God Is At Work In YOU.

You are Christ's living letter of recommendation, epistle, to the world,

Daily Spirit & Word: 767:

You Are Jesus’ Living Email: Recommending Christ to Others.

IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU TO WILL AND TO ACT 

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

Not many people send handwritten letters these days, most of our friendly communication is done through social media and emails. People read through their emails most days, some skim-read through Facebook or Whatsapp etc… You are a LIVING FB Message. What you do and say will either lead men and women to Christ or away from Him. The other day I felt a complete and utter failure, keep reading below.

It’s Saturday, so only a short share today ūüôā

That’s a sobering thought isn’t it, the WAY WE LIVE is like a letter of recommendation?

You know when you go for an interview for a job, you give them your CV and some letters of recommendation?

D.L. Moody was a great evangelist in the 19th Century. He said, “I remember reading of a blind man who was found sitting at the corner of a street in a great city with a lantern beside him. Someone went up to him and asked what he had the lantern there for, seeing that he was blind, and the light was the same to him as the darkness.

The blind man replied,¬†“I have it so that no one may stumble over me.”

Dear friends, let us think about that: Where one person will read the Bible, there are another hundred that will read you and me. Are we recommending Jesus by the way we live? People in this world, who are not Christians, are watching those who profess to be Christians, to see if we are living according to what we profess.

That’s what Paul meant when he penned 2 Corinthians 3 below.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (NLT)
1  Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not!
2  The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.
3 ¬†Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This ‚Äúletter‚ÄĚ is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4  We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.
5  It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
6  He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Sometimes I’m asked to write a character reference letter for people, I’ll always think and pray and ask the Lord to show me what’s great about that person. We are all Christ’s letter of recommendation to the world. It’s as if Jesus Himself is making His appeal to those who don’t yet know Him as Lord and Saviour through us.

Most Christians who love Jesus as their Good Shepherd, Lord and Saviour, want others in their circle of friendship (OIKOS) to come to know Him too. But the people that know us best are either being won to Christ by our changed lives or driven further away from Him. They either see our holiness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peacefulness etc or they’ll see a reflection of themselves in us, will they see someone without Christ?

How’s your witness going? Getting The Balance Right:

Are you “Christ’s letter of recommendation”?

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I think I’ve blown it.

The other day I was in the garden, I stabbed my belly with some sharp cutting shears, I cried out in pain, but I said a “SWEAR-WORD”, immediately I felt guilty and looked around to see if there was anyone who could have heard it. I know Jesus heard me, what was it in my heart that made me swear instead of praying to Him?

You know, there are times when I feel a complete and utter failure, then someone will show me something of my changed character, how Jesus has been working quietly in the background of my personality, ripening the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my flesh, they’ll say, “I don’t know how you can be so calm or so kind, etc”… Then I think to myself, “They’re right, before I knew Jesus I would not have reacted like that”. So my friends, you may not be perfect yet, but Jesus is working in you to will and to act according to His great purposes today. Amen!

I love these two verses from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)¬†“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed; not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence; continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU TO WILL AND TO ACT

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

My friends, God is working in your life, the moment you came to Christ as Lord, He began that good work in you. He’s going to keep working, changing your “Wants, Desires, Will” so that you will begin to ACT like Christ, behave like Jesus, you will be Jesus’ letter of recommendation to the world. Amen!

I’m praying you really are or want to be. To be consistent daily is difficult, it’s a battle, I KNOW. And sometimes you will feel a failure too, but Jesus wants all of us to be WINNING in this battle my friends. So He sent a wonderful gift to you and me to enable us to overcome all our weaknesses: The HOLY SPIRIT. I’m going to get filled up today, because I NEED HIM. I’m sure you’re going to see just how much you need Him too, it to be His living letter of recommendation to others.

Let’s all be like that blind man, keep the light of Christ shining brightly for all to see, so that they won’t stumble, trip and fall over you. Amen!

Don.

 

Why Am I Suffering?

Jesus answer to suffering

Daily Spirit & Word 601: Why Am I Suffering?

Good morning my friends, did you see the Blood Moon yesterday? For some strange reason I awoke just as the shadow of the Earth began to cover the moon, so I watched it for a while. The moon looked quite big, they called it a super moon, but I’m sure I’ve seen even bigger moons than that when I was a child ūüôā Overshadow? I’m thinking what the Lord may be saying about that today.

I can’t give a reason for EVERYONE’S suffering, but sometimes the Lord wants to teach us something.

My friends Roy Hutchinson shared this on FB today:

Psalm 73:14-17 (ANIV)
14  All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
15 ¬†If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
16  When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17  till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

If you read that whole Psalm, you’ll see the Psalmist is complaining to the LORD: Why do ‘good’ people have to suffer?

Suffering:

When we suffer sometimes we ask the question “Why?” Why am I suffering. Sometimes Christians get ashamed about their suffering or the duration of their suffering, because they think it’s the judgement of God. Other brothers and sisters sometimes don’t help, because they say things like; “You should pray about that” or “Perhaps God is disciplining you”… When you are suffering you want people to show some sympathy and empathy.

But it is GOOD to ask the question: “Why am I suffering?” but we should always ask the LORD not other people, because, unless they’ve been given a word of Knowledge from Him, they will not know.

1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
17  For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 ¬†And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 ¬†So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

However, there are some great reasons why we suffer, but it’s good to ask the Lord the question “WHY?” He may reveal something that, unless the suffering had come, you would continue to be unaware of in your character or walk with Him.

Two verses jumped out at me from that passage today (perhaps another speaks to you in a different way), the verses were 15 & 17.

Verse 15 “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a¬†thief¬†or any other kind of evildoer (criminal), or even as a meddler (someone who interferes in the affairs of others).”

How many ‘good’ Christians do you know, who are meddlers? The Church is rife with people who meddle, we should not do it.

  • If you are a meddler, then you are an obstacle to someone else’s pathway in life.
  • If you are a meddler, you are interfering in an obtrusive,¬†noticeable¬†way.

Verse 17: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

It is so easy for the follower of Jesus to¬†skip¬†over the first part of verse 17 and focus upon the outcome of the sinner who¬†doesn’t¬†respond to the Gospel when they hear it. However, the first part could quite possible be even more enlightening for us; “For it is TIME for¬†judgement to begin with the family of God”. We don’t like to think that Father God will judge us, but it’s good for us if He does.

God disciplines, and judges those who belong to HIM NOW: “God disciplines those He loves”. He’s perfecting, training, shaping and moulding our Characters to become more and more like Jesus Christ, it is far better to KNOW that you belong to God’s family and experience His loving discipline now rather than wait for the judgement to come. We should invite the Lord to show us where we need to be transformed. “What’s next on Your agenda for me Heavenly Father?” Because our earthly nature, though it was put to death when we were baptised and united with Christ, is NOT completely dead, and will try and creep back up onto the throne of our life and kick the Lord Jesus Christ off.

It’s TIME for¬†Judgement¬†to begin with the Household (family) of God.

In other words, it is good for us when the Lord of Heaven disciplines us. So it’s no wonder this passage begins with “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” and continues with “rejoice”… It’s GOOD for us to experience some suffering, so we should never be ashamed or down-hearted or beaten down: Instead Christians should¬†Rejoice! Sing¬†hallelujah! Praise the LORD! Why? Because we are becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

So what should we do when we’re suffering?

First: REJOICE and PRAISE THE LORD: I know how hard that is sometimes, but it is what happens to us when we do it. JOY comes into our hearts when we praise the Lord, even when we’re in pain and suffering all kinds of trials.

Next: Continue to do Good: Verse 19 “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

Continue (even when you are suffering) to do good.

When I had a bad back just recently and found it difficult even to walk, there wasn’t much good I could do, but I prayed, studied God’s Word and shared with people in fellowship and online. It is the CONTINUING: Keep going even when the going gets tough.

Jesus will help you and give you the comfort, encouragement, and strength that you need when you are suffering. There were so many wonderful encouragements I received from the Lord whilst suffering in agony. Praise the LORD!

So it’s good to ASK the Lord, “Why Am I Suffering?”

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

Hope you all have a fantastic, wonderful, tremendous Tuesday with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Please PRAY for us as we gather for Discipleship Fellowship Tonight @ 7.30pm in St Luke’s Church.

 

Jesus Gives A New Purpose

Daily Spirit & Word, 502: Jesus Gives A New Purpose.

Saturday 2nd of May 2015.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 18: New Purpose.

Good morning my friends, I’m going off in a few minutes to pick up the grandchildren for another adventure with Granny and Papa. My daughter is going over to help one of her friends, who has more than three kids and is finding life a bit tough at the moment. She and a few others have arranged to go and help clean her house and give her a special tread. I don’t know about you, but in my short lifetime I’ve come to understand this, I feel much better about myself afterwards if I help people rather than send them away or walk past without even inclining my head in the direction of need.

Jesus calls us to live this kind of selfless life. I know that there are many, who are not Christians, who live utterly selfless lives and can even put many Christians to shame, but our Lord Jesus Christ, whilst He was here on earth and after the resurrection called everyone who puts their faith and trust in Him into a life of service; God first then everybody else, but why? Why does He call us to serve others?

Imagine for a moment if Jesus had made it the other way around. He was the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords right? Well, Imagine if Jesus had come as a KING, made people into His servants instead of serving. If He came like that, on a great big white Charging Chariot instead of a Donkey. Imagine if He viewed everyone as His slaves, and used His power to make people serve Him. Do you think there would be any followers in the world today? Most people like strong men for a season, for a purpose, to sort out a problem, but they don’t really want a strong many around for very much longer than the duration of the problem. e.g. Winston Churchil, was the right man at the right time to lead the country in time of war, but in time of peace, the populace had little time for his fanciful ideas of Empire etc… He didn’t last long after the war. Yes people were extremely grateful for His wartime efforts,, but barely tolerated that strength in peacetime. Jesus, could have been tolerated as a Big and Mighty KING as long as He was taking care of Israel’s enemies, but as soon as they didn’t need Him, would the people still LOVE their strong leader? History shows that people’s affections are fickle, if they’re not getting what they want, they’ll move off to follow someone else.

Christians are called to model SERVICE and HUMILITY to a world that believes in SUCCESS and PERSONAL HAPPINESS and SATISFACTION. Jesus called us to serve God first and then others with our lives. How are we doing?

In the Resurrection Appearances: Jesus gave the Disciples a foretaste of what was to come: He breathed on them and said, receive the Holy Spirit. He told them that in a few days they would be clothed with POWER from on High, but it was NOT, I repeat, NOT power to Lord it over people or power to be in charge or power to dominate and fascinate, but POWER to SERVE and to BE. He’s giving us the POWER of HEAVEN for His Purposes.

  • 1) Simply to be a Christian.
  • 2) To Worship and Love God.
  • 3) To Serve God.
  • 4) To Love others
  • 5) To serve God by Serving Others.
  • 6) To Help others to come to Know the life of a Christian is to be saved by God and to serve God, then to reach out to others to introduce them to God and server them too.

Jesus Purposes are ALL Selfless. Instead of the world putting Christians to shame, we should be so in love with God, with Jesus the Son of God, with the Holy Spirit who fills and equips us for service, that we’ll be living such good and selfless lives that we’ll put the whole world to shame.

Jesus did say, “It’s by your love for one another, that people will know you are my disciples”.

My friends, Jesus didn’t call us to a life of service to make us feel stupid, to make us feel small and insignificant, but when we’re totally given over to serving God and serving others, then we’ll not only be at total PEACE within, but there’ll be a JOY that the world cannot ever give you and you’ll know your Purpose on earth.

Doing Drugs:

Over the years I’ve lived on earth, I’ve known people who’ve got a high from hard-drugs, but it never lasts and they’ll keep coming back to try and get the same buzz, that same great feeling of ecstasy¬†that it gave them the first time they took it, but they’ll never get it. So they try harder and take stronger more harmful drugs in the endless pursuit of the great big beautiful high. It’s not long before they’re hooked. These dreadful drugs tell people lies my friends. Their lives are ruined and their bodies begin to show it. ¬†One of the people I’ve gotten to know here in London, through years of ministry and service, a great friend, whom I’ve been sharing the Gospel of Jesus, I saw her the other day, and she was stumbling along the road looking like a living skeleton. Her life given over completely to drugs.

It’s so sad watching and being with people who’s lives have been totally wreaked by these most destructive habits, but there’s no drug in the world can make you feel as happy as serving God by helping others. When you get home and put your head on the pillow, you’ll be going off to the land of nod, sleepy time, dreaming about how you can next serve God rather than the empty selfish dreams of personal wealth, health and living your life in endless and soul-draining pursuit of the elusive, smoke-like dream of eternal bliss and happiness. You’ll never be satisfied until you find your satisfaction in God and know what His purpose is for your life. When you get that you’ll desires will be entierly different, it’s like each time you do something good, the feelings get better and better and stronger. The JOY is exponential my friends and doesn’t diminish like the high that drugs can give you. You’ll be going from strength to strength in the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

Points To Ponder:

  • To what extent can you say that you live beyond yourself on a daily basis? i.e. Living For God and Others.
  • Where do you believe the Lord has sent or is going to send you? Maybe He cas called you to a certain city or country. Perhaps it’s a people group the Lord has put upon your heart; e.g. India, Pakistan, Scotland, China, etc… He puts His burdens upon His people. Take some time to bring this question to the Lord and ask afresh where He just may be calling or sending you in life.
  • Remember, whatever the Lord calls you to do for Him in this world, He’s also equipping you to accomplish that task.
  • Most of us are sent initially to our immediate workplace and neighbourhood, to be the Lord’s SALT & LIGHT. This is part of fulfilling our basic mission when we’re called to faith and trust in Jesus and we respond with a loud yes. He’s give you immediate tasks; sharing your faith, as those first witnesses to the Lord immediately did. Your first call is to tell others about Jesus, have you done that?
  • How passionate are you about His call to service? Does it fill you with Joy to be able to serve the Lord? Or are you a reluctant servant? Remember Jesus parable of the two sons. One said he would go and work for his father, but didn’t. The other said he wouldn’t, but thought about it and later changed his mind. However, you find yourself serving the Lord today, try and do it willingly, but do it no matter how you feel, because sometimes when we obediently serve the Lord, great feelings begin to follow.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I’m praying that You’ll use me today for Your Glory. May I increasingly be a generous giver of my time and my resources, and all my gifts and talents so that I’ll become an even better servant in Your Kingdom. I’m taking seriously today the part of the prayer you taught us; “Your Kingdom Come: Your Will Be Done” (Matthew 6:10). By Your Holy Spirit, Lord, fill and equip me and lead and guide me into daily service for You. Amen.

 

Now can you imagine a life better and more satisfying than that? No wonder Jesus looked forward to the Cross and endured it’s pain and agony, He had his mind set on how He’d feel once He’d given His life in service of the Father and YOU. Now He’s calling you to that same high calling. It’s when we give our lives that we find them and our purpose of existence, then the joy of the Lord will flood our soul. When you put your head on the pillow at the end of the day, you’ll sleep like the King’s baby. Amen.

God bless and keep you all close to Him today my friends,

Don.

Daily Spirit & Word, 502: Jesus Gives New Purpose.

40 Days With Jesus: Home Page.

Day 18: Jesus Gives New Purpose.

 

 

An Anchor For Your Soul

Daily Spirit & Word, 459: An Anchor for Your Soul.

Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.

Benefit #5 God’s Word in your heart is like an anchor for your soul.

You know the old Hymn: “Will Your Anchor Hold”?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

That Question: Will your anchor hold? Will you remain steadfast following the Lord through all the storms and waves and temptations of this life?

 An good, heavy anchor can hold a mighty ship when the storms come.

Fastened to the Rock: The rock that the Hymn is talking about is Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals that He was the ‘rock in the wilderness’ that¬†Moses¬†struck to get water for the people of Israel in the desert, He was also the rock that Moses was placed in a crevice by the LORD as He passed Moses by. Jesus is the rock that makes men stumble, He’s the Cornerstone of the building. Is Jesus YOUR Rock today. Are you holding onto Him as a ship’s anchor does to the rocks at the bottom of the sea. A ship depended upon the anchor getting a good grip upon the rocks.

John W. Crawford wrote in Discipleship Journal;

“When I was in the Navy, one of the games played aboard ship was the anchor pool. Each participating sailor¬†would put in his money and guess what time we would drop anchor as we came into port. The exact time¬†was always recorded in the ship’s log, and the closest guesser would win the pool.

It seemed innocent enough at the time, and my shipmates would encourage me to join in‚Äď”Ah, Crawford, be¬†a sport.” I realized later that they couldn’t care less about me being a sport; they wanted my money. But I¬†decided I would not get involved, and I memorized some passages to strengthen my conviction.

One was Proverbs 13:11‚Äď”Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall¬†increase.”

Another was Proverbs 23:5‚Äď”Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make¬†themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle toward heaven.” Not only was it wrong to win money by¬†gambling, but I wouldn’t be able to keep it anyway.”¬†¬†“An Anchor for Your Heart.” by John W. Crawford Discipleship Journal Issue #9 May/June 1982.

THE GREAT HABIT OF EMBEDDING GOD’S WORD:

My friends, when we get into the GREAT HABIT of Embedding God’s Word in our hearts the way John Crawford did, we’ll be fast-tracking our way to Christian Spiritual Maturity.

Robert Morgan said, “The practice of memorizing and meditating on the Bible is the primary way to accelerate spiritual growth in your life. It speeds up the transformation process and leads to holier habits. After all, spiritual maturity is simply thinking more as God thinks; so as we implant His thoughts into our minds, using Scripture memory, and as we use the process of meditation to convert those verses into regular thought patterns, we‚Äôre developing the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), yielding mature thoughts, pure habits, and holier lives. The psalmist said, ‚ÄúYour word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You‚ÄĚ (Ps. 119:11 NKJV).” From; “100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.” by Robert J Morgan.

So we’ll become more like Jesus the more we know and think like Him. Spending precious time in His presence and in His Word will produce spiritual growth. I’ve seen this in many people over the years since I’ve been following the Lord Jesus. So many of my friends have fallen back into the world, given into sin, self and the world’s ways of living. Having talked, counselled and challenged many of them, I’ve become convinced of this; It’s because they left off personal time with Jesus, they didn’t get into God’s Word and they didn’t get God’s Word into their hearts or heads.

There have been times when I’ve stopped my daily time with Jesus, either through work of pressures in life, each time I have, I’ve felt the tendency and temptation to fall away increase. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t leave me alone too long and by His Holy Spirit, He brings conviction and reveals what’s happened and leads me back into the narrow way.

Having served in the Royal Navy on Ships and Submarines, I love the Bible’s naval terminology, I love the old hymns that speak of anchors, storms of life, waves, billows, etc… They speak to me because I’ve experienced them and they do help to keep me on the Lord’s narrow pathway that leads to eternal life.

¬†Part ll of “Will Your Anchor Hold? on Monday.

Have an awesome Saturday with your family, friends, fellowship and the Lord.

Sunday is the Lord’s Day: Don’t neglect the gathering of the Saints as some are in the habit of doing and have shipwrecked their faith.

Every blessing in Jesus name,

Don.