Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

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

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

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

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

First, Nehemiah:

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

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

INTRODUCTION:

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

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

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

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

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

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

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

1) PRAYER:

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

2) PERSISTENCE:

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

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

3) POWER:

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

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

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

CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

As one great preacher has said,

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

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

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

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

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

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

Don.

 

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.

 

Getting Ready For Christmas: Advent.

Getting Ready For Christmas Advent

Daily Spirit & Word: 646:

Getting Ready For Christmas: Advent.

Avoiding The Ways Of The Wicked

Good morning my friends, as Christmas approaches again this year, how can we get ready so that we’ll have JOY when the day arrives and we continue to celebrate on Christmas Morning without regrets?

Thankfully the LORD has provided a way, for the meek to inherit the Earth.

Continuing with Psalm 37: We saw how in Psalm 37:1-11 Believers are to; Trust (not fret), Delight in the Lord to get our heart’s desires, Commit our ways to Him, Wait Patiently for Him (not fretting), Be Still (not struggling in our own strength for things to happen),  Refrain from Anger, (because it only leads to evil).

NOW, today; we’ll see God’s reasons why?

Because when we don’t; trust, delight, commit, wait, be still and refrain from anger: we will become God’s Enemies (wicked).

Anyone who does what they want instead of what God decrees is a wicked person from God’s point of view.

Look at the next few verses of the Psalm and you’ll see; they are doing the opposite of what Believers are directed to do;

Psalm 37:12-17 (The Way of the Wicked).
12  The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13  but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
14  The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15  But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
16  Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17  for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. 

What Do The Wicked Do?

They are plotting evil instead of trusting in, delighting in and committing to the Lord.

They are being violent; instead of refraining from anger.

What Will Happen To The Wicked?

  • Their POWER: Will be BROKEN.
  • The way of the wicked will perish.
  • Their POWER will be broken. 
  • They WILL BE Crushed by the LORD.

Why? Because the LORD upholds, protects and watches out for those who TRUST in HIM>

Why? Because the LORD pays back the wicked.

REALITY CHECK:

Does that mean we won’t experience horrors? NO! Because, the wicked do terrible things that really do hurt the; innocent, the weak, the poor, the vulnerable. However, the LORD is watching and will PAY BACK the wicked for their evil one day.

What Can Believer Do?

Even in the face of trials and tribulations, Christians will; continue to: TRUST in the LORD: Commit to Him: DELIGHT in Him: Wait Patiently for Him, Be Still in His presence, REFRAIN from Anger. Because, He’s got great plans for those who are gentle, humble, patient and meek. (The LORD is a rewarder of those who LOVE Him: Either in this life or the next). (THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT)…

We don’t know when we’ll experience the LORD’S Powerful Hand: Against our enemy or to reward us; it might be in this life or it may be in Eternity, but it’s better to live with His blessing, even if we’re being ill-treated in this life, than to respond in sinful ways; with anger, rage, malice etc… BE God’s Blessed People in this world: He’s got great plans and rewards waiting for you.

WHY? Because the meek shall inherit the Earth.

When do we get an inheritance? When the TIME is right.

In God’s TIMING:

So TRUST in Him, because His Timing is Perfect.

Christians will turn to the LORD, seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit to live God’s way.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as Christmas approaches this year, I plead with you to help me to; Not fret, to wait on You and Trust You, Help me to Delight in You Lord, Help me to be still in Your presence, Help me to refrain from anger and reacting in wrong ways, even if I am wronged. Help me to be an influence for good and for Your glory in this world today. Amen.

Every blessing for an awesome day with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don.

#Advent #Actsofkindness #BibleSociety #Jesus #DoGood

 

Should The UK Bomb ISIS?

Revenge is mine. God's anger against evil

Daily Spirit & Word: 643: Fighting Evil With Good.

What is lawful? To do ‘Good’ on the Holy Day or to do ‘Evil’?

Sometimes it’s wrong to unite: When that coalition is plotting evil.

In Jesus day, the ‘religious’ leaders of Israel were experts in applying the Scriptures to everyday life; they had by that time devised 39 prohibitions for the Sabbath Day (The Day of Rest). But Jesus demonstrated something different which brought Him into dangerous conflict with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians. These three groups were normally in conflict with one another, but as we’ll see from Mark’s Gospel, they were united against Jesus.

Mark 3:4-6 (NIV)
4  Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5  He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
6  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Sometimes, just because everyone else is uniting behind a cause, it’s doesn’t mean it’s right to join in.

Many have caricatured Jeremy Corbyn for his stance of not joining; France, America, Russia etc who are bombing Syria. They have castigated him and all who side with him as traitors. It’s amazing how quickly feelings escalate when war is looming: However, even though ISIS are EVIL personified, they’ve done tremendous wrong; committing murder, rape, torture, beatings, stealing. They’ve broken every single one of God’s Commandments. Does that then give us the right to go and bomb them? Do we now have the legal and moral authority to take the life of every single ISIS member?

We must also remember the innocent Civilians who will be caught up in this conflict. Their cities, towns and villages have been invaded by ISIS, should they be bombed because they’ve been invaded? Are they just collateral damage?

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: Sometimes it’s WRONG to UNITE.

Just as the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians wrongly plotted the murder of Jesus, so too it might be wrong to plot to join the others who are already indiscriminately bombing ISIS.

What ISIS have done IS wrong: Evil men are always doing wrong.

In the United Kingdom, we don’t have the DEATH Penalty anymore.

If it’s OK to kill the members of ISIS because they’ve killed, does that mean we’re going to take the life of those who’ve killed people back home in the good old UK? No, of course not. So why are we rushing into this Bombing campaign?

Jesus wasn’t like the ISIS members, He only did good: even though they united to plot His death.

What was it that Jesus did wrong from their perspective?

  • He Delivered a man from a Demon on the Sabbath (Mark 1:21-28).
  • He Touched a man with Leprosy (Mark 1:40-43).
  • He forgave a man his sins (only God can do that). (Mark 2:1-12).
  • He ate with Tax Collectors and Sinners (the untouchables). (Mark 2:13-17).
  • He gave his men, the Disciples, something to eat from a field on the Sabbath Day. (Mark 2:23-28).
  • He didn’t fast, as the other ‘religious’ people of the day did. (Mark 2:18-22).
  • He healed a man on the Sabbath day. (Mark 3:1-6).

What Jesus did enraged those in opposition, but it was NOT wrong; it WAS GOOD. He only ever did GOOD things.

Jesus cited some Scriptures to show that what He was doing was OK. He was not breaking God’s Commandments regarding the Sabbath or Fasting, Jesus upheld and kept the LAW of God (His Father) fully. However, their response to Jesus Ministry shows they were not practising their own ‘religion’ at all, they were not working for God, but were serving and thinking only about themselves.

However, the United Group of Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians; much like ISIS and even the American, Russian, French and possibly the UK coalition could ignore God’s LAW: to get their own way. They plotted murder, just because Jesus was going against their man-made-traditions. It’s strange, shocking and sad that it’s often the most ‘religious’ and self-righteous people, who’ll do the most horrendous things for the sake of their so called ‘religion’ or ideology; Be that ideology; Judaism, Christianity, Islam, ISIS or Democracy.

  • Yes we should be horrified by what ISIS have done.
  • Yes we are right to feel angry.
  • Yes we are right to want justice for those who’ve been murdered.

BUT: We are not justified in simply seeking revenge.

If we do join in with the EVIL, like the Pharisees and Herodians, we’ll be fighting against God.

What the Pharisees and their group were doing was against God (Jesus). It was (is) against God’s LAW to murder.

He warns us that it’s HIS prerogative to fight against evil. He’s the ONE who’ll punish the EVIL doers.

On a personal level, it’s never us who have the right to take revenge.

Revenge, is NEVER the answer: It only ignites the flames of hatred.

REVENGE BELONGS TO GOD;

Romans 12:17-21.
17  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20  On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Yes, God does raise States and give the power of the sword to bring His swift Justice. However, those Governments better be certain that they are justified in using their God given powers. Is it right to take REVENGE? No! However, it is right to bring people to justice, to bring them to account for their actions, to make them face-up to what they’ve done, but just getting even or paying them back is not a right motive for killing people. God will one day give them PAY-BACK big time, but in the mean-time, we’re to fight against evil with good.

FIGHT EVIL WITH GOOD:

The Americans, French, Russians and the UK are wrong to think they’ll kill-off the Evil Ideology of ISIS with bombs.

It’s going to take time, effort and peaceful means to quell this evil force. “Fight evil with Good”. Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of Evil in the Heavenly realms. It is the Devil, Satan who’s behind the ISIS ideology, for only the Devil could convince men that murder and rape are right, but we’d better be careful that we’re not in league with Satan as well, by taking revenge into our own hands and away from God. Murder is always murder, no matter what our excuse for going to war.

Conclusion:

In uniting against Jesus, they were uniting against God.

Doing good will always bring opposition: But let’s NEVER give into Evil.

In uniting against ISIS, we’re doing the right thing my friends.

However, let’s fight and crush this Evil Ideology with PEACE, LOVE, RESPECT, HOPE and DIPLOMACY.

Diplomacy might take longer, but the peace it brings will last longer than any group that’s crushed with bombs. They’ll just rise again and take revenge for their dead heroes of their ideology.

There are other ways to bring them down, other than bombing them into the dust.

  • Pray for your enemies.
  • Live at peace.
  • Do good to those that hate you.
  • Leave room for God’s wrath and anger against their evil actions.
  • Overcome EVIL with GOOD.

It’s going to take real courage to stand-up against everyone who thinks it’s right to BOMB.

It’s going to be a battle against Ideologies.

Jesus is on the side of the PEACE MAKERS.

Matthew 5:9-12
9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Have an awesome Sunday with Jesus.

Join His Salvation Army: Fighting EVIL with Good! Amen.

Don.

More About Jesus WAY OF PEACE

 

WHEN IS IT RIGHT TO HATE?

hate what is EVIL

Daily Spirit & Word: 611: WHEN IS IT RIGHT TO HATE?

Good morning my friends, we hear a lot about what Christians are to LOVE and How we are expected to LOVE: But we don’t hear very many messages today about what Christians are meant to HATE.

Psalm 97:10 “Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”

What are we to HATE?

Hate Evil: Most of us would say, “Of course, it makes sense to hate evil”, but what exactly is EVIL?

Secular Dictionary: Evil is; NOUN.

1) Morally objectionable behaviour.

2) That which causes harm, destruction or misfortune: {evil wind, evil war, evil thief}

3) The quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice.

Adjective: 

1) Morally bad or wrong.

2) Having the nature of vice.

3) Having or exerting a malignant influence.

Biblical Definition of EVIL:

The Bible Declares that EVIL is what is morally wrong, sinful and wicked.

It’s EVIL: to, murder, lie, steal and commit adultery (lust) against our fellow man, to disobey / disrespect our parents, coveting the things in the world that belong to others.

It’s EVIL: to worship anything else but God, to take His Holy name and use it as a swear word (Blasphemy), to not worship Him, to worship man made or created things instead of God {Idolatry}.

Even when we’re being EVIL towards others, we’re actually being EVIL towards God: For it is HE ALONE who sets the STANDARD.

Psalm 51:4 “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (David’s confession after committing murder and adultery).

EVIL: is NOT a thing, it’s not something that God Created, it’s what PEOPLE and the DEVIL do in direct disobedience to God.

EVIL: is that part of our human nature that rejects God, God’s ways, God’s standards and decides to go it’s own way.

Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Every follower of Jesus HATES it when they fall into sin; why? Because we know that we’ve given into that part of our nature that is sinful (evil).

It’s why the Bible Declares certain Human Actions as Evil and the effects of being an ‘evil’ person will keep us out of Heaven:

Galatians 5:16-21 Acts of The Sinful Nature (EVIL).
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

EVIL ACTS THAT WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF HEAVEN.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11  “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Godlessness (EVIL) in the Last Days.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6  They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7  always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

It’s important to KNOW the TRUTH: Why? Because it’s the TRUTH that sets us FREE.

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Knowing what EVIL is will enable you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received from the Lord Jesus.

You can LIVE in FREEDOM.

It is FOR FREEDOM that Christ has set you FREE.

Have an awesome Tuesday with Jesus.

Be filled afresh with His Holy Spirit today.

Don.

 

The Light Overcomes The Darkness

Daily Spirit & Word, 487: The Light Overcomes The Darkness.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 2.

 

Good morning my friends, our first meeting of 40 Days With Jesus was last night and it was amazing. God was showing us through those who came and testified that there are indeed many different ways to come out of the darkness and into His marvellous light. Each of us shared our Spiritual journey and how we came to be where we are today. It was good because most admitted they knew about Jesus, but wanted to go a bit deeper with Him. This little course will enable anyone to do that and we’ll all experience new light in our lives by coming to the Lord on purpose.

Some shared their experiences of recent hardships and in coming to Jesus holding onto the hope that there really is some little chink of light at the end of the dark tunnel. The trials we go through can vary in degree of hardship and duration. They can vary in nature too; some shared last night about relational conflict (how we can forgive), some ill-health, some financial pressures. When we’re going through troubled times it can sometimes seem that there’s no hope at all. Just recently we’ve met a few people who’ve actually contemplated suicide.

 John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”

When John tells us that Mary went to the tomb of Jesus on that first Sunday morning, there’s much more the the DARKNESS than the fact that it was just before dawn. He’s indicating that evil seemed to have triumphed, that darkness had overcome the light. However, even before Mary reaches the tomb, the LIGHT of the dawn had approached and the stone had already been rolled away from the tomb allowing the light to flood into the inner darkness.

In John 20:1-18, that we read yesterday, I think I read it through about six times, but I’m going to be reading it every day this week, we seen in this portion of God’s Word an indication of a theme that’s woven throughout John’s Gospel: Light & Darkness. Darkness representing the kingdom of evil and Light representing the Kingdom of good.

Many movies have this theme running through them; Star Wars, Superman, Batman, X-Men, etc… Even the good old Westerns with the good and bad. I’ll never forget that Clint Eastwood introduced a third term “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” 🙂

In Star Wars the battle is the forces of good combating the forces of evil, represented by the Dark Side of the Force. So John’s Gospel is interwoven with this theme of LIGHT representing Good and God; and DARKNESS representing Evil and Satan.

Let’s just briefly take a look a how John does this:

In the beginning of his Gospel John introduces us to this theme immediately:

John 1:5 (NIV) “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

John 1:9 (NIV) “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”

We know from the context that the LIGHT is the LORD Jesus. Mary would have been devastated that the LIGHT that delivered her from the darkness of evil oppression and possession was now dead and gone. She’d witnessed his cruel death upon the cross and was grieving so much. Perhaps there was a deep-seated fear that now that Jesus was gone, she’d once again become prey to the darkness of evil and demons, that she’d be plunged into the darkness all over again.

Also in John’s Gospel we see the theme again, John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

We see here some awesome truths concerning the darkness of evil and the brilliance of the pure light of God. Sin keeps us away from the LIGHT, because we’re afraid when we sin. Remember Adam running and hiding in the Garden of Eden when He first sinned against God. Sin will keep you away from God and plunge you into the deepest darkness.

John 8:12  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.”

So when Mary arrived at the tomb it must have seemed to her that the DARK SIDE had been victorious; evil deeds, evil forces and evil people had seemingly triumphed over the light of the Lord Jesus. However, nothing could be further from the truth as Mary was about to experience when she finally met the risen Lord Jesus. Her darkness of night was about to explode with the brilliance of the first new day of the RESURRECTION of the Lord Jesus.

My friends, in coming to Jesus, we’re also brought from Darkness into His marvellous Light. We’ll experience a new hope within our being and like Mary our griefs and feelings of despair from our trials and tests will turn to the deepest joy. Jesus is with everyone who trust in Him until the end of the age. That’s HIS promise, let’s grab hold of it today and be encouraged by believing and trusting that these trials are momentary and soon we’ll be delivered from the darkness to triumphant light of God’s glory.

My friends, when Mary Magdalene reached the tomb of Jesus, all must have appeared darkness and gloom, but the LIGHT burst forth into her life when she met the risen Saviour. You can experience that same JOY today.

 Points to Ponder:

  • Can you think of moments in your own life when you were delivered from darkness into the light? What were the events leading up to this point? Take some time to thank God for His grace and mercy towards you during those times.
  • Are there any areas in your life where you know that you are still living in the darkness?
  • Are there any places in your life where the light is on but it’s dim? How would your life change if you began to walk fully in the light of Jesus in these areas?

 Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Light of the world and I take hold of the promise that I never have to walk in the darkness when I am following You (John 8:12). Thank you for calling me out of the darkness into Your wonderful Light (1 Peter 2:9). I reject any lie that may try to convince me that my breakthrough is not possible or will not be long-lasting. Freedom from sin and darkness is mine through You Lord Jesus Christ. I know that Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my paths (Psalm 119:105). Lord Jesus, please direct my steps and show me how to walk in the light. Lead me into the freedom you won for me on the Cross and keep me there Lord. Amen.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 2 The Light Overcomes The Darkness.

Come back tomorrow for Day 3.

40 Days Home Page: Don’t forget you can watch the Video anytime you like during the week. I’ve watched it a few times now.

 

 

Nebuchadnezzar was to be CUT DOWN

Daniel Reveals the Meaning of the Dream
Daniel Reveals the Meaning of the Daily Spirit & Word, 442: The Meaning of the Dream Revealed.

Nebuchadnezzar was to be CUT DOWN until he acknowledges God Controls Everything.

Daily Spirit & Word, 442: Daniel Reveals the Meaning of the King’s Dream.

Good morning my friends, I’m back in the study now, it’s definitely getting lighter in the mornings. Spring is on the way with all the promise of new life after the deadness of Winter. In our reading in Daniel today you’ll observe that he interprets King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for him, and I see some similarities between Winter and Spring or life without Jesus and the life of believer filled with God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Daniel 4:19-27

19  Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!
20  The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth,
21  with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air—
22  you, O king, are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.
23  “You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’
24  “This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king:
25  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.
26  The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.
27  Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

Devon Hedge Layering
Devon Hedge Layering

In Devon and Cornwall they have a technique that keeps the hedgerows neat and tidy for a few years, before it needs to be repeated. They cut out the long thick and straggly branches of the boundary hedges until they are almost bear, and those that are left are partly cut, then forced down and kept in place with pegs. It looks terrible, you’d believe they’d killed the whole hedge when they are finished. However, this is an ancient practice and they know that within just a few weeks those dead branches will all burst forth into life again and after about four or five years, they’ll need to come back and repeat the whole process again. Some of those hedgerows are really ancient and they are host to countless forms of wildlife.

Devon Hedge Layering
Devon Hedge Layering

When a person like Nebuchadnezzar was cut down, you’d have been forgiven for thinking he’d never make it back again. Once a person has lost the plot and gone as wild as he was going to be, you’d normally think about locking them up and throwing away the key. Notice what it says he’ll be like in Daniel 4:25 “You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven…” Total Madness… But with God ALL Things ARE Possible.

Doesn’t that remind you of the Demoniac that Jesus encountered amongst the tombs?

Mark 5:1-20. The Healing of the Demon Possessed Man.

1  They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.

2  When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil (unclean) spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
3  This man lived in the tombs, and no-one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.
4  For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him.
5  Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6  When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.
7  He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”
8  For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
9  Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
10  And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11  A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
12  The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”
13  He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14  Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
15  When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
16  Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well.
17  Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. 

  • Notice the similarity: He was wild, like an animal, and he ran and fell at Jesus feet.
  • Notice also what the unclean evil spirits acknowledged about Jesus: “”What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”” They KNEW who Jesus was.

Nebuchadnezzar would be cut down and become possessed like a wild animal until: “Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.”

He’d become wild until he repents and accepts that there is a much higher power than his own.

My friends, that’s what ALL human beings are like until they come to know and acknowledge and receive Jesus Christ as LORD of their lives. They are all like un-tamed beasts, wild and out of control. Well, at least they would be if the LORD had not been gracious enough not to let men go completely. You see God is still calling all men everywhere to come to Himself, to acknowledge that there is a Creator of ALL Things. As the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Colossians: Jesus sustains the whole universe. But look very carefully at this verse, for it tells us not only that Jesus created and sustains, but what WE Human Beings are like until we come to Him.

Colossians 1:16-23 The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.

16  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
17  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19  For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him,
20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.
22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
23  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Did you notice verse 21? “Once you were alienated (cut off) from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.”

Eveil Behaviour??? That’s a bit strong isn’t it? But we need to look upon the human heart from God’s point of view. He sees every act of sin and rebellion as ‘EVIL BEHAVIOUR’. Sin and Rebellion cut us off from God.

Though He sustains and keeps in perfect order the whole Universe; He also allows Mankind to choose if we are controlled or wild. We become wild and we get worse throughout our lives, until we regain the self-control that comes through the Holy Spirit. Thank God that He’s not let humanity go completely, but the fact remains we ALL need to come to Him to be restored to our right minds, the minds that God intended Human beings should have from the beginning when He made Adam and Eve.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, interpreted by a nervous Daniel, reveals what happens when we think we are the masters of our own destiny, that we are like a god to our own lives.

You’ll hear it many times in different ways from the Philosophers of this world: But they’re all saying the same thing: “You are the master of your own destiny”

In the film, “The Dead Poet’s Society” The well liked schoolmaster didn’t like the rules and traditions of the respected grammar school. He began to teach the boys they needed to take control of their own destiny, they looked at the existentialist poets who spouted such nonsense and the boys lapped it up with devastating consequences. It’s good story, but it reveals the world’s ways of thinking that we are better off without the shackles of faith, religion, decency, order, rules and regulations.

When a person gets renewed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the mind of Christ is imputed to us, we receive the mind of Christ, therefore we begin to think a behave as Christ did, in perfect obedience to His Father. We submit willingly to God’s order and we see His Ten Commandments differently, rather than rules to inhibit our enjoyment or life, we see them anew as liberation from the power, dominion and control of sin. When we submit and acknowledge Jesus Christ true freedom reigns in our hearts and lives.

Daniel revealed that Nebuchadnezzar would one day be restored to his position of Emperor King, once He acknowledged the KING of Heaven. We too will be lifted up once we humble ourselves before our Creator.

Life without Christ is like winter or a cut down hedgerow, but life with Jesus is truly AWESOME!

I can’t wait for Wednesday, when we go out into the streets of London to reach those who don’t yet know Christ as LORD. I want to see thousands come to experience the freedom and NEW LIFE that He brings.

Enjoy the blessings of the freedom you’ve been granted in Jesus Christ today.

Let’s endeavour to continue, as Paul reminded us in the Colossian reading above, continue in the faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Don.

 

NOTE: Can also be read on St Luke’s Facebook Page.