Bening Grateful When You Are Not Feeling Worthy

Jesus is one who can sympathise with your weaknesses

Daily Spirit & Word: 790: When You Are Grateful Because Of God’s Calling.

Good morning my friends, it’s been an awesome week of ministry, service and witness for the Lord Jesus.

There have been high moments, like getting a call-back from someone we met while out witnessing on the streets, then low moments when you hear some heart-breaking news the very next day. It all makes me think back to the time when I knew the Lord was calling me into the ministry and how unworthy I felt. I was so convinced of my own unworthiness, that I wanted just one minister who was already ordained to tell me I was just dreaming, that I’d never be able to live up to that calling. However, in my quest to find that all I got was, “I think He may be calling you Donald”. I asked a Church of England Priest with whom I’d had regular debates (some bordering on arguments), The Venerable Reg said, “I was wondering when you’d come to me and ask me that question”. He was convinced it was God. I then went to the Church of Scotland Chaplain, I was sure he’d say yes, but I wanted to hear it from his mouth. “He was so overjoyed, Malcolm lifted me off my feet, gave me a great bear-hug and said, “Oh yes! I know He’s calling you Don”. When I telephoned my own minister back home to ask, he almost burst into tears on the other end of the phone.

Yet that feeling of not being worthy, of feeling insecure, of not knowing enough, never left me, but then it hit me, if I ever felt able then I’d not be depending on the Lord for His strength but on my own; knowledge, experience and ability.

You see my friends, I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I felt how unworthy and ill equipped I was, I was in good company. How refreshing it is now to know that thousands of ministers, in fact most genuine Christians, who’ve felt God’s call to come and serve Him, feel the same thing.

  • Moses felt unworthy and ill equipped.
  • Gideon was so sure he wasn’t the man, he put out a fleece.

However, it not until you get to the great apostle Paul in the New Testament that you get a full picture of how unworthy anyone has ever felt;

Listen to Paul’s gratitude towards the LORD:

1 Timothy 1:12-16 (NIV)
12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
13  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
14  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
16  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

So my friends, if ever you feel God’s calling you to do something for Him, but don’t feel up-to the task, you are in great company.

Many of the greatest saints of old, have experienced the same feelings of unworthiness.

The TRUTH: We are unworthy, we are all sinners, we were dirty, naked, blind, foolish, blasphemous, ignorant; until the LORD opened our eyes and let us see the amazing mercy and grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How we can be washed clean, made pure, made holy, gifted for service and equipped with the power of Heaven.

It’s Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, who takes us and shapes us for His service.

Just look how Moses, Gideon and Paul turned out; each in their own time shook the world with their devotion to and love for the LORD.

They all maintained their walk with the LORD through intimacy with Him. Spending time in God’s presence.

My friends, when you feel God’s call, get into the presence of Jesus, pray, praise, worship and let His WORD soak into your soul. Because when you do, He’ll transform you more and more into His own likeness. He’ll fill you with His deep love for those in the world who don’t know Him yet. He’ll give you everything you need to be able to serve Him.

Moses, Gideon and Paul all felt unworthy and ill-equipped because they were unworthy. They’d all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, but through His mercy and grace God called and equipped them for His service. He’s calling you too.

Brothers and Sisters For The Work:

It’s also obvious, that Moses, Gideon and Paul had companions for the work the Lord called them to do. They would not have been able to accomplish much without them. Moses had Aaron and Joshua, Gideon had thousands, but the Lord whittled it down to 300. Paul had many who joined him in spreading the Good News of Jesus; Barnabas, Lydia, Timothy, Mark, etc… And I’ve also had great brothers and sisters in the Lord wherever I’ve been since I was called to follow Jesus; most recently; Robert and Valerie, David, David, David, Amanda, Pat, Ben and Judy, Sherrie, Isaac and Caroline, Judith, Pam, Gemma, Hayley, George, Prince, Anthony, Marcela, Betty and Budget, Jonathan, Celestin, Lloyd, John and Josie, Maria and Harold and many, many more. Of course I’ve got to mention my wife Julie and our children and grandchildren, what a family. It’s amazing how the LORD sustains us in our calling and keeps us going in His service with great joy and encouragements along the way.

  • Yes there are hard times, like saying goodbye to Stewart this week, who’s gone to be with the LORD. Getting a call from a distressed person. Visiting a heart-broken person.
  • Yes there are jubilant times, like hearing how someone is getting a breakthrough in their walk with Jesus.
  • And there are the slog times, like keeping going at night, when you’ve been up since before dawn, when all you want to do is put your feet up. Sometimes, it’s moments like that you’ll see awesome revelations from the LORD.

It happened to me this week: I was exhausted and ready for my pillow. Walking back home at 10.00pm I bumped into two women we’d witnessed to and prayed for about four months ago. I recognised her by her tattoos. She said, “I’m not pregnant yet, but I’ve got real HOPE in my heart since you prayed”. Even though I was tired, it put a skip into my step on the way home.

