Love Always Perseveres

Love from God's perspective.

Daily Spirit & Word: 824.

Love Always Perseveres.

Sermon Series on LOVE (Understanding LOVE from God’s Perspective 1 Corinthians 13).

Good morning, we’re back with 1 Corinthians 13: The Great Love Chapter in God’s Word. Here we’ve been discovering some of the secrets of TRUE LOVE:

TRUE LOVE: Agape: Sacrificial / Devotional / Charitable Love.

1) That love is not at first an emotion to give into, but an act of the will, with principles and precepts to live by.

2) We will want to act these ways, because we’ve first of all experienced God’s; Love, Forgiveness, Kindness and Mercy. He’s given us a New Start, New Heart, New Life, New Relationship of Love through His Son Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

3) When we act in God’s love, great feelings of LOVE will follow… i.e. attraction in relationships can be restored.

Some People think their marriage is over, because they don’t feel the love any-longer  It’s not over just because you don’t feel “IN LOVE” any more. Love and feelings of being in love will follow and flow afresh into your heart and your relationship once you begin LOVING God’s Ways.

LOVE ALWAYS: (Sermon Series).

We’ve been looking over the last few weeks at: Verse 7: Love Always:

1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV) It (LOVE) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Today It Is: Love Always Perseveres.

To see how LOVE ALWAYS Perseveres: We can look though God’s Word to see if this is a principle / precept that is TRUE.

  • Then we’ll KNOW: Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.
  • Then we’ll KNOW: That Always Persevering in LOVE… (LOVE NEVER FAILS)…

Genesis 29:20 (NIV) “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (That’s Perseverance).

Part of Jacob’s reward for working for Laban was to have Rachel, Laban’s beautiful daughter, given to Jacob as his wife. Our verse for today sums up the details of this arrangement and shows the great effects of love how we’ll be persevering because of it…

  • Love Prompted Jacob’s Perseverance.
  • Love Prolonged Jacob’s Perseverance.
  • Love Produced Pleasure in Jacob’s Toil.

1) LOVE Prompted Jacob’s Perseverance:

Perseverance’s Prerequisite: Is LOVE:  “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel.” (Prerequisite = Essential Condition. Needed Requirement: LOVE).

It was love that caused Jacob to serve here. He was very much in love with Rachel and so agreed to serve Laban for her. Love is essential if we are going to persevere.

Remember what Paul said;

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)
14  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Paul was motivated (compelled) to serve his Lord Jesus by his love for Christ. (First LOVE).

When Christ called Peter to feed His flock, He asked Peter, “Do you love me?” or in KJV “Lovest thou me” (John 21:15,16,17 {three times}).

If your perseverance draining, if you feel everything to do with church is a drag, maybe you are getting a bit like the church at Ephesus which was rebuked by the Lord because they had “left their first love” (Revelation 2:4).

If Jacob had just had a passing FANCY for Rachel, he would not have served or persevered to get her hand in marriage.

It wasn’t a passing fancy, but true love that enabled Jacob to persevere for those seven long years.

 

2) Prolonging of Perseverance. “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel.”

Love caused Jacob to serve for a long time.

Later when Laban deceived Jacob and gave him Leah instead of Rachel at the end of those seven years, Jacob was prepared, because of his love for Rachel, to agree to serve another seven years for her. That’s awesome! We need to understand this today 14 Years to get a wife… who today would be prepared to do that? Would you wait? That’s how much he longed for and loved Rachel.

Because of his LOVE he was prepared to persevere for Rachel’s hand.

  • Love Caused Jacob: To continually work for Rachel.
  • Love Cause Jacob: To Never Give up on Rachel.
  • Love Caused Jacob: To have longevity (No matter how long it would take, he’d get his Rachel)…
  • Love Cause Jacob: To keep Going, not quit after a few days, weeks, months or years… 14 years it took to get his Rachel as his wife.
  • LOVE MADE JACOB: Persevere until….

 

QUESTION: Why do so many Christians fall away from the faith?

Why do so many Christians grow luke-warm in their devotion to Jesus?

Why do so many not persevere and keep following Jesus?

ANSWER: NOT IN LOVE WITH JESUS.

Some have a PASSING FANCY for the CHRISTIAN FAITH. Dabble their toes in the water of Christian Experience, but when the going gets tough, the feeble, fickle, feeling based Christians = leg it. They’ve had a passing fancy for Jesus, not TRUE LOVE… If Jesus was ever their FIRST LOVE, then no matter what, they’d stick at it come what may.

The reason so many folks do not last long in persevering faith in Christ is because they do not love Christ as they need.

If you truly love Christ, you will stay at your work continually: Like Jacob (Joseph, David, Moses, Abraham). Some didn’t see their PROMISED LAND (HOPE)… However, because of their LOVE they were able to PERSEVERE.

  • Love causes us to have longevity in our persevering for Christ.
  • Love does not serve Jesus a few days then quit when it gets tough; no it KEEPS GOING (Digging In Deeper onto the foundation bedrock of Jesus).
  • Love keeps us going in serving the LORD.
  • When we LOVE Jesus, we will PERSEVERE in the FAITH…

3) PLEASURE in PERSEVERING (Perseverance’s Rewards).

Genesis 29:20 (NIV) “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”

When you are truly in LOVE with Jesus, then no matter what happens; good or bad, plenty or want, you’ll LONG to SERVE HIM: Persevering won’t seem like a chore or a burden, it’s a pleasure.

  • When Jacob got Rachel: He said, “It seems like I’ve only served a few days” because of his love for her.
  • When you get to Heaven: You’ll be thinking it only seemed like a few days that I served Jesus. Because of your LOVE for Him.
  • Love for Rachel made long-days seem short.
  • Love for Rachel brought much pleasure to Jacob’s service. (The sweat of looking after sheep was a JOY)…
  • Love for Rachel sweetened the difficult times and made them delightful times.

 

Question: Why do so many followers of Jesus find serving Jesus a chore or a burden or a difficulty?

Why do so many Christians get resentful in their service?

  • They’re not looking at Jesus. Taken their eyes off HIM…
  • They’ve forgotten the Prize.
  • They’ve wandered away from their first LOVE…

 

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES:

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) (Don’t Loose Heart: Run With Perseverance: Fix Eyes on Jesus)…
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) PRESS ONWARDS to WIN PRIZE…
14  I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) RUN (Persevere) to GET YOUR PRIZE.
24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.
26  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

If you are not in love with Jesus, you will not persevere: Not Run, Fix Eyes, Aim, Walk or Limp towards your Prize. You will loose heart and possibly fall away from the faith…

If you are in love with Jesus, you will persevere: Run, Walk, Keep Going, PERSEVERE.

 

How to get back in LOVE? {with your first-love}

  • LOVE as the Bible tells you: be patient, be kind, be forgiving, be gentle, don’t be proud, selfish, rude… etc (1 Cor 13). PRACTISING CHRISTIAN… Practice LOVE… Try it.
  • Repent: Of your lack of love for Jesus. Ask for His forgiveness. He’ll then MOTIVATE you to PERSEVERE once you are back IN LOVE with Him.

 

NOTE: RUNNING FOR THE PRIZE: (Not Down to Self-Effort)…

Personal Testimony: I’d failed, time and time again. Self-Effort wasn’t working. I got a bit depressed, felt a failure, felt God didn’t love me, couldn’t love me, wouldn’t love me. I had almost LOST HEART… Why? Because I was trying to be GOOD in my own strength, my own determination and perseverance and my will-power was failing fast… Who would rescue me? It’s Jesus my friends, I needed to trust in Jesus alone all over again. Submit to Him and confess and let Him do the changing of my heart…. Allow HIM IN: I needed to surrender all over again.

This PERSEVERANCE: Is NOT Self-Effort: It comes from being connected and in-love with Jesus. (OR RE-CONNECTED).

He gives you the DETERMINATION YOU NEED to Keep Persevering against the odds…

People will look at you and wonder: “How on earth does He / She do it?”… It’s NOT you, It’s Jesus in YOU… It’s the Holy Spirit who’s taken up residence and become your own personal President (Lord, Master, Boss, King)… He’ll be motivating you to obedience to what you know is right.

But many do not find that joy in serving. The reason is because they lack that deep heart love for Jesus.

If your love for Christ abounds, you will find much pleasure in serving Him even though the service may be difficult, long, hard, and trying.

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES: Jacob loved Rachel (A Picture of How the Saint should love His / Her Jesus).

Conclusion:

1) Perseverance’s Prerequisite: LOVE for Jesus (Jacob loved Rachel)…
2) Prolonging of Perseverance: LOVE will make you SERVE for MANY YEARS…
3) Perseverance’s Reward: Those many years of service will seem like only a few days… Because, there is PLEASURE in persevering. {LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES}.

You’ll delight in Serving for Jesus, if you LOVE Him… No matter how successful or not… You’re going to keep going because of your LOVE for Him.

Amen!

Hymn:

Oh, How I LOVE Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me.

Unleash the Power of Prayer

The POWER of Prayer in not the prayer but the PERSON to whom we Pray. Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 823:

The Power of Praying to the LORD.

Unleash The Power of Prayer

Genesis 25:21 (NIV)  Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

Good morning my friends, I’m back again. Praise the LORD! It’s so good when we have the POWER of Heaven. God’s NOT DEAD: He’s Alive! He’s waiting to answer your prayers. However, we need to know how to unleash the POWER of HEAVEN into our lives afresh today.

Prayer played an important part in a crisis in Isaac’s life. Today we’re going to see how he solved that crisis by going to the Lord in prayer.

If you’ve got a PROBLEM today: Even if you’ve had it a long time, take it to the ONE who can break EVERY CHAIN.

 

1) The Person Isaac Prayed About:

“Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife.”

Isaac’s wife had a serious problem: She was barren.

When a woman was barren in those days, people thought they’d been cursed or were under God’s judgement. It was a shameful thing not to be able to conceive.  Isaac, unlike many husbands in those days, did not criticise Rebekah or reject her because she was barren. He loved Rebecca so instead he prayed to the LORD for her.

I think we can all learn a lesson from this verse today: If couples prayed to the LORD for each other when things are not going well, instead of criticising each other or blaming one another, then we unleash the power of Heaven into our family life. You’ll be surprised how your own attitude will change when you pray instead of moan. So my friends, let’s make prayer a big part of our home and family life. You’ll discover The Lord can improve every area of your home and the family atmosphere can change.

When was the last time you spent time with Jesus praying for your wife or husband?

The Film: The War Room: The Prayer Closet: Loved that film.

Let’s get to praying regularly for our closest family members.

2) What Prompted Isaac to Pray?

The Prompter of his Prayer was a PROBLEM:

“Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren”

It was a problem that prompted Isaac to pray. That is not what most people do with their problems. Generally when problems come, people fuss and fume, some swear and shout, and many resort to drugs or drink when serious problems come.

Fussing, Fuming, Swearing, Shouting or Drugs and Drink: But we all know that PROBLEMS cannot be solved like that, these things only tend to make the problem seem like an insurmountable MOUNTAIN. When we act like that, we begin to even feel bad about ourselves. We had friends who’ve taken their own lives because of what seemed to us like a trivial problem. But they FOCUSED on the STORM instead of the ONE who calmed the raging waves with just a word.

The best way to confront all your problems is to pray about them. Prayer is a problem solver. No matter how big your problem, you can take it to the Lord in prayer.

When you do you’ll get REVELATION: Problems will begin to seem so small when we take them to Jesus.

3) The Power of Isaac’s Prayer:

“The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant”

NOTE: It wasn’t Isaac’s prayer but the PERSON that he prayed to. You are coming to the LIVING God who loves you. He’s your Heavenly Father and He cares for you. He even knows how many hairs you have on your head…

Prayer to the LORD will indeed change things. He can work great wonders, awesome miracles. When you come to the LORD with your issues in life, the problem doesn’t look quite so big as our Lord.

The POWER of PRAYER is the LORD to Whom WE PRAY.

20 YEARS: That’s a LONG TIME: (How LONG have you had your problems?)…

Rebekah had been barren for twenty years; but after Isaac prayed, she conceived and not only bore one child, but she had twins! That’s AWESOME: TWINS. My friends, do not underestimate the power of prayer to the LORD.

Once we had a couple who’d attended Church a few times after getting married: One Sunday I asked if they were OK on the way out of church. The wife said, “I’ve been trying for a baby, but would value prayer” I said “OK, let’s go up to the front of church, kneel at the altar rail and pray to the LORD” She and her husband came and knelt.  After a few weeks, her mother stopped me in the street and said in a loud voice, “Donald, Donald you got my daughter pregnant”… She was pregnant, not with one baby, but twins… (I did cringe a little bit when she said that though, I was wearing my dog collar at the time)… LOL…

Many people dismiss or scoff at prayer, but wise men, wise women, wise children and youngsters know that prayer to the LORD can work wonders.

You know that song, “There is POWER in the Name of Jesus” … there’s a repeated refrain, “BREAK EVERY CHAIN”… No matter how LONG you’ve had your PROBLEM… God can BREAK it’s POWERFUL CHAINS…. Take it to the LORD in prayer and unleash the POWER of Heaven.

Have an AWESOME Sunday with Jesus.

What a friend we have in Jesus

Don.

 

Jesus Light Is Shining.

Jesus is the Light of the World

Daily Spirit & Word: 818: Shining Your Light For Jesus.

Advent Week 2: Your Light IS Going to Get Brighter…

Good morning my friends, what an awesome day Sunday was. First worship with all the family together, we made a long chain of paper strips to show how the LORD wants UNITY in His family, and how it takes EFFORT to maintain that unity. Then we had an opportunity to let the LIGHT of Jesus shine out in West Norwood from the steps of the church as thousands gathered for the FEAST. We’d been invited to sing Christmas Carols, it was cold, windy and sunny, but what precious UNITY as five churches sang out together.

Proverbs 4:18-19 (NIV)
18  The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19  But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

Those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour are RIGHTEOUS. However, note this, we’re not righteous because of anything good we’ve done or because of how religious or devoted we are, we’re only righteous because of what Jesus has done for us. He died to make us right in God’s sight. It’s by faith in Jesus that our unrighteousness is washed clean. So my friends, having been MADE RIGHTEOUS, let us therefore allow His light to shine out, and the pathway will become ever more brighter for us. It will also enable others to see the clear pathway to the Light of Christ. Amen.

As John tells us,  1 John 1:5-7 (NIV) Walking In The Light.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

  • I want to WALK in the LIGHT today.
  • I want to BE a LIGHT for Jesus.
  • I want EVERYONE to ESCAPE the DARKNESS.
  • I want to LEAD others into the LIGHT.

 

Amen!

Don.

 

 

Being at the feet of Jesus

Worried and burdened about many things, upset, weary, come to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 817: Longing to be at the FEET of Jesus.

Mary and Martha.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,”

Good morning my friends, last night’s Christmas Feast Carols Rehearsal was wonderful. Although I was tired, with puffy eyes, those voices and the songs lifted my spirit and encouraged me to worship the LORD again.

Look at my Puffy Eyes 🙂

I was reminded this morning of something I shared yesterday about Mary and Martha, so decided to look at these sisters in the Bible. Do you know that every time Mary is mentioned, she’s at the feet of Jesus. It’s so important that we keep our daily time with Him. Just being in the LORD’s presence for a while each day, will transform your life. Martha is the practical one.

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
38  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
40  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
42  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

That little family at Bethany was very dear to our Lord Jesus, he loved Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus  (John 11:1-5).

We are given three wonderful insights into Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 11; John 12:1-11). Each time you’ll find Mary in the same place: AT JESUS FEET.

Martha, however, is the practical one, always ready to serve the Lord. But, when she complained to the Lord about her sister, she was told in no uncertain terms, that Mary had chosen what was best, to be at Jesus’ feet listening and learning. It wasn’t wrong for Martha to prepare a meal, everybody has to eat sometimes; but it was wrong for her to be so preoccupied with it, that she began to criticise someone else for not working with her, she should have just got on with the work she felt she had to do.

However, we’re given an insight into Martha too, her labour had become a “burden”, but the LORD had even more insight than that, he revealed she was “Burdened by many things”: Perhaps that Mary was not helping Martha was just the straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back, she snapped at Mary. It is annoying when we’re doing stuff and everybody else is just sitting around chatting and not bothering to help. However, we always need to be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” If it’s to serve the LORD from right motives, what anyone else is doing won’t even bother us.

EXPLOSIONS DO HAPPEN:

The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

I’ve noticed that too, sometimes people will explode at something that seems insignificant, but that little things is just the tip of the iceberg of burdens, and they can’t take any-more. Sometimes, when someone we know and love explodes like that, we need to button-it, give them a hug and some encouragement. They are often BURDENED by many more things than the thing they’ve erupted over.

Jesus knew that Martha was “anxious and troubled by MANY things” as she tried to serve the Lord. When we’re serving Jesus, it seems that SATAN loves it when TROUBLES come and tries to cause even more division and troubles.

Had it not been for the LORD’S intervention that day, perhaps Mary and Martha could have had a big fall-out and not talked to each other for a long time. I’ve seen families like that, falling out over something so small, but PRIDE gets hurt and families get divided.

Whilst Martha was pre-occupied, Mary was focused: She was focused and fascinated by and with Jesus. I’ve no doubt that Mary longed to serve the LORD too, and she did. However, Martha was preoccupied and that clouded her vision.

What we do with Christ is far more important than what we do for Christ, because when we are in submission, at the feet of Jesus, listening and learning from the Master, this will lead us towards even greater obedience and service.

  • We can check our heart today: Am I ready to be with Jesus, to sit at His feet and worship, learn and obey Him?
  • We can check our heart today: Am I serving the LORD? really serving Him? or has my service turned into something else?
  • We can check our heart today: Am I pre-occupied and burdened by many things? Let’s before we explode at someone else, get those burdens lifted from off our shoulders by Jesus.

COME LIKE MARY: To the FEET of Jesus.

I love Jesus invitation to come into His presence:

Matthew 11:27-30 (NIV)
27  “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If you are weary and burdened or upset about many things like Martha, then come like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus for a while. You’ll discover those burdens have been lifted from off your shoulders. Praise the LORD!

  • Let’s come to Jesus afresh before the Weekend is upon us.
  • Let’s come to Jesus and unload our burdens.
  • Let’s come to Jesus and REST,
  • Let’s come to Jesus and learn from Him,
  • Let’s come to Jesus and receive His easy yoke and light burden. Amen!

Be blessed and have an awesome Weekend with Jesus,

Don.

 

Black Friday Freedom

How Jesus can set your free on Black Friday

Daily Spirit & Word: 812: Black Friday Freedom.

BLACK FRIDAY IS COMING.

If you want it, you’ve got it.

But be careful what you are wanting.

BLACK FRIDAY: Darkness….

We live in a world that is full of desire for things. Even the church has been infected by it and has focused much of it’s teachings on meeting the needs of people’s desires. So much so, that they now declare to people, “have faith, just believe it and you will receive it”. This is the name it claim it Gospel.

Of course we’re all meant to be Servants of the Lord ready to respond to one another’s needs, but simply to appeal to our desires begs a few questions, because those things that people desire most, are things God has warned us will lead us into the darkness and farther away from Him. If you desire darkness, then God is going to give it to you, big time: Watch OUT or you will receive your BLACK FRIDAY.

What things then do we desire most that God has forbidden?

1) Riches: To enable us to get lots of STUFF… 

2) Sexual Desires:

3) Power and Control:

If we want these things, then God is going to give us over to these desires, but note this, when we’re given over to our desires, we’ll be in total DARKNESS, the end result being that we’ll be DRIVEN by those desires in an ever increasing measure. Our natural affections will be turned into inordinate affections.

Romans 1:18-32 (NIV)
18  The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19  since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
23  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is for ever praised. Amen.
26  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
27  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28  Furthermore, since they did not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
29  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30  slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31  they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them.

What a SAD indictment against humanity.

  • Without Christ we are all in this DARKNESS.
  • Without Christ we are given over in various degrees to our desires.
  • Without Christ we have depraved minds.

NOTE THE PROGRESSION IN ROMANS 1:18-32.

  • They Exchanged: The Glory of God: Worshipping Created Things.
  • They Exchanged: The Truth of God: Choosing instead to believe a lie. Verse 24.
  • DARKENED:
    • How? By NOT glorifying God, not giving thanks to Him. Verse 21.
    • How? The TRUTH is Suppressed by Wickedness: Verse 18.
    • How? The TRUTH is Exchanged for a lie: Verse 24. Worshipped and Served Created things instead of the Creator.
  • God GAVE THEM OVER: To THEIR SINFUL DESIRES. Verse 24.
  • God GAVE THEM OVER: To SHAMEFUL LUSTS. Verse 26.
  • God GAVE Them OVER: To a DEPRAVED MIND. Verse 28.

AND A CONTINUAL LUST FOR MORE:

Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)
17  So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

SATAN LOVES BLACK FRIDAY

And the great enemy of human beings, who have been Created in the image of the immortal God, loves it.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV)
3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Who is Jesus? He is the LIGHT who gives the sure and certain HOPE of Freedom.

Prophet, Priest and King:

  • Prophet: He revealed Heaven’s Secrets to men: The WAY, The TRUTH and The LIFE:
  • Priest: He offered his life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
  • King: He rules and we must become subjects of His Kingdom, as we submit to His authority as our King.

Jesus is the LIGHT of the WORLD:

So that the people who are walking, living and bound by the darkness can see the LIGHT and are given hope of being set free from the DARKNESS.

The Good NEWS of Jesus Christ: BRIGHT FRIDAY.

He came to set all mankind free from the darkness and from bondage to sin and Satan. Though God has given us over to be controlled and ruined by our sinful desires, to shameful lusts and to depraved minds, there’s now the HOPE of freedom in Christ Jesus.

That FREEDOM comes as we BELIEVE in Jesus. TRUST in Jesus for forgiveness. REPENT of sin and FORSAKE sin, as we RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Lord. Then we are BORN AGAIN, given a renewed heart, mind, will and desires as we are FILLED with Holy Spirit. He is the one who will enable us to LIVE the abundant life he’s called us to.

When BLACK FRIDAY: Gets Hold Of A Believer:

If ever we get into BONDAGE again, then all we have to do is come back to Jesus Christ to be set free all over again. (I’ve known many Christians who get caught up in this world’s affairs, their desire for Holiness is dimmed, their hearts become dull and hard again to Jesus, to the Gospel, to saving others. All because they’ve chosen the darkness rather than the light. They’ve become bound by Satan again and need the freedom that only Jesus Christ can give them. Thankfully, we’re seeing believers being set free and given renewed hearts again.) It’s like the Gospel needs to be preached to those who already have believed and trusted in Jesus, because they need the NEW LIFE Christ promised to all who would believe and trust in Him. Of course there are many who believe in Jesus, but have never been born of the Spirit, yet there is HOPE of the freedom and the promise.

 

CONCLUSION:

Though there is a GREAT DARKNESS.

Though people are walking in this DARKNESS.

There is HOPE: The LIGHT has come to set us FREE.

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

Jesus Christ is the LIGHT: Come, Believe that He died to set you free from your inordinate desires, those things that control your life and lead to death, to judgement and eternal Hell. He endured the Cross for your freedom. All you have to do is TRUST that He died to set you free and enable you to be forgiven of your sins. Once you REPENT by confessing your sins to God and turning from those sins, forsaking them, and receive Jesus by an act of faith. He’ll come and give you the promised NEW LIFE and FREEDOM. Amen!

NOW: Having trusted in Jesus, you can live the NEW LIFE with NEW POWER.

Ephesians 4:20-32 (NIV)
20  You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
21  Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25  Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body.
26  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27  and do not give the devil a foothold.
28  He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

How Jesus can set your free on Black Friday
Black Friday Freedom

BLACK FRIDAY IS COMING:

BE The People of The Light

Black Friday reminds me of the DARKNESS, however we can know that through Jesus, we can be set free to live as the people of the light.

The New Life in Christ is a continual renewal: He will give you HIS HOLY DESIRES. Amen!

Be blessed this coming weekend,

Don.

 

When Hearts Are Ready For Jesus

Jesus is waiting for you

Daily Spirit & Word: 808: When Hearts Are Ready For Jesus.

He’s READY for You.

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Last night was brilliant, it was cold, windy and I’d had a dozy of a day and didn’t feel much like going out to share the Good News of Jesus in the cold again. Because I’d been out in the cold all day and gotten frozen to the core. Sitting in the car for hours waiting for the AA man to come and fix our flat tyre. Then standing around chatting while he changed my wheels around. In the old days you’d have a spare in the boot or under the car, but now Vauxhall Motors just give you a mastic sealing compound to inject into the burst tyre, only it didn’t work. We eventually got the car to QuickFix and they sorted it out in about half an hour. Whilst waiting though, the sun was shining on the fast moving storm clouds and the sky looked so awesome, so I just had to praise the LORD.

So although I didn’t feel like it, I arrived in church to find two of our men, David and Les, waiting to go out. Then Isaac arrived and we knew we’d have to go. We prayed and sang a song, asking Jesus to open hearts on this cold and windy night and give us some people who were ready to hear the Gospel Good News of Jesus. Oh my friends, when you’ve had a day like we’d had and pray to Jesus like that, He doesn’t disappoint.

Before going we folded some new little tracts: They’re brilliant for springboards into conversations with folks. You can get yours from this link: The 4 Points.

t4ptract2

We chatted with one man for ages, but he wasn’t really that open to the good news (yet). He was so wrapped up in what he’d experienced in life and was understandably bitter about being thrown out of his home whilst he was in hospital. All his belongings had been thrown onto the streets and most of his life-time’s treasures, mementoes and keepsakes had disappeared, lost forever. He’d been left with absolutely nothing. So after chatting we asked if he’d let us pray for him. All three of us knelt down on the cold ground and began to pray to the Lord for him. He was so warm and thankful afterwards. We left him with some tracts and shared the way to Jesus with him before leaving. It’s sometimes so right that we need to listen and hear their story first, before they are ready to hear what we’ve got to give. David made sure that he understood clearly about real repentance and trusting in Jesus.

Next we met a man who seemed quite open. He’d had a Roman Catholic upbringing and was a bit sceptical of ‘religion’, because the Nuns who taught him were quite severe  and strict with their discipline. He’d been serving in the church in various ways over the years. He’d even been paid as a pallbearer at funerals. After listening for a short while this time I asked him how a Roman Catholic gets into Heaven. He said, “We just have to try our best and be good”… I asked him, “Do you think you’ve been good enough?” He said, “No, I’ve been pretty bad”… Honest or what! So I said, “Where will you be spending eternity?” He said, “Oh I don’t know if I believe in a Heaven and Hell like that”…

Well after reasoning with him and opening up his conscience in the usual way, using God’s Commandments, he was then very open to hear about the Good News of Jesus and the prospect of being forgiven and receiving new life. He was so convicted, so after praying with him by the traffic lights we turned back to David’s car to get him a Bible.

Derek shared some amazing things about his life with us last night, it seemed to me that God had been preparing his heart to meet with us. He said, “I prayed for the first time in years yesterday”. He’d been praying to the Lord for other people and for the world. So when we prayed for Him, it was God’s way of showing him he’d heard his prayers.

Why is it always when we are praying that noisy motorbikes seem to stream past revving their engines? 🙂 Undeterred, we pressed the Gospel home and checked that Derek understood what he was going to do to be saved. I asked him when he was going to get right with Jesus? He said, “NOW”.

Walking back through the churchyard we joked and laughed, then Derek was very thankful and overjoyed to receive his new Bible. He was so open and honest, I hope we’ll see him again soon.

Although we gave out a few more little Gospel tracts and chatted briefly with a few folks, these two conversations were on my heart last night. So will you please pray for Everton and Derek?

When you have a horrible day, and things seem to be going all wrong, be ready, because Jesus just might be getting you into the right frame of mind to be His servant and witness of the JOY of the LORD. Thankfully we’d asked Him for the Holy Spirit’s anointing before going out. One man thought I was psychic, but I said, “No, it’s the LORD who gives us words to say”…

Sharing The Good News with folks on cold nights can be fun. However, we do pray for more of these kind of openhearted encounters, where hearts, minds, souls and wills are prepared, ready and open for the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We’re praying for more Labourers in God’s Harvest Field:

So that many more will be sharing Jesus, because those strangers and the ones you know and love who don’t know Jesus yet, need Him much more than they realise. It because we’ve all got a Divine Appointment we can’t escape: Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”  My friends, everyone is going to give an account of their lives before Him on Judgement day, and from what the Bible tells us, we’re all going to fall short of Heaven’s entry requirements.  Romans 3:23 (NIV) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” We don’t want anyone to end up in the place that’s been reserved for Satan and his demonic army. (Revelation 20:10-15). Let’s get a heart that’s been warmed by the love of Jesus and share the Good News, because FAITH comes by hearing and they’ll only hear if someone goes and shares Jesus with them.

Many people don’t think they know enough about the Bible or their faith, however, the truth is, we’ll only really get a complete and full understanding of our faith when we’re ready to share it with others. God spoke through Paul to us all when he wrote Philemon.

Philemon 1:6 (NIV) “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”

The fullness of understanding comes when we are active in sharing the Gospel… God’s going to give you personal revelation of all the good things you have in Christ. The Scriptures will open up and reveal treasures… My friends, God shares His secrets with His obedient friends.  Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

So don’t ever think you don’t know enough, because if you’ve got Jesus, been born of Holy Spirit, have a basic understanding of the good news, then you’ve got everything you need. It’s when you begin sharing that God will give you even more insight and understanding.

My tough day was nothing when compared to those who suffered and died yesterday in the Croydon Tram Accident. It’s so shocking. I can’t tell you how much this has affected so many people where we live. However, when you’ve had a tough day please remember that the LORD Jesus Christ is only a prayer away.

It hits hope to me the importance of being ready to share Jesus with folks. True JOY will come. Some people’s hearts have been prepared by Him ready for you to share the Good News. Jesus is working with us, He’s with us as we share. Oh the JOY of seeing someone come to Him.

Be blessed and filled afresh with Holy Spirit. He’ll give you a fire that cold nights can’t put out.

Praise the LORD!

Don.

PLEASE PRAY:

Yesterday in Tram Accident in Croydon: Mail Online Tram Accident.

Many of us have been shocked and saddened by the tragic accident yesterday in Croydon. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. Five people killed and over fifty people seriously injured.

Because this is so local to us, we will be remembering all those affected and who died at our Remembrance Service on Sunday.

 

 

Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

When the LORD calls you to do something for Him, expect opposition.

Good morning my friends, when you do a good work for the LORD you can expect opposition. If you are of the world, the world will accept you as one of it’s own, but if you are a Citizen of Heaven, working for another KING, then this world and it’s king (Satan) can never accept you and you are going to be opposed, persecuted and sometimes martyred. However, far from being in a position of weakness and fear, we’re going to be encouraged today to see that we can be God’s awesome power of LOVE in this world.

Opposition comes in many forms, but how can we react to opposition, no matter what form or guise it come in?

Let us take Nehemiah as one of our examples of what to do when opposition comes, and we’ll look at what God’s Word tells us about persecution and opposition for Him and for the Gospel.

First, Nehemiah:

An Example of how to proceed when your work for the LORD is opposed, ridiculed or hindered.

Nehemiah 4:1-23 (NIV)
1  When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2  and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
4  Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6  So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7  But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10  Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11  Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12  Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13  Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15  When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16  From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah
17  who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18  and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19  Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
20  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
22  At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.”
23  Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

INTRODUCTION:

When you get busy for God, opposition will inevitably raise its ugly head. So no matter how GOOD the thing that you are doing is; be it a service for the poor people of this world or proclaiming the Good News of Jesus or taking a moral stand. Like Nehemiah discovered, when you do something for the LORD, the world (influenced by Satan) hates it with a vengeance, and will oppose you. However, they are not really opposing you, they are coming against your God, who’s called you to that task.

But we must bear in mind what it is that’s driving any form of opposition:

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV) When Opposition Comes: Be strong in the LORD and STAND.
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13  Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Read the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD Eph 6:14-20).

We must not resort to worldly ways of reacting to opposition:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

Who was Nehemiah? His name means “the comfort of Jehovah.” His purpose and calling by the LORD really was a worthy one; He was instructed by the LORD to reconstruct the walls of the city of Jerusalem and in the process to rebuild the faith of the people of Israel. Yet, as soon as he began, Nehemiah was confronted by the dreaded opposition. So don’t be surprised by opposition, instead; expect it.

1) PRAYER:

When you get busy for God and the expected opposition comes, the first ingredient that will lead to success is PRAYER. “But we prayed to our God,” the Bible says (Nehemiah 4:9). Prayer was a key ingredient in Nehemiah’s spiritual life (1:4). When OPPOSITION came, Nehemiah looked up to Heaven first taking captive those opponents of God’s word with Spiritual weapons, before he persisted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.

2) PERSISTENCE:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the second ingredient that will lead to success is PERSISTENCE. Prayer is not a substitute for working at what you’ve been called to do. So often people will retreat and just pray, but you’ve been called to more than prayer. Instead, know that PRAYER preceeds PERSISTENCE. When opposition comes don’t just carry on regardless, get down to prayer first and then carry on regardless. PRAYER is a PRELUDE to PERSISTENCE. For the God’s Word says; “Nehemiah took their thoughts captive (He used Spiritual Weapons) Nehemiah 4:4.   “…the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6).

I don’t know who said it first, but whoever it was, this thought encapsulates the KEY INGREDIENTS when opposition comes; “I pray as if everything depended on God. Then I work as if everything depended on me.” I love that saying, we’ve got to PRAY and WORK at what we’ve been called to do. (See James Faith and Works).

3) POWER:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the third ingredient that will lead to your spiritual success is THE POWER OF HEAVEN. When confronted by the fear of the people, the fear of man, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of failure; then Nehemiah 4:14 says that Nehemiah arose and spoke to the people about the power of God, and about the purpose of their work. When we are reminded of the purpose to which God has called us, and the power with which to accomplish that purpose, then we will be encouraged to move on toward the completion of our task.

So simply remind yourself of God’s calling and purposes: To share the Gospel, to help the poor, to cure the sick, to make disciples, to follow the teachings of Jesus, to live by them and if need be to die for them. Remember also the POWER of HEAVEN, the Weapons are not worldly, we take our stand against opposition with the Armour of God in place: Ephesians 6:10-20. And bear in mind; Jesus is with you always. Holy Spirit has filled you and equipped you for this work for the LORD.

When you know and experience the POWER you will keep going at what He’s called you to do.

CONCLUSION:

Yes my friends, you will experience all kinds of opposition to what you’ve been called to do by the LORD: Demonic and Worldly OPPOSITION: Expect it, and react like Nehemiah the prophet and the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • Get down to PRAYER,
  • Get up to WORK by being PERSISTENT,
  • Get into the POWER of Heaven.

Through prayer and persistence with the power of Heaven, you will be able to overcome any of those troubling opponents.

As one great preacher has said,

“You’ll be able to turn those stumbling stones into stepping stones”

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

“Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Christian upon his knees.”

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

For most people it’s a rest day, to be with family and friends, but remember Jesus is your BEST BFF (Best Friend Forever).

So make and appointment and keep it with Him first. Then no matter what happens today, you’ll be ready. Amen!

Don.

 

Only God Can SAVE You From The Judgement to come.

Good works or following religious rules and regulations can't save us from our sins. We can only be saved by God alone.

Daily Spirit & Word: 796: Being Saved Is Possible, but ONLY by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Only God Can SAVE You.

From the Judgement to Come.

Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By God.

Can A Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. In our gatherings in church, we’ve been going through Mark for almost a year now. The Journey has been amazing. We’re discovering what an amazing LORD Jesus really is, and how inspired Mark (the author) must have been by Holy Spirit. I don’t think it’s possible that a man could put this work together, without the help of God. For we’ve been experiencing progressive revelation and this portion of God’s Word has built for us a wonderful picture of Jesus nature and character, but in doing so He’s also opened up what true Discipleship is like, from each and every story, parable and incident He recorded.

What we’ve observed:

  • Jesus is more Godlike that we at first would imagine.
  • The Disciples are more human and unable to save themselves from the consequences of sin.
  • Jesus (God) needs less human and earthly resources to sustain His life.
  • The Disciples, followers of Jesus, need more and more Divine intervention and revelation.

What I’ve discovered afresh, as if I didn’t know, is that we all need to stay very close to Jesus, every day, just to keep going as His followers. Yes we have advantages over His own disciples; we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, the Word of God in full; so we know how to serve and we have Jesus’ promises to be with us always for the journey. However, we must be willing to maintain that connection with God.

Today we’re back with Mark 10:23-31. Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By An Act Of God.

  • Can a Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?
  • Can a Man Be SAVED by Good Works?

 

Mark 10:23-31 (NIV)
23  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
31  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Last week Robert preached, whilst I was away in Plymouth, about the Rich Young Ruler and how he thought he’d fulfilled and lived according to the requirements of the Old Testament Law (Summarised in the Ten Commandments)… When he said to Jesus, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” Jesus didn’t react by saying what He knew, “No, my friend you have not lived according to God’s Commandments”… Instead, Jesus looked at him and, as the Bible tells us, “He loved him”…

 

I wonder if Jesus look of love was one of pity; because the Rich Young Man was BLIND (He couldn’t see his Spiritual need and didn’t understand how much he was in need of God’s forgiveness). I do not think that WEALTH was his only problem. In fact I’ll go as far a declaring I KNOW it wasn’t. Because, when we look at the Ten Commandments properly and honestly we’ll soon see we’ve all FALLEN SHORT of every single one of them: None of us can say in front of God: “I’ve kept all of these since I was a child”…

 

However, Jesus did focus upon his WEALTH.

Jesus knows what a TRAP WEALTH IS for most people in this world.

It was back then and it is today.

That’s why He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God”.

 

The Disciples Knew It Too: “If A Camel CAN’T, Then We CAN’T either”

They knew that EVERYONE wanted to be RICH: Like the Rich Young Ruler…

 

Today, many people, all over the world, are clamouring for WEALTH, Health and Happiness:

People are risking life and limb in the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe, the Land of PROMISE.

They know, people in the West are Prosperous, Wealthy and Healthy: So, willing to risking everything in flimsy boats, that’s what they want for themselves. They launch themselves into the Mediterranean Ocean from all over Africa in their thousands ever month. Many of those boats are without even an engine, cram-packed with people; men, women and babies. How foolish to go to sea like that, without an engine in a flimsy rubber boat. That’s how desperate people in this world are for Wealth, Health and Happiness.

 

When they arrive, they head for the most prosperous, populous areas; Germany and the UK.

 

Oh my friends, if only they could see; Health, Wealth and Happiness can’t SAVE you; Only Jesus Christ can give you lasting peace and happiness upon this earth and the life to come.

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITY:

The Disciples KNEW it’s IMPOSSIBLE then, for ANYONE to enter the Kingdom of God.

So they asked that pertinent question; “Who Then Can Be SAVED?”

 

JESUS ANSWER: It’s Impossible for man to save himself: Therefore ONLY God can save.

The Disciples asked in Mark 10:26 and Jesus answered in Mark 10:27.
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
It’s IMPOSSIBLE: For anyone to SAVE themselves by human effort, by your own goodness or by your own righteousness.

The Rich Young Man: Good in his own eyes; couldn’t.

The Rest of Humanity: Good in their own eyes; can’t either.

However, Jesus revealed the IMPOSSIBILITY:

A Camel can’t ever FIT through the eye of a needle.

A Human being can’t ever FIT in the Kingdom of God.

 

NOTICE: The DISCIPLES: Were EVEN MORE AMAZED… i.e. They were amazed the Rich Young Man couldn’t be SAVED. Now they were EVEN MORE AMAZED, because they knew “NO ONE” could be saved. Unless God did something.

 

That “MORE AMAZED”: Reveals to me something about the Disciples.

Perhaps they we secretly thinking they were good enough themselves. After all they’d been with Jesus (they’d left EVERYTHING to follow Him).

Perhaps they’re just beginning to get Jesus message, that EVERYONE needs God’s intervention; if they ever hope to enter the Kingdom of God.

“Not with God, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God”.

 

It’s POSSIBLE: But ONLY with God.

A Camel Can’t go through the eye of a needle (Impossible).

A Man Can’t enter the Kingdom of God (Impossible).

 

Unless, God does something. (Mark has been revealing that Jesus is God, because only God can do the things Jesus did).

  • Only God could make a Camel fit through the eye of a needle.
  • Only God could turn water into wine.
  • Only God could walk on water.
  • Only God could calm a storm with a word.
  • Only God could command Demons.
  • Only God could open the eyes of a man born blind.
  • Only God could bring a dead girl back to life.
  • Only God could make you FIT Enough to enter into Heaven.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD.

ONLY GOD CAN SAVE YOU; YOU CAN’T SAVE YOURSELF.

Peter Reveals: (Why he was even more amazed) “We’ve left everything to follow You”… i.e. surely we’ll be saved by our human effort… “Look at the sacrifice we’ve made Jesus”… “Surely you can see how serious we are in following you”… My friends, no matter how hard you try, you’ll NEVER be good enough for Heaven. No matter what EFFORT you put into it yourself. You’ve got to STOP trying to SAVE yourself and let Jesus SAVE you. Why? Because no amount of effort to be good will wash away your sins that contaminate your soul.

Jesus answer, “No, Peter, because by leaving everything, you’ve gained much more”..

Mark 10:28-30.
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

If we let go of EVERYTHING: Then it’s possible to be SAVED: But only by God.

The great temptation is that most people think they can do enough good works to earn a place in Heaven. That’s why the Disciples asked Jesus that question, “Who then can be saved?”. Deep down inside all of us, is this desire to work for or earn Salvation for ourselves. It’s hard to let go and let God do the saving, but that’s exactly what we’ve got to do or we CAN’T be SAVED.

  • Let go of Human Effort to be GOOD enough for Heaven.
  • Let Jesus come into your life and take away all your SINS.
  • Then His blood will cleanse you and make you FIT for Heaven.
  • It’s impossible with MEN: But it’s POSSIBLE with God.

How is it POSSIBLE?

Next Week: We’re going to be looking at “Why Jesus Came To Die?” Mark 10.

He came into this world to SAVE SINNERS.

Everyone has sinned, The Disciples knew, so they asked “Who then can be saved?”

My friends, you don’t want to wait until next week:

God’s Word tells us, “Today is the DAY of SALVATION”.

i.e. Get right with God today.

A) Confess your sins to God: How, like the Rich Young Ruler, you’ve not kept the Ten Commandments. You’ve lied, you’ve stolen, you’ve not put God first in all things, all the time. You’ve dishonoured you mum and dad. You’ve lusted and been unfaithful sometimes. You’ve coveted what your neighbour has. We’ve all done it. Everyone has broken God’s Commandments: Confess how you’ve done it to God.

B) Believe Jesus died on the Cross for all your sins:

His death was in your place. He died so that you can receive Heaven, once you Repent, Believe and Receive Him as Lord and Saviour.

C) Repent: Turn away from living a life of sin a rebellion and turn around and come to Jesus Christ to be cleansed and forgiven and renewed by Holy Spirit.

D) Receive: Receive Jesus Christ by an act of faith.

Just like you would board a plane to go on holiday. You trust the Captain knows how to get you to your destination. You RECEIVE Jesus as your Captain, He’ll take you all the way to Heaven.

More than that; you’ll receive the Holy Spirit Birth. New Life and Abundant LIFE right now.

E) Live: Become a Disciple of Jesus and live according to His teaching in fellowship with other followers. (Your Christian brothers and sisters in God’s family).

In order to do that, to live this Christian life, you’ll need: To gather regularly in worship, fellowship and receive Discipleship training from God’s Word. You’ll need to sort out your TIME and make time for daily prayer to connect with Jesus every day. You’ll need TIME: to Study and begin to practice God’s Word; daily.

You’ll get God’s HEART for others, that they might know Him too. You’ll be overflowing with a burning desire to lead others to Jesus Christ.

All of these things are indicators that you’ve really and truly been SAVED by Jesus.

You’ll also notice the Fruit of the Holy Spirit begining to ripen in your life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

NOTE: Passages by Way of Illustrating of these points in today’s message.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
4  But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3 shows us;

  • We can’t be saved by ‘the good things we have done’… i.e. no amount of human effort will suffice.
  • That God in His mercy saves us by REGENERATION (RENEWAL) NEW LIFE, NEW BIRTH by The Holy Spirit.
  • We are JUSTIFIED (Made right with God: Justified = Just as if I’d never sinned). How? By God’s Grace and Kindness.
  • What happens? We become heirs (inheritors) of Eternal Life (Through this faith and trust in Jesus, we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven).

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) We’re POWERLESS: i.e. we don’t possess the strength or ability to SAVE ourselves.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus died on the Cross for us, so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, set free from sin’s power, so that we can be made fit for God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) Before We Put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are DEAD in our Transgressions and Sins.
1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Those who break God’s Commandments; all people).
3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Conclusion:

We’ve seen today that the Disciples discovered the impossibility of anyone being able to SAVE themselves by human effort to get into God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

We can’t SAVE ourselves, it’s impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. It’s impossible for a human being to be cleansed from sin by doing good or being religious or following the Ten Commandments.

So, it is only through God’s kindness, mercy and Grace that anyone can ever be SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin.

If we were to die without coming to Jesus Christ, then we would carry our sins to the Judgement. If we come to Jesus, we’ll be set free from sin, forgiven and cleansed. We’ll be born of the Spirit and receive NEW LIFE in Christ Jesus. When God sees us coming, He’ll throw open the gates of Heaven and welcome us in. Why? Not because of the good we’ve done, but because of His Son; Lord Jesus, who washed our sins away.

My friends, God has demonstrated just how much He loves everyone by sending Jesus to die for us. He doesn’t want anyone to end up in Hell or be judged because of their sins. He’s giving us all this moment in time to reflect, to repent, to return to Him. Do it right now! Don’t waste another moment of time. Get right with God today: Confess, Repent, Believe, Receive and Live. Amen!

Let us PRAY:

Have and awesome week with the LORD.

Trust Him every day and come close to Him in praise, worship, adoration. Then go out and share the Good News so that many more can come to Know HIM.

He’s alive! He wants to give your family, friends, workmates, school friends, college comrades and neighbours that NEW LIFE too.

Be blessed,

Don.

 

God’s Secret Service Agents

through faith in Jesus you will become His secret change agents in this world

Daily Spirit & Word: 791: Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Fasting

How to Give & How to Pray & How to Fast & Why?

God’s Secret Service Agents.

Core Values in Kingdom Living: As Jesus’ Disciples we’re constantly Learning, we experience many Challenges, we get Curiosity to discover more about Jesus and His Kingdom, we know God wants Excellence, He encourages us to show Love and Respect to Himself and Others, He’s promised to watch our backs and be with us always on the journey through this life that He’s called us into by His Spirit through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

But How are we going to KNOW He’s with us?

And How can we KNOW we can do it?

Two Ways Today: Our Giving & Our Connection. When we get these two right, we’ll be following the Master’s way of Kingdom Living in Love and Security.

Intro: Secret Service: Like MI5 or the SAS and SBS. We’re to follow and serve the LORD from the HEART SECRETLY:

  • How we give: In SECRET
  • How we pray: In SECRET
  • How we fast: In SECRET

All are to be done secretly for Jesus and His Kingdom Glory. Then when we do these things in secret our Heavenly Father has PROMISED (God’s always faithful to all His promises) will REWARD you OPENLY (In public, in front of everyone). However, in Kingdom Living, we’ll see that our motivation won’t be because of His rewards, but because we LOVE Him. That is and will become even more our Kingdom motivation.

Today I want to see if we can come close to the CORE:

Getting to the CORE VALUES of Kingdom Living is essential for every follower of Jesus, you’ll soon see that when you put these into practice, Kingdom Living will become much easier.

 

True Christian Spirituality:

It can be found in some of the traditions of the Church.

However, if you want to fine PURE Christian Spirituality,

then we need to go to the SOURCE: To The Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

You’ll find Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom in the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Most notably in Jesus Greatest Sermon:

The Sermon (Teaching) On the Mount. Matthew Chapters 5 to 7.

 

In those Chapters you’ll discover most of what Jesus was teaching:

Matthew 5:3-12 – The Beatitudes: Be Happy Attitudes.

Matthew 5:13-16 – Salt and Light: You are Salt & Light.

Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus fulfilled the Law: God’s LAW (Revealed in Moses first five books of Old Testament (Ten Commandments).

Matthew 5:21-26 – Anger and Murder: Peace and Harmony.

Matthew 5:27-30 – Lust and Adultery: Love and Faithfulness.

Matthew 5:31-32 – Divorce and Remarriage: Staying together as husband and wife.

Matthew 5:33-37 – Oaths: Promises: Telling the Truth Always.

Matthew 5:38-42 – Eye for an Eye: Not getting even with people. Not taking personal revenge, but forgiving others.

Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies: The opposite of what the world teaches. PEACE if we really LOVE our enemies.

Matthew 6:1-4 – Give to the Needy: Not turning you back on anyone. Always being ready to be GENEROUS.

Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray: When you pray, not if you pray.

Matthew 6:16-18 – How to Fast: Why do you fast?

Matthew 6:19-24 – Treasures in Heaven: Storing up for your Eternal Future. (Not just thinking of your life here on earth).

Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry: Trust in the Father who knows all your needs.

Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge hypocritically: Use right judgement of others.

Matthew 7:7-12 – Ask, Seek, Knock: If you want something, you’ve got to ask for it.

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Narrow Gate: Finding your way to Heaven: Jesus is the ONLY WAY to Heaven.

Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets: False messages about God, Religion, Faith. Watch Out!

Matthew 7:24-27 – The Wise Builder: Getting the foundations of our Faith right.

 

Right in the MIDDLE of the Sermon on the Mount is the REAL MEAT (Just like a McDonald’s Burger has the meat in the middle, so does Jesus teaching on Kingdom Living in the Sermon on the Mount).

  • GIVING: The LORD’S GIVER (Matthew 6:1-4). Secret Service.
  • PRAYER: The LORD’S PRAYER (Matthew 6:1-15) Secret Prayer.
  • FASTING: Getting Even Closer (Matthew 6:16-18) Secret Devotion.

Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Devotion.

Today we’re going to FOCUS on just two, the most important two.

1) First, Our Giving

(Matthew 6:1-4)
1  “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
NOTE: Can you ever give in such a way that your left hand won’t know what your right hand is doing? “No!” You’ll always know, but Jesus is telling us about our WILLINGNESS / READINESS to be GENEROUS (Kind hearted towards others in need).

 

When you see a NEED: Are you ready and willing to help?

When you see a PERSON: Who needs the LORD’S help are you ready to respond?

 

My friends, Jesus has no body on Earth today except your body.

  • He has no hands today, but your hands.
  • He has no feet today, but your feet.
  • He has no eyes today, but your eyes.
  • He has no mouth today, but your mouth.
  • He has no hands to help, but your hands.

He’s called you, lives in you, equips and provides for you and gives you EXTRA in your life so that you can use it to help others.

How’s your heart of GIVING today?

  • We’re collecting for FOODBANK: You can GIVE (Time, Food or and Money).
  • We’re collecting for ROUGH SLEEPERS : You can GIVE (Money, Meals and Time).
  • We’re collecting for St Luke’s Church.: You can GIVE (Service, Time, Money and Love).

Oh my friends, let’s all be Jesus SECRET SERVICE AGENTS in the world today; his body, his hands, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his feet, his hands today. Spreading His light, His salt, His goodness, His kindness, His forgiveness, His generosity… Let’s do it starting afresh today. Amen!

2) Second, Our PRAYER CONNECTING WITH OUR FATHER:

HOWEVER: We’ll NEVER Get Jesus Heart for GIVING until we make and maintain our CONNECTION with God our Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:5-6. How We Shouldn’t and How we Should PRAY.
5  “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (OPENLY).
7  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

NOTE: Our prayer should not be like a performance for others. We’re not praying to impress people, but to connect with God.

HOW: How to MAKE & MAINTAIN your Connection with Father God.
9  “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (Recognising / Acknowledging God’s HOLINESS and Fatherly nature: We come into His FAMILY, we’re members of His Kingdom Family when we’ve trusted Jesus for forgiveness and Salvation from Sin)…
10  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Your desire to live in OBEDIENCE to God’s will: Living according to His revealed Kingdom Values).
11  Give us today our daily bread. (All your needs).
12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Forgiving us our sins as we forgive when others sin against us).
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Keep us free from overwhelming temptations).
14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

FORGIVENESS: Is Key to the Kingdom Living.

First you are forgiven when you come to Jesus.

Because you’ve been forgiven so much, you’ll be ready and willing to forgive others who’ve sinned against and hurt you. (One Christian said to me this week; “It’s amazing, because we become a bit like God when we actually get to the point of being able to really forgive others and let them off the hook or our revenge or punishment”… It really is amazing.

The LORD’s PRAYER: Song… Our Father…

(To the Jamaican Spiritual Tune)…

Get the folks into groups of four at front of Service, and point to them to say their line. (We did this yesterday, and got the congregation to join it. Old but AWESOME). <3 🙂

The Golden Nugget of Christian Kingdom Living: SECRET SERVICE for Jesus.

Giving, Prayer and Fasting (we’ve not touched on FASTING yet).

All are to be done in SECRET: Then your Heavenly Father, who sees what’s done in secret will reward you OPENLY.

Connecting with God our Father in Heaven.

Once that connection is made through Faith and Trust in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we’re in His Kingdom Family Forever. God become our FATHER IN HEAVEN.

So now we maintain that CONNECTION and become his secret change agents in this world. Amen! Amen!

We’ll get His heart of love for others.

Our HEART will be changed and we’ll desire to serve HIM first in all things…

PRAYER: Oh my friends, my prayer this week is; Father God, help us to change to become more like You, like Your Son Jesus Christ; When I look at Jesus I see what You are like Father; Loving, Gentle, Kind, Patient, Forgiving, Good, Full of Joy, Full of Power, Overflowing with awesome FAITH to move any mountain. O Father, I want to be just like Your Son Jesus. So I pray in His Name and ask for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

In Your KINGDOM LIVING:

Help me to be Giving in secret so that only You can see.
Help me in Praying in secret so that only You know.
Help me in Fasting in secret so that I can came closer to You for sustenance.
I want to be out of my depth in Your Love Lord.
I want to feel you close to me.
I want You to be in me.
I want to worship You Father in Spirit and Truth. Amen! Amen! Amen!

Through faith in Jesus, you will become God’s secret change agents in this world. You’ll be His hands, eyes, ears, head, feet and mouth. You’ll be all that the Sermon on the Mount says; Salt, Lite, Giving, Forgiving and Devoted. You’ll be connected with the POWER of Heaven and people are going to know, because your Father who sees you being His secret change agent will reward you openly. Amen!

Don.

 

Practicing Patience In God’s Kingdom

Being Patient is NOT EASY, but it does bring it's blessings.

Daily Spirit & Word: 786: Patience is a Gift…

Practicing Patience In God’s Kingdom.

Someone said to me recently, “Ask the Lord for Patience and He’s sure to give you an opportunity to put it to the test”.

However, there is another way to BUILD up your PATIENCE.

Practice Patience:

Now my friends, this is NOT easy and it’s not for the faint-hearted. A faint-hearted person is someone who lacks conviction, boldness or courage.

Conviction: Are you convinced that the LORD wants you to be patient with people?

Getting a conviction is a key to keeping going, to persevering, to lasting the whole race, because, being patient is not going to be easy.

When describing what REAL LOVE is in the Bible, you’ll note that the first on the list is PATIENCE:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE starts with PATIENCE and ends with PERSEVERANCE.

Jesus was asked once by one of His disciples, “How many times shall I forgive someone when they sin against me?” Matthew 18:21-22.

Jesus answer was totally awesome: “Not seven times, but SEVENTY times SEVEN = 490 times (In ONE DAY)… That’s an awe inspiring degree of forgiveness.

Most people struggle to forgive just once. Jesus wants us to PERSEVERE…

It takes CONVICTION (Being convinced by the Lord). You’ll need Boldness and Courage to keep on being patient and forgiving others when they do stuff that hurts, offends or even insults you.

One of the fantastic things about God’s Kingdom is this; when He tells us to do something, He also gives us the power to be able to do it. He will never leave you alone and He’ll provide all you need to live the way He wants.

PRAYER: Oh LORD, Please give me the perseverance, help me not to be faint-hearted, grant me the conviction, the boldness and the courage to practice patience. I know now that I can’t do this alone, I’m just not strong enough Lord, so please, fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit, pour into my heart that awesome gift of love. Give me the desire to be different from the world’s ways and practice patience at every opportunity. I need You Lord Jesus. Amen!

Be blessed today, and stay close to Jesus moment by moment throughout the day. Amen!

Don.

Practicing Patience In God’s Kingdom. “Thy Kingdom Come”.