An Extra Hour In Bed

Service in Jesus Kingdom Family

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

Jesus is Drawing Near To Jerusalem.

“Can YOU Drink the Cup that I Drink?”

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

I’ve been thinking about that word, EXTRA:

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

But what does EXTRA mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra:

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

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

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

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

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

  • First Jesus Prediction of His Death:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He set his face like flint”

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

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

2) Second: James and John’s Request.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They want the POSITIONS of HONOUR & GLORY: 

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

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

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

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

Jesus is determined to go through with it.

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

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

4) TRUE KINGDOM LEADERSHIP:

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

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

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

Do you Remember that Children’s Gospel Song?

Jesus goes on to tell them why?

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

Jesus gave His LIFE: As a RANSOM:

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

Jesus death brings freedom in so many different ways;

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, it’s NOT an EXTRA Hour in BED.

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

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

Like the Apostles James and John eventually did:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don.

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

Bening Grateful When You Are Not Feeling Worthy

Jesus is one who can sympathise with your weaknesses

Daily Spirit & Word: 790: When You Are Grateful Because Of God’s Calling.

Good morning my friends, it’s been an awesome week of ministry, service and witness for the Lord Jesus.

There have been high moments, like getting a call-back from someone we met while out witnessing on the streets, then low moments when you hear some heart-breaking news the very next day. It all makes me think back to the time when I knew the Lord was calling me into the ministry and how unworthy I felt. I was so convinced of my own unworthiness, that I wanted just one minister who was already ordained to tell me I was just dreaming, that I’d never be able to live up to that calling. However, in my quest to find that all I got was, “I think He may be calling you Donald”. I asked a Church of England Priest with whom I’d had regular debates (some bordering on arguments), The Venerable Reg said, “I was wondering when you’d come to me and ask me that question”. He was convinced it was God. I then went to the Church of Scotland Chaplain, I was sure he’d say yes, but I wanted to hear it from his mouth. “He was so overjoyed, Malcolm lifted me off my feet, gave me a great bear-hug and said, “Oh yes! I know He’s calling you Don”. When I telephoned my own minister back home to ask, he almost burst into tears on the other end of the phone.

Yet that feeling of not being worthy, of feeling insecure, of not¬†knowing¬†enough, never left me, but then it hit me, if I ever felt able then I’d not be depending on the Lord for His strength but on my own; knowledge, experience and ability.

You see my friends, I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I felt how unworthy and ill equipped I was, I was in good company. How refreshing it is now to know that thousands of ministers, in fact most genuine Christians, who’ve felt God’s call to come and serve Him, feel the same thing.

  • Moses felt unworthy and ill equipped.
  • Gideon was so sure he wasn’t the man, he put out a fleece.

However, it not until you get to the great apostle Paul in the New Testament that you get a full picture of how unworthy anyone has ever felt;

Listen to Paul’s gratitude towards the LORD:

1 Timothy 1:12-16 (NIV)
12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
13  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
14  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 ¬†Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners‚ÄĒof whom I am the worst.
16  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

So my friends, if ever you feel God’s calling you to do something for Him, but don’t feel¬†up-to¬†the task, you are in great company.

Many of the greatest saints of old, have experienced the same feelings of unworthiness.

The TRUTH: We are unworthy, we are all sinners, we were dirty, naked, blind, foolish, blasphemous, ignorant; until the LORD opened our eyes and let us see the amazing mercy and grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How we can be washed clean, made pure, made holy, gifted for service and equipped with the power of Heaven.

It’s Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, who takes us and shapes us for His service.

Just look how Moses, Gideon and Paul turned out; each in their own time shook the world with their devotion to and love for the LORD.

They all maintained their walk with the LORD through intimacy with Him. Spending time in God’s presence.

My friends, when you feel God’s call, get into the presence of Jesus, pray, praise, worship and let His WORD soak into your soul. Because when you do, He’ll transform you more and more into His own likeness. He’ll fill you with His deep love for those in the world who don’t know Him yet. He’ll give you everything you need to be able to serve Him.

Moses, Gideon and Paul all felt unworthy and¬†ill-equipped¬†because they were unworthy. They’d all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, but through His mercy and grace God called and equipped them for His service. He’s calling you too.

Brothers and Sisters For The Work:

It’s also obvious, that Moses, Gideon and Paul had companions for the work the Lord called them to do. They would not have been able to accomplish much without them. Moses had Aaron and Joshua, Gideon had thousands, but the Lord whittled it down to 300. Paul had many who joined him in spreading the Good News of Jesus; Barnabas, Lydia, Timothy, Mark, etc… And I’ve also had great brothers and sisters in the Lord wherever I’ve been since I was called to follow Jesus; most recently; Robert and Valerie, David, David, David, Amanda, Pat, Ben and Judy, Sherrie, Isaac and Caroline, Judith, Pam, Gemma, Hayley, George, Prince, Anthony, Marcela, Betty and Budget, Jonathan, Celestin, Lloyd, John and Josie, Maria and Harold and many, many more. Of course I’ve got to mention my wife Julie and our children and grandchildren, what a family. It’s amazing how the LORD sustains us in our calling and keeps us going in His service with great joy and encouragements along the way.

  • Yes there are hard times, like saying goodbye to Stewart this week, who’s gone to be with the LORD. Getting a call from a distressed person. Visiting a heart-broken person.
  • Yes there are¬†jubilant¬†times, like hearing how someone is getting a breakthrough in their walk with Jesus.
  • And there are the slog times, like keeping going at night, when you’ve been up since before dawn, when all you want to do is put your feet up. Sometimes, it’s moments like that you’ll see awesome revelations from the LORD.

It happened to me this week: I was exhausted and ready for my pillow. Walking back home at 10.00pm I bumped into two women we’d witnessed to and prayed for about four months ago. I recognised her by her tattoos. She said, “I’m not pregnant yet, but I’ve got real HOPE in my heart since you prayed”. Even though I was tired, it put a skip into my step on the way home.

When you are feeling weak and unworthy, remember these wonderful verses from God’s Word:

Jesus knows you are not worthy, but He still calls you into His service in His Kingdom. None of us are worthy; Moses wasn’t, Gideon wasn’t worthy, Paul wasn’t worthy, I’m not worthy and neither are you, but He’s calling you into His service in His Kingdom for His Glory.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15 ¬†For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are‚ÄĒyet was without sin.
16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for calling me out of the darkness into your marvellous light. Thank You for the amazing mercy and grace in times of need.

Thank you Jesus that you are calling everyone who knows You as Lord, Saviour, Master and Friend, into full-time service in Your Kingdom.

O LORD, give us all ears to hear Your calling, eyes to see where you want us to serve You, and hands willing to work in obedience. Amen.

Have a blessed weekend my friends,

For those who gather with us in St Luke’s this Sunday: A gentle reminder that it’s Harvest: Please bring something for the Foodbank (They need supplies to give to those who’re going through a time of crisis in their lives). Put any money offerings for Foodbank in an envelope and write “For the work of the Foodbank”.

Some might like to make an offering to the Church: For the ministry of Jesus Kingdom in West Norwood. You can do that this weekend, just put it in an envelope and write; “For St Luke’s Church: Building for Jesus¬†Kingdom”.

Stay close to Jesus, get equipped for Kingdom business,

Don.

 

Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

When Jesus calls us, it's to repentance and faith in Him alone

Daily Spirit & Word: 776: Who’s that knocking at my door.

Good morning friends, I was awakened by a strange noise in the house this morning at 4.30am. It startled me out of a weird dream. In the dream I was back in Plymouth and some kind of strange earthquake was happening, I saw a bus falling over on it’s side and buildings shaking and some falling to the ground. People had their mobile phones out taking pictures to capture the scene and share on social media. Do you know what that noise was that woke me? It was a knocking at my door, but when I got to the door there was no one there. I was up now so decided to read some of God’s Word and this is what I read.

Romans 10:16-21 (NIV)
16 ¬†But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
17  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
18 ¬†But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
19 ¬†Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
20 ¬†And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21 ¬†But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

If “faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” then why didn’t the Israelites respond? Who knows, but they didn’t.

Then follows a series of question from Paul: “DID THE¬†ISRAELITES¬†HEAR THE MESSAGE?”

He answers each time with “Of course they did, but they REJECTED it”…

When someone is knocking at your door what do you do?

  • Do you sit there and ignore it?
  • Do you get up and listen at the door to what they have to say?
  • Do you open the door to the one with the message?

It’s The Insurance Man

Years ago my mum and dad had an insurance policy, the man would call around to collect the insurance money every week. There were quite a few times that my mum didn’t have any money to pay the installments, so she’d tell us to hide and stay quiet until the man goes away. The man would be knocking at the door. He’d be shouting through the letterbox “It’s the Insurance Man”… We didn’t dare move a muscle. I’ve been scared of Insurance Men since I was a child ūüôā LOL A few times the man could hear there were obviously people in the house, because you can’t keep seven kids quiet for very long. Or sometimes they’d pretend to go away and then once we’d all started talking the letterbox would fly open and he’d shout, “I can hear you in there, open the door”…

My friends, those Israelites didn’t open the doors of their hearts to God.

He called upon them many times and in so many different ways.

They might have been there listening to the message, but they didn’t respond.

Isaiah tells us, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people”…

God is also holding out his holy hands to you today.

He’s calling you with the Good News of Jesus; “Come to me” said Jesus.

Jesus is not an Insurance Salesman, but He’s offering freely to each and every soul “Eternal Assurance: You can be SAVED from Hell if you’ll just repent and trust in Me”…

When we hear the Good News and don’t respond, it’s like knowing someone is at the door with a message that is so important for us, but we’ve got to open the door to respond to that message.

  • It’s no good knowing Jesus can save you, if you don’t respond in faith and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus died for sin, if you don’t trust in Him and His death on the cross was for your sins.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus was raised from the dead and believing it all to be true, if you will not repent of your sins and receive Him into your life.

He’s knocking every day, but have you opened up the door of your heart to Jesus?

Be Earnest And Repent

Revelation 3:19-22 (NIV)
19  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 ¬†He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus is knocking my friends, so open up the door of your heart afresh today.

If there’s something in your life at this moment more precious to you than Jesus, you need to let go of it, because there’s NOTHING, nothing, absolutely nothing, that’s more important than your eternal¬†welfare.

Once you open that door to Jesus, then and only then, will all His promises be yours: Abundant life (John 10:10), New Birth (John 1:12, 3:1-22).

Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

It’s Jesus Christ: Open the door of your heart to Him today: Be earnest (sincere, heartfelt, solemn, clear,) and repent: Turn from living your life your way and begin to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit by turning to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing and new life. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend.

Don.

 

Will YOU Follow Jesus?

Rejected by the Religious, the Elite and Demons. Jesus called 12 Apostles

Daily Spirit & Word: 670:

Large Crowds Follow Jesus.

Jesus is calling YOU to be ONE of His Followers Today.

Good morning my friends, what an¬†roller-coaster¬†of a week I’ve had: Ups and Downs, but praise the LORD, it’s been going higher and higher, closer to Jesus after each little lull. My walk with Jesus is as if it’s a roller-coaster in reverse, but I know I’ll only reach the TOP when I get to Heaven and be with my Lord Jesus forever.

A funeral on Monday morning, an awesome meeting in the afternoon. A visit to the Dentist Tuesday and a meeting with the Mission’s Committee in the morning, Prep then Discipleship Fellowship in the Evening. Funeral visit in the morning, then Training and Street¬†Evangelism¬†on Wednesday, School Governors Meeting on Thursday and an amazing meeting on Friday with Bill and Judy in Costa. Fitted some family things in and also some shopping with Julie for our Burn’s Night Supper tomorrow. Yesterday we picked up the Grandchildren and it was to the park and hungry hippo cafe for a little drink afterwards. Last night Julie and I watched the film: War Horse (filmed on Dartmoor Devon at a location I know very well: Ditsworthy Warren farm). As well as meeting with Jesus every day and writing and studying God’s Word, my weeks been quite full and exciting. But it’s NOTHING in comparison with what Jesus experienced, that’s what we’re going to see today.

BTW: How’s your week been? Think it through for a few moments, note the highs and lows, those special times and how you’ve been in your walk with Jesus.

Today, Sunday, we’re back with the Gospel of Mark: This week you’ll notice some surprising contrasts. At the end of last week’s reading, Mark 3:1-6 we see the Jewish leaders and Religious elite plotting to kill Jesus, but this week we’ll note that the ordinary folks loved Jesus. So much so, that they thronged him: i.e. thousands of them came from many different towns to get close and possibly even touch Jesus.

Mark 3:7-19 (NIV)
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.
8  When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.
9  Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
10  For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
11 ¬†Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
12  But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
14 ¬†He appointed twelve‚ÄĒdesignating them apostles ‚ÄĒthat they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach¬†15 ¬†and to have authority to drive out demons.
16  These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
17  James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);
18  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot
19  and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

What an amazing difference in attitudes. 

  1. The Religious and Social Leaders: Rejected Him. Mark 3:6.
  2. The Crowds of Ordinary folks: thronged Him. Mark 3:7-10.
  3. The Demons: cried out in fear and recognised Him. Mark 3:11-12.
  4. The Disciples: Came to Him when He called them. Mark 3:13-19.

The CROWD:

I watched a Documentary a few weeks ago about Amy Winehouse: Her life was a Roller-Coaster too. So many highs; awesome voice, amazing records and songs, shows and awards. Adored by countless millions all over the world. Yet tragic; she couldn’t cope with life and it¬†spiralled¬†out of control: Drugs and Drink.

However, everywhere she went crowds thronged her; photographers every inch of the way, chronicling her slow decline and ultimate demise. Crowds of adoring fans thronged her every waking moment in life. Even when on holiday on the beach, people wanted to be snapped with their favourite STAR.

Have you ever been part of an huge crowd?

Why was this Crowd following Jesus? Verse 10 gives us the answer “For he had healed many”... The Crowds were coming to Jesus because they were desperate for a healing, for a touch, some to see a miracles performed for others, a few interested in what He had to say. They’d heard about the¬†HEALINGS: News spread quickly and thousands came from all the towns, hamlets and cities around Lake Galilee.

The BOAT:

Jesus, knew he’d likely be thronged so he had a boat prepared.

Music stars and Famous people have great big body-guards to keep the crowds from getting too close and crushing their Celebrity Star. They have a Limousine ready to jump into to get away.

Jesus had a boat made ready to make his escape (The ancient¬†equivalent¬†of a¬†Limousine). We know from other Gospels that it was Peter’s boat Jesus got into, and had to teach the crowds with a water barrier to stop them from pushing in too much and crushing Him to death in their desperation for a touch from the King.

Those crowds would have crushed Jesus if he hadn’t gotten into that boat.

The DEMON POSSESSED:

Read with me Mark 3:11-12 The Demons.
11 ¬†Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
12  But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

I’m not going to say too much on the subject of DEMONS here, I’ll cover it in much grater detail in another section of Mark’s Gospel. Mark¬†talks more about the DEMONIC than any other Gospel writer.

However, note this: The Demonic Underworld KNEW who Jesus was. “You are the Son of God”. But Jesus wasn’t interested in them spreading the Great News TOO SOON. So He commanded them to shut-up, keep quiet.

Jesus knew something about PEOPLE: They came in great crowds for healings, think how they’d flock to Him if He declared openly, before He’d had a chance to correct their misunderstanding of the Messiah’s reasons for coming? He would have had a full-scale WAR with the Romans and possibly thousands of people killed in a great war.

The Jews wanted the Messiah to come, they were waiting for deliverance from Roman oppression and conquest. If the Demon’s had their way, Jesus whole Mission could be in jeapordy. He didn’t want a war; He didn’t want people to die, He came to bring God’s Message of Good News and Die for EVERYONE; Jews first, then for everyone in the world who’d believe in Him. That was His mission: Declare Him Messiah too soon and it would be scuppered.

But: The Underworld, the Evil forces of Satan KNEW who Jesus was; “The Divine Son of God”… God on earth.

The DISCIPLES: Mark 3:13-19.

Jesus calls people out of all the people in Israel: He only appoints 12 to be His Apostles.

Think about that: Thousands were following Him. He only chose 12.

Surely He could have chosen many hundreds more, but He only chose 12… Why?

The Crowds were following Jesus for the wrong reasons.¬†They were only following Jesus to get something for themselves: Healings, Miracles, Deliverance…¬†They were not primarily interested in what Jesus had to say or teach them.

Jesus wanted people to KNOW God’s way to live life.

Jesus wanted people to KNOW God’s Mission and Call.

He chose the twelve: Simon (Peter), James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddeus, Simon (Zealot) and Judas.

Only Twelve: Not from the Nobility. Not from the Social Elite in Society. Not from the Religious Leaders; but ordinary folks, fishermen, tax collectors… What an outstanding and surprising choice Jesus made for the twelve Apostles.

They were not particularly good or religious or noteworthy in society, but these were the ones that Jesus called to be His Apostles.

What is an APOSTLE?

Apostle means:¬†An apostle, from Classical Greek ŠľÄŌÄŌĆŌÉŌĄőŅőĽőŅŌā (ap√≥stolos), meaning “one who is sent away”, is a messenger and ambassador. The purpose of such “sending away” is to convey messages, and thus “messenger” is a common alternative translation.

Explained in Mark 3:14-15 ¬†“He appointed twelve‚ÄĒdesignating them apostles ‚ÄĒthat they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach¬†15 ¬†and to have authority to drive out demons.”

Apostles: Sent ones: 

  • Be with HIM: Learn from Jesus. Learn His Teachings / Commands / Instructions…
  • Go for HIM: Go out and tell the Good News of the Gospel: Heal and Deliver.
  • This Mission: The Apostolic Mission began after Jesus resurrection from the dead;

Mark 16:15-20 (NIV) The Great Commission.
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.

The Apostles: Called by Jesus by Name: Taught by Jesus and sent out by Jesus. Given His Authority and sent out on a Mission.

My friends, why are you following Jesus?

  • Are you part of the Crowd?
  • Are you like the Religious Leaders: Rejecting Jesus?
  • Are you like the Deomons, who knew who Jesus was, but enemies of Jesus?
  • Are you being called to be a Disciple: A follower of Jesus?

If you are being called, then He’s also given you a Mission too.

He’s got something He wants you to do for Him in this world today.

The REAL Follower of Jesus: (in contrast to the CROWD).

Won’t be in it for what He / She can get out of Jesus.

If all you want Jesus to do for you is save you from Hell, Judgement and to give you eternal life: You are NOT a true follower of Jesus today. You might be on the way to becoming one, but you are still just part of that CROWD who only wanted Jesus for what He could do for them.

You are a follower of Jesus, when there’s been a dynamic transformation in your attitude towards HIM:

“What can I do for you Jesus?” “I want to serve you Lord Jesus with my life”…

When you get to that point, then you’ll KNOW that you ARE a follower of Jesus Christ today.

The Disciples: The Apostles all died horrific deaths, John died a very old man in exile on the Isle of Patmos in Greece.

St Paul Said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”… He was beaten, stoned, and finally killed for Jesus and the Gospel.

We “Die to the world and live for Jesus”

Jesus said, “Unless you take up your cross and follow me”

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands”…

How and Why are you following Jesus today?

My friends, He’s calling you, He’s calling you by name, He wants you to be His Disciple, He’s got a mission for you to complete.

Will you come to Him? Will you come and give your life to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus today? Will you follow Him, learn from Him and then begin / continue serve Him with your life?

Respond: Recognise that you too are just like the Disciples He first called: Unworthy, yet called to repent and trust in Him.

Turn: Turn in Repentance: turn away from living your life for yourself. Your sin, your attitudes that are wrong. He died so that you can be forgiven and given a new start in life.

Receive: Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD: Your Saviour.

Be filled: With God’s Holy Spirit. Spiritual equipping for His service: Gifts of Holy Spirit

Be ready to serve Jesus with your life: Live the full life and go on the mission He’s given you.

Conclusion:

The Religious Elite Plotted, The Political Elite colluded, The Crowds wanted, The Demonic shouted, The Apostles were called by name and followed and were transformed, then sent on a Mission for Jesus: Who are you and why are you following Jesus today? Are you following Jesus?

I would say, “Don’t just follow Jesus to be one of the crowd, to see what He can do for you, or to observe a miracle or just to get your miracle or life sorted out for you, don’t just follow Jesus because He can give you forgiveness or a new life and eternal life and peace with God, but go deeper, be the Disciple He’s calling you to be. Only then will you begin to KNOW the fullness of life that Jesus promises when He called you.”

Up to now, you may have had a touch of His Holy Spirit, you might have been healed or seen healings, you might have received wonderful teaching, but NOW Jesus wants you to experience fullness of His life on Mission with Him. You just tell Jesus, “I’m ready to be one of Your Disciples Jesus, I want to go on Mission in this world for You” Be assured, He’ll take you and He’ll equip you for whatever He’s got planned.

Who know what Jesus has planned for you? Only Jesus knows His plans for each and every individual, but just say, like so many countless thousands have done before you, and been used to transform the world: Cadbury, John Newton, John Wesley, John Calvin, Charles finney, D. L. Mooday, Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, Nicky Gumbel, J John, John Wimber, Fanny Crosby, Gladdys Ayelward (missions to China), Aimee McPherson (evangelist), J I Packer, John Stott, Rhinhard Bonnke, Ravi Zacharias, Daniel Cozens, David Watson,

From Our Church: Robert Rowe, Val Rowe, Prince, Chief George, David Bulbeck, David Wilson, Isaac, Elizabeth, Cherrie, Mary, John, Celestine, Sarah, Julie, Kofee, Wole, Stuart, Anthony, Theo, Candice, Sara, Maxine, Heron, ….

All I know is when Jesus Calls:¬†It’s going to be so AWESOME and mind blowing.

Go DEEPER with Jesus today!

[Jesus said,] ‚ÄúIf you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit”. John 15:5

God’s children do His will for His glory.

Jesus is the ONE: Who helps us accomplish everything for His glory.

  • The Religious Leaders and Social Elite: Rejected Him.

  • The Ordinary Folks: Thought they had Him.

  • The Demons: Feared Him.

  • The Disciples: Were called by HIM: Then they were with Him, Commissioned by Him, Sent out on Mission and Accompanied by HIM. What an awesome privilege to be one of those called by Jesus: He’s calling you too.

    • You?

You might be one who’s thinking: I would love to follow Jesus; but I don’t know enough yet. (Come on St Luke’s Alpha Course).

You might be one who’s thinking: I’ve been coming for a while, but now I’d really like to go on Mission for Jesus. (Then come and talk and discover how you can serve Jesus with your gifting).

You might be one who’s NOT willing or ready to respond to Jesus call today. (Keep coming, read God’s Word, ask Him to show you and speak to you through it, learn all you can about Jesus: He’s the ONE who’s calling you and can transform your life).

He’s calling YOU to be ONE of HIS right now!

Amen!

 

Winning In Your Walk With Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 667: Winning In Your Walk With Jesus.

Philippians 2:12-15 (NIV)
12¬†Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed‚ÄĒnot only in my presence, but now much more in my absence‚ÄĒcontinue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14  Do everything without complaining or arguing,
15  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Good morning my friends,¬†are there times when you struggle to be good? Times when it’s hard to be the person God has called you to be? We all know times of weakness and failure, however it is possible to win in your battle against; the world, the flesh and the devil: We must realise that it’s “NOT ALL ABOUT YOU” But it’s God who works in you to will and to act.
Will & Act: How According to His good pleasure.
When you avail yourself of God the Holy Spirit, submit to His divine authority in your life, then the way that you think, your desires, your will will be His will, then you will act righteously. Praise the LORD!
What an awesome verse from God’s Word today.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”..
That’s a massive relief: God WORKS IN ME to will and to act…
Rest assured that when God gets you into His family, He intends to keep you and transform you.
Be bless with the fullness today.
Don.

The Reality of Hell

Isaiah's calling, coming judgement, unrepentant Israel

Daily Spirit & Word: 636. It’s God’s Call.

The Ministry of Reconciliation.

Having a deep care and concern for the Eternal Welfare of others.

My voice¬†finally¬†gave up last night, it had been cracking for a few days, but now it’s getting painful to speak. I’ve been told to stop. My wife thinks that’s brill, because now I can just sit and listen to her for ages. But I want to go back to the reading from yesterday in Isaiah 6, where we looked at the Trinity Revealed, but now I want to focus upon the calling of Isaiah and the dreadful message he was entrusted to deliver.

It’s weird, but my granddaughter asked me to play Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” the other day. I played it for them. Then a few minutes later I got into the car to go to a church meeting, guess what was playing on the car radio? “I fell in to a burning ring of fire…”

Isaiah 6:1-13
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3 ¬†And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 ¬†“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
6  Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 ¬†With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 ¬†Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 ¬†He said, “Go and tell this people: ” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 ¬†Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
11 ¬†Then I said, “For how long, O Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12  until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 ¬†And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Isaiah’s Calling Came From God: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

BTW (Who is the “US” in verse 8 above? Answer: see Trinity yesterday’s message)

Have you ever heard someone declare, “I’ve had a call to the Ministry” or “I’ve got my calling”…

We could be left with the impression it’s as if the “calling” is something that belongs to them. However, if we’ve been called by the LORD to do something, then we should always be aware, as Jesus was, as Isaiah was and so many other Biblical Characters were, that it is God’s CALL. It’s HIS from start to finish. Give glory to Him always.

Note: Isaiah Is Convicted of his sinfulness: 

Verse 5 “”Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.””

Isaiah knew enough about the LORD God Almighty, that if a person saw God that person would die, because of His sinfulness. Exodus 33:20. Moses could see God’s glory and God’s back, but he couldn’t look into God’s face and live.

NOTE: The Altar in Heaven: The Altar of Incense: Live coals were taken into the Holy of Holies to burn incense before the Lord.

The Altar is a place of sacrifice: So we must ask the question, what sacrifice had been made in Heaven that could atone for Isaiah’s sins? Who or what died in Heaven? It might just possibly be an indication or prophetic look at God’s own sacrifice for the sins of all mankind: He gave His own beloved Son to die for everyone’s sins.

The Severity Of Isaiah’s Mission and Message:

Isaiah must have experienced an immediate inner change when he had the vision of God in Heaven and when the Angel took the coal from the fire on the Altar and touched his mouth. When he hears the invitation of God, he volunteers immediately to go and serve (6:8). God‚Äôs response is also immediate. Note that God does not provide many specific details of Isaiah’s ministry, but the severity of his mission is clear. He is being sent to people who will not listen or respond to him, yet he is to continue his work until their nation is destroyed. God’s just judgement is imminent and it’s coming upon Israel.

NOTE: The Live Coal: Fear of Fire.

When I was a boy growing up in Edinburgh in the 1960’s we had a coal fire. From a very young age I’d watch my father set the fire and help him too. He’d get the crunched-up paper, the sticks, the coal and match to set it ablaze. Sometimes he’d hold a sheet in front of the fire to cause a draught in at the bottom, which speeded up the process of getting the fire going. Then after a while, the coals in the fire would be glowing bright red. What a fire. My dad said to me, “Don’t ever touch a fire, you see those red coals, DON’T EVER TOUCH A RED COAL”. I said, “Why dad, they look like lovely¬†jewels?” He explained, “Because they will hurt you so much and you’ll be in agony. You’ll be crying louder than you’ve ever cried. Remember how much your knee hurt when you came off your bike? This will hurt so much more than that”. I’m so grateful that my dad warned me of the dangers of fire. He put the FEAR of FIRE in me. I didn’t hate my dad when He told me that the FIRE AND THE COALS would hurt me, I was only left with the impression that my dad loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt.

Similarly; When an Evangelist warns of THE FIRES OF HELL he’s only showing how much he loves you. Also that God loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish in Hell. But burning hell fire is real and it’s reserved for everyone, EVERYONE, who dies in their sinful condition: Why? Because NO ONE CAN SEE GOD and LIVE. My friends, God has warned us in many ways about the dangers of sin and the consequences of sin: Jesus warned us so many times in the Gospels. Hell is real: It God’s punishment for sin, but He doesn’t want to have to send anyone there, but He will. Because of His justice, sin must be paid for.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God wants to GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE so that you can live forever. 

2 Peter 3:7-9 Warning & Yearning.
7  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We hear from Peter about God’s Patience: Not wanting anyone to perish. He’s extending His Divine offer of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness for as long as we live: However, the moment we die, the time for God’s GRACE has ended. There’s no chance after death for; mercy, repentance, forgiveness.

¬†NOTE: Jesus Doctrine of Hell: His teaching (that’s what doctrine means).

In Luke’s Gospel we’re given a picture from Jesus of what HELL is going to be like, and it’s NOT a place that you’d want anyone, even your worst enemy, to end up in.

Luke 16:19-31
19¬†¬†“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
20  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
21 ¬†and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 ¬†“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
23  In hell (Hades), where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 ¬†So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 ¬†“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
26 ¬†And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 ¬†“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house,
28 ¬†for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 ¬†“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 ¬†” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 ¬†“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

The Rich Man: In Hell “I am in agony in this fire”.

  • NO WAY OUT: Verse 26: “between us and you a great chasm has been FIXED … nor can anyone cross¬†over¬†from there to us”
  • NO WAY IN: Verse 26: “So that those who want to go from here to you cannot”

Hell is a FIXED State for anyone, everyone, who dies in their sins.

I was at the movies a while ago and noted throughout the movie: EXIT signs, they were bright and clear in the darkness as the movie played. If a fire broke out in the Cinema I’d know how to get out of the fire.

There’s no way out of HELL. No EXIT: It’s as if the EXIT sign has been removed from Hell. (A great chasm has been FIXED).

THE DESIRE TO WARN OTHERS.

Once the Rich man realised his eternal condition, his heart wanted to WARN others, especially his family members.

“I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will NOT also come to this place of torment”…

Once Isaiah was “cleansed of his sins” his desire was to be the one that God would send with His message.

Isaiah, was given a message from God to deliver. It was a WARNING of impending JUDGEMENT. He was to deliver it to a people that would not listen and would not turn to the LORD.

Christians, have been ENTRUSTED BY GOD with the same kind of message: REPENT OR PERISH. TURN OR BURN. THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. HELL AWAITS THE ONE WHO HAS SINNED. Thankfully many do heed the warning and turn to the LORD in Repentance.

It’s not a nice message to deliver and many shrink from the calling. It’s such a horrific message, that many attempts have been made over two thousand years to WATER IT DOWN (Quench the fire a bit). It’s like asking Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my¬†tongue. The Church has, instead of warning people, emphasised the benefits of heaven. But unless people KNOW why they need Heaven, they are unlikely to truly REPENT OF THEIR SINS.

Unless or until a person comes to Christ, then Hell awaits every sinful soul.

Jesus warned in His parable: “If they won’t listen to Moses or the Prophets (e.g. the Teaching in God’s Word about God’s Judgement to come), then they wouldn’t listen, even if someone came back to life from the dead to warn them.”

Jesus DID come back from the DEAD: People still won’t listen. However, we’ve been entrusted with God’s message of¬†RECONCILIATION. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). He wants every believer in Jesus who’s been born of His Spirit to be a PROPHET to the World, God’s Ambassadors who’ll deliver His message of Good News: That no one needs to perish in Hell forever.

2 Corinthians 5:11, 17-21. The Ministry of Reconciliation.
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men …¬†17 ¬†Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 ¬†All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:¬†19 ¬†that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.¬†20 ¬†We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

GOD’S GREAT LOVE: Just as my father, my dad, warned me about the burning coals in the fire when I was a boy in Scotland, so the Church has been entrusted to warn the world about God’s coming day of judgement and punishment in Hell for sin. But I KNEW it was because of my dad’s LOVE that he warned me. It’s because of God’s GREAT LOVE that He’s entrusted us with His message and He’s given us this same calling as Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:8 ¬†“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!””

He didn’t know what the message was until he responded to the call.

We know the message, we know the call, we’ve been commanded to go into all the world and deliver God’s message of¬†reconciliation.

Will you Go for God into the world today and deliver His LOVING HEART: His message of¬†reconciliation. Will you WARN people that if we touch the fire it will hurt us? If you’ll do that to warn your own children and friends about earthly fire, surely we should be just as concerned about the Eternal Welfare of everyone on the earth today as well. The Day of Judgement will come, Jesus is coming back soon, let’s save as many as we can. You know BIBLE means; Basic, Instructions, Before, Leaving, Earth. Let’s get God’s message out into all the world, so that everyone has an opportunity to turn in faith and repentance and avoids the punishment of Hell.

Amen!

Don.

 

Jesus is Calling: But Father God Draws You to HIM.

The New Birth by God's Holy Spirit. We're drawn to Jesus by Father God

Daily Spirit & Word: 614:

Jesus is Calling: But Father God is the ONE who DRAWS you to Faith, Trust and Repentance in Jesus.

We are drawn by Father God to faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is the Spirit that gives us the New Life.

Good morning my friends, I’ve been feeling really sad the last few days since I discovered that Angie (Andrea Driscoll) has died. I performed her wedding to David who died a few months after the wedding. Andrea was devastated by his death, but it had been expected for many months. Since David’s death Angie tried hard to live life to the full, she went on two trips (pilgrimages in Spain) walking over 300 miles each time. After all her hardships and experiences it was such a shock to hear that upon her return to London, she was found dead in her flat after a fall. Angie had a wonderful heart and was a great character. Everybody knew Angie’s problems, but she also had a real soft spot for the Lord Jesus. He alone knows if Angie was born of His Spirit. She was a breath of fresh air and also a bit of a storm too ūüôā We will definitely miss Angie in West Norwood. Many times I told Angie of the New Birth: I wonder if it ever got through to her?

The New Birth: After Jesus had finished teaching about Himself being the true bread from Heaven, the Living Bread, the Disciples (followers) found His teaching offensive and hard to take. For Jesus had been saying something that was and still is offensive to every sane person in the world: He said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood”. Upon hearing that weird claim and message, it was so shocking, that even though people knew Jesus had been performing the most amazing miracles, most of them now left Him and returned to their homes. Apart from the 12 Disciples, but even one of them was a ‘false’ convert and Jesus knew it. He went onto say that the NEW LIFE comes as we’re drawn to Jesus by the Father and given the new life by the Spirit.

John 6:60-69
60¬†On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 ¬†Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
62  What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
63  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
64 ¬†Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
65 ¬†He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no-one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
66  From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 ¬†“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 ¬†Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 ¬†We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

¬† So when you come to faith, don’t think that you’ve come by your own seeking or questing for the TRUTH, we come ONLY because the Father Himself draws us (leads us and guides us) to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Where did Jesus teach this before?

It was just before the Disciples Deserted Him:

John 6:44-48
44 ¬†“No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 ¬†It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
46  No-one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
47  I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
48  I am the bread of life.

John also wanted us to be certain of this teaching: so he, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said at the beginning of His Gospel account:

John 1:4 “In him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men.”
John 1:12-13 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God‚ÄĒ
13 ¬†children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
John 3:5-7 “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.¬†6 ¬†Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.¬†7 ¬†You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”

Unless we’ve been; BORN AGAIN by God’s HOLY SPIRIT and have received SPIRITUAL BIRTH we (no one) can enter into God’s Kingdom. It’s ONLY through being born of God’s Spirit that we can enter into Heaven. There’s no other way in.

How do we get this New Birth?

Jesus said it, “The Father draws us” He, God, gets us to the point of being able to see our need of Jesus. Once we Believe in Jesus, Repent of our sins and receive the Lord Jesus by faith, then through His Grace and Mercy God forgives us, cleanses us and the Holy Spirit comes into our being and gives us the New Spritual Life that we need to enable us to live for all eternity and enter into God’s Kingdom.

That is why Jesus said, “The Flesh counts for nothing, the Spirit gives spiritual life“…

If ever there was a TRINITARIAN MESSAGE: then it’s in the Gospel of John: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all involved when a person comes to New Life through trusting in Jesus Christ’s death upon the Cross for their sins (Believing in, relying upon and cleaving to Jesus).

The Father Draws us to Jesus Christ: To ‘believe’ in His NAME: (The Messiah, the WORD of God, the Living Bread, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the Gate for the sheep, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Only Way to Heaven, the Heavenly Sacrifice, the Resurrected Lord, the Ascended Lord, the Saviour, the King of kings, the LORD of Lords, ¬†the Lamb of God, the Servant King, the Giver of the Spirit, the Lion of Judah, the Bright Morning Star, the Golden One, the Alpha and the Omega {the first and last})

After we’ve come to TRUST completely and alone in Jesus (Jesus means; Deliverer or God Saves) The Christ (Christ means: Expected One or Messiah) for forgiveness, deliverance from sin and salvation from God’s wrath against sin, then the Holy Spirit will come into our being and give us the New Birth, the New Life, the GIFT of Eternal Life.

PRAISE GOD!

Make certain that you’ve come to believe and trust in Jesus Christ because He also said,

John 7:37-39
37 ¬†On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.¬†38 ¬†Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
39  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Believe in HIM as the Scriptures have said: Not as man has said, but God’s Word, the Scriptures.

  • Only then will you be born again of God’s Holy Spirit.
  • Only then will you be able to live the Christian life,
  • Only then will you have assurance and hope of Heaven,
  • Only then will you be able to call God “Abba, Father”
  • Amen!

Praise the Lord!

It’s been my joy and my privilege to have known Angie, to share Jesus with her many times, but I’ve also got that same passion and desire to share Him with as many people as I can. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus Christ, because faith comes by hearing and also because everyone needs to be born again of God’s Holy Spirit. Let’s get busy leading people to Him. Be filled afresh with His Holy Spirit and ask for Him to lead you to those who are dying of Spiritual hunger today. ¬†At a funeral on Friday I said, “BIBLE: Means: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth… Let’s believe in Jesus as the BIBLE has said. Amen!

Have an Super Saturday with Jesus,

Don.

NOTE: We can only know of our NEED for Deliverance and Forgiveness when we understand (are brought by God the Father and the Holy Spirit) to the point of knowing how we’ve offended God. We have all broken God’s Commandments: (Sin is the transgression of God’s Law: Commandments). God writes His Law upon the heart of every man. He gives every man a Conscience so that when we do wrong, we know it and are therefore guilty of failing to live God’s way, instead we choose to live our own way. We do this countless times in our life and when we make a practice of it, our conscience gets quieter until we can barely hear it any-longer. However, we can have our Conscience re-awakened by listening to God’s Commandments and Hearing the Word of the Lord. The Bible tells us that faith (which is a gift from God) comes by Hearing His Word.

Faith: When exercised or used, enables us by God’s Grace to be able to TRUST in the Lord Jesus Christ and His giving of His life upon the Cross for our own sins.

Faith: Enables us to rightly receive the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. When Jesus is your Lord, He will enable you to live a life of Holiness in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Faith: Enables us to Know that we are Born of God’s Holy Spirit. We don’t rely upon our feelings, but we receive enough FAITH to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’ve been born of His Spirit and that God is our Heavenly Father.

Faith: Enables us to have a sure and certain HOPE of Eternal Life (the fear and sting of death is removed).

 

The LORD Grows His Church

Church Growth by Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 586:

The LORD Grows His Church

By; Calling, Guiding and Touching Hearts.

Acts 16 is amazing, it’s fast and furious, moving from one place to the next.

Paul’s Missionary Journey: After The Jerusalem Meeting. Travelling With Timothy and Silas.

Bible Readings: Acts 16:1-15.

1) Timothy Joins Paul and Silas. (Calling)

The Church Grew Daily In Numbers.

Acts 16:1-5 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.

2  The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
3  Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4  As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.

5  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

NOTE: See Paul’s Letters to Timothy. (1 Timothy and 2 Timothy).

Church Grew Daily In Numbers:

When we go out in the Power of God’s Holy Spirit, to share Jesus, to live the Christian life and witness for Jesus, the Church will grow.

Notice: Paul, Silas and Timothy: Travelled from town-to-town delivering decisions: (That’s a reference back to Acts 15 Jerusalem Council: Note what the Council didn’t say: meet every day for Communion, Pray every week, Stand this way or sit that way: There were NO RELIGIOUS RITUALS: NONE!

What did they tell them to do: The Jerusalem Letter: (We actually have it in our Bibles).

Acts 15:23-29 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.

24  We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. (Become Jewish, get circumcised, live by the Jewish traditions).
25 ¬†So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul‚ÄĒ
26  men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27  Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.
28  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

NOTHING Else, nothing about¬†rituals¬†or religious rites. They knew that when a person becomes a follower of Jesus, they’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit, will worship and gather together with the saints regularly and serve the risen Lord as He guides them.

As they delivered the message, they encouraged the brothers and sisters and the Church Grew Daily In Numbers. What was it that made the Church Grow? Encouragement & Strengthened Faith.

Gathering Together: Praying, Praising and Listening to God’s Word: Encourages and Strengthens our Faith.

It grows the church. (People spoke well of Timothy, therefore he was selected by Paul to come and what a journey Timothy had). Imagine: Being invited by Paul (the great Apostle) to come with him to share the Gospel from town to town. What a wonderful privilege that would have been. You can go too. (Every Wednesday We Go OUT to share Jesus on the Streets).

The Lord Grows His Church by Calling: Just as Timothy was called to join Paul and Silas, Is the Lord calling you to serve Him today?

2) The Man of Macedonia. (Guiding).

The Lord Grows His Church by Guiding by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:6-10 “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.

7  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
8  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9 ¬†During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

10 ¬†After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

On Friday: I had a meeting with Ministers from other Churches in West Norwood.

It was amazing (Read Yesterday’s Daily Spirit & Word).

But God HIMSELF: Encourages us, when we meet: In Jesus Name: For fellowship, prayer and praise.

He’ll guide us into what it is that He wants us to do.

AND by His Holy Spirit: What He doesn’t want us to do.

Are we listening out for what God wants?

Take a few minutes: to sit and think and pray: Ask God: “Father, what is it that You want me to be doing in my life for you?”

The LORD Grows His Church by Guiding Us by His Holy Spirit: Are we listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit today?

3) Lydia’s Conversion At Philippi (Touching Hearts).

(Note: Read Philippians).

The Lord Grows His Church by Touching Hearts.

Acts 16:11-15 “From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis.

12  From there we travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13  On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
14 ¬†One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

15 ¬†When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.”

When We Come Together: Gathering for Prayer.

Those ladies gathered regularly at the river to pray. The Place of Prayer.

When Jews didn’t have a Synagogue, the met in open places (normally by a river) to pray.

I’m certain they didn’t expect to meet with God in such a way that day, but God’s ways are amazing.

When we come together, to meet with each other, to pray, to praise Jesus and to worship together. We’re going to be: Strengthened, Encouraged, Lifted. The Holy Spirit will draw us to put MORE faith, trust and commitment in Jesus.

Lydia: The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message: The Gospel.

Lydia:¬†Practised¬†Hospitality: Immediately she came to know Jesus. (That’s an indication that Jesus had touched her heart).

She was a wealthy business woman. Dealer in Purple: Purple Thyatira: Purple Cloth: Made from the shells of fish. A purple (indigo) dye that was very expensive. Purple was a very difficult colour to reproduce, it’s rarity made it expensive, but they’d discovered a way to get it. In some places only the very rich could afford the Purple Cloth.

My friends, when we come together, listen to God’s Word (The Teaching) we’re also going to have our hearts touched by the Lord as He did Lydia. “The Lord Opened Her Heart”… He can open up your heart too.

We all get hard-hearted, but just by coming and being in the hearing of God’s Word can and will open up our hearts to the Lord. He’ll do it.

The Lord Grows His Church by; Touching Hearts: Has the Lord been touching your heart today?

Conclusion:

Don’t Neglect The Gathering Together To Praise the LORD.

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 

23  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24  And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

25 ¬†Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another‚ÄĒand all the more as you see the Day approaching.

When we gather: (Calling) God will send us out into the world: With HIS message. (Timothy: Acts 16:1-5)

People will be encouraged, faith will be strengthened and the Church will grow.

 

When we gather:¬†(Guiding) The Holy Spirit will guide us. (Macedonia: Acts 16:6-10) (Do this, go there, do that or don’t go, don’t do).

We’ll be encouraged and strengthened in our faith: We will grow as Christians, when we grow, the church grows.

 

When we gather: (Touching Hearts) People will hear the message.(Lydia Acts 16:11-15) God will touch hearts. People will be transformed. And the Church will grow.

The Lord Grows His Church by: Calling, Guiding by the Holy Spirit and by Touching Hearts.

I’m Praying: That He’s calling you, guiding you and touching your heart today.

Have an Awesome Week: Don’t neglect the gathering together of the saints, because you’ll be encouraged, you’ll grow in faith and the Church will grow, because The LORD builds His Church.

Don.

NOTES:

Objection: Some people say to us regularly as we go out onto the streets with the Gospel.

“I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to go to church to be a good Christian”

I almost always respond with “Yes you do!”

Why? Because IF you are a Christian, then you’ll want to be obedient to God. He commands that we “Don’t neglect the gathering together”, why? Because when we do, our faith can be¬†shipwrecked.

If you are a real Christian, then you’ll have your “want to” changed, you’ll want to gather together, to; praise, worship, pray, study, listen, encourage, etc… You KNOW that it’s good for you. You KNOW it’s what the LORD wants. You KNOW that you will grow and the Church will grow as you gather with brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Don’t NEGLECT the Gathering Together… The LORD Builds His Church by; Calling, Guiding and Touching Hearts.

 

Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power

Say Yes to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 513: Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power For Your Life.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 29. Matthew 28:16-20.

What a fantastic session we had last night with our 40 Day With Jesus Group. We watched the Video for the week, then discussed our understanding of Christ’s call for our life. We shared about our own life purpose, what we thought our life meant before we started following Jesus and what it means now, since we received Him as Lord. You know my friends, I don’t think you’ll get as much out of doing 40 Days on your own as you will when you share the journey with others. Just a couple of hours sharing and discussing, will nourish, feed and sustain you more than a whole week of personal study. Why? Because Jesus shows or reveals Himself more when we’re together than He does when we’re on our own. And last night was awesome; it was a WOWzer!¬† ūüė鬆 ūüė鬆 ūüė鬆 ūüė鬆 ūüėé

Knowing Jesus’ Purpose For Your Life: When you get it, you’ll be; ON-FIRE with His GLORY, ABLAZE with His MESSAGE and BURNING to SHARE Him with OTHERS.

Before I knew Jesus as LORD of my life, I would have said, “My life’s purpose is to be a success in my chosen career, enjoy life to the max and to be happy and contented”. Ever since I met Him that changed, because when Jesus entered my life He filled me and empowered me to love others and lead them to Him. Now I’d say, “My life’s purpose is to obey Jesus will and love others enough to bring them to Him”. So many people are frightened of sharing Jesus or telling the good news, but since the day I received Jesus, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.

One of the questions on my mind when I was getting close to repenting and trusting in Jesus was this; “If Jesus wants me, what does He want me for?”

Say “YES!” to Jesus: Then you’ll EXPERIENCE: His PRESENCE, PURPOSE¬†and POWER¬†in and for your life.

As you open up your life to Jesus; by Repenting from Sin, Believing that He died for your sins, Having faith that He died for you on the Cross and Receiving Him as your Saviour and Lord, then He’ll begin to give you your own life’s purpose too. However, in Matthew’s Gospel, in what’s been called THE GREAT COMMISSION, Jesus is revealing His will for everyone in the Kingdom. His general purpose, His primary purpose, His over-arching purpose: And that is to BRING others to Him, so that their life can be TRANSFORMED and that they too will be empowered to live for His purposes as well.

Let’s look at that now: THE GREAT COMMISSION.

Matthew 28:16-20 16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17  When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18 ¬†Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 ¬†and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

God IS with You:

The most important thing for you to realise, before you study your MISSION and PURPOSE, is to know that God is always going to be with you and in you. That’s what will give you the power and the drive and the incentive to carry out His purposes with your life.

When Jesus calls you to do something for Him, He also equips you to do it and is with you throughout the whole process. This is part of God’s side of the Covenant: In the first Covenant with Israel: God called them to be His People, set them free from Bondage in Egypt, then Gave them His mission statement in the 10 Commandments and the Law, then He was with them as they began to fulfill His purposes for the Nation. He manifested His presence with them; in a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. Now Jesus, in the Great Commission: Called you to Himself, gave you His Commands, and today we can see His purpose in commissioning the Church, then He promised He’ll be with us forever to the end of the age. WOWzer! God’s doesn’t change, as the Scriptures tell us: God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is with you and in you if you’ve been born of His Spirit. He going to go with you whenever you’re busy obeying His purpose, so don’t ever feel or think that you can’t do it, because the truth is you can’t (not in your own strength) no-body-can, but with God in you, you most definitely can.

All It Takes Is A Heart That Says; “YES!” to God’s Will.

Once you get Jesus in you, you’ve still got a choice every day to do His will or live for yourself. Even after He’s become your LORD, MASTER and FRIEND, He’ll never force you. He wants your willing co-operation: All it takes is a heart that says, “Yes” to Jesus. Then He’ll begin to use you in His Kingdom building business.

What a wonderful privillege He’s give you and me and everyone who comes to Him; to be working with Jesus. It’s good to think about Matthew 28:16-20 The GREAT Commission as a working together with Jesus. We’re not called to work on our own, but we’re working together with Him: Co-Mission.

Notice what happened when people encountered the Resurrected Lord Jesus:

It’s been fascinating to see what’s been happening to people who’ve met the risen, resurrected Jesus Christ from week 1 of 40 Days with Jesus. Everyone who met Him during those 40 Days after He came back to life, was motivated to SHARE that great news with others and commissioned by Jesus to do so:

  1. Mary Magdalene: She is commissioned to tell the Disciples (John 20:17-18).
  2. The Women at the Tomb: Commissioned to “Go and tell…” (Matthew 28:10).
  3. The Two on the Road to Emmaus: They rush back to tell the others… (Luke 24:33).
  4. The Disciples in the Locked Room: (John 20:21).
  5. Peter’s Three-Fold Commission: (John 21:15-19).
  6. On the Mountain In Galilee: (Matthew 28:16-20).
  7. Mark’s Gospel Commission: (Mark 16:15-20).
  8. Disciples During Jesus Final Days: (Luke 24:45-49, Acts 1:3-8).

This repeated pattern of; Meeting with Jesus, Calling and Sending; is repeated again and again and again, throughout the whole of Scripture. When people encountered God in the Old Testament, He called them and commissioned them. Whenever you see people meeting Jesus in the New Testament He’s also calling and sending them too. All through the history of the Church, since the time of Jesus, people who’ve responded to Jesus call have also been given a mission in life. He’s commissioned you too my friends, if you’ve encountered Jesus Christ today, He’s calling you and sending you on His Mission to GO and Make Disciples. He’s equipping you to do it and He’s with you as you obey.

Now, all it takes is a HEART that’s willing to say, “YES” to Jesus and then you’ll begin to experience His presence and His power and His purpose in your own life.

Say “YES!” to Jesus: Then you’ll EXPERIENCE: His PRESENCE, PURPOSE¬†and POWER¬†in and for your life.

Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Home Page.

Day 29: Knowing Jesus Purpose for Your Life.

Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power.

 

 

 

 

 

Beware The Comparison Trap

Beware of the Comparison Trap

Daily Spirit & Word, 512: Beware The Comparison Trap.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 28. John 21:18-23.

Thank you for your prayers; last night’s meeting of the PCC was wonderful. There were some new members so I got everyone to introduce themselves; tell who they are, where they come from and how long they’ve worshiped in St Luke’s Church. We had a lady who’s new to the Church who wanted to ask questions about everything. It’s amazing, I’d forgotten what it’s like to be NEW in an organisation; there’s just so much we don’t know and it’s a very steep learning curve.

Beware The Comparison Trap:

We’ve got some wonderful blue / purple cornflowers and forget-me-nots in the garden in Springtime, they are stunning, but as they fade, the aquilegia (ladies bonnets) takes over and begins to put a different kind of delicate dance in the wind, they are beautiful, but in a very different¬†way. Each has it’s own glory and unique beauty. So have each and every one of you. You are ALL different and God’s got very different plans for your walk with Him than for anyone else; so beware of the comparison trap.

Do you remember what it was like when you first began reading God’s Word? My first thought was, “What a BIG book, it will take me years to learn to get to grips with this.” Indeed it has and to be honest, though I read the Bible every single day and have done for over 30 years now, I’m constantly surprised by what the LORD shows me. When I read a familiar old passage, one I’ve read hundreds of times, I’ll see something new, some new light is shed upon the glorious holy phrases. God’s Word is always fresh. Today, the Lord has done it again with Peter.

John 21:18-23 18 ¬†I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19 ¬†Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
20 ¬†Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
21 ¬†When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 ¬†Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
23 ¬†Because of this, the rumour spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

“WHAT ABOUT HIM?”: Beware The Comparison TRAP?

I’ve read this particular passage many times, preached upon it a few times, read countless commentaries about it, but it’s only when the Lord seems to highlight something within it the TRUTHS PENETRATE MY HEART, it sinks in and seeps through into every fiber of my being. When God does this through His Word, the result is a transformed life. It’ll be the same for you my friends. A man or woman can write about God’s Word or share about their experience of walking with Jesus, but until we begin to read and walk ourselves, it’s all going to be second-hand. We must not fall into the trap of merely taking what others have said and staying with that, we must seek the LORD for ourselves and for the unique calling and gifts that He’s expecting us to use in our own walk with Him. When we do, we’re going to be used by the Lord to encourage others on their own journey with Jesus.

Peter had just been recommissioned by Jesus, but then almost immediately, after having had his interview with Jesus, wants Jesus to deal with the other disciples; “WHAT ABOUT HIM?” It’s like turning around and pointing the finger at someone else. Jesus rebuke is quite wonderful. “Peter, YOU must follow Me” You’ve got your own calling and destiny. I’ve got plans for you Peter. And Jesus has got plans for you too my friends. So don’t fall into the trap of just hearing Jesus and not doing what He’s calling you to do. Stop looking around at other people and expecting them to do and be the ones.

God has said in so many different ways in His Word: “Don’t merely listen to the word, but do what it says”.

James 1:19-25 19 ¬†My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 ¬†for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
21  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
24  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
25 ¬†But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it‚ÄĒhe will be blessed in what he does.

What do I get from this?

God wants to BLESS you in ALL that you do. However, look again and you’ll see that to be blessed, we must do both, we must LISTEN and ACT upon what we’re learning. Peter almost slipped; he’d just listened to Jesus and learned a valuable lesson about being recommissioned and forgiven, then almost immediately he points the finger at someone else. To be someone who’s constantly drinking in information, and not doing anything with what you are learning; is like a barrel of fine wine with a crack, the wine inside can be of the finest vintage, but if it’s leaking out all over the place, who’s ever going to taste it? God’s Word is the finest wine in His Kingdom that you can ever get into your heart, however, If we don’t do what God has revealed, we’re going to dry up or get clogged up with information overload. It’s only when you act upon what you’ve been learning, hearing and being taught by the Lord, that you’ll get a true understanding of all that He wants you to be and to do.

Thankfully, Peter learned his lesson from Jesus that day. He stopped looking at others and began to live the life Jesus had called him to in the power of the Holy Spirit. He did indeed die a wonderful martyrs death being crucified. However, tradition had it that Peter was crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified in exactly the same way as Jesus. I don’t know if that part is true, but we do know that Peter was led with outstretched hands to death for Jesus and His Kingdom. That was after a lifetime of serving Jesus so powerfully.

Don’t BE a Sponge Type of Christian: Only soaking-up Information.

I’ve know people in some great teaching churches, they love to hear the Gospel’s and the Word of God being expounded. Then they’ll go home and listen to some more great teaching on the internet. They’ll buy the CDs or Tapes and even Download hours of sermons. Some will even makes some notes. Then they’ll move onto the next sermon series, the next great teaching, the next fantastic, wonderfully gifted preacher, expounding God’s Word, but they’ll never get around to actually APPLYING what they’re hearing and learning. There’s a danger that we’ll become like the people of Athens in Paul’s time, who just wanted to hear the latest teachings. It’s like people who’ve got to be listening to the latest news 24/7… My friends, at some point in our walk with Jesus, we’ve got to get out and begin to DO what He’s gifted us for. Christ didn’t call you to be a knowledge sponge, soaking up great teaching, He called you to serve HIM with all your heart, mind, will and strength. Serving the Lord means doing, it means, acting, it means getting out into the world and using your unique gifts and talents to lead others to faith and trust in the Saviour as your first order of priority. Then, you’re calling also means serving Him in your gatherings, but let’s not pretend that’s all He’s called us to. So many Christians and whole gatherings of the saints settle for just serving Jesus once a week for an hour. I’ve known some Christians who get exhausted doing just that very little bit of service, as if they’ve been working at it all week. It makes me laugh sometimes when I hear people moaning how exhausted with the service they’ve become. For goodness sake, it’s ONLY AN HOUR or TWO once a week. We gather only once or twice a week, what about the other five days? We’re called to be active in His kingdom not for an hour on a Sunday, but for every waking hour. We’re God’s Ambassadors and an Ambassador is never off duty; He’s being constantly monitored by his host country. Even in the embassy, they’ll be watching, and waiting and looking for him to slip-up or to see if he’s really serving his government with all his heart.

Like Peter, You are an Ambassador for Jesus Christ in this world, so you need to act like one and let others see the light and experience the goodness of you’re LORD’S Kingdom. To do that, you’ve got to be ready to serve. Yes, you do need the gatherings of the saints to be equipped, you do need to hear great teaching, you do need to get equipped to serve, but at some point, and I would say the sooner the better, you’ve got to begin to use what He’s given you. Get out and get on with what the Lord has graciously poured into your life. You’ve got the goodness of the wine of the Kingdom within you, now it’s time to let the world taste the best vintage of all. Let them savour the wine of the Kingdom through your life. Stop looking at others and saying; “LORD, WHAT ABOUT HIM?” or “LORD, WHAT ABOUT HER?” Jesus has got His own plans for you my friends, and with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be of great use in His Kingdom. Be His Ambassador today.

You’ve got the goodness of the wine of the Kingdom within you, now it’s time to let the world taste the best vintage of all; serve Jesus today.

I don’t want any of you to fall into the traps of comparing yourself with anyone else or of hearing Jesus Word and not doing it. You’ve got the goodness of the wine of the Kingdom within you, now it’s time to let the world taste the best vintage of all; serve Jesus today.

Don.

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40 Days With Jesus; Day 28: Beware The Comparison Trap.