When you are feeling weak and unworthy, remember these wonderful verses from God’s Word:

Jesus knows you are not worthy, but He still calls you into His service in His Kingdom. None of us are worthy; Moses wasn’t, Gideon wasn’t worthy, Paul wasn’t worthy, I’m not worthy and neither are you, but He’s calling you into His service in His Kingdom for His Glory.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for calling me out of the darkness into your marvellous light. Thank You for the amazing mercy and grace in times of need.

Thank you Jesus that you are calling everyone who knows You as Lord, Saviour, Master and Friend, into full-time service in Your Kingdom.

O LORD, give us all ears to hear Your calling, eyes to see where you want us to serve You, and hands willing to work in obedience. Amen.

Have a blessed weekend my friends,

For those who gather with us in St Luke’s this Sunday: A gentle reminder that it’s Harvest: Please bring something for the Foodbank (They need supplies to give to those who’re going through a time of crisis in their lives). Put any money offerings for Foodbank in an envelope and write “For the work of the Foodbank”.

Some might like to make an offering to the Church: For the ministry of Jesus Kingdom in West Norwood. You can do that this weekend, just put it in an envelope and write; “For St Luke’s Church: Building for Jesus Kingdom”.

Stay close to Jesus, get equipped for Kingdom business,

Don.

 

You ARE The Church

OIKOS is the people you know

Daily Spirit & Word: 716: An Eye Opener Day Off.

“Go AND Tell”

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
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.

Yesterday, on my day off, I attended an Seminar on Equipping Church Members for their Mission.

Eye Opener No 1: Christians Really ARE the Church.

What struck me was what I already knew, but hadn’t fully grasped.

Let me explain: I’ve known ever since I became a Christian and sincerely began following the Lord Jesus that a Church is NOT a building, but the people of Jesus. You know that too right? Every single Christian is a part of the body of Christ and Jesus is the Head. Now I knew that, but here’s what got me yesterday, I’ve been teaching people they are the church, but still treating our buildings as a ‘Church’ to bring people to. I’ve been telling our folks to invite people to church in order for them to be saved, not realising that I’d inadvertently become the CORK in the Neck of the Bottle of God’s Wine of the Kingdom. I was giving my Congregation an excuse not to share the good news with folks without even realising it. It was like I was saying to them, “OK, you don’t like evangelism or talking about Jesus, so why don’t you bring your friends to church so I can talk to them for you”… Sounds great right, but it’s NOT what Jesus wants or expects.

My friends, we were NEVER called to bring people into a Church building so that the Minister or Pastor or Evangelist could save them for us. Our mission from Jesus was always, always, always to bring people to Him, then they will be a part of the church and want to come to worship with you, i.e. once they are part the people belonging to Jesus Christ, then you’ll have to fight to keep them from coming to worship. Because they’ll have received the Holy Spirit and He’s not going to leave a Christian out in the wilderness for very long. The Holy Spirit will drive them into fellowship, worship, Bible study and prayer and move them to share their faith in Christ with others.

So for years, hundreds of years, the Church has been getting it all wrong. We’ve been inviting people to church, they come and then they become members of the church family, they go through all the hoops; baptism, communion, confirmation etc… but do they actually come to Jesus Christ and get incorporated into His body? Well my friends, a harsh reality-check is in order. You see, the more people we interview on the streets of West Norwood in London as we go out weekly sharing the Gospel, when we meet people who attend church regularly, the ones who say they are “Committed Christians”, guess what they don’t know? They don’t know what it means to be a follower of Jesus or how to get SAVED by Him. I can tell you I’m still shocked by how many of these GOOD Church attending folks don’t KNOW Jesus or the Gospel. Now I’m not judging them, but it’s only through one-to-one talking about the Gospel with people who SAY that they are committed Christians we’ve come to realise that most of them just don’t know what it means to be saved. At best they’ll say “I hope to get to heaven if I’m good enough”… Even folks who attend Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic churches, these are the ones that you’d expect would know, right? But they just don’t.

What’s Been Happening?

My friends, we’ve been inviting people to come to church, they’ve come, but instead of actually coming to Jesus Christ, they’ve become members of our church club, they’ve emulated the sheep, copies what the real sheep of Jesus do, but they haven’t come to Jesus Christ and been born again of His Spirit. Some have wonderful worship experiences, sense the Holy Spirit, feel the Spirit, but don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord or Saviour for themselves. They have no assurance of their own salvation. They know all about Jesus, they know the language of Zion, i.e. all the terminology of the church, but they’ve yet to fully entrust their lives to Him.

Eye Opener Number 2: You Are ALREADY bringing them to Church.

We’ve been telling people to invite people to come to the church building, and many have faithfully done so.

But Jesus didn’t tell us to do that, He told the Church to go to the people, share the Gospel (Good News), get them saved, then begin to Disciple them into the Christian way of life. We’re doing it the wrong way around for hundreds of years. Thankfully many have been ‘saved’ in the process, but just think of the potential if we were to do it the way Jesus wants us to?

