Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

The Cost of True Discipleship, Denying Self, Taking Up Cross and Following Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 773: Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

It’s going to be costly.

If you do want to follow Jesus, then there are some things Jesus told us we must do.

Good morning my friends, when we eventually give in and surrender our souls to Jesus Christ, what’s next? Jesus said, “Follow Me”, but there are some requirements for following Jesus; Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross, Living For Jesus… The Christian life is a purposeful and self-sacrificial one.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)
34  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
35  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it…”

Luke 9:23-25 (NIV)
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

In three of the Gospels; Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus reveals HOW we are to follow Him by: Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross and Following Jesus.

Here follows an explanation of Jesus requirements:

In the first few centuries the people we know today as Christians were first called “People of the Way” or “Followers of Jesus”… How they were known by non-Christians reveals a lot about how Jesus had transformed their lives. They were living in such a way that people were impressed by their total dedication to Jesus.

1) Jesus Said You Must Deny SELF:

Denying self requires us to give up anything that we would want, desire or crave that would or could hinder our doing the will of God. Many things we do are not morally wrong, but they might not be what God wants us to be doing. Many things we do are innocent, but perhaps they’re not in God’s plan for our life.

NOTE:

  • Denying Self: What it doesn’t mean: It does not mean that, if we want something, it is necessarily wrong.
  • Denying Self: What it does mean: It means we must take our wants and desires down from off the throne of our life and place The Lord Jesus Christ and His will as the governing power in our lives. When you follow Jesus you make Him your Master, King, Boss, Ruler… Once He’s ruler He’ll set your free to follow His will and guide you into His life and plan by the Holy Spirit.

There is room in your life for only one master (Matthew. 6:19-24). It means it’s either you who’s in charge of your life or Jesus. If God is to rule in your life, then your will, desires, wants, etc, must be made subservient to His. We must be willing to give up anything in life in order to please God. This is the teaching from the whole Bible, not just these few verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospel.

Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 6:33; Luke 14:25-33; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

2) Take Up Your Cross Daily:

What does Jesus mean? The Jews were quite familiar with the CROSS even before Jesus’ crucifixion. They’d probably all seen people crucified, the Romans deliberately positioned crucified rebels along the roadways so people could see them as they passed by, it was a stark and horrible reminder of who’s on the Throne, who’s in charge, who’s the BOSS.

Many people will say things like “It’s my cross this bad back or arthritus” they think that “Take Up Your Cross” means bearing burdens of illness or suffering hardships for the Lord. I’m sure there are some hardships we will need to go through as Christians (God tells us they are for our character development and to give us faith and hope), but there is a fuller meaning to “Take Up Your Cross Daily” if we consider the context of those passages.

(1) What is a cross for? It was not just a burden to be carried along. Your Cross is far more than that, it was an instrument of death and total sacrifice.

(2) Jesus said take up our cross and follow Him. He carried a cross and we must carry our cross and follow Him. But where was He going with His cross? He had just told His Disciples that He was going to die. Now, if they want to be His followers, they must be prepared to die too.

(3) In the very next verses Jesus said we must give our lives for Him.

(4) Then He asked what good our lives would be to us, if we loose our souls at the judgment throne of God.

So, “taking up your cross” refers to giving your whole life to Jesus, just as Jesus himself was about to do on His Cross, He was going to give His life as a sacrifice for us and for our sins.

Taking Up YOUR Cross: is a total dedication of your life to Jesus Christ. Our whole life is given over into His service in anything He says. This will lead us to willingly, (of our own volition; not being forced or against our own will) purposefully, determinedly,  denying self.

Following the Lord Jesus Christ then requires us to live as He lived His life (1 Peter 2:21; Matthew 10:34,35; 1 Cor 11:1).

Only Luke’s Gospel adds “take up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23). There is a sense in which Christians must give their lives to Jesus every singl day.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean we must commit suicide for Jesus: He’s NOT talking about physical death. This is very important, we’re to LIVE for Jesus, by DYING to self.

There are times when Christians have died for Jesus at the hands of others, such as recently in Iraq and Syria, when they refused to deny Jesus, ISIS murderers killed those Christians. Sometimes Christians do give their lives willingly for Jesus, but in the context of these passages, Jesus is talking about living for Him, following His teachings and it was to be a daily sacrifice of self to do the will of Jesus instead of what we’d want or normally, habitually be doing.

  • Whatever He wants with my life is what must be done with it.
  • Whatever I want does not control my life; be sure you’re not addicted to anything. Is there something you feel you can’t live without?
  • What I want no longer matters, but I give myself for Him, just as He gave Himself willingly for me.

Even Jesus struggled with what was about to happen to Him on the Cross (Remember the sweat of Gethsemane?) despite the fact His human nature did not want to have to do it. Compare Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16-18; Matthew 6:19-33; Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6-23; 2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Corinthians 4:11; and Ecclesiastes 12:13.

The determination to give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ in this kind of self-sacrificial, taking up your cross service, is called “repentance”.

When you are REPENTING: You determine to turn away from your own will and live your life to please the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not possible to be SAVED without this kind of repentance. We cannot be saved until we’ve made Jesus BOSS, KING, RULER of our Life: There’s room for only one master: Is Jesus really the KING in your Heart?

For some people it takes TIME to make Jesus King: Others do it instinctively the moment they know Jesus died upon the Cross for their sins. For most it’s a progressive dying to self and living for Jesus. The Christian life really is a journey, but make sure Jesus is your KING today.

My friends, this is why repentance is so important in coming to Jesus. If you’ve responded to a Gospel message that simply says; “Invite Jesus into your heart” without talking about TRUE repentance from sin and from living for yourself, then there won’t be any salvation. Jesus will say to you on the Day of Judgement: “Depart from Me, I never knew you”… It also explains why so many people are not truly Jesus’ disciples today (whether or not they may claim to be His ‘Christians’): because they are not willing to live this life of total dedication to Jesus Christ as their LORD.

There’s a saying, “If Jesus is not LORD of all, then He’s not Lord at all”…

Is Jesus really your KING? You’ll know if’

  • You are willing to Deny Yourself (Living for Jesus).
  • Are you willing to take up your Cross Daily? (Die to Self).
  • Are you Following Jesus’ teachings? (Daily learning to be obedient to Jesus’ teachings). 

A wonderful lady in our fellowship in St Luke’s Church said, “I love the Hymn ‘I surrender all”, but I want to change it to, “I surrender nearly everything”. What she was telling us was, I want to give my whole life to Jesus, but I’m sure there are some parts I want to hang onto myself. “Lord help me to want to “Surrender All”…

3) Follow Me:

The next few verses then helps us understand Jesus’ point about denying self and taking up our cross and following Him, it also strengthens the application.

Matthew 16:24-28 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
26  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
27  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
28  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

If someone claims to be a ‘Christian’ but still holds or clings to his old life, if it is so precious to himself that he wants to use it to please himself, to do what he wants, to do his own will, and accomplish his own purposes, rather than denying self, taking up his cross and serving God, then Jesus teaches us that person will, in the end, at the judgement, lose his life for all eternity. WOWzer! That’s a stark and stunning warning from Jesus Christ.

However, if anyone who loses his life for Jesus’ sake; i.e. who gives it in service and self-sacrifice to Jesus Christ by denying himself, as described fully above – then be assured of this my friends, such a person will save their life by gaining the awesome gift of eternal life.

True Repentance: Is coming to Jesus Christ and making Him the KING of your own life.

Is Jesus Your KING?

Who’s your King? Is it you or is it Jesus?

There can be no greater or clearer teaching anywhere in the Bible of the full meaning of being a true disciple or follower of Jesus Christ.

So will you (of your own volition and free will), Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus Christ as Lord?

 

The Free Gift

Cost Jesus Everything to give us the FREE gift of LIFE

Daily Spirit & Word: 770: Jesus Invitation Is Free.

See The Kingdom Of God… The FREE GIFT…

Luke 9:20-27 (NIV)
20  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21  Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
22  And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
26  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

A banker or investor will take risks, but they’ll only take a calculated risk. God will invest in you in accordance with the faith you are ready to use.

The Kindness Of God: The Free Gift Of Salvation.

A Sunday School Teacher wanted to show his class how free the gift of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is.

So he felt prompted to give someone his solid silver watch; given to him in his retirement. He took it from his pocket and offered it to the eldest boy in the class.

He said, “It is yours, if you will take it.”

The little boy sat and grinned at the teacher. He thought he was just joking.

So the teacher offered it to the next boy, and said, “Take my watch: it is yours.”

The little boy thought everyone in the class would laugh at him, if he held out his hand, so he shook his head.

In the same way the teacher went around almost the whole class; but not one of them would accept the free gift of the silver watch.

However, when he came to one boy and held out the watch, he grabbed it immediately and shoved it into his pocket with a smile on his face.

Suddenly the class erupted in laughter, but the teach stopped them and said to the boy who took it, “You can keep my watch” He returned to his teaching seat, the whole class were amazed.

He said to the class: “I am so thankful that just one boy in my Sunday School Class has believed me and now owns my watch. Boys to you believe me when I tell you that Jesus will save you, He will come into your life and give you new life when you believe in Him, turn from sin and receive Him as Lord?”

When you trust in Jesus, just like the watch, which must be wound up every day, so you must take care of your own Salvation by coming back to Jesus every day to be refilled with Holy Spirit.

Son he said, “Take good care of your new silver watch. Wind it up every day, but not too much or you’ll break the spring.”

The rest of the class looked on in amazement; and one of them said, “Teacher, you don’t mean that the watch is his? You don’t mean that he doesn’t have to give it back to you?”

The Teacher said, “It is his watch now, he doesn’t need to give it back to me.”

The boy said, “WOW, it really is free”… “Oh, if I had only known that, I would have taken it too!”

The Sunday School Teacher said, “There was only one silver watch, but Jesus offer of Salvation is free for everyone, will you take that offer of new life with Him?”

 

 

I had a picture of deep, rich soil and God investing in that soil, He’s expecting a return on His investment. (The Parable of the Sower).

The seed that falls on the other three soil types; they are a bit like Venture Capital. Risky, but sometimes those risky investments pay BIG dividends for those willing to take a risk.

God takes a RISK when He offers Salvation Freely to ALL.

When seed falls on rocky ground, it grows up and looks good for a short while, but watch out, when the sun comes up and scorches the plant, it’s going to wither and die, because it has no root, it’s roots don’t go down into deep rich soil and it can’t get the moisture that it needs to survive. (Too often Ministers are trying to prop-up shallow soil hearers, rocky ground hearers and hard-soil (path) hearers, they get exhausted and worn out doing this, but they should instead be tending, supporting and investing their time and energy in those who’ve been receptive to the Word of God, and are producing a good crop.

My friends, keep winding-up your faith, it’s FREE: You didn’t earn it, God gave it to you for free, it’s yours to keep forever, but look after it.

  • Jesus said, “If any man follows me, He must obey my commandments”
  • Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

It is a DAILY walk with Jesus. We’re not to be Sunday Christians, but DAILY followers of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a costly walk, it begins and ends with the offer of Salvation, Free to us, but costly to Jesus. Then we prove we are His followers when we begin to walk in His teachings daily.

Prayer:

I’ve been praying far more for people lately. The LORD was guiding me and I’m now taking RISKS in Prayer. When someone says something NEGATIVE, I’ll listen, then chat around the complaint, then say; “Let’s pray about that right now”… I’m going to be taking everything to Jesus. When someone tells me they are hurting or feeling ill or tired or weary or upset; then I’ll say, “Let’s pray about that right now and get God on your case” …

Evangelism:

I’ve learned from Ying Kai: He said, “I’m not going to ask permission to share the Good News, because I’ve already been given all the permission I need, God has told me to go out and share the Good News, for too long we’ve been suckered by the politically correct world, asking people permission to share Jesus, we don’t need that permission, because God has given it to us.”

Also, people don’t want to know, they’re happy with their life of sin, so if you ask permission you are going to get a lot of rejections. If you don’t ask for permission, then you can preach the Gospel to many more people. You’ll be able to get the seed of hope into their hearts.

Last night, outside Knowles of Norwood:

A new pub in West Norwood with tables outside, there were three ladies sitting enjoying a drink in the Summer warmth. I gave them an invitation to our “Oh Happy Day Festival”. They seemed interested, so I gave them a Ticket to Heaven… I said, “Here’s a FREE Ticket, it will get you into Heaven”… They all laughed, I asked them, “Are you going to Heaven?” Someone said, “I don’t believe in Heaven, but another said, “I believe God will let everyone in because Jesus died on the Cross so we could all get in”… “WOWzer” I said, “That’s amazing, do you really believe that?” She said, “No, but If it’s true then we’ve got nothing to worry about”…

I said, “There’s a little test we’ve got that will show you if you’ll get in”   I gave them a Ten Commandment Coin, they all took it and were looking at the commandments. I said, “Those Commandments are like a mirror, they show us what we are like on the inside, and they are the measure God will use to detect our goodness to qualify for Heaven.”

“Do you think you’ll be good enough to enter into Heaven?” Well, to cut a long story short, we went through the Commandments and they all admitted they were liars and thieves… They said, “It’s getting a bit serious, but thanks for telling us.” I said, “Wait, before I go, let me tell you the GOOD NEWS, do you know what God has done so that you won’t go to Hell?” “He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die, as you have said, but it’s not automatic, we’re not all just saved, we’ve got to believe in Him and turn from our sins, seeking His forgiveness, then receive Him as our Lord in this life, before we die.”

I asked them, “Does that make sense to you ladies?”, they said, “Yes it does, thanks so much” I gave them all a card with a dog with big ears (they giggled and thought the dog was cute) and thanked them for listening. They laughed when another member of our team came along and offered them another card…

My friends, Evangelism is FUN if you will just take the risk and share Jesus with folks. They’ll thank you when they see you in Heaven.

From now on I’m going to be sharing Jesus without asking permission. However, there is a balance to this: We should always be gentle and humble in our approach. We should show respect and let people go if they want to end the conversation. It’s just we’ve been a bit too polite for too long, Jesus gave us permission to share, let’s get bolder and share a bit more.

With respect:

Evangelism FEARS:

  • FEAR: Not knowing what to say,
  • FEAR: Not knowing enough,
  • FEAR: Not getting a good reception or being rejected,
  • FEAR: Not getting the response you’d hoped for,

 

It’s not what you know but who you know that you are sharing. You are not sharing KNOWLEDGE but JESUS… Knowledge puffs up,

It’s not the amount that you know, but the greatness of the one whom you have trusted that you must share; Jesus is LORD.

Last night we had a few people on our team who’ve only been Christians a very short while. It was good, because we met a man who’d just come out of prison, who was a new convert to Jesus, but was struggling with smoking and pornography in his life. We were able to share with him, encourage him and pray with him. He was so open and honest and ready to turn to Jesus Christ. As we prayed for him, he began to cry. It’s good to share Jesus!

It’s not about how the message is received, that’s not up to you, your task is to share with EVERYONE. It is NOT dependent upon how it is received. In fact we should share it with those who don’t want to know, because you never know, that SEED that you sow into the soil of their heart may lie dormant for a few years, but after a while, they will be brought back to the that point and remember what you said to them…

Sinners will not come into the LIGHT on their own, they HATE the light, because they know their DEEDS are EVIL… John 3:17-24…

My friends, those sinners are; trapped, bound, blind, deaf and frightened… Have pity on them, and bring the LIGHT of Jesus Christ into their lives by going with Jesus to share the Good News that they can be set free from sin and darkness.

Thought: “Well done, good and faithful servant, but you are only doing what’s right, you don’t deserve praise for doing what you should be doing anyway, but you will be allowed to continue to serve the master even more, because you have proven to be worthy, He will continue to invest in you”

Chicken Feed:

I know today’s teaching is a bit like Chicken Feed: Too many disjointed thoughts, stories and sayings of Jesus. I did it on purpose my friends. Read it again and you’ll see, there’s method in my madness. LOL.

If you’ve ever watched chickens eating, some will eat one kind of grain and leave the others, then another chicken will come and eat the grains left by the others. You take the bit of today’s teaching that applies to your life and let God give you nourishment from it. Amen!

Finally:

Jesus loves you, has a plan for your life, go and share Jesus. He gave you the gift of eternal life freely, so you must give it away freely too. It’s like a precious silver retirement watch, but there is NO retirement in the Kingdom of God, we don’t let the watch wind-down, we keep it wound-up every day and let it tell the time: “Now is the day of Salvation, Now is the day of Repentance, we get one life then we face the judgement. Turn and Believe in Jesus Christ, He’ll give you the gift of life freely”.

  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But it cost Him His LIFE to give it to us.
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He tells us to take up our Cross Daily and Follow Him…
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He Commands us to Go and share it with others… Share the Good News of Jesus.

Use the FREE GIFT of LIFE Jesus has given to you.

Have an AWESOME Thursday.

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  😎

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—his 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—this 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, “If 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.

Living In The Fountain of Life

Christian living in the power of the Holy Spirit

Daily Spirit & Word: 728:

Living In The Power of The Holy Spirit.

A Battle Royal: How to live a submitted life.

“When you do what pleases you, does what you do please God?

Good morning my friends, what a wonderful Alpha Experience evening we had last night. Our theme for the evening was all about The HOLY SPIRIT. We looked at the teaching, filling, empowering, seeking and yearning. We all admitted our NEED of God The Holy Spirit.

However, one of the main points of our discussion was what we’d talked about the previous week: How does God guide us? How does the Holy Spirit let us know His will? How can I live in such a way that I know I’m going to be victorious as a Christian?

We will understand and know His guidance the more we SUBMIT ourselves completely to Christ, but what we discovered afresh last night was, the more you submit yourself to God, the more you begin to realise how just un-submitted we really are. And therefore, how much we need God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, cleansing, power and presence every single day.

THE WALK OF GENUINE FAITH:

  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of WILLS: God’s Will and Our Will. 
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of DESIRES: God’s desires and our own sinful desires.
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of WANTS: What God wants and what we want.
  • The Walk of genuine faith in Jesus really is a battle of PLEASURES: What pleases God and what pleases us. 

Thankfully our wills, desires, wants and pleasures change as we submit ourselves to Jesus and seek the fullness of Holy Spirit, but then as we go on in the walk of faith, they sneak back into our souls, sometimes, undetected.

Thankfully Holy Spirit reveals our condition: He’s a gentle Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, but he’ll not leave you, those who’ve received Him as Lord, in a condition of sin for very long. His heart’s desire is that you become more and more like Him: Holy, righteous, good and faithful.

When we follow our heart’s desires, wills, wants and pleasures instead of or in-spite of God’s revealed will, we become like an Adulterer: Unfaithful to the one who’s loved us.

James 4:4-10 (NIV)
4  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (We become friends of the world when we do worldly things that God hates).
5  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

When Holy Spirit shows you your condition, He does not do it to make you feel guilty, but to bring you back, to stop you falling, to keep you on track with God’s good plan for your life. However, just like Adam and Eve hid in the garden when they sinned against God, our NATURAL tendency is to hide too, we want to cover it up, pretend it never happened, keep it in the darkness. As God looked for and called for Adam and Eve, he’ll be doing the same with you and me by His Spirit. “Adam, where are you?” … “Eve, come out of hiding”…. Notice what happens when we respond to the pull of the Spirit, when we draw near to God, “He draws near to us”. What grace, what love, what amazing mercy.

Encouragement:

  • Submit yourself to God:
  • Resist the devil (the worldly attractions, temptations and pleasures),
  • Come Near to God: When we draw nearer to God (Nearer my God to Thee)… He comes bounding towards us in Spirit. “He will come near to you”…
  • Wash, Purify, Grieve, Mourn, Cry: i.e. feel what God feels because of your sinful wills, desires, wants and pleasures and mourn about it. Decide in your hearts that you want to be cleansed and set-free again.
  • WHEN: When you submit, resist, draw near, wash, grieve and mourn and cry: i.e. HUMBLE yourself towards God: He WILL LIFT YOU UP.
  • WHAT IF?: What if I’ve failed again? What if I keep falling? My friends, if you feel guilty then you are in a good place, because God’s not giving up on you. It’s when you stop feeling guilty and keep sinning you should really start to worry, because “God resists the proud”. However, if you feel the sorrow of a sinner’s heart, then you will receive from the Lord “MORE GRACE” James 4:6.
  • Remember Psalm 103:12. When you come in true confession and contrition (sorrow for sin), then God takes your sins away from you and FORGETS all about them, as if they never happened.

Psalm 103:11-13 (NIV)
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

The Holy Spirit’s Intense Jealousy:

James 4:5 “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?”

The Holy Spirit, that God caused to LIVE IN US, “Envies Intensely”: i.e. He’s jealous for God’s Glory and your own goodness in the Christian life. There’s an intense feeling of JOY when we walk in step with the Spirit.

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE:

The Holy Spirit: Becomes in us (Inside Us) a SPRING or FOUNTAIN… i.e. we get filled up with the Holy Spirit from within… It’s not external, but internal filling we need. Some people erroneously, mistakenly, foolishly “Call Down” the Holy Spirit, but how can you call down someone who’s already there? He is in you if you are saved by Jesus. You are full of Holy Spirit, but we leak… All we need is a greater filling, more of His fullness, more LORD!…. “Go on being filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:8-18.

Awesome! Because when God lifts you up, you’re going to have one of those MOUNTAIN-TOP EXPERIENCES.

Focus on God’s desires, focus on Jesus, focus on His awesome tender compassion, kindness and love.

  • He give GRACE to the Humble.
  • He RESISTS the Proud.
  • The Spirit’s Presence is like a FOUNTAIN.
  • Go on being filled… i.e. every day. 

Amen!

Don.

Worship: Wonderful Grace.

Praying For Putin

Take up your Cross Daily

Daily Spirit & Word: 706: Praising The Lord For Putin.

Praying For Those In Authority.

Good morning my friends, I woke up with a WOWzer! in my heart today, because President Putin has announced that Russian Troops will be pulling out of Syria.

Praise the Lord, because this is a real answer to prayer.

You know my friends, The LORD wants you to be praying for your own leaders too?

1 Timothy 2:1-8 (NIV) Praying For Those In Authority.
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
2  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
3  This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
4  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
5  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6  who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
7  And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
8  I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

You know when you’ve been praying for something, but because it is so fantastically good, you wonder in your heart if it’s going to be possible? Well, for ages I’ve been seeking the Lord for Russia and for President Putin. After all the Word of God encourages us to pray for those in Authority. I’ve been praying that Russia would be at real PEACE with the West and that this conflict in Syria would come to an end.

Of course the Peace that I’m praying for is totally different from not just fighting, I’m asking the Lord to send a massive Revival to Russia, China, America, The Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Syria and India. When I read or watch videos about people coming to trust Jesus it warms my heart no end.

Tinge of Reality: I know that the Lord has promised just before He returns in glory things in this world are not going to get better, but worse and how the love of most will grow cold towards the Lord and His people. I know that, but I’m not going to stop praying for millions to come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Send REVIVAL Lord.

Last night at our monthly PCC Meeting, I shared about how sometimes we pray.

My wife is not very technically minded. She’s pressed her mouse button to get something to print. It didn’t work, so she pressed the mouse button again. Still the printer didn’t print, so she pressed it again and again and again… Then she shouted for me to come, “Donald, the Printer is NOT working!”

I trudged up the stairs, because this is a recurring problem. I asked my wife, “Darling did you wait for a little while for it to begin printing before you pressed the button again?” She said, “Of course I did”… I walked over to the printer and looked at it. That’s all I did, look at it, then it began to print her document, and another and another, until we had reams of unwanted prints. She just looked at me and said, “Don’t say a word”… LOL

I think sometimes we PRAY, like my wife presses her mouse button.

We ask the Lord for something, and just before He’s about to answer us, we PRAY for the same thing again, then just before He is about to answer us, we pray again. When all the time the Lord is working behind the scenes, getting ready to answer our prayer, we’re bothering Him. Can you imagine God saying, “Stop pressing your mouse button, I heard you the first time”?…

Oh LORD, I just want to thank You and praise You for Russia and the answer to prayer. I know that Syria is not fully at PEACE yet, but Oh LORD, thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for President Putin, let Him experience your blessings in his life Lord. Peace is such a precious thing, bless Russia and President Putin. I’m praying NOW for President Assad.

Someone has suggested that we’d be suckers if we believe every word that comes out of President Putin’s mouth, but, sadly, that’s probably true of many Politicians. They all seem to say one thing, but mean another. However, the fact that he’s now pulling the troops means thousands of Civilians will be more at peace in their land, because Russian bombing will stop.

Praying For Revival:

Let’s get on our knees for President Assad in prayer to the LORD. Syria needs a lasting peace and a mighty outpouring of Holy Spirit Revival. Pray for all those brave Christian brothers and sisters in Jesus who remained in Syria throughout this dangerous conflict, and the countless thousands who’s homes, communities and infrastructure have been devastated by the bombing of both Russia and Assad and the American led team bombing ISIS. Pray for all who’ll trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in the coming weeks.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Putin and Assad became believers in Jesus? It may sound fantastical, but that’s what I’m praying for, “Oh Lord lead Putin and Assad to faith and trust in You” Amen.

Don’t stop praying for your own leaders; President Obama in America, David Cameron and Jeremy Corbin here in the UK. After all God has declared “This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, Who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

Praying With Jesus Every Day.

Did you know that you can have a meeting with Jesus every day?

Luke 9:23-25 (ANIV)
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

If you were invited by the Queen of England to breakfast every day at 6.30am, you’d probably be there right? Well my friends, Jesus wants to meet with you every single day. Prayer is so important for your daily Christian life, you’re going to need Him throughout the day. Are you FOLLOWING JESUS today? When we get baptised we go down into the water and die to ourselves, when we come up out of the water, we’re living for the Lord. We’re NEW in Christ and we’re to die to self daily, not just at our baptism. Jesus won’t ask you if you got baptised, but if you died to self. So say to your Pillow when it wants to keep your head in it’s soft embrace, “NO Mr Pillow, I’m going to meet with Jesus now”… LOL

Don’t just pray for others to have REVIVAL, get one yourself. Amen!

Have an awesome exciting day, be praying to the Lord for many wonderful things, don’t give up, but also don’t forget that mouse button doesn’t need to keep being pressed again and again, the LORD heard you the first time you prayed. Amen!

Don.

 

Encouragement From Your Brother John

Revelation 1:9 John, your brother

Daily Spirit & Word: 683. Courageous Endurance.

Encouragement from our Brother in the Faith, John the Apostle.

Good morning my friends, when we’re suffering for the faith of Jesus Christ, if we keep in mind our constant hope, to be with the Lord in His Kingdom forever, then we’re going to endure great hardships with gratitude and thanksgiving in our hearts. Why? Because Jesus never promised us it would be easy, but that if we follow Him, we will be persecuted.

Revelation 1:9 (NIV) “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

On Wednesday I had the wonderful privilege of leading a family to faith and trust in Jesus as Lord. It was amazing, definitely a God appointment. There were obstacles to overcome though. Four people, in very humble circumstances, received Jesus as Lord. We sat on the floor of their one roomed flat. A mother, two sons and a girlfriend came as they were to Jesus. I’ll tell their story (with permission) later.

Notice in the Revelation verse above, John is not preaching down to those seven churches that Jesus had told him to write, to; “Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” No, John is identifying with them all in five ways:

  1. I am your brother.
  2. I am your companion in suffering
  3. I am your fellow in God’s Kingdom.
  4. I am with you practising patient endurance.
  5. I am, like you, suffering for preaching the Word of God and giving testimony of Jesus.

This Was Not Ivory Tower Preaching:

Nobody likes it when someone who is privileged or has a life of ease tells people who have nothing how to patiently endure their hardships. Why don’t people like it? Because a person who has everything, doens’t know what life is like with nothing.

It’s a bit like our Government Ministers who are living in luxury and with a great salary, proclaiming they are going to cut the benefits that the poorest people in society receive. Not only that, but they cut the taxes that the richest people pay. Where is the fairness in that? They tell the poor people, “Get a job” then you won’t need benefits. However, the wages that the poor receive for the jobs they take, don’t cover their living expenses. So the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

No wonder those on benefits resent our Government’s unfair policy.

I think that’s why Jesus chose fishermen and outcasts to be His closest Disciples, because they’d been through hardships, they knew what life was like with nothing. One time Jesus followers had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Imagine working hard for no wages? They knew what it was like to struggle and to suffer, so when they preached the Gospel, the people knew they were ordinary men once, just like them. They were not drawn from high-society, not many were of noble birth or princes or entrepreneurs, not many of Jesus Disciples were born with a silver-spoon in their mouths.

No my friends, nobody likes to hear a message about endurance, if the one delivering it is not a partner in the suffering as well. John had to endure great hardship for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was in EXILE on Patmos because of the Word of God and His Testimony about Jesus Christ. Because he wouldn’t stop preaching, they sent him to a lonely island and imprisoned him there, but did that stop John? No! God’s ways are far higher than our ways. The Lord had planed that exile for John long before the Authorities had even thought about it. Nothing takes God by surprise my friends. Everything you go through in life, God knows about it in advance.

You might end up marooned on an Island like John. I hope not, but if you have to endure any hardship for Jesus, it’s not the end my friends, it just might be a new beginning. An opportunity to serve the Lord in a different way.

The Words Endurance: It was originally an expression in Greek for the pressure a large stone could exert: I.e. Like a mill-stone on wheat. Imagine you are a grain of wheat and you see the great mill-stone rolling your way, there’s no way to escape, you’ve just got to bear the crushing pressure. Will you survive? My friends, in Jesus, in His Kingdom, we can and will endure anything for His sake.

You may be experiencing great pressure because of your faith in Jesus Christ today. We are, because society is becoming increasingly intolerant of those who have a sincere desire to follow the teachings of Jesus and live according to the principles of God’s Word. Why? Because they’re bringing us into conflict with a world that wants to go it’s own way instead of God’s way. The world has chosen to uphold detestable lifestyles as good, and is now coming down hard on those who don’t comply or agree.

Think about how the world has chosen to play around with human eggs, thinking that a fertilised egg is just an embryo or a foetus instead of the truth, it’s a baby. It might be a very small baby, but when an human egg is fertilised by sperm, then life has begun. We are forbidden from killing babies by God’s Word and indeed for any form of murder. Now if you show people pictures of aborted babies you are the one who’s classified as an extremist or being too dogmatic.

You might find that you are in a prison one day, like John, for proclaiming God’s Word and giving Testimony about Jesus. Don’t be surprised when that happens, because my friends, God is not. He has warned that in the last days, things would take a turn for the worse.

Matthew 24:12-14 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13  but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

When John Said Endure Patiently: He LIVED it Himself.

Revelation 1:9 (NIV) “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

He, John, was a living example of what Peter talked about: 1 Peter 3:14-17 (NIV) Suffering For Doing Good:
14  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17  It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

My friends, Don’t FEAR what the world FEARS.

  • Endure hardship.
  • Preach the Gospel.
  • Teach Jesus Word.
  • Make Disciples.
  • He’s with you, through everything, endure to the end.

One last thing; Here’s what to do if you are facing hardships for the faith:

Hebrews 12:1-4 (NIV)
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

When the Going Gets Tough.

The Tough Get Going: In Jesus.

Praying that you are going to experience the closeness of Jesus throughout all your trials. Don’t grow weary or loose heart, but instead persevere and endure with patience and joy in the Lord, and don’t stop preaching or teaching what Jesus commanded my friends, keep snatching souls from the flames licking at their feet. Amen!

Don.

Link: Christian Concern For Our Nation: 

Here you’ll discover what we can do, when we face unjust opposition and persecution for the faith of Jesus Christ.

Christian Concern: 

 

The Gospel: People NEED Jesus.

The Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit and Word 600: The Gospel.

