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 ūüôā

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.

 

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‚ÄĒburned as they are?”
3 ¬†Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building‚ÄĒif 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.

 

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 РThe Beatitudes: Be Happy Attitudes.

Matthew 5:13-16 РSalt 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 РAnger and Murder: Peace and Harmony.

Matthew 5:27-30 РLust and Adultery: Love and Faithfulness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 7:1-6 РDo 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 РThe Narrow Gate: Finding your way to Heaven: Jesus is the ONLY WAY to Heaven.

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

Matthew 7:24-27 РThe 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 ūüôā

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.

 

Getting God’s Direction In Life

How to get the LORD'S Direction in LIFE. Knowing God's Will.

Daily Spirit & Word: 749: How to GET The LORD’S Direction in Life.

How the LORD Directs Our Paths.

There are FOUR CONDITIONS (at least) that must be followed.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Good morning my friends, everybody loves Proverbs 3:5-6 don’t they? Especially if you’ve been a Christian and seen how true the LORD’S promises are. However, there’s so much more that most Christians are missing out on, if only we’d read these verses in CONTEXT.

For me the key verses in the first half of chapter 3 of Proverbs are verses 5-6, because this is a promise that the LORD’S people have often claimed as they have sought His direction for their lives. It’s one that I’ve used often and found it to be TRUE. And this promise has never failed me, but only I discovered that it’s only really true if all of the LORD’S conditions for success have been followed.

He sets out these conditions in the other 10 verses. ¬†Because when we learn obedience to His precepts and commands we’ll see Him move with POWER in our lives. Not just once but all the time. It’s because our loving obedience in response to His LOVE prepares us to receive and enjoy all that He has planned and prepared for us.

Some people say “God’s LOVE is UN-CONDITIONAL” well that’s only partially true. It’s TRUE in one sense, because God is LOVE and He’s always loving, but it’s NOT true if we want to EXPERIENCE that love down here upon the Earth. To experience God’s LOVE then we’ve got to exercise FAITH, because without FAITH it is impossible to please God or experience His LOVE for us.

Let’s look at these FOUR Conditions (Proverbs 3:1-12).

1) Get God’s Guidance From His WORD:

The first condition for receiving God’s guidance is that we learn God’s truth (vv. 1-4).

Proverbs 3:1-4 (ESV)
1  My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
2  for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
3  Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
4  So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man.

Look at what we get when we don’t forget God’s Commandments: length of days, years of life, favour and good success. BUT the conditions are keeping them, loving them, being faithful to them and yielding to them.

The will of God is revealed in the Word of God (Col. 1:9-10), and the only way to know His will is to study His Word and obey it. By receiving the Word within our hearts, we experience growth in godly character so that mercy and truth (“love and faithfulness,” niv) become beautiful ornaments in our lives (Prov. 3:3; 1:9). It isn’t enough for believers to carry the Bible in their hands; they must let the Holy Spirit write it on their hearts (Proverbs 3:3; 7:3; 2 Cor. 3:1-3). Obedience to the Word of God can add years to your life and life to your years. Notice in verse 2: It tells us it can add LENGTH OF DAYS: Do you ever feel there are not enough hours in the day? I do, but when I’m living God’s way, there just seems to be so much more time available to us. It’s amazing this TRUTH, He’ll add hours to our day, we’ll HAVE more time.

I’m not boasting, but I get up extra early to be with the LORD in His Word, and the sacrifice of pillow-time, means I can add hours to my day. I do get tired half-way through the day, but I’ve always got tired half-way through the day ūüôā It’s not because I’m getting up to be in the Word with the LORD. Suddenly, you’ll find you can get so much more done with Jesus, when you spend time with Him. But you’ll only experience all these promises when you begin to be obedient to what He’s telling you as you read and study His Word. That leads me onto the second of God’s conditions for direction in life.

2) OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WILL:

Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

It’s so easy to miss out on God’s promises in verses 5 and 6 above, but we must remember the CONTEXT. Because a verse or two, taken out of context, become a pre-text or¬†pretense. We’ll pretend the LORD is directing our path, we’ll fool ourselves that God is directing our path. But we must remember: Word First, TRUST second and Obedience third.

Learning NOT to DEPEND on your own understanding is so HARD. It goes against human logic, but yields much better results.

Turn AWAY from EVIL: It’s like saying NO to your flesh. We’re all tempted in many ways, but it’s when we finally say “NO” to our flesh that we’ll begin to see God’s POWER breaking through, but we can’t do it in our own strength. Turning away from EVIL is real repentance. Evil is anything that goes against God’s revealed will.

“He shall direct your paths” (v. 6, nkjv) is the promise, but the fulfillment of that promise is implied in our obedience to the Lord. We must trust Him with all our heart and obey Him in all our ways. That means total commitment to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). The word translated “trust” in verse 5 means “to lie helpless, face-down.” (i.e. to Prostrate oneself). It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general, or the way people often prostrated themselves before an visitation from an Angel from Heaven.

So we could say, “Lie face-down in the dirt before the LORD (Trust) and do not lean (depend) upon your own understanding.”

The danger, of course, is that we lean on our own understanding or experience and by doing so, we will miss God’s will and direction. I’ve done that so many times. We get¬†PRESUMPTUOUS, because something has worked in the past we assume that it’s always going to work, but you can’t get God in a box, He’s not a genie that you rub a certain way, like Aladin’s Lamp, and He performs for you. No, God’s a real person, with feelings and desires. He’s revealed His strongest desire to us and that is that we LIVE in an ongoing relationship and dialogue with Himself.

What causes most problems in Marriage? Presumption, because we think we know what our partner wants. Instead of talking things through together we just assume that we know, but watch out, when you get it wrong, which I’ve done so many times in our 37 years of marriage and bear the scars. LOL. I’ve learned the hard way, both in marriage and with the LORD.

NOTE: We’re NOT ROBOTS: This warning doesn’t suggest the LORD’S chosen people turn off their brains or ignore their own inbuilt intelligence and common sense. It simply cautions us not to depend on our own worldly wisdom and experience or the wisdom and experience of others. God treats each one of us as individuals, what’s right for one person may not be right for everyone. God has a plan for you as an individual. Just because your friend jumped out of a plane, doesn’t mean God wants you to do it. ¬†Abraham relied on his own wisdom and past experience when he went to Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) and so did Joshua when he attacked the little town of Ai (Josh. 7). When we become “wise in [our] own eyes” (Prov. 3:7), then we’re heading for trouble. We become¬†presumptuous¬†and run ahead of the LORD.

3) GIVING TO THE LORD

The third condition to getting God’s Direction (Prov 3:5-6) is that we¬†Share God’s blessings (Prov 3:9-10)

Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)
9  Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

WOWzer! Look at these amazing promises: Barns filled with plenty; Vats bursting with wine… i.e. full bank accounts, more than enough to share with others.

Giving then, is the third condition we must meet if we want God to direct our paths.

You’ve heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as a FREE lunch”… Well it’s true in some ways with God. It’s going to be costly to see God’s direction, but be warned, you cannot PURCHASE God’s will or direction. It’s simply a loving and trusting response to God’s goodness towards you, but when you become like HIM: i.e. Generous! The floodgates of Heaven really are opened up to you.

In the Christian life, there’s no such thing as “spiritual” and “physical”, because we KNOW that everything comes from God and belongs to God.

When you come to Jesus EVERYTHING comes under His Kingdom reign.

In the Old Covenant Jews brought the Lord the firstlings of their flocks (Ex. 13:1-2) and the firstfruits of their fields (Lev. 23:9-14), and in this way they acknowledged His goodness, provision, grace and mercy and His Sovereignty. The New Testament parallel is seen in Matthew 6:33.

Read it in CONTEXT though;

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 ¬†Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‚ÄėWhat shall we eat?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we drink?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we wear?‚Äô
32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Be assured of this my friends, if we don’t faithfully give to the Lord, then we don’t really trust in the Lord. It took me years before I finally SAW THIS TRUTH in God’s Word. I was definitely one of the most sceptical givers in God’s Kingdom Family ūüôā I hated the thought of parting with my hard-earned cash and just giving it away. After all, I could easily spend it on family things or make my own life better. However, the LORD has shown me over many years of walking with Him, that it’s MUCH, MUCH better to be like He is: Generous and FREE with all that He’s given to me. The more I give, the more I receive. Not just in monetary return, but in blessings from Heaven.

If we don’t give to the LORD, then we’re NOT really TRUSTING in Him

Of course, our tithes and offerings aren’t “payment” for His blessings; rather, they’re evidence of our love, faith, obedience and trust in Him. He’s been prompting all of us to become like Himself since we started following Jesus. To be open-handed and generous, just like Jesus. To be open-hearted and kind, just like Jesus.

Christian industrialist R. G. LeTourneau used to say, “If you give because it pays, it won’t pay.”

So Christians don’t give to the LORD to get things out of Him, we give because it’s what He’s like. The closer we come to Jesus, the more like Jesus we become.

Giving is just a way of preparing our hearts for what God wants to say to us and do for us. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

4) God Disciplines The ONES He LOVES.

Our fourth responsibility is to submit to God’s Discipline (Prov. 3:11-12).

Responsibility = Response and Ability: He’ll give the ability once we decide in our hearts to respond.

God’s Discipline of His Chosen People is just a part of God’s plan to help His sons and daughters grow to be mature and godly (like Himself) in character (Heb. 12:1-11). God disciplines us, not as a judge punishes a criminal, but as a parent disciplines a child. Be assured that when the LORD disciplines you, He’s doing it because He LOVES YOU! He acts in love and His purpose is that we might become “partakers of His holiness” (Heb. 12:10). Sometimes He disciplines because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He disciplines us to keep us from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing. No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always disciplines us in love (Deut. 8:2-5).

One of my most bitter regrets as a parent are the times I’ve shouted at my kids in anger. I’ve not disciplined them as I should have done, I left it too long before telling them, then got too angry and lashed out with my tongue. Instead, I could have directed them with loving, gentle and kind discipline, like the LORD has done with me countless times. Even though we love our children, God loves all His chosen children even more than we do; so He disciplines those He loves. (read John 15: He is the Gardener who prunes).

We learn from our mistakes don’t we, I hope we do, because I know the LORD has changed my character so much from what it used to be. Some would say, “That’s just the mellowing of age”… I don’t think so, because, it’s when we REASON together with the LORD, He gently shows us our weaknesses and give us the grace and power to overcome them. He really does discipline the ones He loves.

Conclusion:

If you want to go God’s way, take Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart, but always bear in mind the context in which the verses come from and you’ll never go wrong in life. Fulfill all of God’s conditions for His direction;

1) Get into God’s Word: Know it and do it.

2) Obey God’s Word: Trust and Obey. There’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to TRUST and OBEY.

3) GIVE LIKE JESUS: Being generous and obedient in your giving. Not just 10%, it’s ALL His.

4) LOVE God’s Discipline: He’s just loving you like a good parent would. He’s your loving Heavenly Father.

When we do all that, then we can be completely assured that God will direct our paths. He’ll show or reveal the SECRETS of the KINGDOM.

Prayer: Lord, I can see so clearly now from Your Word that there are clear and simple conditions for blessings and success in Your Kingdom Family. Today I pray that you’ll help me to listen to Your Word, Obey what I know and submit to Your direction. Give me the will to obey and the Heart to become more like You. Amen.

Be blessed in following, loving and serving Jesus today,

Don.

 

A Mighty Power Faith Filled Factory

Becoming a mighty power faith filled factory producing new believers devoted to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 745: Supernatural Natural Devotion

Will lead to the building up and expansion of God’s Kingdom Family.

Your little fellowship can become a mighty power faith filled factory; producing Devoted followers of Jesus.

Good morning my friends, AFTER PENTECOST what happened in the lives of those who’d committed their lives to Jesus, had been baptised and filled with Holy Spirit? Answer they GOT DEVOTION.

It’s not a word you hear much these days, ‘Devotion’, is it? But just after Pentecost we hear in the book of Acts about what happened with the 3000 who began following Jesus.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
42¬†They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44  All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47  praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

From this little passage we can observe at least five things in the lives of the first Christians who trusted in Jesus, were baptised and had received the Holy Spirit.

They Devoted Themselves:

Nobody told them to do it, it was a natural or supernatural new inclination, to do these things. When the Holy Spirit indwells a person they’ll want to do these things too.

  1. Devotion to Teaching: They became learners of all that Jesus taught.
  2. Devotion to Fellowship: They got closer to each other. Meeting in Temple and Each other’s homes.
  3. Devotion to Breaking of Bread: This is a reference to Holy Communion: Remembering Jesus’ Sacrifice and to Eating together.
  4. Devotion to Prayer: When the Holy Spirit is in you, then you’ll automatically want to pray regularly. It’s not an obligation any more it’s a complete change of desire within.

When we’re DEVOTED like this, some things are going to be happening.

e) Many Signs and Wonders: were done by the Apostles. If you are devoted as an ordinary person to Jesus and all of the above, not because you have to but because you want to, then watch out, because WONDERS are going to be normal for your fellowship.

f) Common Concern: In verse 44 we learn that they shared their possessions and even sold some of them to help the needy amongst themselves. When Holy Spirit takes up residence within a person’s heart, there’s a new love for the brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family.

g) MEETING TOGETHER REGULARLY: Since I’ve had the Spirit, I’ve never thought meeting just ONCE a week was enough. Most, the majority of Christians today only want to meet once a week, life’s just too busy the meet up more than that, right? WRONG: when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart, you’ll have a LONGING to be with brothers and sisters on a very regular basis. They did it every day, but in reality that’s not practical, because we’ve all got other things that need to be done: tending sheep, planting corn, digging fields, and that’s just the farming community, what about the City Workers? However, there’s still going to be a STRONG DESIRE for more regular FELLOWSHIP than just once a week. So we learn to be very CREATIVE in how we get fellowship.

h)¬†Worshiping¬†God:¬†With glad and sincere hearts they praised the LORD! Worship is an integral aspect of any gathering together. We’ll want to sing our hearts out to the LORD!

How To BE CREATIVE: in getting fellowship more regularly:

SMALL GROUP: Either join of start a small group at work: To meet a lunch times to read God’s Word (Apostles Teaching) and to Pray together. I did this on every ship, establishment and submarine I served on after becoming a Christian in the Royal Navy.

FELLOWSHIP GROUP: There will be fellowship groups in your church, either get the Minister’s¬†permission¬†to start one or join an existing group. The strong desire will never go away, so start as soon as you feel it. Meet up REGULARLY: Once a week is good to start with, but don’t wait to long to add extra meetings for coffee, chats and Evangelism together.

What About Young Mothers: How can they possibly get FELLOWSHIP with young kids running around? I can’t think of a better group to get together even more regularly than those who’ve got toddlers to care for. It’s¬†natural¬†to meet for chats and coffee or tea, but just add the extra dimensions of Bible Study, Prayer, Fellowship, Evangelism, Breaking Bread and Ministry…

No matter what you do or where you work, there are good reasons to FORM or JOIN a SMALL GROUP: It keeps you very sharp as a Christian, you’ll be filled with HOLY SPIRIT DESIRES every day: You’ll want to do what He prompts you to do¬†together. It’s much easier to share you faith with someone else. You’ll make excuses to keep inviting your NON-CHRISTIAN friends along to be with you and your friends. Just say, “I’m off during lunch break to read some of the Bible with a few friends, do you want to come along?”… “We’re learning all about Jesus teachings, do you want to come?” Don’t make the mistakes that I did, sometimes I only asked people once, but then I learned a secret, it took a long time before I myself said YES to Jesus invitations. So just keep asking your friends, but in different ways. “I’m meeting up with some Christian brothers, you should meet these guys, they’re filled with Holy Spirit POWER”…

When you get back from lunch, those who didn’t come will be intrigued to discover what you’ve been up to. I had so many questions when news got out on the Submarine that I was having fellowship in the SINS room¬†on-board HMS Tireless. “What do you do in there?” they’d ask or “We heard you singing hymns” they’d say. “What’s that all about?” they’d ask… People are NATURALLY NOSEY: They want to know, they’re interested. So some will ask you when they know you are attending a small group, “What’s that all about?”… Always be prepared to give them an answer and an invitation to come and experience it for themselves.

Give An Answer and An Invitation.

Devotion is not a POPULAR word with the world, but it still is with EVERY person who’s been baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.

So a good question to ask right now is: “How is my own DEVOTION going?” and “Am I so full of the Holy Spirit that I have these burning desires to be devoted in these ways?”… If NOT, then there’s a problem. You NEED more of God’s Spirit, because it’s supernaturally natural to want or desire DEVOTION to; Jesus teachings, the Apostles teachings, breaking bread, fellowship, prayer, meeting each other’s needs, meeting together, doing miracles, winning others to Christ. The Holy Spirit replaces our own natural desires with His Supernatural Desires to Build God’s Kingdom Family. IF NOT: You’ll become like the seeds sown on rocky soil or the hard path or among the thistles; your faith will wither and die quite soon. You might keep up the semblance of Christian attendance for a while, but it will never be fire filled or full of faith and fun. Devotion is what Holy Spirit longs for in the life a new follower of Jesus. If your an old follower and you are not devoted like this, why? What’s stopping you doing what God wants you to do? START AGAIN!

The LORD added to their number DAILY those who were being SAVED. Non Christians were attracted to this kind of DEVOTED fellowship. You are going to see this too when you get even more DEVOTED to Jesus Christ, His mission and His teachings. When we follow Jesus teachings, we’re going to see Father God’s Heart is to win thousands into His family. He’ll do it through you’re own little fellowship, which will soon become an awesome mighty power filled faith factory; producing even more DEVOTED followers of Jesus.

I’m praying you’ll get this kind of DEVOTION: Pray for me too: I need to cling to Jesus every day and get fellowship just as regularly as the next Christian, it’s a supernatural natural longing within my heart, but I’ve learned we’ve got to make it happen or it won’t. Nobody else is going to make it happen for you, your inner desire will make it happen: So seek out fellowship and be the devoted follower the Holy Spirit makes you want to be.

Don.

 

After Pentecost What’s Next?

After the Pentecost Prayer Week, National Evangelisation, Power to SAVE

Daily Spirit & Word: 745: After Pentecost: The Power to SAVE Souls.

WOWzer! WOWzer! What an awesome Pentecostal Open Air Baptism Service we had.

IMG_1488 IMG_1490 IMG_1491 IMG_1494

Good morning my friends, it really was awesome. I got up early yesterday so that I could both write and get the Baptism pool ready. I wanted to encourage you before I went out. Oh my friends, I feel so blessed by the Lord. You know, we’ve got an AWESOME family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone came together yesterday to make it so special for those taking steps of commitment to Jesus. Thanks so much to David, John and Ben who got up very early and came to help me sweep, clean and build the baptismal pool. It was a sacrifice of pillow time ūüôā Thanks Amanda, who’d prepared song sheets and Bible notices in advance. Thanks to Robert, Celestin, Isaac and the worship team, even Abi and Rebecca joined in…. every one of you are AMAZING. But you all know who I’m most thankful for: The LORD Jesus Christ, He was with us. It was a costly service for us all in terms of time, talents and treasures, but even more so for Him.

Because before PENTECOST, there was a cost: Someone had to die before we could experience heaven in our hearts.

Jesus died upon the Cross for us.

He didn’t stay dead though, Jesus rose again back to life from the dead. He’s alive NOW! Enthroned in Heaven, but you can receive Him into your life today.

He sends the Holy Spirit upon everyone who believes that His death was for their sins, who repents of their sinful rebellion against God and turns in faith towards Jesus Christ to receive Him as Lord, then in faith and obedience gets baptised into the Name of; Father Son and Holy Spirit, to become a Follower of Jesus, a Disciple who seeks to live from that day forward in obedience to Jesus’ Commands and Teachings.

Did you know that Peter explained all this to the Jews and converts to Judaism gathered in Jerusalem that day: He told them HOW TO BE SAVED from their own corrupt generation.

Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
36 ¬†“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 ¬†When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?
38 ¬†Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.¬†39 ¬†The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off‚ÄĒfor all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 ¬†With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

On that first Day of Pentecost, when ¬†the Holy Spirit fell on all the Followers of Jesus, it was Peter who stood up and preached. What Peter said to them broke their hearts and they were convicted and pleaded with Peter and the other Apostles to tell them what they should do next, how they could be saved from God’s wrath and anger because they had killed the Messiah. Peter explained, and told them how to be saved: they had to repent of their sins and believe on Jesus Christ. They would give proof of the sincerity of their repentance and faith by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, publicly doing so identified them with their Messiah and Lord and Saviour; Jesus Christ. That baptism would signal that their trust in Jesus death was for their sins, their sins would we washed away.

My friends, it was on the first Day of Pentecost that a person could be saved ONLY by repenting and believing on Jesus Christ. Only then could they too receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves (Gal. 3:2, 14), and this promise was for both the Jews and the “far off” Gentiles (Eph. 2:13-19). For ALL whom the Lord our God will call. He’s calling ALL Peoples, all over the Earth to have faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He’s pulling men to Himself through the Holy Spirit, even before you go out and witness to them. Do you believe that’s the Father’s Heart?

The Promise of the Holy Spirit is FOR ALL:

You, your children, your family, your friends, everybody who knows you: Your OIKOS.

My wife’s getting tired of me going on about OIKOS. She said, “If I hear it once more I’ll OIKOS you”… LOL.

But that’s the Father’s HEART: To save your complete family and bring in the whole company of those who know you follow Jesus, He wants to SAVE Them ALL.

Do you believe it’s the Father’s HEART: To SAVE everyone who knows you are a follower of Jesus? Everyone, you love, your Father in Heaven loves even more than you.

So What’s NEXT?

We’ve finished our Week of Prayer: But please DO NOT STOP praying for all those who’ve yet to trust in Jesus.

Keep praying for your OIKOS List; until they are ALL SAVED. God wants to SAVE your friends and family.

Who’s ON Your OIKOS List?

  • List them again by name before Jesus.
  • Think about their lives: What’s going on with them? What’s their problems? What’s their heart-desires? What’s their deepest need? And talk to the LORD for them.
  • Next: Do something LOVING for your OIKOS: give them a gift, do a good thing they are not expecting, show them Jesus’ LOVE is in your heart.
  • Next: Purposefully bring up something about Jesus, don’t ASK their permission, just share something. Even if they’ve rejected it before, do it again. Shown them that you are NOT going to give up on them, even if they’ve given up on God.
  • Finally: Remember, it’s their ETERNAL wealfare that you are most concerned about, their DESTINY is not looking good if they don’t trust Jesus. Get a handle on Hell and that will motivate you to endure rejection. Remember, anyone who’s not trusted in Jesus yet is BLIND and DEAF, they don’t know what they are rejecting, they can’t hear yet, because Satan has both blinded their eyes and deadened their ears. However, Holy Spirit POWER can break through into their darkness and let them see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Keep going back for more: You didn’t put your faith in Jesus the first time you heard the Gospel, so give them LOTS of opportunity. Even if they reject it three or four times before they come to faith. Share a little bit more of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be drawing them to faith and trust in Jesus.
  • PRAY: For yourself that you’ll STAY FULL of Pentecostal Power to reach out and SAVE others for Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit every day, you need Jesus presence and power in you, so ask Father God to fill you afresh every day in order that you can live in His will to save others.

Be blessed my friends, and live every day in Pentecostal Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, knowing that Jesus is with you always. Entreat your Heavenly Father for your friends, family and followers. Be obedient to Jesus commands and tell them HOW to be SAVED in this, their own, corrupt generation.

Don.

P.S. Pray for me, I’m shattered now ūüôā But I want to keep going for Jesus.

I’m also praying for everyone on my own OIKOS.

P.P. S. SEE more of the Baptism pictures here at St Luke’s Church Facebook Page. I’ll be posting some more awesome shots that my wife Julie took as well.

 

 

When The Message is Rejected

praying for your OIKOS, don't give up or give in, because God didn't give up on you.

Daily Spirit & Word: 740: When The Message Is Rejected.

Good morning my friends, we’ve been chatting all we about National Evangelisation, taking the¬†Gospel¬†in obedience to Jesus command to “Go”, to all the people in your OIKOS (Remember OIKOS is all the people who know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, a Disciple). However, what happens or what do we do about the people who reject the Gospel? When we’ve been praying for them and we finally get the courage to share with them, what happens if they say “No” or “I’m just not interested”…

Quick Answer: LOVE them even more.

Long Answer: Don’t Give Up on Them, because God didn’t Give Up on YOU!

First pray for them again. Go back to your Heavenly Father and talk to Him about them.

It’s amazing when you go back and review with the LORD all that you’ve been saying and doing to win your loved ones to Jesus.¬†Why? Because in talking it over sometimes the LORD gives you words of knowledge and insight about; Himself, your approach, about them as people and about yourself as well.

Then go back and check out the Scriptures and ask yourself, “What does the LORD want me to do now?”

Re-read the Great Commissions in Matthew, Mark and Acts. Then re-read the Kingdom Parables of Jesus; what God’s Kingdom is like. (I’ll be doing a mini-series soon on the Kingdom Parables).

Why? Because you’ll discover afresh God’s Heart, the Father’s Heart, for everyone who doesn’t know Him yet. You’ll be encouraged to know the LORD still wants them to be saved. Think about Noah building his Ark, the people laughing at him, the mocking he endured as year after year as he built his boat on the hill. Then when the LORD sent the rain, who got into the Ark with Noah? It was his son’s and their wives, his whole HOUSEHOLD (OIKOS). Throughout the Bible you’ll discover the LORD’S HEART for the extended family of those who LOVE HIM. How His blessings flow from generation to generation of those who put their trust in the LORD. The same is true of many of the great people of God in the Bible; Jacob, Joseph in Egypt his whole family saved, Abraham, etc… God’s HEART is to SAVE your extended family and those who know you well.

Next: Be encouraged, because very few people accept the Gospel the first time they hear it.

Think about how many times you had to hear about Jesus before you¬†eventually; believed in Him, felt¬†remorse¬†for your sins and repented of your old way of life and received the Lord Jesus as Saviour. When you consider how long it took you, how stubborn you were, how you had to have your foolish thinking challenged and changed before you said “YES” to Jesus, well then it makes it easier to handle their initial or repeated rejection of the Good News. Don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t Give Up, Because God Didn’t Give-Up on YOU!

Next: When the Gospel is NOT Good News for some people:

For some people, God’s Good News of the Gospel is not good news for them, because many sinners love their life of sin, they can’t imagine what life would be like without it and believe they’d feel hemmed-in, trapped, curtailed from enjoying life as much. So it’s no wonder they don’t surrender to Jesus immediately. It might take them a few days, months or even years to realise that the sinful lifestyle (life without God) is empty and doesn’t really bring them lasting satisfaction in their soul, also that rejection of God’s offer of new life will begin to plague them. Their Conscience springs to life when you’ve shared about Jesus and it does so every time you are with them, because you become a living Gospel presentation every time they meet you. It’s as if you’re preaching to their Conscience just by being there. They will be reminded of the Good News when they see you, they will be reminded how they’ve chosen to reject Jesus.

So don’t feel defeated or discouraged by their initial or repeated rejection of Jesus and His offer of New Life.

The Wearing Down Process:

It take years for a river to form a canyon.

My Father In-Law: Called it the wearing down process.

My wife, when she wanted something from her father, didn’t ask just once. She asked him again and again, giving more and more reasons why she should have what she wanted. She was an expert at wrangling things out of her father. He said, “Julie can wrap me around her little finger” Why? Because she knew her daddy loved her. She knew her father’s heart. She knew it brought him great pleasure to see her happy. So my wife learned the wearing-down-process.

Your friends, can be worn-down by God too. They’ll be wooed by the Gospel. They’ll be won over time because they’ll eventually see, know, recognise that Jesus Gospel is REAL, Genuine and True. However, please remember, time is short, we don’t know how long we’ve got left on this earth, their eternal destiny is at stake, we don’t want anyone in our OIKOS to die without trusting in Jesus.

SHALLOW Ground or Rocky Road Hearers:

Too many come to Jesus thoughtlessly, i.e. not knowing enough, they don’t put their faith upon the ROCK, but on the shifting sands of their feelings. They’ll remain for only a short time, because they’ve not really trusted in the Lord Jesus, but just an idea of what trusting Jesus would be like.

Too many come too quickly and don’t really leave behind their life of sin. They want to have a foot in both camps; the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Remember Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon”… Why? “Because you’ll love the one and hate the other”…

Matthew 6:19-24 (NIV)
19¬†“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 ¬†“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 ¬†“No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

The meaning of Jesus’ words have been debated, but it’s obvious really, we can’t serve God and SIN. One or the other will be our Master, we cannot LOVE both at the same time. Repent of your sins and turn afresh to Jesus Christ to be forgiven, cleansed, renewed. Seek the fullness of Holy Spirit to enable you to say “NO!” to sin again in your life.

Conclusion:

Pray always for your friends and family in your OIKOS who’ve rejected Jesus offer of new life and His gift of Eternal life.

  • Don’t give up on them, because God didn’t give up on you.
  • Remember, God’s wearing down and wooing process, He’s drawing people, by His Holy Spirit to Himself.
  • Remember, God’s given them a Conscience, every time they see you their conscience will be pricked.
  • Keep loving them even more, because it’s like heaping burning coals into their lap.
  • Remember, the Father’s Heart: He wants ALL PEOPLE to be SAVED. Everyone to come to repentance. He’s patient too.

Be blessed and encouraged to keep sharing Jesus, again and again and again. God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Don.

The Parable of The Sower:

The KEY to unlocking every parable of Jesus.

Mark 4:1-20 (NIV)
1¬†¬†Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered round him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
2  He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3 ¬†“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
4  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
6  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
8 ¬†Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9 ¬†Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10  When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
11 ¬†He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables
12 ¬†so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ ”
13 ¬†Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
14  The farmer sows the word.
15  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
16  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
17  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19  but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
20 ¬†Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop‚ÄĒthirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
We all want to think of ourselves as “Good soil hearers”… Are we producing a crop of seeds to plant again in the hearts of others? When we begin to share (plant the seed) what we’ve received, then we become the Good Soil Hearers.

 

The Call To Prayer

Pentecost Prayer Week, Time with Jesus every day

Daily Spirit & Word: 736: The Call to PRAYER

JOURNEY in Prayer:

Ephesians 1:15-23 (NIV)
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
17  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20  which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23  which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.

I’m PRAYING for YOU: In the lead-up to PRAYER WEEK.

Good morning my friends, sorry I’ve not posted for two days. I’ve been reading, praying, writing, but haven’t had the PEACE to share what I’ve been going through. Perhaps one day I will, but not yet.

PRAYER IS HARD:

Prayer Week: It was really interesting to read David Hathaway’s account of imprisonment (see below), when he eventually ran out of the ability to pray¬†any-more. I don’t know about you, but PRAYER every day is HARD. I love getting up early in the mornings now, reading my Bible, getting into Bible study and writing, reflecting and praying and praising the LORD. It’s taken years to be able to pray like this, but it began when I too felt as a Christian; weak, feeble, alone, abandoned and I didn’t see much answered prayer. I’ll never forget those first few battles with my head and my pillow. I felt as if my pillow was holding onto my head. I loved staying in bed even when awake. It was a battle to get my head off my pillow. Then one morning I had a breakthrough, it was as if the LORD was right there in the room with me and saying “Donald, get up, I’ve got something to share with you”. I was startled, wide-awake and jumped out of bed. I was in a very small room on a training camp with 3000 men and women of the Royal Navy, HMS Sultan. I opened my Bible as usual, but there was something different, I had to write down what I was reading. Then my prayers just flowed. I went from 5 mins of Bible reading and prayer to half-an-hour a morning. Soon, I had to get up even earlier, because I was enjoying the experience of being in the presence of the LORD so much. Now, I’ll get up at 4.45am ready with a cup of coffee to await the sunrise and be with Jesus. Then I’ll get my Bible out and go and sit with Him, asking for revelation. I can’t stay in bed awake any-longer, no matter how loud my pillow shouts at me ūüôā I have to leave it behind to go and be with my Lord Jesus.

This week I’ve been writing every day, but I’ve not been sharing. It’s been challenging and encouraging, perhaps one day I will share, but what I’ve written might upset too many people at the moment. The Lord has been showing me things about me and about our practice of Discipleship in church. It been an eye opener and a challenge to read through Ying Kai’s experience in the Church Planting Ministry.

Prayer Every Day Is Hard, BUT, oh it’s so REWARDING.

THE CHALLENGE:

In the lead-up to PENTECOST we’ve been asked by our Archbishops of Canterbury and York to pray for the EVANGELISATION of the Nation. This, to my knowledge, has never been done before. It’s shows me there’s an awareness of the NEED for people to come back to Jesus. Let’s pray for a mighty outpouring of Holy Spirit POWER on our land.

Next Week: In the lead-up to Pentecost Sunday and our Baptisms: We’re going to be praying every day as a church. I wanted to share that it’s going to be easy, a joy to pray, but I realise that so many of my brothers and sisters in Jesus are not that enthusiastic. You are struggling, like so many Christians today. Many just don’t seem to have the time, because LIFE gets in the way. So in the lead-up to prayer week, I’ve been praying for YOU. I’m spending time with Jesus for you and for me to get ready to pray. I know that if I hadn’t had that personal revelation, that Jesus wants to share with me every day, I’d probably still be listening to my pillow and snuggling up all warm and cozy. I’ve been praying that the LORD Jesus, through the Holy Spirit will give you a call to prayer. We don’t need towers like the Muslims, we don’t need bells like munks, we need God to be our alarm clock. He’ll wake you up on time every day, but we’ve got a hard choice to make, the comfort of the pillow or feet on the floor and over to your Bible.

“NO READ, NO FEED” …. “NO PRAYER, NO BREAKFAST”.

IT IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO FEEDS THE SHEEP:

I’ve got this little chant: “No read, no feed” Meaning, If I don’t read the Bible, then I won’t have breakfast. I soon discovered that if I missed out a time with the LORD then I’d be spiritually malnourished. I would notice that my days didn’t go that well spirituall, I’d loose battles and fall into sin more readily. I was Malnourished or undernourished, which means: I’m not being provided with adequate spiritual food to sustain me through the day. I know that so many good Christian brothers and sisters are constantly going out into this wicked world spiritually malnourished. No wonder they’re loosing battles every day. It’s as if they are on a self-imposed fast from Spiritual Food between Sunday to Sunday. They’ll get a little snack on Sunday in Church hoping that will keep them going all through the week. They don’t realise that it’s just enough food for one day and that the LORD wants to feed them every single day. He doesn’t want them to rely on their Pastor, Minister, Mentor, etc to keep them going, He wants to feed His Sheep Himself.

John 10:7-11 (ESV)
7  So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
11  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

If you don’t read your Bible regularly, pray and praise the Lord, then you are going to be spiritually malnourished, underfed, undernourished, half-starved, unfed, ill-fed. You’ll eat your physical foods, breakfast, but will still feel that something is missing. It is! You’ll experience a hunger for time with Jesus, because it’s your time with Jesus and His awesome nourishment that you need.

Prayer is a discipline. Richard Fosters book “A Celebration of Discipline” was an eye-opener for me. I read it as a four-year-old Christian at 28 years old. I learned so much from him about prayer, fasting, time with Jesus,¬†journaling¬†and though he’s not an evangelist, I learned during that time of study and reading about how I should go about sharing-my-faith in Jesus.

So in the lead-up to PRAYER WEEK:

I’m praying for you;

1) That the LORD will give you a wake-up-call. Every day! And you’ll want to respond.
2) That you’ll experience NOURISHMENT when you get up, read your Bible, Pray and Praise the LORD (every day).
3) That you’ll DESIRE to have times of fellowship with other brothers and sisters. Spending time together in Jesus company.
4) That you’ll GET PERSONAL REVELATION when you pray and read God’s Word.
5) That you’ll SHARE your experiences with at least FIVE other people during the week.
6) That you’ll EXPERIENCE soul satisfaction and encouragement in your life every day with Jesus.
7) That you’ll get the JOY of the LORD: He’ll put an NEW SONG in your heart. (Psalm 40:3)
8) That you’ll begin to SHINE like Moses because you’ve been in the presence of Jesus. Your GLORY GLOW.
9) That you’ll ENJOY seeking His FACE rather than His Hand. It’s so tempting to ask God just to do stuff for us, but what about seeking His FACE and His Glory, so that we can SERVE Him better instead.
10) That you’ll be able to WORSHIP in song and ENJOY extended periods of reflection throughout your days during prayer week.

  • Pray for the Baptism Candidates: Pray that the LORD will prepare their hearts to be His people, the sheep of His pasture.
  • Pray for Discipleship / Evangelism / Personal Growth of Followers of Jesus.¬†
  • Pray for Evangelisation of our Nation: That there would be a NATIONAL Revival. Holy Spirit come in POWER on our land.
  • Pray for the Renewal and Fire of Holy Spirit for ALL Christians.¬†

Be blessed and stay close to Jesus, every day. Amen.

Don.

David Hathaway shared on Facebook:

Listen Here: David’s Testimony of Imprisonment.

I want to teach you HOW to pray. I‚Äôm an evangelist, but I cannot evangelise without prayer. Without that I have no power in my ministry. When I was in a communist prison in 1972 for smuggling Bibles into the Communist Bloc (2 tonnes every time I came), I was pastor, evangelist ‚Äď but I had to learn all over again HOW to pray. For the first six months, it seemed as if there was NO answer. I prayed I would be released ‚Äď but I was condemned in the court to stay. I prayed for food ‚Äď there was none. I prayed my wife would be able to visit me ‚Äď she was refused permission. For six months I was learning HOW to pray in a cell where I was never alone ‚Äď I shared my cramped cell with a murderer, drug smugglers, criminals ‚Äď the lights were on 24 hours a day ‚Äď the guards brutalised us every night. The only place of comfort that I had was a wooden stool with nails in it ‚Äď I was forced to sit on that for more than 12 hours a day! Conditions were extreme.

HOW could I learn how to pray? I had to deprive myself physically, so that with no watch, no clock, I could force myself awake in the night in order to be alone with God. But there was NO answer. I remember the emotion that morning, after six months, in the early hours, and I was saying, ‚ÄúOh God I can‚Äôt pray any more. Every prayer ‚Äď You don‚Äôt answer. Every time I call ‚Äď the answer is NO. Oh God, I cannot talk with You, I cannot pray, I‚Äôm better dead. Why live, if I have no communion with You? Why live, if You have forgotten me?‚ÄĚ In desperation, that morning, in the awfulness of that cell, as I sat on those nails, I couldn‚Äôt cry out to God any more.

And then I remembered the words of the disciples to Jesus, when even they didn‚Äôt know how to pray, and I cried out like them, ‚ÄúOh Lord, teach me HOW to pray!‚ÄĚ And the Holy Spirit reminded me of the Lord‚Äôs Prayer. As a boy I attended a boys‚Äô school, where every morning we had to repeat the Lord‚Äôs Prayer. To the other boys it was not a prayer, it was a blasphemy, so that I vowed from my childhood I would never ever recite the Lord‚Äôs Prayer, because Jesus said we must avoid vain, empty repetitions ‚Äď the heathen do that.

So I began to say, ‚ÄúOur Father‚ÄĚ, but I argued, ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs plural, I‚Äôm alone in here. I‚Äôm not in church. I have to say, ‚Äėmy‚Äô Father!‚ÄĚ Suddenly I knew, He‚Äôs MINE! He‚Äôs my FATHER! I‚Äôm HIS child! I‚Äôm locked in this stinking prison, but He‚Äôs not only MINE, He‚Äôs my FATHER!

Real prayer is not when everything is OK, it‚Äôs when you are in the pit of hell, when the devil is surrounding you, when you don‚Äôt know how to open your mouth to pray… But something from within tells you, ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs MINE! He‚Äôs MY Father! He sent His Son to experience hell on earth ‚Äď for ME!‚ÄĚ

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1:1-23 (ESV)
1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.


7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 
13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

15  For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

 

When Jesus Forgives

how much we love Jesus will be shown by our appreciation of how much we've been forgiven

Daily Spirit & Word: 733: When Jesus Forgives.

The Woman With The Alabaster Jar

Good morning my friends, you know I said yesterday that it was my day off, well in the evening I had to attend a School Governor’s Meeting at St Luke’s School. The Head of School shared about a certain class that were being challenged to make progress and try harder. On the wall in huge letters it reads, “With Jesus Help We Can”… she pointed out the words and encouraged the class to ask for the Lord to help them understand. She reported, “That class is making progress, the children’s faces light up and they actually ask Jesus for help”… ¬†My friends, when we see Jesus at work like that in our schools and in the lives of children in London today it is an amazing encouragment. It also makes me want to turn afresh to the Lord Jesus in faith today.

Today’s passage comes from Luke’s Gospel and he shares the account of how a sinful woman finds forgiveness in Jesus, but what is it about Jesus in this story that encourages you?

Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)
36¬†Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 ¬†When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,¬†38 ¬†and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 ¬†When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is‚ÄĒthat she is a sinner.”
40 ¬†Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 ¬†“Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 ¬†Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 ¬†Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 ¬†Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 ¬†Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven‚ÄĒfor she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 ¬†Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 ¬†The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 ¬†Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
First The Pharisee’s Hospitality:

At first you think this Pharisee is being kind to Jesus, inviting him to dinner, but we soon discover that he didn’t even perform the customary greeting or extend the normal welcome. He didn’t greet Jesus with a kiss, he didn’t wash Jesus’ feet, he didn’t anoint Jesus with oil. All of these were normal practice for an honoured guest. It was just customary good manners. It’s a bit like offering someone a cup of tea and a little snack when they come to visit you in London. ¬†What does that tell you about the Pharisee? It reveals that his motives for inviting Jesus to dinner were NOT to honour Him. So we’re left wondering why on earth the Pharisee invited Jesus in the first place.

A Rabbi would be welcomed with a customary kiss.

A Rabbi would have his feet washed, because in those days the roads were dusty and feet would get dirty. The cool water on the feet would also bring comfort.

A Rabbi would also be anointed with some kind of perfume; normally rose water.

That Pharisee didn’t honour the Lord Jesus.

 

My friends, when you follow Jesus Christ today, He comes with you wherever you go. That’s why Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of my Disciples, welcomes me”… He is with us, but how do we honour Jesus’ presence? Does his presence make us weep over our sinfulness? Does his presence make us want to honour him and serve him, like the sinful woman did?

 

Let’s see what she did for Jesus that day.

 

The Sinful Woman’s Actions:

  • A SINNER: She knew she was a sinner, she had “lived a sinful life”
  • COMES TO JESUS: She came where she knew Jesus was: Whenever a Rabbi entered a home of a wealthy man, many people would gather around the honoured guest, homes were much more open in those days and that explains how the woman could enter the house so easily.
  • READY TO ANOINT: The very fact that she carried an Alabaster Jar full of perfume indicates that she intended to use it to anoint Jesus. So we don’t know if she’d already met Jesus and had been forgiven by him. Perhaps she was the woman who’d been caught in the act of adultery, we just don’t know.
  • WASHES FEET WITH TEARS: What we do know is this:¬†She wet Jesus feet with her tears: She was either full of remorse about her sinful life or so overcome with joy at being forgiven by Jesus. All we know is that In the presence of Jesus she wept. She was crying so much that her tears soaked Jesus feet.
  • DRIED FEET WITH HAIR: Next she wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. This too shows us the extent of her remorse and sadness about her sins. Who would wipe a person’s feet with their hair? That’s not normal. A woman’s hair is her glory, but she’s just used it to do the most base act. I don’t know anyone who’d wipe a person’s feet with their hair today and our feet a cleaner than those of someone in Jesus day.
  • KISSES JESUS FEET: Then she began to kiss Jesus’ feet: Who kisses another person’s feet? It’s normal for a defeated foe to bow down and kiss the conqueror’s feet. But it’s not normal to kiss someone’s feet. She must have been so overcome with relief and joy to have been forgiven by Jesus.
  • ANOINTS WITH OIL: Next, she anointed Jesus feet with the perfumed oil from the Alabaster Jar. The smell in the Pharisees’ house would be sweet and pungent.

Though she was a sinner she did everything the host of the house should have done to honour him. It’s strange that a supposed ‘righteous’ man, the Pharisee, didn’t see the need to honour Jesus with the normal good manners, but the SINNER didn’t stop honouring him from the moment she arrived.

The Pharisee’s Attitude Towards The Sinful Woman and Jesus.

Luke 7:39 ¬†When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is‚ÄĒthat she is a sinner.”

In those days if a Pharisee was touched by a sinner or a sin contaminated person, then he’d be ritually unclean, so they avoided being touched. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan how the Priest and Levite avoided helping the wounded man, for fear of being made unclean. That’s not what God meant when He said we should avoid sin, whenever we can help someone, we should. Even the most sinful person can be given hope of a changed life. But according to the Pharisees, once a sinner, always a sinner. They looked down on sinful people and avoided all contact with them. Even today some strict sects of Jews will not touch anyone who is not a Jew. They view them as sinners or unclean. So the Pharisee is condemning of Jesus as well as having a stand-off attitude towards the sinful woman. He’s questioning Jesus prophetic anointing simply because Jesus is allowing himself to be touched by a supposed sinner. Simon didn’t know if Jesus had already forgiven this woman.

You can almost hear the condemnation: “She is a SINNER”… i.e. in the mind of the Pharisee, there was no hope for the woman, she was a sinner once and she’ll always be that sinful woman.

Jesus Didn’t Condemn or Criticise The Sinful Woman.

He’s a wonderful example of how we should be towards those we KNOW are sinners. We cannot be like that Pharisee, because we know how much the Lord has also forgiven us. We too are sinners and we too need to be cleansed and forgiven.

That little story of Jesus about the debts being forgiven.

I love the way that Luke has recounted this meeting in the Pharisee’s house.

He sets the scene and right in the middle includes one of the most amazing and insightful teachings of Jesus.

In just two verses we discover pure GOLD:

Luke 7:41-42.
41 ¬†“Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 ¬†Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Five Hundred or¬†Fifty: That’s an amazing difference. Of course the one who’s been let off the most debt is the one who’d be most appreciative. But you’d think that the one who’d been forgiven a little would also be a little bit grateful.

The Pharisee got it right, but then Jesus points out the sinful woman: She’s been doing for me Simon what you should have done. Imagine how Simon the Pharisee must have felt at that moment in time? Confronted and shown how wrong his own attitude was towards both the sinful woman and Jesus. I’ll bet he wanted to hide under his dinner table that day.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling coming upon you? I’ve had it a few times, when the Lord brings conviction, all you want to do is hide. I had it in church once, I was looking at other people and in my heart judging them. Then the Lord spoke to me, “Who are you to condemn anyone else, I’ve forgiven them, I’ve also forgiven you”…. I’ll never forget how¬†embarrassed¬†I was, my face went red, I bowed my head and closed my eyes and asked Jesus to forgive me. I was reminded of just how much I’d been forgiven and that it was my own sins that put the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet, and the spear into his side. It was my sins that thrust the crown of thorns upon His head.

The the most amazing pronouncement from Jesus lips:

“Your sins are forgiven.” and¬†“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The woman’s actions towards Jesus demonstrated her faith. She believed that Jesus was the one good, righteous, religious, Rabbi who wouldn’t condemn her, she came to Jesus and cried at his feet and ends up being forgiven and more “go in peace”. There’s a deep peace we experience when we’ve been cleansed and forgiven by the Lord Jesus.

I’ve been a Christian since 1984, but I feel Jesus is asking me afresh this morning, “Donald,¬†How’s your LOVE for Me?”

I think about that poor woman who was so aware of her sinful condition and probably reminded about it constantly by those who knew all about her life. No wonder she was so filled with faith when she encountered Jesus and wanted to do anything she could for him.

The story doesn’t tell us when Jesus forgave the woman. It might have been before he went to the Pharisees house to have dinner that day and she later discovered where Jesus was and wanted to do something special for Him. We don’t know if it was at the house she was forgiven, but we know she was a sinner, she acted in faith and was rewarded by being forgiven and sent away in peace.

I think how much I love Jesus will be determined by how much I know I’ve been forgiven and the cost of my forgiveness. Jesus gave His life so that I could be clean. When I experience the cleansing and washing away of my sins it produces within me an inward¬†gratitude¬†and inexpressible joy, it means that I want to serve the Lord Jesus and give so much, that like the woman with the expensive¬†alabaster¬†jar, I’ll pour out my life and what I’ve been given in His service. Oh LORD Jesus, I love You.

FAITH that expresses itself in LOVE towards Jesus.

  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all SHAME is removed.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all CONDEMNATION is washed away.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LOVE grows within us.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LIFE begins.

When we’ve been forgiven so much by Jesus, we’ll LOVE Him lots too.

Notice Jesus words again;¬†“Your sins are forgiven.” and¬†“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus gives us FAITH to believe, then rewards us when we use the FAITH we’ve been given and gives us PEACE. That’s such Amazing Grace.

Finally, we’re left with the people questioning: “Who is this who even forgives sins?” The Jews knew that God alone can forgive sins. Jesus was God on earth, because we know too that ONLY God can forgive sin. But I’ve written enough for today ūüôā

How much we love Jesus will be shown by how much we appreciate¬†we’ve been forgiven by Him.

Hope you all have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful faith filled weekend with Jesus.

Don.

 

How to follow Jesus Daily

living sacrifices crawl off the altar, but with Jesus all things are possible

Daily Spirit & Word: 732: How To Follow Jesus Daily.

Christian, when you think you can’t, remember, in Jesus you can.

Say out loud today a few times: “In Christ I Can”…

Good morning my friends, It’s my day off today, so I thought I’d reflect upon my week so far.

What a weeks it’s been: hard, good, brilliant, tough, sad, moving, challenging, encouraging; and it’s only Thursday¬† ūüėé

First, it’s a privilege and a joy to serve the Lord, but do we really get a day off?

As a Christian, we don’t want to spend any time away from Jesus, but we all need time off from our labours. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, it’s better to loose a little bit of money and have a decent amount of time with friends and family, than it is to be rich and exhausted. If we don’t take time to be WITH folks, then our relationship with them will drift apart. We’ve got to MAKE the effort.

Second, it’s a privilege and joy to serve the Lord’s people.

We are more family with them than than our blood family. Out eternal family are closer kin than blood relatives. Why? Because we’ve got the blood of Christ sacrificed for us flowing through our veins. We’re members of God’s holy household and heirs together of His Kingdom. So when we give to our Kingdom Family; time, talents, treasures and loving service, we’re building God’s Kingdom and making those bonds even stronger.

I was reminded about this by our Administrator Amanda, who said, “I’m closer to my Christian family than my earthly family”… Our Christian family will last longer than our earthly family too, because we’ll be together in Heaven.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my earthly family much more now that I’m a Christian than I ever have: How do I love them more? Because I try to demonstrate 1 Corinthian 13 love with them. It’s not always EASY: we need to be patient with ourselves as much as with them.

Third, I’m learning afresh that Sanctification is instant, but transformation takes a lifetime.

We are daily being transformed into the likeness of Christ, but that’s a whole lifetime’s work and we’ll never get there, but should always strive for it, by allowing the Holy Spirit access and inviting His presence to bring it about. We’re made Saints the instant we’re born of the Spirit. Regeneration, like Creation was instant: God spoke and the universe came into being. It was instantaneous. We said “Yes” to Jesus, “I repent of my sins and receive You as my Lord” and instantly we’re born anew of God’s Holy Spirit. However, the old nature dies hard and needs to be put to death every single day.

There is a continual discovery of how we need renewal in our mind: I need my own mind renewed daily, because I can see how my old ways of thinking are not quite put to death.¬† Romans 12:2 (NIV)¬†“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is‚ÄĒhis good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There’s STRONG PRESSURE from the world to conform to it’s ways of thinking, to it’s ways of doing, to it’s ways of being. So I need to STAY CLOSE to the LORD Jesus Christ every single day. Only then will I see HOW the world is pulling, tugging, teasing and tempting.

How to stay close to Jesus: Prayer, Word, Praise, Worship, Service, Fellowship, Ministry.

When we get ALL of these in balance in our life, DAILY, then we’ll be able to maintain a close and consistent walk with the LORD. It does take personal effort and daily sacrifice, but it also takes a willingness to allow Holy Spirit access to do the TRANSFORMATION for us, in us and through us.

A wonderful insightful phrase is doing the rounds again. “Living sacrifices crawl off the altar”… i.e. the natural man doesn’t want to die.

Romans 12:1 (NIV)¬†“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God‚ÄĒthis is your spiritual act of worship.”

Oh yes Lord, “but living sacrifices tend to crawl off the altar”… We make the excuse don’t we? We tell ourselves, “But I’m just human”, well we’re not just human, as Christians we’re both; human and divine, because we’ve been born again into God’s family, that means we’ve got the Holy Spirit living in us, so we are HOLY. We’re not the same as the rest of the people in this world¬†any-longer, we’re transformed into members of God’s own family now and are daily being made new into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said it like this; “Take Up your Cross Daily and follow Me”.

Luke 9:23 (ESV)¬†“And he said to all, ‚ÄúIf anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

We have a daily choice, even on our day off, to follow Jesus or live for self. It’s a daily denial if selfishness or of living life just for Donald.

A thought, which arose at Alpha this week. “If I die to myself, won’t I be lost, won’t I just be some kind of robot?” No my friends, when we die to self and allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in our life today, we’ll become more of the person God created us to be.

When you think you can’t do it, when you can’t make it, then remember Jesus’ cross. He did it for YOU! Because He loves you. He’s got ALL you need and more to be a wonderful, successful and vibrant light for Him in this world today.

So dear brothers and sisters in Jesus’ Kingdom family, when you think you can’t do it, remember Jesus Cross and what He’s provided so that you’ll be able to declare boldly; “I CAN DO ALL THINGS (not in my own strength, but) THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME”…

Come afresh to Jesus every single day and you’ll KNOW this truth my friends, “In Christ, I CAN”…

I’m going to worship Him NOW! Enjoy your day my friends.

Don.

Some Verses From God’s Word:

These may be helpful for you today:

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9 ¬†But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Ephesians 3:16 (ANIV)
16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
12  I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

Falling In LOVE with Jesus:

Some Verses From God’s Word:

These may be helpful for you today:

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9 ¬†But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Ephesians 3:16 (ANIV)
16  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)
12  I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

 

Encouragement: Seeking The LORD: Falling in Love with Jesus.