tattoo it’s with you for the rest of your life, unless you have it removed surgically with a laser gun. So it is with SIN, unless you have it removed by the one thing that can take your sin away, DEATH.

“The Soul that sins, it shall die”… “The wages of sin is DEATH”…

Perhaps it’s time to come back to the OLD FASHIONED PREACHING of our forefathers, for the truth is still just as true today.

What is SIN? Sin is Transgression of God’s Holy Law.

If you Google the question “What is Sin?” It will first give you the secular dictionary definitions of sin:

Noun: Sin.

  1. Estrangement from God.
  2. An act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will
  3. Ratio of the length of the side opposite the given angle to the length of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle
  4. The 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet
  5. Violent and excited activity

Verb: Sin (Sinning, Sinned).

  1. Commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law.
  2. Commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake.

That’s amazing, I’d never looked up SIN in a secular dictionary before, but there it is PROOF for everyone to read. SIN means ESTRANGEMENT FROM GOD. Why, because it’s an act that is a TRANSGRESSION of the will of God. WOWzer!

But there’s an even greater authority than a secular Dictionary; the Bible, God’s Word: What does the Bible say sin is?

Looking down the list of your Google Search: The third search result will be from www.gotquestions.org and they define sin from the Bible as:

Question: “What is the definition of sin?”

Answer: Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, probably the most beautiful and powerful of the angels. Not content with his position, he desired to be higher than God, and that was his downfall, the beginning of sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.” Genesis 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and against His command. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind and we, Adam’s descendants, have inherited sin from him. Romans 5:12 tells us that through Adam sin entered the world, and so death was passed on to all men because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

BORN INTO SLAVERY TO SIN:

Through Adam, the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him. We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This passed-on depravity is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

We’re not just born with a sin nature, we are also SLAVES to that sin nature, we cannot help but be obedient to our sinful nature.

John 8:31-36 (NIV)
31  To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever.
36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

When you trust in Jesus Christ and His death upon the Cross, when you Repent of your sins and receive His forgiveness, when you Receive Him as LORD and SAVIOUR: then you too can be SET FREE FROM SIN.

CLARIFYING GOD’S LAW:

Now that we’ve defined sin, and that we are born in sin and are slaves to sin, we need to clarify what God’s LAW is: or The Will of God that we’ve transgressed and rebelled against when we SIN.

What is God’s Law? God’s LAW is revealed in the first five books of the Bible and summarised in the Ten Commandments: If we’ve broken just ONE of those commandments then we’ve become a sinner. We’re guilty of breaking God’s Law.

The Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Question: Have you ever told a lie? Just one? If you have then it only takes one lie to make you a liar (it’s the same as murder, just one murder makes you a murderer for life). God Word tells us “No liar can enter the Kingdom of Heaven”… Can you see how we need to be cleansed of sin? It contaminates our soul forever until it is washed away.

Is there anyone who hasn’t sinned? Has someone ever been born without a sin nature?

Through Adam (Adam and Eve), the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion against God, bringing to him spiritual and physical death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him. We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This passed-on sinful condition is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” It’s true of all of us, we are sold into slavery to sin by Adam: We are in bondage to sin and Satan…

How can I avoid going to Hell?

Your Personal SIN: Personal sin is that which is committed every day by every human being. Because we have inherited a sin nature from Adam, we commit individual, personal sins, everything from seemingly innocent untruths and lies to hatred and murder. Those who have not placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ must pay the penalty for these personal sins, as well as inherited sin of Adam and Eve. However, believers who’ve trusted in Jesus for Salvation from SIN, have been SET FREE from the eternal penalty of sin: which is Hell and spiritual death, but now we also have the power to resist sinning. Now we can choose whether or not to commit personal sins because we have the power to resist sin through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, sanctifying and convicting us of our sins when we do commit them (Romans 8:9-11). Once we confess our personal sins to God and ask for His forgiveness for them, we are restored to perfect fellowship and communion with Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are condemned due to inherited sin from Adam and our personal sin breaking God’s Holy Commandments and Law. The only just penalty for this sin is death (Romans 6:23), not just physical death but eternal death (Revelation 20:11-15). Thankfully, inherited sin and personal sin have been crucified on the cross of Jesus, and now by an act of faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

The Most Shocking News:

Is not going to be we’re now in the EU or We’re now out of the EU: But it is “You Are Headed For Hell… Unless…”

Trust in Jesus my friends and this most shocking news will never be heard for you. Your place in Heaven is secured the moment you put your fiath and trust in Jesus Christ and His death upon the Cross for your sins.

Here’s Jesus Promise Again: FREEDOM:

John 8:34-36.
34  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever.
36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I’m Free at last.”

Have an Awesome week with Jesus.

Don.

 

NOTE: God’s Convicting Charge Against Human Beings:

Isaiah 59:1-20 (NIV)
1  Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
3  For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.
4  No-one calls for justice; no-one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
5  They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
6  Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.
7  Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.
8  The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no-one who walks in them will know peace.
9  So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10  Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.
11  We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.
12  For our offences are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offences are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13  rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14  So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
15  Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
16  He saw that there was no-one, he was appalled that there was no-one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18  According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
19  From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.
20  “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.

My friends, the REDEEMER has come, the LORD Jesus Christ, to set you FREE from your sins today. Amen!

 

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.

FAITH is simply taking the first step

Knowing Jesus we need to take the first steps of faith

Daily Spirit & Word: 639:

The Friends V The Professionals.

It’s Possible Through Simple Trusting: To KNOW Jesus Christ Personally.

Good morning my friends, On Sunday at our Thanksgiving Service for the Blessing, Naming and Dedication of four lovely children (asked for instead of baptism), I was preaching on Mark 2 About The Calling of Levi the Tax Collector.

The previous week I’d been preaching about that wonderful account of the Miracle and the Authority of Jesus. In Mark Chapter 2 we find different groups of people; The crowds blocking the way to Jesus, the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees and the group of faithful friends who carried the crippled man and lowered him through the roof to Jesus.

In the Calling of Matthew we find; Sinners, Tax Collectors and the same group of Teachers of the Law and Pharisees.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about that and praying about how people can be so close to God’s REVELATION and yet be so far away from it.

Those TEACHERS OF THE LAW: THE SCRIBES – You know my friends, those scribes were highly educated men.

History: After the Israelites returned to the Promised Land from their exile and Babylonian captivity, it was the Scribes who were the leaders of the Jewish Nation. The Prophet Ezra was also a Scribe. Their task was to teach, preserve and copy the Scriptures. They were also professional interpreters of the Mosaic Law and administered both its religious and its civil codes. The scribes determined how the details of the law of Moses should be applied to everyday life.

In time, they became the custodians of the so-called “oral law,” which, by Jesus’ time, was already replacing the written law as the rule of life. The Scribes and Pharisees had added many man-made traditions to God’s Law. The scribes were regarded as the authorities on historical and doctrinal matters. They were the nation’s teachers, each scribe having a number of disciples around him. Their power increased after Malachi closed the Old Testament canon and prophecy ceased. The Sanhedrin had a number of them among its membership. They were bitter enemies of Jesus Christ, often you’ll see them portrayed in the Bible as sitting in judgment of Him and finding fault with almost everything He did and said. They were often trying to trick Jesus and trip Him up in His own words. However, they didn’t realise with all their knowledge that they were dealing with God on Earth.

How could people who were as educated as those Scribes, Teachers of God’s Holy Law, be so close to God’s revelations and yet be so far away from understanding who Jesus was, what He’d come to do and why He came to do it? Because almost everything Jesus did and said was prophesied about in God’s Word that they were so ‘expert’ in. Jesus birth and life were all written about by the Prophets of old, they should have known that He was their expected Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us).

Not only should they have known who Jesus was, but they should have welcomed Him, especially after the miracles proved that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins, because only God could do both; forgive sins and heal with just a word. It was so obvious, so how could they miss it?

Perhaps it’s easy for us, because we’ve been giving so much more in the revelation of who Jesus is in the New Testament, but my friends, I’ve known modern EXPERTS who know the Bible much better than I do, who don’t KNOW Jesus personally. They know all about Him, they teach all about Him, they write books all about Him, but they don’t know Him. It becomes obvious when you read what they write and listen to what they say about Him.

It was not the Religious Teachers of the Law, the educated elite, who were commended by Jesus, but it was the common folk, friends of the crippled man, who’d carried him to Jesus and lowered Him to Jesus feet who were commended for their great faith. It wasn’t the Pharisees and Teachers commended by Jesus, but the Tax Collectors and Sinners with whom He sat down to eat dinner with.

It’s strange that knowing lots of things can keep a person away from the Lord. Please don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with study or gaining great knowledge. I love it myself: I love reading about the latest inventions, the innovations in electronics (my first career was an Engineer). There’s nothing more exciting than discovering, examining, looking into, researching, fact-finding, questing for knowledge and understanding; but as far as KNOWING GOD, we may study, but it will come to a point when we must realise that KNOWING HIM is very different from KNOWING all about Him.

To get that kind of knowledge about the LORD, to KNOW Jesus personally, will take DIVINE revelation. He will reveal Himself to you my friends, not because of your in-depth study, but because of your FAITH and TRUST in Him. He’ll show Himself to you. WOWzer!

John 5:39-40 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40  yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
5  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20
18  Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;
20  and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

So my friends, study all you like, but it’s going to take DIVINE REVELATION to actually KNOW Jesus Christ.

It’s foolishness to the ‘world’ (Worldly Wisdom). It always will be 🙂

But it’s NOT intellectual suicide, it takes something else: Faith and Trust.

How do we get that DIVINE REVELATION? 

It’s obvious, we all need to come to Jesus. Oh I wish I could be like one of those four friends and carry you to the Saviour.

For people today, to get Divine Revelation of Jesus it is simply by doing what Jesus told the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law to do in Mark Chapter 2: but they didn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see. To get DIVINE, INWARD REVELATION and KNOW Jesus, we must; REPENT OF OUR SINS.

Mark 2:16-17 (NKJV)
16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17  When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

If they’d been open and honest with themselves, they’d have seen that they too were actually sinners as well.

Faith is simply taking the first step, even though you can’t see the whole staircase.

WE MUST ALSO BELIEVE IN JESUS.

  • Who Jesus was: The Son of God.
  • What Jesus came to do: Die upon the Cross for our sins and the sins of the whole world.
  • What Jesus did: Died and rose again from the dead to life. He also ascended into Heaven and is alive now, reigning in Heaven with His Father.
  • What Jesus does now: He sends the Holy Spirit into everyone who trusts in His Death upon the Cross for forgiveness and turns in repentance and faith to receive Him as Lord.

Once we do that, the Holy Spirit will come and give us New Birth (we’ll be born again).

Those TEACHERS of God’s Law and the Pharisees who knew the Scriptures so well, didn’t get it. So my friends, I’ve got a question for you today, think very seriously before answering. To KNOW Jesus is too important to miss, because your ETERNAL destiny depends upon HOW you answer these questions now:

  • Have you repented? (Matthew 21:32; Luke 24:46-48; Isaiah 30:15; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:39)
  • Have you believed in Jesus? (John 3:15-20)
  • Have you received Him as Lord? (John 1:12-13).
  • Have you trusted that He died upon the Cross for your sins? (1 Peter 2:24)
  • Have you been born of the Holy Spirit? (John 3)
  • Have you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord? (Acts 2:38-39; Romans 10:8-17)
  • Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord? (witnessed to others about Jesus).

Check yourself to see if you are IN Christ Jesus and He is IN you (John 14, 15, 17, Chapters).

Check yourself to see if you are IN the FAITH of Jesus Christ: (2 Corinthians 13:5).

My friends, don’t be like those Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, who knew all about God’s Word, but remained far away from trusting in Jesus Christ, He was their own Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us). You can know Jesus personally today.

Believe, Repent, Receive, Trust, Be Born of God’s Spirit. Amen!

Faith is simply, taking the first step, even though you can’t see the whole staircase.

Don.

 

Prayer That Moves Mountains

Strong in prayer, faith, belief and not doubting,

Daily Spirit & Word, 624: Stop Your Wimpy Praying.

Prayer That Moves Mountains

Good morning my friends, at our worship team meeting on Friday, one of the group, during prayer, said, “Lord, forgive our wimpy praying”… Prayer that lacks power. Prayer that has no legs in it. Prayer that doesn’t expect answers. “Oh Lord, forgive our wimpy prayers”.

Thankfully, the Word of God has a lot to say about prayer and how to ensure our prayers are answered.

Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

What does that verse above tell us?

  • That we can get anything we want? No!
  • That God is like a genie in the lamp, that we can rub and get all our wishes to come true? No!

Just like all the great memory verses in God’s Word, we must look at this verse in it’s context to understand what our Lord Jesus was saying.

Why is context important? Because, someone who prays, believing that he or she will get an answer to that prayer, and doesn’t get what he or she wants is going to be bitterly disappointed and may give up on prayer or the Lord very quickly.

Matthew 21:18-22
18 Early in the morning, as he (Jesus) was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.
19  Seeing a fig-tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20  When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig-tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig-tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
22  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Jesus was hungry: He expected to be fed by a fig tree. He said to it (as if it had ears or a mind and will to understand) “May you never bear fruit again!” That fig tree withered instantly.

Then Jesus explained about faith and answered prayer: “If you have faith and don’t doubt and if you believe; then you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”… The keys to answered prayer: faith, belief and not doubting.

Remember what Jesus said to Thomas? “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27)… After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared first to all the disciples apart from Thomas. Church historians record that Thomas went on to become the Apostle who travelled to India and established one of the oldest and longest surviving groups of Christians in the world. He obviously did stop doubting and believed.

The Cursing of the Fig Tree:

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

Most Bible commentators believe that this cursing of the fig tree is symbolic. I do believe that too, because the evidence from Scripture is compelling; the Fig Tree is Symbolic of the Nation of Israel.

When did Jesus curse the fig tree?

It happened a week before Passover, and was during the last few days of Jesus’ life. It was very early in the season for figs, but because figs grow before the leaves come, Jesus would have expected to find some figs on the tree. In the UK we normally only get one crop of figs, but in the right climate and growing conditions, people who grow figs can get three crops in a whole year from fig trees. When Jesus saw the leaves on the tree He expected to find fruit too.

What was happening around the time Jesus cursed the fig tree?

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the people wanted to make Him King, but Jesus went to the Temple: What did He find there? Instead of pure religion it was a joke. People were buying and selling in the Temple. He got angry and turned over the tables and made a whip to drive people out of God’s House.

When he arrived he expected to find: PURE RELIGION: (to eat fruit from the fig tree).

  • The Fig Tree: Looked Good: (Had green leaves).
  • The Temple: Looked Good, had all the trappings of religion; Sacrifices, Robes, Magnificent Building.

However, just like the fig tree, the Temple was BARREN: Dead religion, faithless religiosity. Faithless religion is just as bad as pagan witchcraft. People performed their religious chants, followed religiously their duties, said the right prayers, thinking that because of the words and the way they are performed God is obliged to do their bidding. It’s just EMPTY and FAITHLESS religiosity. It was never meant to be what was said or how it was performed, pure religion was always meant to come for a heart that really wants to please God and from a people who wanted to live with God and in accordance with His will.

The Cursed Fig Tree: is a WARNING:

Not just to Israel, but to every follower of Jesus today: He’s looking for you to bear fruit in your daily walk with Him.

If you are not being fruitful, then your faith is as good a dead.

Repent or Perish:  Luke 13:1-9 (Repent or Perish).
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
2  Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
3  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
4  Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
5  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
6  Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig-tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7  So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8  ” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. 9  If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ “

Matthew 3:7-12 Produce The Fruit Of True Repentance. 
7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptising, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
9  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10  The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11  “I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.

How to get this ‘mountain moving’ faith.

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

Hebrews 11 is the great chapter on FAITH: It tells us about the faith of; Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab (the Prostitute).

The writer of Hebrews then goes onto explain: How he didn’t have the time to write about all the others who demonstrated great faith (but we have their stories in the Bible too).  Hebrews 11:32-34 “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33  who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34  quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

Answered Prayer: We Must BELIEVE and KNOW that God REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6).

Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.

What was Jesus doing when He cursed the fig tree?

He was showing God’s displeasure when there is a lack of real FAITH in Israel. That Israel would one day be crushed (It was a few years later when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans).

However, True faith will result in a fruitful life.

For the follower of Jesus we will be bearing much fruit in our daily walk with the Lord.

  • He’s looking for you to be fruitful.
  • He’s expecting you to be fruitful.
  • He wants you to be fruitful.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

How’s your fruit doing?

If you are like me, like an ordinary human being, you’ll readily admit that there are areas in your life that you need to be more fruitful; more loving, kind, generous, faithful etc… Except if you are a Christian, then you are NOT like an ordinary human being, because you’ve got the Holy Spirit living within you. You’ve got the POWER of God in your soul. Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (the dwelling place of God). Jesus is in you. Father God is in you. Heaven is in your heart. You are a member of God’s Kingdom Family. You are a Royal child of God. Heir to the Kingdom. Now, how’s your faith?

If Jesus was to walk up to you today, as He did that good looking fig tree, full of the promise of fruit, would He find FAITH alive and well within your soul?

If you don’t doubt, or stop doubting and believe; you can do anything as a follower of Jesus.

If you have faith, no mountain will be able to stand in your way.

How do we get more faith?

It comes by exercising the faith we’ve already got.

It’s the same as the muscles in your body, if you don’t do any exercise your muscles will deteriorate, you’ll get weaker and your bones will not stay together very well. Strong muscles are good for your whole body. Faith in every area of the Christian life needs to be exercised:

  • To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: Give generously; to people and especially to God. This shows we’re not trusting in money, but in God. We showing God and the world that we LOVE God more than money by giving it away generously. Once you start to give generously, your faith in the Lord will grow much stronger.
  • To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: BE MORE LOVING: Love the people God brings into your daily life. Be kind in the way that you talk to everybody. Being loving and kind is costly, but when you do it with determination and seeking God’s help and power to be more loving, then you’ll get much stronger in your faith and walk with Jesus.
  • To be stronger: We need to practice the walk: Stop gossiping and back-stabbing, work hard for your boss, share the Gospel as much as you can, give generously, go out of your way to help other people, speak up for the weak, those in need, the poor.