People NEED Jesus

Good morning my friends, this is the day we begin to study afresh the Gospel according to Mark. As you know there are four Gospel writers in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each gives us quite a unique view of the life, message and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Matthew’s Focus: Audience: for the Jews. Reveals the Messiah who fulfilled OT Prophesy.   
  • Luke’s thrust: Audience: Greeks (Gentiles: Non-Jews). Reveals Jesus as The Son of God, Empowered by Holy Spirit who came to Seek and SAVE Sinners.
  • John’s thrust: Audience: For people with a Greek and Roman World View: Jesus is the Creator, Divine Son of God, The Sacrifice who Gives His Life so that mankind may receive Eternal Life.
  • However Mark reveals Jesus as the Servant King: The thrust is on What Jesus did. Main focus of His Gospel (Half of it) The Last three weeks of Jesus life. (Mark wasn’t one of Jesus Apostles: He was a close associate of Peter and Paul.).

In the beginning he sets out to declare the Gospel (The Good News) of Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:1-8
1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2  It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
3  “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “
4  And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River.
6  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7  And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8  I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel:

“The Gospel” is a phrase that slips off our tongues easily, and we use it so frequently that we rarely stop to think about it’s meaning.

Usage of the Phrase: “The Gospel” Not used much by the other Apostles: But Paul and Mark use it regularly in their writings.

So what does “The Gospel” mean? 

It means the Good News:

  • First of all it is the Good News of the Coming Kingdom: Proclaimed by John the Baptist, getting people ready.
  • Then it is the Good News of the King of the Kingdom: The Lord Jesus Christ and His mission upon the earth.
  • Then it is the Good News of The Lord Jesus Christ: Died upon the Cross, Risen to Life and Ascended and Reigning in Heaven.

So NOW when we think of The Gospel: We always think of it as the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ: He is the subject and message. He alone is the only way a person can enter into the Kingdom of God. He is God.

Whenever I hear the phrase “The Gospel”: I immediately translate it, subconsciously, as “The Good News of Jesus Christ”: But many others don’t think of it that way.

In Common Use: In the World: 

You’ll often hear people in London saying, when they want to communicate that they are telling the truth: “Gospel truth brother” or in East End “Gospel guv, God’s honest truth guv”…

For example: When I was going to buy a computer the sales assistant in PC World said, “This is the best deal you’ll get, ‘gospel truth’ and we’ll match any other offer you get”….

The world uses “The Gospel” to associate TRUTH. They know when they hear the word Gospel it means truth. So when we’re out there trying to communicate the Gospel with people and we say I’m out sharing the Gospel, we’d better be clear, because they want to know what we’re telling the truth about. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Gospel Meets Your Deepest Needs:

Although the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, it’s also something that radically meets the needs of all mankind.

When we need: Only Jesus can meet those needs;

People Need Peace: People want real peace: Peace from war, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Middle East. But peace only ever lasts a short time. There will be wars. However, Jesus gives us a “Peace that the world cannot give”: Peace even in the storms of life.

People Need Gladness: Jesus give us gladness. We search the world for gladness and look to it for refreshment; (It does satisfy for a short while, like a McDonald’s burger, a holiday, but after a while, we’re hungry again)  but we search for gladness in vain, because the world was not Created to provide it for us. Non-the-less we keep searching, trying, scratching, scraping, hoping, yearning, longing. The gladness or satisfaction we’re looking for can only be found in Jesus Christ, He Created the world, and He alone is the true (gospel) source of gladness and satisfaction in life.

People Need Understanding: The world seeks to KNOW: To know the world and the universe: The quest for knowledge is immense, people spend thousands of pounds on their education. However, if they’d but open up the Bible and turn to Mark’s Gospel, and ask God to open their heart they’d find: True (Gospel) Understanding (Enlightenment: When the Light of Christ comes into our hearts, our understanding, knowing is transformened into an experience of the Light of Christ: The Good News, the Gospel).

People Need a Clear Conscience: Most people are aware that they are NOT all they should be. God given each one of us a conscience, when we go against His Commands, the Conscience cries it’s warning, so we try to quieten our Conscience: Some do it by ignoring it: We’re pretty good at that. (It’s like ignoring the smoke alarm) Some take the batteries out of the Conscience too 🙂 They try to do some good things, thinking that’s enough to quieten the conscience. Even hardened Criminals give money or offering to the church; thinking that will remove their guilt. Only the Whole Message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, His death upon the Cross and suffering for the world, will remove the pain of a guilty Conscience. (Conscience means: Con means with and Science means knowledge, therefore when we sin we do so With-Knowledge.)

People Need A Strong Will to Live Right: Many people struggle with self-control. Many books are written on the subject. Self-help books litter the shelves of book stores and Amazon pops them up: How to eat well. How to live debt free. How to speak. How to write. How to …. ?????

A Google Search of “An Idiot’s Guide to”

Do a Google search for “an idiot’s guide to”: You’ll find a bewildering and enlightening list of the things that people are really looking for in life: from Science, Quantum Physics, Yoga, Relationships, Marriage, Politics, Debating, Dating, Friends, Management, etc… They’ve even got “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to: The Bible”… LOL.

My friends, people want to KNOW HOW to do their LIFE better: Only Jesus Christ can meet all these needs, desires, hungers and wants in life. That’s the Good NEWS of Jesus Christ.

Need for Forgiveness: (Not many books on An Idiot’s Guide to Forgiveness).

You won’t find any books (yet) on: “An Idiot’s Guide to God’s Forgiveness”… Perhaps it’s time to write it 🙂

Google search that and you won’t find it. Why? Most people don’t think they NEED forgiveness. There is NO HUNGER or Desire for it. It is not high on the list of most important things in life.

  • Most people don’t think they need to be forgiven by God.
  • They think they are ‘good enough’ deep down, just a little bit wayward.
  • So they don’t think they need the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • They think they can get along perfectly well without the hindrance of being ‘religious’.
  • Life is just to busy for ‘religion’… “Church: No thank you. I’m NOT religious”.

When we were out on Friday sharing the Gospel in Brixton: We got chatting to lots of different people about Jesus.

But four ladies that David and I were chatting with stand out for me: It ended with the ladies saying to us; “We’re just out having a good time, so please…” She didn’t say “leave us alone” but that’s what she meant and we got the message. It was a sad way to end a conversation about the LORD. However, people don’t think they NEED Jesus, they’re OK without Him, they’re having a great time without thinking about God. I ended the conversation with; “You know in your hearts you’ve broken God’s Commandments; you’ve admitted that you’ve lied and stolen and lusted, that’s only three of them, so I’m pleading with you, listen to your conscience, and think about what Jesus Christ did on the Cross so that you could be forgiven” They said they would and we left them to have a ‘good time’…. The next man we chatted to, about one minute after the ladies, thought that He was God. We sat down with him and had a very interesting time sharing the message of Jesus.

What Hit me more than anything else today: Is this my friends: People NEED the Gospel. We all NEED the Gospel: The whole Good News of Jesus Christ. We need to HEAR if: Because FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD.

We also need to RESPOND to it: Just as those who heard John the Baptist responded to his invitation to get ready for the coming Kingdom: They repented and were baptised.

After Jesus came; The Apostles (Early Church) proclaimed, preached and witnessed: The Gospel: People responded by:

  • BELIEVING (that Jesus Christ had indeed died upon the Cross for their sins)
  • REPENTING (Turning away from their sin and trusting in Jesus death)
  • RECEIVING: They responded by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives as both Saviour and Lord.
  • GETTING BAPTISED: This was to show the world that they’d been transformed by Jesus and were going to live a new life, in the power of the Holy Spirit and that they were dead to their old ways of living.
  • FOLLOWING JESUS: They then responded by living the Christian life, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, they became His disciples.

Most Christian Churches Today: The focus and thrust of good Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Charismatics is this: Believe, Repent and Receive (with a greater emphesis on the receiving end of the scale). Sadly so few, very few, focus upon the most important aspect, making Disciples (followers who’ll LIVE according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and God’s Word). They pander to people’s hunger for experience, excitement and fun; but focus little upon the sacrificial life that Jesus has called us to: Taking up our Cross Daily and following / living with Jesus Christ. However, it’s ONLY when we begin to die to self that we can truly know that the Gospel IS the Good News we’ve been longing to hear.

Worship: I Surrender ALL to You Lord Jesus.

Conclusion:

We’re going to see over the coming weeks, as we unpack Mark’s Gospel of Good News of the Servant King: The Lord Jesus did some amazing wonderful things, he had Authority over all aspects of life and even death,  you’ll not want to miss any of that teaching I’m sure.

For NOW: Today:

Know this today my friends, this Gospel can transform your life today. The Good News of Jesus is for every hungry human soul in this world. They don’t even know they need Jesus, we’ve got to show them their; needs, hungers and desires can only truly be met in the Gospel Good News and Truth of the Person of Jesus Christ: The Son of God who died for them.

First: Have you truly responded? Do you Believe, repent, receive and follow Him daily?. Are you following and living according to the teachings of Jesus Christ right this moment? (If you know you are not, then come and receive prayer. Perhaps you need to repent and receive Jesus afresh in your life today).

Second: Will you be obedient to Jesus Command: Go into all the world and share the Gospel? Make Disciples?

Third: If you have not yet responded to the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for you, will you turn and ask His forgiveness for your sins right now? Will you believe that He died upon the Cross for your sins? Will you receive Him as both Saviour and Lord? Will you seek His power and fullness of the Holy Spirit to enable you to live your life for Him?

Let us pray: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we can see today that we need a much clearer understanding of the whole Gospel message. It’s life and peace and joy and satisfaction can only truly be found in You Lord. Help us to respond as they first followers did, by giving our lives completely to You. Help us Lord and equip us Lord to spread this message that we know people are longing to hear, but don’t know it. Give us the desire to live like You Lord Jesus and LOVE people into Your Kingdom. Amen.

I hope you all read and re-read Mark’s Gospel.

Have an awesome Sunday and stay close to Jesus Christ.

Live in the Power of the Spirit today.

Don.

 

The Importance and The Cost of Discipleship

following Christ is costly, count the cost and follow Christ

Discipleship 2: The Importance and The Cost.

Good morning my friends, last night we began our Discipleship group again after the long summer break. Here’s the teaching; if you’d intended to come but couldn’t make it, don’t worry, we’ve only just started and need to go over it again.

A) Key Scriptures:

John 15:16: John 15:16 (NIV) “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Luke 14:26-35 (NIV)  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. 34  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV)  “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38  and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Luke 9:23 (NIV) “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

B) Why Discipleship?

i) The Lord Jesus Christ showed the importance of Discipleship by making the training of the twelve disciples a priority during the three and a half years of His public ministry on earth.

ii) Jesus Commissioned all His followers to train disciples becasue He intended fruit that lasts.

iii) Discipleship is the best method to reach our world for God. The impact that Jesus’ twelve disciples and Paul had on the world shows us the value of discipleship. A small number of committed disciples, who have been well trained, will achieve far more for God than large numbers of converts who lack spiritual depth. In fact, discipleship is God’s chosen strategy to reach the world. If one disciple led just one other person to Christ, and devoted a whole year to training her or him, and the followeing year both disciple and discipler each made one new disciple apiece, and the next year those four made four more (one each), then in about thirty-two years the whole world’s population would be saved – that’s according to plain mathematics, i.e. Multiplication instead of Addition.

iv) The end result is Spiritually mature Christians. Maturity does not come automatically with increase in age, knowledge or experience, but as a result of gradual Spiritual growth on the basis of obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His Word and by allowing Holy Spirit to transform us from within. The more open we are to His presence and power then the faster we’ll become a mature believer.  

v) Many people foolishly assume that just because a person has been a Christian for a few years that they’ll be ‘mature’ believers. However, experience will soon reveal and has shown me that just because a person is SAVED it doesn’t mean that they are growing towards maturity in Christ. Sadly, many, countless thousands upon thousands, never grow-up and remain mere babes in Christ, simply because they didn’t get discipled. They don’t develop the faith muscles necessary to grow, they remain babes in Christ all their saved-lives. That’s NOT what God wants, He wants and has revealed it clearly in many places in His Word that He desires, commands and expects every believer to press-on towards maturity in the faith. And He’s also given us who are saved and mature the responsibility to Disciple others.

C) Seven Signs Of Spiritual Maturity:

i) Fruitfulness in our service for God (Matthew 25:14-30).

ii) A humble attitude and a willingness to serve others (John 13:12-17).

iii) A standard of excellence in our lives in general (2 Corinthians 13:11).

iv) A close and growing relationship with Jesus (Galatians 2:20).

v) The fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

vi) A stable, consistent and holy walk before God and man (Ephesians 4:11-16).

vii) A solid knowledge of God’s Word and discernment as a result (Hebrews 5:13-6:2).

NOTE: All of this can be summed up as “Christ-likeness”: Because as we grow in our faith and walk with Jesus we will be transformend into the likeness of Christ. 1 John 2:6.

NOTE: What it is NOT: Maturity is not about knowledge of ‘church’ politics, church procedures, church etiquette, church building or planting etc… Maturity IS Christlikeness.

NOTE: The first followers were given the nickname (a term of abuse at the time) Christians, because they took note of how much like Jesus his followers had become.

D) The Need For Spiritual Maturity:

i) Growth into maturity in Christ is what the Bible suggests is expected for all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-16).

ii) Without maturity there can be no leadership, and leaders are necessary for the Church to grow because they are the under-shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).

iii) Only mature Christians will be able to effectively stand against the devil and his powers of darkness and this is what God wants us to do (Matthew 12:29).

iv) Only mature Christians have a lasting impact for God on our world today.

v) It is only the mature disciple who, through his loving example, is able to convey the character of Jesus to the world.

Yesterday I was reading Philippians 1, where Paul was discussing the advancement of the Gospel whilst he was in prison. He revealed an amazing secret and last night one of those on our Discipleship Course stated; “I’ve come to realise that no matter what circumstance I’m going through, God has planed it for good. He’s helped me to see that it’s so simple, we just need to trust Him in everything”… You’ll never know how much I’ve been praying and longing to hear that from the lips of someone I’ve been teaching. (Soak yourself in Philippians 1 and 2 for a while and you’ll see)

E) REMEMBER.

Winning converts adds to the numbers of born-again believers, but only discipleship makes disciples who are mature, will reproduce and will in turn multiply the numbers of born-again believers and disciples.

We don’t just want to go for Addition, that easy to do, but for Multiplication.

Another member of our Discipleship Group stated last night: “For many years I’ve been going from church to church to get a blessing, to be prayed for, to get the ‘Super Pastor’ the Anointed to pray over me. In all those years I never changed one little bit, but now that I’ve committed myself to deeper fellowship, things in my life and my walk are beginning to change and I’m seeing what’s been missing. Now, though I’m tempted sometimes to go and do the rounds again, I don’t, I just ask my brothers and sisters to pray for me, Even my own brother who’s been a minister for years. It’s amazing how God is moving in my life.” Discipleship rather than focusing on converts works. Discipleship rather than numbers works. 

F) The Cost of Being A True Disciple:

My friends, being a disciple or a follower of Jesus Christ is a very serious business. It is a costly thing, that’s how Jesus looked upon it. He didn’t start out by offering His followers a bed of roses. Jesus made it abundantly clear from the beginning what was involved. To be a disciple of Jesus we need to carry our own cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:27). We need to give our whole lives and everything we have to God, for Him to use us as He wants.

G) Too Many Settle For Far Less Than God Wants For Them.

Most Christians have settled for a form of Christianity that requires little or no discipleship, it bears scant resemblance to Biblical Christianity or what Jesus obviously expected His own disciples to reproduce. He said, “Teach them to obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you…” How much should those who are discipling others teach them? EVERYTHING.

The result of this lack of discipleship is that we don’t become what God wants us to be; we’re failing to be the witnesses He’s looking for. His Word and His Teaching are being constantly compromised either through fear or a desire to fit in with the world. No wonder the ‘church’ is regarded as weak, not because we’re not strong physically or politically, but morally. Where is the Christlikeness?

It’s easy to follow someone who doesn’t expect that much from us, but God wants us to achieve so much more than we do ourselves, to be stronger than we are, to be more powerful than we are, to be even more effective at winning others than we’ve ever been. Let’s imitate the LORD Jesus as instructed: (1 Corinthians 11:1 and Romans 8:29). Remember Jesus said that we’ll do even greater things than He’d been doing, one of the ways is the time that we’ve been given, it may be longer than the three years that Jesus had whilst He was upon the earth, so we should be making every single year count.

H) Counting The Cost:

High Costs: Giving up your life to follow Christ. Are you ready?

Jesus taught this many times and in different ways.

Luke 9:57-62; John 6:60-66; Mark 10:17-31.

In view of the high cost of discipleship which Jesus demanded and required of His followers, a dedication that was complete, it is not surprising that He only ended up with a few deeply committed followers. BUT those few were enough to change the whole world. It’s obvious that you’ll get some who’ll drop-out, be led astray, fall away, but if you are aiming at maturity instead of simply conversion, then those who remain will be steadfast and they will be multiplying over the years.

Next Week:

We’re going to continue looking at the COST:

I’m sure, like me, you are wondering if you are up to the task. I almost gave up being a follower of Jesus when I first came to understand the full impact of His teachings, but in His grace, mercy and love, He showed me from His Word that though He expects and even commands this massive high standard, He knows what we are like, how fickle we are and how much we need His help and power to live one moment as a Disciple. So Jesus, thankfully, gives us the Holy Spirit and fellowship of the Saints in Christ to help us on our way. Thank Him for your Pastor, the Teachers, the Evangelists, the Prophets and Apostles that He calls and appoints afresh in each and every generation to assist you in growing towards maturity. Thank Him for the gifted brothers and sisters and fellow saints to build you up in your faith walk with Him. Finally, thank Him for His presence with you every day. He is in you if you are Born Again by His Spirit.

He’s not going to leave you alone. When you fail, and you will from time to time, get back down on your knees, seek His forgiveness, humble yourself before Him and He WILL LIFT you up again. (Because God humbles the proud, but gives grace to the humble). It’s awesome to be given room to fail and try and try and try again. Sometimes we get it wrong, but you are not really trying if you never fail. To be the best we possibly could be for Jesus, we’re going to have to come to terms with our own personality flaws, weaknesses and bad-habits that take time to break and to be moulded into the character that Christ wants to achieve in our lives. It’s always a JOY to know that He’s working in your heart, mind, soul and will. He’ll never stop until we reach glory or see Him when He returns in Glory.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Let that be your motto and let God’s Spirit mould you.

  • What traits in your life is Christ working upon right now?
  • What personality flaws are you aware of that need transforming?
  • What ways has He begun to develop within you a NEW HEART?
  • What ways has He changed you already?

Give Thanks: Praise Him: Worship The LORD with gladness.

Have an AWESOME Wednesday.

Don.

If you are in London tonight, why not come out with us to share the Good News of Jesus? We’re going into the streets to engage people in conversation, one heart at a time, the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. We’re meeting up first at St Luke’s Church for some training at 7.00pm, then going out at 7.30pm to win some souls for Jesus.

7.00pm Evangelism Training / Prayer / Preparation.

7.30pm Street Evangelism.

9.00pm Return to Church for prayer, praise and sharing.

9.30pm: Go home and put feet up and praise the Lord.

Street Evangelism: