A Change of Mind

Christians preaching Christ Good News in Damascus

Daily Spirit & Word: 774: A Change of Mind.

Good morning my friends, I know many of you have children on holiday from school and find it difficult to find time to read for long periods, so here’s a very short thought for today.

We’ve probably all observed Goldfish in a tank, they swim in one direction, then suddenly all change direction and go another way. I love watching fish, but that’s what we need in this world, to be that one fish that suddenly turns and goes in another direction, perhaps the rest will follow. Decide today to follow Jesus.

Acts 9:20-30 (NIV)
20  At once he (Saul) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
21  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
22  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
23  After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,
24  but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
25  But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26  When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
28  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29  He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30  When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

WE NEED A NEW MIND…

A change of mind.

We see this supremely in the life of St Paul (Saul) in the passage above.

  • One day he’s spouting murderous thoughts and running around arresting and imprisoning Christians.
  • A few days later he’s preaching the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus Christ FEARLESSLY).
  • What brought about his complete change of mind?
  • An encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

WE NEED AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.

When we meet with Jesus, just like St Paul, our minds are going to be RENEWED. We’re going to begin to think like Jesus, because we too will receive the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We too will begin to SPEAK UP for Jesus Christ.

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; his good, pleasing and perfect will.

WE NEED A RENEWED MIND:

Then just like St Paul (Saul of Tarsus) we will be TRANSFORMED.

So God’s Making us into TRANSFORMERS 🙂

Imagine being able to; test and approve what God’s will is?

Imagine being able to know what His; good, pleasing and perfect will is?

“He’s TRANSFORMING ME”

By His Holy Spirit, He’s making me like Jesus.

Could you imagine going to Damascus today and proclaiming the Good News of the LORD Jesus Christ? They’d probably want to kill you too, just as the Jews did St Paul. However, he preached Jesus fearlessly, will we? Will we be so transformed by Jesus that in our place, where we live, we begin to speak up for Jesus? It’s a scary thought for many Christians, but that’s what the Holy Spirit in us will be prompting us to do.

Let our minds be changed, renewed, growing every day, to become more and more like Jesus.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Last night’s (27/7/2016) street evangelism was AWESOME!

In West Norwood London, a few of us went out onto the streets to share Jesus Christ with the crowds; we did it through giving out tracts, sharing the Gospel, praying for folks, and all along the way enjoying singing the song, “I’ve got my mind made up and I won’t turn back, because I’m going to see my Jesus some day”…

P.S. Once Paul was converted, he gained new enemies, they seemed to always want to take his life, to stop him preaching and proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), that Jesus is the Son of God (God), speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

As long as Paul was belonging to the world, the world loved him as one of it’s own.

John 15:18-27 (NIV)
18  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
20  Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
22  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
23  He who hates me hates my Father as well.
24  If I had not done among them what no-one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
25  But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
26  “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
27  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

My friends, as long as you belong to the world, the world will love you as one of it’s own, however: As soon as you are converted, as Paul was converted, the world hated him and it will hate you too, because you no longer belong to the world, you are not of this world, your new citizenship is in Heaven, you are a member of God’s household, you are His ambassadore to this world, you’ve become a new creature in Christ, you are now a Saint, this world is NOT your home any more.

So you will proclaim Christ, just as Paul did, the Holy Spirit of Truth will motivate you to share Him. Then whenever Christ is proclaimed, the world is judged because of sin, it doesn’t want to hear that message, so it tries to squash the message of the Gospel:

  • By watering it down,
  • By making it into a religion,
  • By killing those who proclaim the true Gospel,

Satan: is the force behind all worldly efforts to silence the true Gospel of Jesus Christ: That men (mankind) are sinful, they’ve broken God’s commandments, without Christ there is no remedy for mankind’s sins, we cannot make ourselves clean and fit for heaven, because sin contaminates our souls, so the only way to be cleansed is by the blood of an innocent and pure sacrifice, something had to die in our place so that we could be saved. Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son is the full and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. So that everyone who believes that He died for their sins, who repents of sin and trusts in Jesus’ death, will be SAVED.

Now it’s no wonder that Satan and the world influenced by him, doesn’t want that message spread about too much. He’ll try and squash it, water it down, pervert and bend that message, so that as many as he can, he’ll take to hell with him.

There’s nothing worse that whole hosts of people calling themselves ‘Christians’ who’ve never been born again or come to Christ, broken and guilty and confessing their sins. Satan loves it when the ‘church’ if filled with false-converts, filled and convinced they’re saved by a false or partial perverted Gospel message. The watered down Gospel is this; “Just believe in Jesus name, and ask him into your heart”; no reasons are given for why a person needs to come to Christ, no sin, no hell, no judgement, no repentance, no receiving Christ as LORD. That’s the false Gospel that many are believing today. They are NOT SAVED yet, but don’t give up, because they can be.

However, my heart breaks at the thought of the countless thousands who’ll end up in hell, having believed and lived by this false Gospel message. Jesus died in order that many would be saved, let’s spread the true Gospel message and save as many as we can whilst there is still some time left before Jesus returns in Judgement. Amen!

 

 

 

Loving The World Leads You Away

King Ahaz appealed to the King of Assyria for help, folloed worldly ways

Daily Spirit & Word: 731: Following The Patterns Of This World.

What happens when we follow worldly ways?

Good morning my friends, what are you going to do when trouble comes knocking at the door of your life?

2 Kings 16:10 (NIV) “Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz, was the king of Judah, he was one of Judah’s baddie kings, because instead of following after and serving the One True God he’s followed previous kings and their evil practices that God had clearly forbidden. His life was a ‘Spiritual’ ruin and wasteland.

During his reign, Syria attacked Judah. But instead of going to God for help Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria to come to his aid and help him defeat Syria. Imagine, he took the silver and gold from the Temple of God to bribe the Assyrian king to help him. The Assyrian king did assist Ahaz and together they defeated Syria.

However, After the great victory, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria. Our verse today tells us about that very visit. We can note three things that happen to Ahaz and to us when we seek the world’s help in times of trouble instead of God’s.

You’ll notice in the verse these three things; The obligation of Ahaz, the observation by Ahaz, and the orders from Ahaz.

1) The Obligation of King Ahaz:

Obligation of Ahaz. “Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria.” Ahaz was obligated to go to Damascus to express his appreciation and give honour to the king of Assyria. Ahaz had forsaken Jehovah God, He’d wandered away from the God who had defeated the mightiest armies of Egypt and sought the assistance of a Worldly King when trouble came. Instead of going to God he appealed to the King of Assyria. So now he is the servant by choice (2 Kings 16:7) of the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 16:7 (NIV) “Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel who are attacking me.”

My friends, when we forsake God we become obligated to the world, we become the World’s slaves and servants, and that obligation will only become a burden to us.

It reminds me of the church that went to the National Lottery for money to rebuild it’s church, now that church is full of practices and activities and groups that no normal Christian would ever entertain. When we go to the world for assistance instead of to God, then world will burden us and we’ll become obliged to serve it instead of God. Instead of being a light to the world, we become it’s servant and slave. When we go to the world for help, it’s then that our SALT looses is ability to savour.

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
17  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.

It was obvious from King Ahaz’s conduct that he did not LOVE God or God’s commandments. It’s important to check where our affections are leading us, are they drawing us away from God and Kingdom living? or are they drawing us closer to Him and Kingdom service?

When we love the world then we’ll become IMPRESSED with what the world has to offer instead of God. This leads us to consider what Ahaz saw when he visited the worldly King of Assyria after he helped him.

2) The Observation by King Ahaz.

“Saw an altar that was at Damascus.” Ahaz was impressed by an altar he saw in Damascus. This altar was for heathen ungodly worship, but that did not seem to bother King Ahaz. Why? because we already know from previous verses in our chapter that he was already involved in heathen worship, even killing one of his own children. (2 Kings 16:3,4). So no wonder when Ahaz observed that magnificent foreign alter he was impressed with it.

1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

This world is always concerned with how things look, and that’s what impressed Ahaz. You may be tempted, when following worldly lusts to be impressed with how things look in this world. How people have fashioned their buildings, structures, clothes, vehicles and lives, etc… You might be impressed with their gadgets and gizmos, and tempted to long for them.

Having rejected Israel’s God, Ahaz was given to false religion which emphasizes ritual and outward form and appearance. All false religions aren’t concerned with the inner man or how to please or serve God. Their practice of religion is to see what they can get out of their god.

It’s never their inner character or conduct or the wishes or commands of God.

After being tempted and teased and impressed we now see where it leads King Ahaz.

3) The Orders from King Ahaz.

“He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz wanted an altar just like the one in worldly Damascus to use at the Holy Temple of God.

What’s really strange is that in The Temple God there was already an holy altar. Judah didn’t need a new one. God had prescribed the pattern and form of Israel’s altar already.

Can you see what’s happening in King Ahaz’s life? He’d gone to the world for help, he’d become obliged to the world and now after being impressed with the world, Ahaz wanted to shape and pattern his whole life and worship to become more like the world. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, because our affections and desires will change once we wander away from God.

When we go to the world for help, we’ll end up far away from the Lord.

My friends, when we go to the world for help in times of trouble, then we too will become obliged to the world, we’ll become it’s servant instead of God’s, we’ll want to fulfil it’s desires and wishes and we’ll be obliged to do so. Secondly, because our hearts are already away from the Lord, our desires will begin to change and we’ll want to become more and more like the world, we’ll want to fashion and patter our whole life and our worship to become more worldly. We’ll become more concerned with what the world thinks about us rather than what God thinks.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.

When Ahaz was attacked his life was already in ruins, so he naturally followed his fleshly instincts and went to the world for help. He must have thought, “I’m being attacked by a big boy, I’m going to get a bigger boy to come and help me”… What should Ahaz have done? He should have gone to the BIGGEST and STRONGEST and MOST ABLE: God, the KING of the UNIVERSE… Amen! If he had followed God’s desires, he would have been able to withstand ANY Enemy Attack.

My friends, Don’t GO to the world for help in times of trouble or hardship. Instead, first, go directly to your LOVING Heavenly Father.

Last night on Alpha we discovered just how much our Father in Heaven longs to give us what we need.

INSTEAD: ASK YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FOR HELP:

Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
9  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness again”… King Ahaz was walking in the deepest darkness, look at the rest of chapter 16 to see just how far away from the LORD Ahaz took the true worship.

John 8:12 (NIV) “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Sometimes we just don’t get because we forget to ASK.

Following Jesus will not make you immune from attacks or trouble, but when you face those trouble by faith, walking closely with Jesus, you will have total PEACE and even the deepest JOY that the world cannot understand.

When we forget to ASK, we’re walking in the darkness instead of the light and we’ll be led astray to follow worldly ways instead of God’s ways.

Ahaz made his choice long before an attack ever happened, my friends, if you are experiencing the blessings of peace now, keep close to Jesus, stay close to Him every day and He will guide your affections and heart’s desires.

Don.