When you PRACTICE the FAITH you’ve already received, then your faith will grow much stronger day by day. You’ll learn to TRUST God more and you’ll expect much more to be done as your prayer life gets more sincere and expectant. As your intimacy with Father God grows ever closer, you’ll experience what divine dependency is like. You’ll bear MUCH fruit. God LOVES to give even more than you do. He’s longing to answer ALL your prayers, but you’ll never get a single prayer answered without FAITH and BELIEF. To stop your doubting, start living the way He’s revealed, empowered and called you to live. Be filled afresh today with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (John 17:26).

If you are praying for something and not seeing any answers yet, start living the way He’s revealed in the Bible. Be the person that Jesus saved you to be: Full of faith and faithful to Him.

PRAYER: “Oh LORD, forgive our wimpy prayers, strengthen our faith, help us to bear fruit in our lives and our walk with You. Enable us by Your Holy Spirit to walk with You today Lord. Help us to see with Your eyes the potential for good all around us. Lord give us the ability to make the most of all the opportunities You are giving us today. Amen!”

Most probably, the first MOUNTAIN that you’ll see thrown into the sea is your wimpy prayers. Be strong in the LORD.

I’m hoping and praying that you’ll be closer to Jesus this week than last.

Don.

 

The Good News of God: The Gospel.

God calls, Satan Tempts, Jesus Preaches,

Daily Spirit & Word: 610:

Jesus Begins Preaching The Good News.

Good morning my friends, today we’re back in the Gospel of Mark: We’re preaching through the whole of Mark’s Gospel. We’re in Chapter 1:9-15 (Jesus begins His public preaching ministry).

Mark 1:9-15 (NIV)
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. (Notice: no detail about conversation with John as in Matthew).
10  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12  At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,
13  and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
15  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

1) GOD SPEAKS TO JESUS.

Before anything AMAZING or Miraculous happens in the Bible, normally God speaks first.

Genesis: Before there was anything, God spoke it into existence.

Before Adam and Eve: God had spoken the plants and animals and all living things into existence.

Before the Fall: God Spoke one word of prohibition: “Don’t touch, don’t eat”

Before Moses went back to Egypt: God spoke to Him from the Burning Bush.

Before Samuel was a Prophet: God spoke to Him.

Before King David was confronted about his adultery and murder, God spoke to the prophet Nathan.

Before Jesus began His Ministry: God spoke to Him and said, ”

Mark 1:11 “And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

My friends, God still speaks today:

He’ll speak to you, through His Word, through dreams, visions and words of knowledge. He’ll speak to you through other people and through circumstances that you are going through.

Recently: One of the Evangelism Team said, “I think the Lord is telling us to go to Brixton”… We prayed about it and agreed to go. However, God confirmed it in different ways: I knew I was running out of tracts and coins, but I’d not ordered any on time. So I prayed and asked the Lord: Give us some things to take: Well as I was getting my bag ready to go, guess what, I found two bags of 10 Commandment Coins: Over a hundred: more than enough for one nigh, and lots of other tracts as well.

God leads, God guides and God Speaks my friends.

What was it God said? Who did He say it to?

Mark records that it was to Jesus God was speaking.

Matthew records that John heard God speaking to Jesus.

“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

When you know that you are hearing God’s Voice: it give you confidence, comfort, commitment, determination, direction and joy. Jesus went into the wilderness, directed by the HOLY SPIRIT. Today, God calls you to Jesus, He gives you the same HOLY SPIRIT and He’ll guide you into your Ministry. Whatever He determines that is. For it is HIM who gives you gifts. He let’s you KNOW just how much He loves you. How happy He is when we are obedient to His call. He lets us KNOW we are HIS Children.

2) SATAN TEMPTS JESUS:

Just after God spoke, He guides Jesus by His Spirit.

He guides Him into the wilderness to undergo some testing, which He allows the Devil, Satan to tempt Jesus.

Mark is unlike the other Evangelists: He doesn’t go into any detail:

For instance: Mark leaves out the fact that Jesus fasted 40 days, there’s no detail about how Satan tempted Him, or what Jesus did in response to Satan’s tempting. Mark only records the fact of Satan’s tempting Jesus.

When we’re reading Mark’s Gospel: If you’ve read the other Gospels, then you sub-consciously fill in the blanks, you’ve got a mental picture from all the other information the Bible provides about what that TEMPTING meant.

So let’s imagine for a moment; that we’ve never read any of the other Gospels: Why did Mark leave it out. You see the New Testament didn’t come together as one book for a long time after this Gospel was written. His focus was not on the detail, but on the acts that Jesus performed, the things that Jesus did. You’ll notice that again and again in Mark’s Gospel of Jesus. Why? It’s because Mark knew the things that Jesus did, speak loudest about WHO JESUS IS. When we know that, we’ll put our complete trust in Jesus.

He doesn’t go into the detail of things; like Matthew and Luke. (My wife and most women LOVE detail: LOL).

He doesn’t tell us about conversations; like John does.

He merely records the facts of what Jesus did. He paints with powerful picture words: i.e. (Heaven being torn open: Matthew tells us heaven opened and a dove came down, Mark tells us it was TORN OPEN. There’s a FORCE behind the Gentle Dove. We fill in the blanks with our minds.

Application: Satan Tempts Today: When you’ve heard God speaking, Satan will then, quite often come an hassle you too.

It didn’t take long for Satan to come and try and convince Jesus to go his way instead of God’s.

He tried to cause Jesus to doubt God’s Word / God’s Voice. He’ll do the same with you too.

Just after a friend of mine was converted: He had an awesome experience of the Holy Spirit.

A few weeks later, at the Bible study, He was doubting God’s Word: He said, “I can’t believe all these miracles”, but I said, “Pray about it, leave it on the back-burner and just concentrate on what Jesus taught and what the Bible teaches for a while”…

It didn’t take long for my friend to overcome his doubts, the next week he came back, Jesus DOES PERFORM MIRACLES.

It took the miracle of immediate answered prayer to convince him. He believed the Bible 100% after that.

When you’ve heard God speaking, Satan will try and steal it away from you.

  • He’ll try and make you doubt your calling.
  • He’ll try and take you away from God.
  • He’ll do his best to convince you “Life is better without Jesus, God, Church, Fellowship, Bible study, Prayer, Praise, etc etc etc…”
  • All that God calls us to do: He’ll try and convince you to STOP>
  • Why? Because Satan Knows there’s POWER in all the things that God has called us to do. He KNOWS: Once you START obeying God, you’re FAITH will get stronger and it’ll be harder for him to pull you away. He’ll never stop trying though. It’s a Constant Battle for the Saints against our arch-enemy Satan.

On Friday, we met a woman who’d been convinced she didn’t need ‘Church’: However, over time, her faith had dwindled, she’d fallen into sin and an old stammer she had came back to haunt her.

We encouraged her: To know God’s Word concerning gathering together regularly to worship: To get back into fellowship, bible study with others and prayer and praise with brothers and sisters.

Satan had fooled her into thinking, “I don’t need ‘Church'” Oh yes she does my friends. And WE ALL NEED IT TOO.

 

3) Finally, JESUS PREACHES: (The Good News of God).

God Spoke, The Devil Tempted and Jesus Preached.

Jesus had OVERCOME Satan’s attempts to divert Him, to make him walk away from God’s Plan.

Jesus begins to proclaim the Good News.

Notice what Mark tells us:

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. (Notice again: No detail about why John was put into prison, or how Jesus went about preaching the good news, just the fact that He did).

15  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

What was Jesus “Good News”: Gospel:

The TIME has come, The Kingdom of God is Near:

a) The Time Has Come:

Jew were EXPECTING THE MESSIAH. Jesus is declaring, boldly, loudly and clearly: I’m The Expected One. (The one that John the Baptist was telling you about, telling you to get ready for, I’m here)….

b) Repent and Believe the Good News:

Repentance and Belief: This is a KEY Doctrine that will NEVER be taken away until Jesus returns.

For any person to be SAVED: There must be both: Repentance and Belief.

JESUS GOSPEL: TO THE JEWS.

The Gospel Jesus preached was before any of the events of the Crucifixion or Resurrection and Ascension: These are the KEY elements in any Proclamation of the Gospel today.

But when Jesus was on earth, He was preaching mainly to Jews: His Gospel, Good News, was slightly different.

You see the Jews were God’s Chosen People: They were EXPECTING God to speak, to send messengers, who would usher in God’s Kingdom rule. Jesus is declaring to those who knew this: “NOW IS THE TIME: God’s Kingdom is close at hand, it’s near, it’s right here with you NOW”…. So, Repent (Get back to God, get right with God, turn away from sin and unbelief). Believe.

The Gospel For Us:

We know that Jesus died.

We know that Jesus is alive.

So the Gospel Message is: Believe in what Jesus has done on the Cross, Repent from your sins and Receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.

However, before people who are not like Jews can accept that message, we need to plough up the soil of the heart to get it ready for the seed of the Good News to be planted. We need to help people see their NEED of the SAVIOUR before they’ll be ready to receive Him rightly.

Imagine: A farmer going out to sow his seed in an un-ploughed field? He just would not do it. No farmer in his right mind would sprinkle seed on un-prepared ground. Why? Because He knows; the Birds will steal it away. The seed will be ruined.

It’s like casting your pearls before swine. So it is with giving the Good News before they’re ready to receive it.

The Apostles knew it and proclaimed it, the Preachers of Old knew it, we’re re-learning it’s value again today: With God’s help, we need to bring conviction of sin, the consequences of sin, the judgement to come, eternal destiny of all men without Jesus, and then they’ll be ready; Once they know their NEED of Jesus.

Today: People’s hearts need to be prepared, like a farmer’s field, before they hear and receive the Good News or it will be a waste of time, or a perverted Gospel we’ll be preaching.

BUT: What do we see today? People are being given the Good News, before they’re ready to receive it.

The Church tells the world: God LOVES you and Has a plan for your life: My friends, they’ve got their own plans, they love their lives of sin, they don’t want anyone telling them what to do and how to live. They’re happy in their sin.

So Now people are enticed into ‘church’ with words like: come to Jesus and you’ll be happy, you’ll get peace, joy and lasting fulfilment. So people come to that Jesus. They love that message, it doesn’t talk about: Sin, true Repentance, Judgement or Hell. No wonder those churches are full to overflowing. We NEED a ‘real’ Old Time REVIVAL TODAY.

Once a sick patient knows his need of a cure: He’ll be ready and eager to receive it.

Once a sinner knows his need of forgiveness, cleansing from sin and how to get it, he’ll be ready for the cure: The Gospel, Good News of Jesus Christ. How God loved him enough to send His One and Only Son into the world to die upon the Cross for the sins of every sinner. (John 3:16)… Also he’ll be ready for the warning (John 3:18-21).

Before we can give them either: The Good News or The Warning:

We must be gentle, humble and instruct them about their NEED of a Saviour, by showing them HOW they have offended God. We also have an inward ally who’ll help us: Their Conscience (God’s LAW written upon their hearts).

We have a Heavenly Power who’ll be drawing them: The Holy Spirit, who’ll lead them to a Conviction of Sin. However, our part is to EXPLAIN and PREPARE their Hearts for the Good News of the Gospel.  We need to be like the farmer, getting hearts ready for Good Seed of God’s Gospel Message planted perfectly into their prepared hearts.

My friends, it’s so wonderful when you observe people’s faces as they see their need of Jesus. You can physically see as their eyes are opened and they understand the Gospel, it makes sense to them. Not everyone is ready at that instant to Believe and Repent, but their hearts have been prepared, the ground has been ploughed and the seed sown. God’s WORD: Faith Comes by Hearing. God will do His Work.

Conclusion:

God Speaks, Satan Tempts and Jesus Preached.

God calls you today, fills you with His Spirit, to guide you.

Satan still tempts you today,

and Jesus has commanded you to PREACH: Good News, but prepare hearts for the Gospel first.

Go into ALL THE WORLD… The emphasis of Jesus is for everyone of us to “GO”… Let the world know the Good News of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Mark 16:15-20 (NIV)

15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20 (NIV)

20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Let us PRAY: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank you so much for Mark’s Gospel message. We can see that just like You, we can Hear our Father speaking today. We know the reality of Satan and how he tries to tempt us away from You and Your will for our lives. We believe that You are calling us all to share the Good News. Please give us the will to be obedient, the desire to share and the wisdom to know when we’re being tempted. Keep us from all evil, give us daily bread, Your Kingdom Come. Amen.

Vision Blurred By Doubt

How Knowing Jesus is blocked by doubt

Daily Spirit & Word, 494: Vision Blurred By Doubt.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 10: Vision Blurred By Doubt. Luke 24:22-26.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, we’ve got a wonderful weekend ahead of us, but today and tonight are going to be really special. First, this morning we’re going to see how when we doubt God’s Word, God’s Promises and ALL that He has said about the Messiah, we’re going to have a very dim and clouded or blurred view of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then later on, here at my home, we’ve got a very special visitor coming. He’s just arrived back from Pakistan and you know all about the recent troubles there between Muslims and Christians? Well my friend has been there and after meeting up with brothers and sisters in Pakistan, he’s going to share what’s been happening. Persecution is widespread, there are arrests, torture, death threats and actual murders taking place of innocent men, women and children who believe in Jesus Christ. If you are free, then please contact me and I’ll let you know the details.

Back to the Vision of the Resurrected Lord being blurred by doubt.

Bible Reading for Day 10: Vision Blurred By Doubt.

Luke 24:22-26 22  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning
23  but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.
24  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25  He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

We’re continuing on our ‘Eye Opening’ Journey with Jesus and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus today. Yesterday we saw what feelings of being disappointed can do to our vision or ability to trust in the Lord. How we need to re-focus upon the resurrected Christ. Today, we’re going to see that DOUBT doesn’t just blur our vision, but almost makes it impossible to see: I.E. Spiritual Blindness… Next week we’re looking at Thomas and his stubborn Unbelief, but today the focus is upon FOOLISHNESS of DOUBT and slowness of belief, but BELIEF in what?

Notice: And this is very important, Jesus didn’t stop them on the road and pull his hoodie down and show them the thorn marks on his head,  and he didn’t roll up his sleeve and say, “Here, guys, take at look at these NAIL marks.” He didn’t lift up his jumper and say, “Look, guys, look at the hole here, it was caused by the Roman Soldier’s Spear.” Notice also he didn’t take off his clothes and say, “Look at the whip marks on my back” It would have been so easy for the miserable, dejected, disheartened, belief-drained followers to trust in Him if he’d just done that. However, Jesus doesn’t always do what we’d expect. He’s always turning the world’s ways on it’s head. Surely PHYSICAL PROOF is what’s required for and needed to believe???? That’s what the WORLD wants: Professor Richard Dawkins, the world famous Atheist is looking for such PHYSICAL PROOF / EVIDENCE of the existence of God and without it, like doubting Thomas, he along with countless thousands of others are refusing to believe.  NO my friends, Jesus didn’t for one minute consider the physical proof to be more powerful or more convincing, because there’s something even more weighty and trustworthy than that of any mere Physical Proofs, more than actually seeing the Lord Jesus Christ alive. It’s how the VAST Majority of followers trust in the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ today.

What did Jesus point to, if it was not his wounds and scars? It was the even more convincing and attestible TRUTH of God’s Word. Yes, it’s because those ancient scriptures bear witness and make manifest the TRUTHS concerning the Messiah. The Jews would have understood this, because they believed and know that the Bible IS not just a book written by men, but the very WORDS of God, that were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  In fact Jesus didn’t just tell them, He rebuked them for their FOOLISHNESS / STUPIDITY… Luke 24:25 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken”

Tomorrow we’re going to see the POWER of the SCRIPTURES to enable us to BELIEVE. Our focus today in on the FOOLISHNESS of unbelief or doubt concerning the validity of the weight of testimony from all that the Prophets had said concerning the MESSIAH or Christ.

For a Jew back then in Jesus day, it was FOOLISH and STUPID not to know and believe God’s Word. However, even today, it’s those same Old Testament Scriptures that can and will convince people of the validity of the claims of Christians, that Jesus had to suffer and die upon the cross, because it was predicted and prophesied hundreds of years before it actually happened. Not only that, but His place of birth, how he’d be born, how he teach and how he’d come into town on a donkey and suffer and die and be resurrected three days later. It was all there in black and white in the Bible before any of it transpired.

But the followers of Jesus were being given proofs, by the women and the other disciples, but they still DOUBTED. My friends, that’s how DOUBT can blur your ability to SEE, it makes you blind to the glaring EVIDENCE.

We actually saw this the other day, when we were chatting with a man about Jesus and His claim to Divinity. No matter what EVIDENCE we pointed to, the man was more prepared to believe and listen to the claims or counter-claims of others, that it was all made up. Nothing we could do would shift his doubt. He was totally blinded by lies and couldn’t see the truth. Doubt can do that, but there’s something so POWERFUL that can shatter doubt into a thousand pieces. It’s the TESTIMONY OF GOD’S WORD and the fact that so much of what is written has come to pass.

It was obvious that these men DOUBTED and didn’t trust the testimony of the women or the disciples who reported the body was gone, that the women had seen Angels and that they’d met the risen Lord Jesus Christ. They doubted and were STUPID not to believe the weight of testimony contained within the pages of the Bible.

My friends, wherever you are on your Spiritual quest, it is critically important to realise that DOUBT and unbelief concerning what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, is the main hindrance to seeing Him for who He really is. The GREAT NEWS is that no matter how blurred your spiritual vision of Jesus is, or how spiritually blinded you’ve become, there is a cure for your condition. God’s got an amazing gift waiting for you; the gift of FAITH. You know how to get this gift? It’s by hearing the WORD of God. “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God”. Also Jesus Himself came and walked along with those first disciples, and He’ll come to you too, but by His Holy Spirit, remember they are one, just like Jesus and the Father are one. He’s going to be with you on this journey to faith and full trust.

Have an AWESOME weekend my friend, if your free tonight come and join with me and my friend from Pakistan and you’ll hear how Jesus is alive and active in one of the most dangerous places on earth today to be a follower of Jesus.

Don.

Points to Ponder: Day 10 of 40 Days With Jesus.

  • How would you define doubt?
  • In what ways can unbelieve and doubt in the resurrection hinder faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ today?
  • Are there any particular areas of your life where you find it more difficult to believe the promises of God? Such as for healing, deliverance, provision or answers to prayer? How might you grow in your faith in these areas?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to forgive my doubts and unbelief and my slowness to believe today. I now know that my doubts and unbelief are foolish considering the weight of evidence in the Holy Scriptures. Thank you Lord for the Word of God, both Old and New Testaments, that reveal who You are and what You are like. Please Lord Jesus, send the Holy Spirit afresh and help my doubt and unbelief and I know that He’ll open up my understanding of Your Word. Amen.