The Precious Ring: Lost and Found.

Obedience to God makes us His family members

Daily Spirit & Word: 673:

The Importance of Jesus Family.

My friends John and Kathy Butler wrote on Facebook yesterday: “We arrived home from a walk at Burrator (Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor in Devon) with the grandchildren this afternoon when Kathy realised she no longer had her mum’s wedding ring. We drove back to the first of several stops where the children were playing and started to search without any hope.

Kathy found it sitting in a very muddy puddle just near the edge glinting at us!!”

Have you ever come close to loosing something very precious to you?

In this message today we’re going to see three groups of people:

  • The Pharisees: Who hated Jesus and plotted his downfall. Accuse Him of being Possessed by Satan.
  • The Family of Jesus: His mother Mary and his brothers. Moved with genuine concern thinking Jesus was mad.
  • The Crowd in the House: Who were sitting around Jesus, lapping up His teachings. 

We’re going to see that how we respond to Jesus is crucially important: Because ONLY those who LOVE Him will be the ones who are SAVED. We’ll know that we LOVE Jesus, if we are being obedient to the Commands of God, they’re no longer commands, but promises for our abundant life.

We’re back with the Gospel of Mark again today:

In previous Chapters Mark has been building a wonderful picture for us about who Jesus is, and why He had come: We’ve seen Him debating with the Pharisees (The Religious Leaders of Jesus time). We’ve noted that He selected 12 out of the many thousands who were following Him, designating them Apostles (Sent ones: to preach, teach, heal and deliver).

Today, we discover that Jesus is in a house, with so many people that it gets impossible for Him to even eat.

Whilst Jesus is busy; healing and teaching, his family arrives, they’ve come to get their precious Son. Also another group of the old adversaries have arrived the Pharisees, they’ve not come to save Jesus, but to condemn Him even more.

Mark 3:20-35 (NIV) 
20  Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
21  When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
The Pharisees Arrive:
22  And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23  So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?
24  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.
27  In fact, no-one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.
28  I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.
29  But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
30  He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

The Family Arrives:
31  Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.
32  A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
33  “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
34  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
35  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Beelzebub: Who is Beelzebub?

Beelzebub means Lord of Flies: The god of Ekron. “The Dung God.” Imagine that, they’re accusing Jesus of being filled with the Demons of the Dung god.

The Pharisees are here again 🙂

They’re accusing Jesus of being Demon Possessed.

Jesus knew what they meant (Satan) so he explained it in a Parable to them:

  • Divided Kingdom: We’ve seen it in History: Greece, Rome, (Empires crumble from corruption / division within). A divided KINGDOM cannot stand for very long.
  • Divided House: We’ve all see how families fall out and they don’t stand for long: Kardashians. Earthly families that fall apart. Normally over something small: An inheritance, money, finances, jealousy, anger, arguments, etc… A divided house cannot stand.
  • Divided Person: Satan Opposing Himself: Nah! That’s just dumb. Foolishness of the Pharisees. But we also see this in earthly terms too: a person who’s hell bent on self-destruction: through drink and drugs. Last week I gave the example of Amy Winehouse: Hell bent on self-destruction. She succeeded. Such a sad loss for all who knew her, but ONLY Jesus could have saved Amy Winehouse.

After explaining the parable Jesus turns around their accusation: He’s not filled with a Demon Spirit, but the Holy Spirit and now they are guilty of committing the unpardonable sin: by accusing Jesus of being filled and moved by a Demon Spirit they’re Blaspheming against God the Holy Spirit.

Blasphemy: Blasphemy is a serious sin: “The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”

Exodus 20:7 (NIV)  “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

Have you ever said; “O God!” or “OMG” or “Jesus Christ”?: When you hurt your toe, couldn’t get parked, stuck in traffic, arguing with someone when you are angry? Even in those situations using God’s Name in any format: It’s still Blasphemy. I don’t believe that if you are filled with the Holy Spirit you’ll ever take God’s name in vain and not know about it, how serious it is. At best, It hurts your relationship with God. At worst it cuts you off from Him if you do it knowingly.

But to Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is a sin that can never be forgiven. Verse 29.

What does this mean? Blaspheme The Holy Spirit.

It’s to know God and His purposes and yet still be in opposition to Him.

If you’re still feeling guilty for your sin: You are OK.

You love Jesus, but still fail and fall: You are OK.

Your guilty conscience proves there’s room for repentance; and getting right with God again.

However: If you say that you know Jesus: And are Opposed to Him: You are definitely on dangerous ground.

I believe that it’s possible to be forgiven every sin: Apart from this one.

My Friend: A Young Christian: In RN Got home on leave to find his wife had been cheating on him. He Cursed God. Felt that he had committed the unpardonable sin. For over a week he avoided our early morning prayer gatherings. He eventually came back one day, but he was unusually quiet: We were reading Psalm 40 and then we began praying. I was praying in tongues: I looked up and his face was streaming with tears. He burst into tears and let it all out. (Tongues are good sometimes). He confessed to shouting at God. Said some terrible things to Him. He thought God wouldn’t forgive him, he’d been pleading but had no peace. But after coming to prayer and hearing God’s Word: Even though He’d got angry with God. Now he knew that God had forgiven him.

He was hurting: He had believed that once he became a Christian, then everything would be sunshine and roses in his life. Now he finds his wife had cheated on him. He was broken: He was mistakenly convinced that everything in life would be easy now. He cursed God, because he had believed a lie, But he came back to Jesus. Do you want to know what a man on fire is like? From that day on he told everybody about Jesus and many more sailors came to faith. A life forgiven is a life transformed.

The Blasphemy: Against the Holy Spirit: Is KNOWING: Jesus, His Person, His purpose and deciding to oppose Him. It’s going against God’s Holy Spirit.

Being angry with God: Is not the unpardonable sin, but we may still need to repent and ask for His forgiveness.

(Note: The Psalms are full of people who are hurting and shouting out to God about their predicament in life).

Mother’s And Brothers Arrive: Verses 31-35:

They made a mistake: Instead of going in themselves to see Jesus, they send someone else in.

Loosing Something Precious: You’ll go looking for it. Like my friends with the Wedding Ring.

When you are about to loose or have lost someone precious: You’ll move heaven and earth to get them back.

Jesus is precious to His family too: His mother and brothers had come to get him; propelled by love and genuine concern.

They are GENUINELY worried about Him: “People were saying, “He’s lost his mind”, “Your son has gone mad”…. His family were not opposed to Jesus, but were only moved through caring concern: We all know they needn’t have worried. Jesus was OK. But they made a genuine mistake through loving concern.

How many times have we made a mistake about Jesus? Not understanding Him, Not following Him the way He wants us to?

We know from the Bible that Jesus was close to His mother Mary and his borthers; She was there at the Cross as her precious son died. His own brother James becomes a key leader in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death on the Cross. It was only a mistake, but through genuine love.

What Jesus said is surprising: “Who are my mother and brothers?” Verse 33.

Imagine that, what an insult it could have been to his family outside the house that day, but Jesus was teaching the crowd.

He looked around the room: At the people gathered there: and answers his own question: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Verse 35.

You know something my friends, we KNOW that we KNOW Him if we LOVE Him.

You know something else my friends, we KNOW that we LOVE Him if we are living in obedience to God’s will.

Jesus said, “If you truly love me, you will obey my commands”… It’s a PROMISE: You will obey my commands.

Jesus also said, “Come unto me … my yoke is easy (Commands), my burden is light (not difficult)… You’ll want to be obedient to Jesus when you’ve come to Him in faith and received Him as LORD. Only then is the obedient life possible, through the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us the POWER to live the loving obedient life.

One more Question:

  • How are you getting on at doing God’s will today?
  • How are you getting on a living the Christian life?
  • Are you living in accordance with the will of God?

OK, I know that’s three questions 🙂

If you are NORMAL: Then there will always be areas in your life that God is working on.

You are always going to be, until the Lord returns, “A Work in Progress”

  • God has made you into a Saint: The moment you trusted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
  • God is making you more Saintly: Day by Day.

He will finish the good work He began in you. (Philippian 1:6).

Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)
4  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

If you LOVE Jesus: You are His FAMILY:

You are very precious to Him.

He said about those who love Him; “I’ll never leave you, nor forsake you”…

Family might abandon you, friends may leave you and let you down, but Jesus never will leave you.

There are THREE Possible Positions to be in regarding Jesus today:

  • Opposition: Like the Pharisees.
  • Mistaken: Like Jesus Family.
  • Family: Like those around about Jesus; who prove they LOVE Him by being obedient to God’s Commands. God’s will.

Which position are you in today?

Have an awesome week my friends.

Stay close to the Vine: John 15

Stay full of God’s Holy Spirit: Ephesians 5:18.

Don.

Further Study Today:

Being Filled With God’s Spirit:

God is the God of FREE REFILLS.

I heard about a Clergyman who told his children in McDonald’s they can have only one coke. Because he couldn’t afford to keep paying for a refill. However, on holiday in America you can keep coming back and filling your glass again and again as much as you like.

The Holy Spirit is a bit like that; you get filled with the Holy Spirit once you trust in Jesus, but you need to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit every day.

First things first: you don’t come to Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit. In Titus 3:4-6, we’re told that God “saved us, not because of works done by us… but by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ…” You can’t become a Christian without the Holy Spirit.

And when you become a Christian you don’t receive 2/3 of God, as if the Holy Spirit comes later. 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13 tell us that the Holy Spirit seals us and guarantees that we belong to Jesus. When you put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Spirit seals you.

But in Ephesians 5:18, Paul commands the church to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”. The English language doesn’t quite do justice to Paul’s intent here. In the Greek, this command is a present imperative, indicating that this isn’t speaking of a onetime filling, but rather a regular pattern of being filled. So “go on being filled with the Holy Spirit” is more like it.

This makes some of us nervous, but it was normal language in the New Testament. In Luke 4:1, Jesus is described as being “full of the Holy Spirit”. In Acts 4:8, Peter is “filled with the Holy Spirit”. In Acts 9:17, Ananias lays his hands on Saul so that he can be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. Barnabas is described as being “full of the Holy Spirit and faith” in Acts 11:24.

And lest you point out that all these references just mention one person one single time, look at the three separate instances in Acts when the disciples are said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. First, in Acts 2:4 they’re “filled…” and begin to speak in tongues. Second, in Acts 4:31 they’re “filled…” again. And then in Acts 13:52 they’re again “filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy”.

Why else would Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and not a pool? A river is a constant flow whereas a pool is a dormant supply. God reconciles us to himself through Jesus, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, and then longs to continue to fill us and fill us and fill us again. He really is the God of FREE refills, but we NEED Him every single day.

Go on being filled with God, the Holy Spirit today my friends.

Don.

 

Relating to God as Father.

God The Father

Daily Spirit & Word, 491: Relationship Redefined.

Relating to God as Father and Jesus as your Brother.

Good morning my friends, what an awesome weekend, you know that even when things go bad, God is ALWAYS GOOD. He’s not lost control as some imagine, He’s always in control, God’s always got a plan and every event or situation is known to Him even before it happens, nothing can take the LORD by surprise. It’s just one of His Divine attributes, KNOWING EVERYTHING. That revelation gives the follower of Jesus great confidence as you go about your daily routines and even when something unexpected happens in your life. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is beyond God’s sphere of influence or knowledge. Today, we discover something about God Almighty that’s crucial for every true believer in the Lord Jesus to grasp hold of and keep holding onto.

Mary Magdalene Touches The Risen Lord Jesus.

John 20:17-18 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Mary had obviously grabbed hold of her Lord when she recognised that the person she thought was a gardener was actually Jesus. I can’t really imagine how much she would have been relieved and overjoyed to see Jesus alive again can you? But we can try and put ourselves right there in the garden, by Jesus tomb, with Angels in the background and the risen Lord in front of us. Jesus is Alive after dying in front of her eyes, He’s back, He’s risen from the dead. Oh WOWzer or WOWzers. 🙂 Jumping for JOY. She grabs hold of Jesus and is obviously clinging to Him in such a way that says, “I’m never letting go of you, ever again”… Jesus didn’t rebuke her harshly, as some Bible commentators would have you imagine. He’s gently telling her to let go, because He must ascend into Heaven to be with His Father. So if it’s not a rebuke what is Jesus doing? He’s informing Mary that what He promised before He died is about to happen; those who’ve believed and trusted in Him would now relate with Him in a very different way; not physically as they had done before, but ‘Spiritually’. From now on, as soon as Jesus ascends into Heaven, we’ll be relating to God as our FATHER and Jesus as our Brother. God becomes our Father the moment we trust in Jesus Christ. We cannot hold onto Him in a physical way, no matter how much we’d long to touch Jesus, but the new reality, the new way of Knowing God, even though it’s spiritual, is even more tangible than a mere touch or hold or any other physical sensory experience. For the spiritual experience of knowing God enables us to connect in an even more powerful way that our five senses; sight, touch, taste, smell or sound.

Because we are still physical beings, we long for these senses to be satisfied, but once we’ve been born of God’s Spirit, as was about to happen to Mary Magdalene and all the other followers, we’d know God differently: As our Father and Jesus would then become our Heavenly Brother. Of course Jesus is still our Lord, God, Saviour, Master, Friend, but He’s become our brother too. We’re going to be relating to God on a completely different level than any other human being has ever done before. That’s the message that Jesus gave Mary Magdalene to give to the Disciples. It’s also the message that we’ve been tasked to deliver to every Human Being on earth today; it’s part of the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that in Believing His message, that He came into the world to deliver sinners from God’s wrath and anger against their sins, to the glorious freedom of becoming a saint with a promise of everlasting life, we also come into a NEW relationship with God: He becomes our Father when we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus death upon the cross. Oh WOWzer of WOWzers… It’s totally awesome!

Once you KNOW this most awesome truth, you’re going to want to tell others about it. This truth and inner knowing is much, much better than anything else that can ever happen in your life.

Think about it for a moment, we all go through things in life that produce a massive YIPPIEEE inside. Things that flood our hearts with immense joy and gladness: A baby being born, falling in love for the first time, meeting that dream person, winning something we’ve longed for in life, getting promoted to a dream position in work, but THIS: KNOWING GOD AS FATHER far, far exceeds ANYTHING else in life. Even if we were to win the whole world, it’s NOTHING in comparison to a fraction of a second with the GLORY of God. Being in God’s presence for even one second is much better than a MOUNTAIN of Gold, Silver, Diamonds and Rubies. Why? Because they can’t RELATE, they’re incapable of knowing, they’re dead things, but being with Father God, the Ultimate REALITY EXPERIENCE: What a total WOWzer! I can’t really find the words to communicate what it’s like: it’s beyond the human capacity to describe what it’s like knowing God as Father: but JOY beyond our happiest wish for JOY is something like it.

Now, through simply coming in faith and trust to Jesus: God IS your Heavenly Father.

Explaining WOWzer!

What does WOWzer mean? You know that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sights has a button you can press when you really like something: In Instagram it’s a heart, in Twitter it’s a star and on Facebook it’s the famous LIKE button. Well imagine if they had a way of ranking your likes, hearts and stars? It might go like this;

  • For Facebook: Like, Like a lot, Like a whole lot, really really really like and then comes WOWzer! 🙂
  • For Twitter: one Star, two, three, four, five and then WOWzer!
  • For Instagram: One Heart, two, three, four, five and then WOWzer!

Well that’s what it’s like now knowing God as FATHER… But I would give that experience: WOWzer of WOWzers. You see?

Points to Ponder:

What is your own response to the idea that God is your Father?

When you pray or worship God, how do you see yourself approaching Him? Do you see yourself as an undeserving sinner coming to a reluctant God or, as God see you, as a much loved child, coming to a wonderful Father who loves you very much?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you so much for welcoming me into Your Heavenly Family. It’s wonderful that you’ve bridged the chasm that separated me from Father God by giving Your life upon the Cross and dealing with my sin in such a way that’s it’s power has been defeated forever. You’ve brought me freedom and joy and peace because You died in my place. Now I’m in Your family and I know that it’s going to last forever. Because of what You did Lord Jesus, I now Know God as my Father. (John 1:12). I know that I’ve now inherited Heaven with You Lord as my Brother (Romans 8:17). Father Your Word tells me You are perfect (Matthew 5:48). You are therefore, better than my beloved earthly father, You will never disappoint or let me down or let me go. I know and believe your promises that you’ll never leave me alone (Deuteronomy 31:6) You long to lavish Your love upon me as Your beloved child (1 John 3:1). So Father, as Your child I receive Your love afresh today. Thanks You so much for Your faithfulness towards me. Help me Father to be faithful in telling others the Greatest News of the Awesome Joy of Knowing You today and that everyone can come to know you as Father once they’ve trusted in Jesus. Amen!

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page:

40 Days with Jesus: Day 6: Relationships Redefined: Knowing God as Father.

Relating To God As Father: Relationships Redefined.