Here’s what got me; EVERY CHRISTIAN is already taking people to Church. How? Because they, themselves, are the church. Whenever you meet another person who doesn’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you’ve just taken the church to them.  When they are with you, in your presence, (if you are a Christian) then they are in church. That’s AWESOME! Think for a moment about that, how many non-Christians are in your presence every single day? At the bus stop, in the shopping queue, in the Cafe, in the restaurant, at school, college, work? Well my friends, they’ve just been to Church when they’ve been with you in those places: You are Church.

Eye Opener Number 3: Overcoming Fear of NOT Being A Credible Witness:

Because we ARE the Church, we’d better make sure that we’re being a credible witness always. Now that’s really hard, but because our NON-Christian friends are in Church when they are with us, the Church is a Holy Place right? You are holy because you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. So we’d better up our game, smarten up our witness, live like Jesus lived. In the New Testament, God’s Word tells followers of Jesus Christ, “Be HOLY for I AM Holy”…

Reality Check: One of the Number 1 Excuses for not inviting people to Jesus or to come to church with you: “They’ll see my weaknesses and know I’m not living as I should”… I was really surprised by this one, but it makes sense. We’re not inviting people to Jesus or to Church because we’re not living the Christian life we’re supposed to be living. You don’t want them to know what a genuine Christian is supposed to look like. You’ll be exposed as a fraud or a failure or an hypocrite or a weakling Christian. That’s understandable right? But …

But your non-Christian friends are WATCHING your life anyway, they’re looking to see if what you say you believe, you actually put into practice in this world. How’s your Christian living? Reality Check again: My friends, if they know you profess to be a ‘Christian’ and your not following as you should, they already KNOW that.

Evey Opener Number 4: Who Actually Brings People To Jesus?

You may not be aware of this, but 95% of people come to a genuine faith in Jesus because of; weak Christians who are not following as they should, because of dumb Christians who don’t know as much about the Bible as they should or want to, because of people who are not ministers or evangelists or gifted in evangelism. 95% of you came to Jesus that way. It wasn’t the Pastor who led them or you to Jesus, it was the average failing follower of Jesus just like you who did.

  • Most people don’t respond to the Gospel the first them they hear it.
  • Most people don’t come to church the first time they’re invited, get over it.
  • Most people are just as stubborn and foolish as you were at first.
  • Most people don’t want to be ‘religious’, they’ve not got time for that. Neither have you.

We all want to win thousands of people to Jesus don’t we?

Well if we’re going to do it, then we’d better be sure that when we’ve taken them to Church (i.e. when we’re with them in the world), that we’re living the Christian life as best we can. However, we need to realise that God is much bigger than even our weakest attempts at following Him. He’ll use you because He’s IN YOU.

My friends, YOU are the church of Jesus Christ wherever you are. No matter where you are, then you are on Mission. Because Jesus said, “You are the Light of the world”… “You are the Salt of the Earth”… Let’s be the salt and light He wants us to be when we’re with the people Jesus brings across the pathway of our lives. He is going to use you to bring people to Himself anyway, but let’s enhance the prospect of many more actually coming to Him.

“Church isn’t a place that people can go to, it is a PEOPLE they already KNOW”

Conclusion:

“It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life and I’m feeling good”…

Church is not a place that people could go to, it’s a PEOPLE that non-Christians already KNOW.

They know you, that you are a Christian, they love you still, even with all your weaknesses and failures, Jesus loves them too.

Now think of all your; friends, family, neighbours, workmates, fellow travellers you see every day, the ones who KNOW that you are or profess to be a Christian. These people are ones who KNOW that you LOVE Jesus: These are the people that God has brought into your life to lead them to Jesus. Now, even though we’re weak, foolish and don’t follow as we should, He’s going to be using you to lead them to Himself.

Remember what Jesus said to the man who was possessed by a Legion of Demons? Mark 5:19 “Go back to your family and tell them what God has done for you, how He has had mercy upon you”

The original Greek didn’t say “FAMILY” it’s a strange word: OIKOS: It lieterally means all the people who know you very well indeed. It’s those in your circle of life who know you best. The ones who’ll say, “I know that ________________ (insert your name) is a Christian”… These are the people who are your very own OIKOS.

My friends, you can do that too with all those people you know. Just like the man delivered from demons. Go back to your own OIKOS, the people who know you well. You can tell them all that Jesus has done for you (Your Testimony)… You can tell them HOW God has had mercy upon you, by forgiving you for all your sins and setting you free. You can share how you know you don’t follow Jesus as you know you should, but that you still love Him anyway, because of all the mercy, grace and faith you receive from Him.

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
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.

My friends, go back to your OIKOS and share with them what Jesus has done for you. You will be His witnesses today… Salt and Light.

But before you Go and Tell your OIKOS and invite them to come to Jesus. It’s very important that you PRAY for them first. Bring them to Jesus in prayer first. Let Him open up their hard hearts. Let the Holy Spirit go to work on their minds… Let God take captive their thought-life and set them on the road to Salvation. Believe that Jesus loves them even more than you do, then you go to them and share Jesus.

In the lead-up to Pentecost we, along with everyone in the Church of England, have been called to a week of prayer for the evangelisation of the Nation. During that week we’re going to see how it’s possible to be WEAK Christians and still lead our own OIKOS to Jesus Christ.

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends, I’m really looking forward to gathering with my OIKOS again.

Don.

 

The Wonderful Jesus

Jesus is God, He has Authority to forgive sins

Daily Spirit & Word, 634: The Wonderful Jesus

The Wonderful Friends, The Wonder-Filled Crowd & The Wonderful Words of Jesus.

Jesus Has The Power & Authority to Forgive Sin.

SHOCKING NEWS: I was filled with a deep sickening-feeling when I watched the news that so many people had been killed by those murderous terrorists in Paris. We’re with the French Nation! Grieving with you over your loss of so many young loved ones. It’s a scar that will be painful and will hurt for a long time to come. I couldn’t call them soldiers or that this is a war, because that would elevate them to an army. They are pure merchants of an evil that’s running rampant over the face of the earth. Praying for PEACE and in God’s timing that the good people of France will be enabled to FORGIVE. For when we forgive, then we are set-free. O LORD, please bring the comfort that You alone can give in the face of death. Amen!

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with Mark’s Gospel and chapter 2. The familiar story, recounted in many a Sunday School Class, the famous account of the four friends who brought their friend to Jesus to be healed, but couldn’t get in at the door so the climbed-up, made a hole in the roof and lowered their friends to the feet of Jesus Christ.

 

Mark 2:1-12. The Paralysed Man: Forgiven and Healed. Four Wonderful Friends.
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.
2  So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
3  Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
4  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on.
5  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6  Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,
7  “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8  Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?
9  Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?
10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic,
11  “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
12  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

There are so many wonderful lessons and sermons I’ve personally heard about this account. I’ve preached upon it many times myself, but today I was struck afresh by these four men and Jesus response and the crowds of people in the house that day.

The Three Things That Strike Me Today:

1) The Wonderful Friends.

What amazing friends this paralysed man had.

4  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on.

Some people imagine that when someone is paralysed that they will be that way for the rest of their days.

Imagine, if that man’s friends had thought like that? He may have wanted to be cured, but if they’d argued, “It’s no use mate, you’re paralysed, just get used to it, there’s no hope for you”. (British Home: Used to be called, “The British Home For The Incurables” I first saw that sign and I wept inside. I first visited the Home before I was the Minister here, and my heart sank “Have I got to come to this place and preach to these people who have no hope of ever being cured?”

Those Wonderful Friends didn’t think like that; they had FAITH that Jesus could heal their friend.

My friends, I do have a hope, I do believe with all my heart that Jesus can and does do miracles today. I’ve seen miracles of healing and I believe, like those four wonderful friends obviously did, that their friend is worth bringing to Jesus Christ. Jesus came into this world to SAVE everyone. Not everyone will be SAVED but that’s what Jesus wants, be certain of that my friends.

How were they Wonderful Friends?

They Cared: They didn’t give up when they couldn’t get in through the door.

Some of us give up too easily on those we’re trying to bring to Jesus Christ, but not these friends.

You may have been trying for years to get a loved on SAVED, but they refuse to come to Jesus. Be like those friends, who were not put-off by the crowds at the door.

They Were Creative: They used their heads, “what other way can we get him into see Jesus?”

Some of us, when we’re met with an obstacle, just give-up, just put-off by the obstacles, but instead they got creative.

It might take an unusual approach to save your friends and relatives. It might mean you’ll have to think of another way. A different or novel way.

The must have said amongst themselves that day, “We can’t get in through the door, but look, there’s a roof and we can easily break through the roof and get him into see Jesus”… That’s creative. Not only did they care, they were not going to be put-off and they got very creative.

They Were Commended: Not only did they care and get creative, but they were commended by Jesus for their faith.

Verse 5  “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.””

It wasn’t the paralytic’s faith that was commended that day, it was the faith of the friends who struggled to bring him to the feet of Jesus Christ.

Will you be commended by Jesus because of your FAITH?

The faith they demonstrated was obvious; their faith had legs, they didn’t let obstacles get in the way, they tried their hardest all all costs to bring their friend to Jesus. They BELIEVED that Jesus would and could HEAL their friend.  What wonderful faith, what wonderful friends. O my friends, if only we had a church full of people who were longing to bring their friends to faith and trust in Jesus Christ. If only we’d bring our loved ones to Jesus. If our Church was not put-off by obstacles, think how full our church could be.

They may be paralysed:

  • They may not be able to come themselves to Jesus: You Bring Them.
  • They may not want to come to Jesus: You Bring Them whatever way you can. Carry Them.
  • They are paralysed by sin, powerless to save themselves. You show them they can be SAVED by Jesus.
  • They’re not looking to come to Jesus: They are BLIND and cannot see their NEED of Jesus or Church: we must open their blinded eyed and bring them to Jesus.

“When Jesus saw their faith”: The man’s sins got forgiven.

Imagine: You’ve struggled to bring your paralysed friend to Jesus. You’ve heard that He’s a healer and all He does is say, “Son, your sins are forgiven you”… What? I mean, “We’ve just dug through a roof, we’ve not been put off by the crowd, we’ve lowered our friend on ropes to your feet and all you do is forgive him his sins?” But Jesus is NOT finished yet.

THEY Cooperated TOGETHER:

One last thing about the Wonderful Friends: The worked together to bring their friend to Jesus.

That tells me afresh today; “Donald, don’t try and do it all alone. Work together to bring people to Jesus.” It’s a TEAM effort. We’ve got to be working together. There’s always something you can be doing: If you can’t be an Evangelist, you can be a prayer. You can be a meal-giver, you can be a host, you can be a helper, you can be a giver, you can be SOMETHING as part of the TEAM Here are St LUKE’S Church to bring people to Jesus. Only four of the group were carrying the man, there were more than four of them. All those people, bringing their friend to Jesus. Think: When we’re joined together in UNITY there the LORD commands His blessing.

 

2) The Wonder-Filled Crowd.

The Wonder-Filled Crowd: They were all crammed into that house to hear Jesus teaching. So many that the sick couldn’t get in. They were filled with wonder, but they’d become a stumbling-block; blocking access to Jesus that day.

The Church Today is FILLED with the WONDERERS: They love wondering at the words of Jesus, they love sermons, they love healings, they love miracles, they love the spectacle of power ministries, but just like the Wonder-Filled Crowd back then, they become a blockage to people coming to Jesus today. They don’t care: Even if they do care, the don’t show their faith, by doing something about it.

How do we know they were a blockage? It’s revealed when Jesus said those amazing words; “Son, your sins are forgiven you”.

That Wonder-Filled Crowd knew that ONLY God can forgive sins.

Mark 2:6-9
6  Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,
7  “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8  Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?
9  Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 

They were right too, these TEACHERS of God’s Law: ONLY God can forgive sins.

My friends, if ever there was a passage in the Bible that shouts-out about the Divinity of Jesus, that Jesus is God, it’s this one (there are many, many more) but they KNEW that Jesus was claiming to be God by saying, “Son, your sins are forgiven you”, because ONLY God can forgive sins.

But instead of praising Jesus Christ as God, they began to accuse Him of Blasphemy in their hearts. Many times these Jewish Teachers of the Law wanted to stone Jesus to death for His blasphemous words. They were there, crowded into the house, listening to the wonderful teaching of Jesus, but they were not all there to praise Jesus. Some of them were there only to be critical and cynical. Not everyone in that house that day was filled with a desire to be a follower of Jesus.

Now, listen afresh to the wonderful words of Jesus;

3) The Wonderful Words of Jesus.

Mark 2:8-12.
8  Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?
9  Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?
10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic,
11  “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
12  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Before they could utter their thoughts out loud, Jesus took the initiative, by REVEALING THEIR THINKING.

Not only is it ONLY GOD that can forgive sins; but ONLY GOD knows what a man is THINKING.

That alone should have convinced them that this man Jesus before them was God on Earth.

No ONE on Earth or in Heaven can read your thoughts, but God ALONE (Jesus is God).

No ONE on Earth today can say to a Paralysed man, get up and walk and he’s healed and walks. Only God can do that kind of miracle. This again, the third thing that day, proved that Jesus was God.

 

MARK 2:10 To PROVE THAT Jesus, “The Son of Man” (Messiah Title) Has the Authority to FORGIVE SIN: He performs this miracle.

Mark 2:10-12:
10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic,
11  “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
12  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

These Wonderful Words of Jesus, to Prove He was God on the Earth, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home”… He did and they were all amazed. He did it in full view of them all. The Miracles was to prove to the doubters that day and today that Jesus is God. He has the authority to forgive sins, only God can do that.

Conclusion:

We’ve seen today;

The Wonderful Friends: Who are full of faith, undaunted by obstacles, creative in bringing their friend to Jesus and caring enough to consider that not even a paralytic is beyond the reach of Jesus power.

The Wonder-Filled Crowd: They’d become a blockage to people coming to Jesus. Not everyone was there for right reasons. Be certain that you are not coming to Church just to wowed and to wonder, but to work for Jesus too.

The Wonderful Words of Jesus: “Your Sins are forgiven, Your thinking this, Take up your mat”

Forgiven and Healed: Forgiven and Commanded; Forgiven and Commissioned.

Thoughts: Are you being a Wonderful Friend to someone today? Is there someone you can bring to Christ? Don’t be put-off, deterred, disheartened, disillusioned, by a blockage. They may not be willing to come to Jesus yet: don’t ever give-up on them, what may seem impossible now: Is POSSIBLE (All things, all people, everyone; can come to Jesus). There’s no one beyond the help and hope of Jesus POWER to reach them. Like the Paralytics Wonderful Friends: Be creative, Have faith, Keep going when everyone else gives up.

 

BE AMAZED: Like the Wonder-Filled CROWD: Let these words of Jesus fill you with wonder every day. Let Him come to you afresh. Let Him dazzle you with amazement. Only Jesus knows what they were thinking, ONLY GOD Can Do That: Jesus is God.

 

The Wonderful Words of Jesus: He’s saying to you today “Your sins are forgiven, now get up and go for Me into this world and proclaim the Good News”…. That’s the Wonderful Good News Gospel of Jesus. You’ve got it my friends, now go and give it away; Be part of the Wonder-Filled Crowd who were there to listen to every word of Jesus, Be like those Wonderful Friends and let the Wonderful Words of Jesus impact your HEART today. Amen!

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Sunday full of JOY in the LORD Jesus Christ.

Don.

 

No Room At The Table

No Room At The Table

Daily Spirit & Word: 532: No Seat At The Table.

Tough Times: Jesus KNOWS what it’s like

1) To Feel Rejection.

John 1:10-11 10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

I was watching a BBC News report about the recent G7 or is it G6 or G* 🙂 G Whizzz…

A few of the worlds top leaders were sitting around this great round table, the big cheese was speaking (The President of the United States of America) and all the other leaders were listening. As I watched I noticed that there was a longing upon David Cameron’s face, it seemed to me, perhaps just my imagination, that he wanted to be sitting right next to the President, but he was far away on the other side of the table. Who sits next to who is important at the table, but imagine how poor old Mr Putin must have been feeling, because there was no room for him at that table, not this time anyway.

There’s nothing worse than feeling rejected or cut-off or excluded. Kids know this from a very young age and feel it so badly when their ‘best friend’ makes another ‘best friend’…

No Room At the Inn:

Luke 2:6-7  “While they were there (in Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, 7  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

From the moment of His birth, our Lord Jesus experienced ‘rejection’.

No Room At The Table:

Have you ever been in a situation that you wanted to join a group of people at a table, but there were not enough seats? or you couldn’t sit next to one of your friends? or you had the feeling you were not wanted? I had it recently on a conference. It was later in the evening when the seminars had finished and people had gathered in small groups to chat and have a relaxing drink together. At one table in a large room full of people, there were a few people that I knew, not very well, but a least a little bit and I wanted to join them, but there were no seats, so I found a spare chair and pulled it close to the table. I thought they’d be glad of my company, but I was wrong, they seemed to be a bit put-out having to bunch up a bit closer together. I felt like a bad-smell or something like an refugee trying to push into a country that didn’t want me. I persevered and as time passed I began to feel a little bit more accepted, it wasn’t long before I felt like one who belonged to this table. However, I’ll never forget that momentary, fleeting feeling of not being welcome.

In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a friend who’s had those experiences too. He’s been rejected and even at the start of His life the Bible tells us; “There was NO ROOM for Jesus at the Inn” His mother Mary was close to giving birth, and they still couldn’t find room for her in that delicate (and at that time, dangerous) situation.

Know the TRUTH:

“What life does to you depends on what life finds in you!”

I didn’t tell you, but when I felt rejected at that table, I offered up an arrow prayer to the Lord Jesus, and I immediately felt completely at ease, it no longer bothered me that those people at the table didn’t want me, because I’ve got a SAVIOUR who loves me. Anyhow, Jesus is the best friend anyone could ever have. Knowing that deeper truth freed me and enabled me to love those who didn’t love me. In the end we had a great little time at that table. In the end, Jesus parents had an most amazing time in the stable with distinguished visitors who came to see their new born baby.

If you ever feel shut-out, neglected, ignored or relegated to a seat at the opposite end of the table from your ‘special’ friend, like David Cameron was from President Obama, then don’t worry, be strong in Jesus, love them and you’ll soon discover that even the greatest person at the table will want to come and be the one who’s longing to sit next to you. When you’ve got the Lord Jesus with you, then you can’t fail to impress with the awesome light that shines from your face. He’ll give you lasting peace in your heart and such a joy that it’s infectious.

I’ve got to do a study on “What life does to you depends on what life finds in you!”

I read that statement in a commentary by Warren Weirsbee: And it’s so true, When we’ve got Jesus Christ IN us, nothing in life will be able to determine our future. The Bible tells us: Know the Truth (Jesus) and the truth shall set you free. Jesus experienced all kinds of troubles and problems in life, so HE KNOWS what it’s like my friends. Being shut out and ignored just two of them, they are painful experiences, but there’s always hope in every situation and He’ll enable you to rise above it and be able to keep on shining the light. I’ll share more later.

Have and awesome Wednesday.

Don.

P.S. If you are struggling with your Christian walk with Jesus? Check out my NEW PAGE: Discover The Spirit Filled Life.

 

From The Miracles to The Miracle Maker

Jesus cares and provides fish and bread at the resurrection appearances on the beach

Daily Spirit & Word: 509: From The Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: John 21:7-14.

Good morning my friends, Saturday’s are always so special for me, because it’s the day of; rest and relaxation, a time to be with family and friends, a time to rebuild what the working week has drained out or us. Some of my friends relax so much on Saturdays that they spend the whole day in bed or in their night-clothes relaxing on the couch. Why? Because their working week is so stress-filled or exhausting and demanding, by the time Saturday comes around all they are ready to do is FLOP.

Today we’ll discover the tired, exhausted and hungry Disciples and the Lord Jesus coming to their assistance with a cooked breakfast for them to eat, also that Jesus is your friend and as a friend He comes to you for fellowship: He’s promised to do this many times in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and today we’ll see the very first time that it actually happened after His Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead.

John 21:7-14 7  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
8  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Close Friends Get The Revelations:

The first thing that happens after the Miracle of the catch of fish that didn’t sink the boat or break the nets, was one of the Disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, recognised who it was that told them to drop the net on the right side of the boat. That revelation comes to the one who was closest to Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. We know that disciple was John, the Gospel Writer and the very same John who wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Revelations. How close are you to Jesus today? If you are close like John, then you are going to get a some amazing revelations of the Miracle Maker.

As I pointed out yesterday: Jesus PROMISE is that He will come (John 14) He’ll come and REVEAL Himself to us and in us. He’ll come and have fellowship. He’ll come and we’ll EAT together (Rev 3:20)… It’s Awesome to know this as a TRUTH, but it’s even more awesome when we experience the risen and resurrected Lord’s presence and we get our own REVELATION. Not just once, but regularly. No wonder John wanted to communicate it so clearly throughout his Gospel and all his letter and the book of Revelation. Jesus wants a closer walk with you today and He’s waiting and watching and calling out to you today to come to Him.

It’s been my own experience that the Lord has made known to me that He is present, many times. I’ve had that feeling and knowledge that Jesus is HERE: Whilst washing dishes (I hate washing dishes, but I began to sing praise songs, then suddenly Jesus came, and the task that I was doing seemed so much easier and even joy filled, I was in the presence of Jesus and I began to cry with joy). He’s with us always, of course, from the moment we decided to follow Him as Lord and receive Him as Saviour, but there are times when He manifests Himself and makes Himself more KNOWN. Just like He did with the Disciples in all His resurrection appearances, somehow they didn’t recognise Him immediately, until the right moment when they eventually get the revelation: “It’s Jesus”. As we’ve just read above, that’s what happened to the beloved Disciple John whilst in the boat. Everyone else had their eyes on the Miracle, but John was focused upon the Miracle Maker.

It’s always going to be the friends of Jesus who’ll get the REVELATIONS. This is something that’s true throughout the whole Bible, it’s the friends of God, that He chooses to reveal His secret plans: Moses, David, Abraham, Elijah, etc… So I’m going to ask you that question unashamedly today: “How much of a close friend of Jesus are you?” One of the ways to know is this; how obedient are you being to Jesus commands? (see yesterday’s reading). You see my friends, we’ll also get a revelation of who we are when we come to Jesus. We’ll know that He loves us and we love Him. We’ll know that He loves us, WHEN we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can only love Him like that with the HELP of the HELPER, the Holy Spirit who indwells every true follower and believer.

It’s the friends of the LORD who’ll get His Revelations.

The Fallen Believer Runs To Jesus:

Notice secondly the impulsive Peter: Every time I read this portion of John’s Gospel, a great big smile comes over my face. I always think “I want to be like Peter” I want to run to the Lord, to be rushing up to Jesus. Upon hearing the news from John, that the person who’d told them to cast the net, the one standing on the shore, was Jesus, you’ll note that Peter does two things:

First: Peter Puts on His Outer Garment:

It’s an amazing few words; “he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off)”. Why did Peter feel the need to put on his outer garments? He’d have been naked from the waist-up: Reminds me of Builders working on site on a hot summer’s day when I was a boy, they’d all be lying around with their shirts off at lunch-time. Peter, had obviously taken it off because working the net was much easier without the clothing getting in the way. However, what was it that made him put it on? Well, many have speculated different reasons, but I believe it was like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who hearing the Lord’s footsteps in the Garden after eating the forbidden fruit run away and hide. Then the Lord makes clothing for them, for they were naked. It’s SHAME that Peter feels my friends, for he knew he’d sinned when he betrayed the Lord Jesus. When Peter denied the Lord three times and the cock crowed, it was then that he remembered the Lord’s words, warning that he’d deny him. Now Peter is ashamed when he hears John’s words, “It’s the Lord” and tries to cover up his shameful nakedness. He’s aware of his sinful condition before the Holy and Righteous Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker

That shame is what we experience sometimes when we’ve been living in sin. We too want to run and hide ourselves away from the Lord. That’s why so many fallen Christians won’t come back to church, they know that in the company of other believers, the Lord is likely to show up and make Himself known to them. They’d rather stay at home safe from the presence of the Lord.

That shame is also why non-believers refuse to come to the Saviour. It’s because they love sin and they are ashamed and frightened that their evil deeds will be exposed. Of course no sinner would articulate it that way, we only know this by God’s revelation on so many places in the Bible.

John 3:19-20 19  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.

Peter had to put on his outer clothing to cover up, it was in instinctive thing, something that the Police know when they are interviewing suspects. When someone is guilty, they’ll try and put something in front of them; their hand over their mouth, something between the interviewer and the suspect. So sinners need to try and hide behind something in God’s presence. That’s what Peter was doing when He heard it was Jesus, trying to cover up his sinful, shameful nakedness. Have you ever felt exposed when you heard a Sermon that hits home to where you’ve been sinning in life? I have and I just wanted to hide in the pew. God knows how to get to our hearts doesn’t he, but His purpose in doing so is always to restore us and clean us up so we can be of further useful service in His Kingdom.

However, even though Peter’s natural instinct is to hide his sinful, shameful nakedness, he does something extraordinary next;

Next: Peter Dives Into The Water:

Yes my friends, that’s the sinner diving into the water to get to Jesus faster than the boat is able to carry him. Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to the shore, so he jumps into the water because he’s desperate to get to Jesus. No thought is given to the others who need to tow the net full of fish ashore, now Peter knows that it’s Jesus, all he can do is get to Him as fast as he can.

This is one of my favourite passages in the whole Bible my friends, I just LOVE Peter. Because it reveals part of what happened to me and many other brothers and sisters I’ve known since I started following Jesus. When I realised just how much a sinner I was, how I’d fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, How I’d broken His commandments, there is nothing else that I could possibly do to remove the stain of sin in my soul. None of my good works would balance the scales of God’s Justice, sin must be punished or purged and I knew it. Unless I responded to the call of the Gospel, I knew I was headed for hell. But then I responded the Good News, “I don’t need to suffer God’s wrath and anger against my sins, I could trust in Jesus.” I knew I didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness, but I knew that I could be forgiven, because of Jesus love for me. So many of my friends had turned to Jesus as well, they know they don’t deserve God’s amazing grace, but He gives it freely to all who will come to Him in Repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ. Once I knew what to do, and why I needed to do it, nothing on earth would have stopped me trusting in Jesus Christ for Salvation.

That’s what Peter was doing, He was coming to Jesus as fast as his body could carry him. He know Jesus was the ONLY way to be saved. My friends, I’ve actually seen people RUNNING down to the front of church to give their lives to Jesus, when they Holy Spirit convicted them of their need of The Saviour. I’m going to encourage you to listen to His voice today; to be like Peter, to be like my friends and so many that I’ve seen. I’m going to encourage you to come running to Jesus Christ right now. Don’t listen to your brain, be impulsive and just do it. Come!

From the Miracles of the Catch of Fish and the Un-burstable Nets: Peter comes running to the Resurrected Miracle Maker: The Lord Jesus Christ.

When they get to the Miracle Maker, they find the fish cooking and He’s giving them bread and fish.

Jesus wants to eat with you too my friends, to have fellowship with you. To be in your company and to provide for your nourishment in life. Oh what a glory it is today, to get this awesome awareness that Jesus is right inside you… Word’s can’t explain. But you need to try hard and take your eyes off the miracles and mover from the miracles to the miracle maker.

Imagine though, if your church was to have a fellowship breakfast on the beach with fish cooking on the fire: how many would show up? I’d be in that number as quick as a flash 🙂

Points to Ponder:

  • When was the last time you KNEW Jesus was with you?
  • How quick are you to recognise the voice of the Lord in your life?
  • Tomorrow, we’ll see that after the breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and has a conversation about His love and devotion. Today let’s ponder on what we’ve been thinking about:

Jesus performs a Miracle in order to reveal Himself to His closest friends, and then because He knows they a tired from fishing all night, Jesus provides a meal of fish and bread for them to eat with Him. He’s right there today with you my friends. He loves you so much and wants you to experience His presence. That means not just knowing about Jesus, but actually getting your own revelation that He’s actually with you by His Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ; Thank you so much for who You are, how You reveal Yourself to us and how it happened with the first followers. Please help me to recognise Your interventions in my life quickly, help me not to focus so much on the Miracles that I miss the Miracle Maker, it’s Your face that I long for more than the Miracles You can perform. Help me to realise that being in Your presence is far more precious than anything else that I can have or that will happen in my life. Amen.

Have an awesome Saturday, relax as much as you can, because the LORD needs you tomorrow to Worship, to Fellowship, to Encourage you and build you up and to strengthen one another in the faith. I’ll see you on Sunday 🙂 I hope and pray you’ll get closer to Jesus today. Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker.