God Knows Me Intimately

God's Knowledge of Us

Daily Spirit & Word: 761: God Knows Me

How Does God Know Us?

Psalm 139: Study 1. He Knows You Intimately.

WOWzer! Did anyone hear that THUNDER last night? I’ve not seen rain like this in years.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the thunder and lightning. It’s like God speaking to us in a very loud voice, but what is He saying?

Yesterday morning we had an awesome prayer gathering, during which we sang “What a mighty God we serve” I’m not kidding, HEAVEN came into our gathering. There was only a few of us, but WOWzer!

Today, I’m going to begin a short series looking at Psalm 139. It’s such a wonderful, amazing and enlightening Psalm, full of insight about how God knows us, the plans He has for us and His control of our situations, leading us to KNOW we can fully trust HIM.

Why Psalm 139?

We all make decisions every day, (Not just EU Referendum Day), but how we make them, that’s what counts. Because what we think about God and our relationship with Him determines what we think about everything else that makes up our busy little world. When we get God’s perspective right, then other people, the universe, God’s Word, God’s will, sin, faith, and obedience and our choices will lead us in the right direction. On the other hand, wrong ideas about God will ultimately lead to wrong ideas about who we are, where we should go and what we should do, and this leads us down a crooked path toward the wrong destiny. In other words, the right knowledge of God is essential to the abundant and fulfilled life the LORD wants you to have in this world, and getting you ready for life forever with Him.

King David gave us Psalm 139, his life was full of a deep knowledge and understanding of HOW the LORD directed his steps.

Psalm 139:1-6 (NIV) [For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.]
1  O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5  You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

God Knows Us Intimately (vv. 1-6)

The verb “searched” means “to examine with great pain and care.” The Jewish people used this word to describe digging deep into a mine, exploring a land, and investigating a legal case.

Your friends only see the outside, but the LORD God sees your heart, and you can’t deceive Him.

Some folks in the Bible tried to deceive God:

  • Adam and Eve tried it (Gen. 3:7-24),
  • Cain tried it (Gen. 4:1-15),
  • and even David tried it (2 Sam. 11-12),
  • Ananias and Sappheria tried it too (Acts 5:1-11).

What do we discover from them? What they all discovered, that God knew all about them. He knew what they’d done and even how they’d tried to cover it up. We cannot HIDE from God. He searches and sees the HEART. King David knew this from bitter experience and Divine Grace and forgiveness.

Understand” in verse 2 means “to distinguish and discern with insight”. My friends, God’s not just making notes about your life, He’s not keeping a dossier if you confess your sins and get cleaned up, but be assured of this, if you don’t get right with God, then He is going to bring out all the records of your life.

Verse 3: “You are familiar with all my ways” He knows our ways, where we go, when we go, how we go and why we go. The habits, the little things that can either help or hinder our walk with Him.  The fact that God knows us so intimately and completely is revealed in verses 1, 2, 4, 14, and 23.

These verses reveal God’s DEEP KNOWLEDGE about EVERYTHING in our lives:

  • He knows our actions,
  • He knows our locations,
  • He knows our thoughts and words,
  • He knows our ways, and our motives.

He knows more about you than your Mobile Phone does. You know they are able to keep track of where you’ve been down to  the inch, but God’s knowledge is even more, He not only knows where you’ve been, but what you’ve been thinking when you are there.

The Eyes of the LORD (2 Chronicles 16:9).

“All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13, nkjv).

But even more, He knows what is best for us and does all He can to guide us to go His way.

Psalm 139:5  “You hem me in: behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

He hems us in behind and before and puts His hand on us to give us peace, to show us His way and to direct our steps.

That’s an awesome thought, God wants us to allow Him to show us the way.

The word translated “beset” (kjv) or “enclosed” (nasb) means “to guard a valuable object,”

God’s Guarding YOU!

So my friends, God’s all knowing, all encompassing knowledge and guidance are for your protection.

How should we respond to that?

Like King David, we should TRUST Him completely with every aspect of our lives.

In the UK: We’re all going to VOTE today on the EU Referendum, no matter how you feel or how you VOTE, God is in ultimate control.

Don’t WORRY… PRAY (first) … TRUST… VOTE: Let the LORD guide you to the right decision today.

Be blessed today,

Don.

P.S. The other day Karamoko my grandson came back into the lounge from the garden to get a spade. He was hiding his hand behind his back. Karamoko is only 2 1/2 years old, but is already showing signs of being deceitful. I said, “What have you been doing in the garden?” He said, “Nothing” hiding his hand even more… It was so funny and a dead give-away. His hands were black from playing in the mud, he knew that he shouldn’t be playing in the mud because he’s been told not to touch it a few times. But Karamoko just loves digging in the dirt…

We cannot HIDE from God.

KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY

Psalm 139: Part 1: God Knows Me Intimately.

Psalm 139: Part 2: God Will NEVER Let Go of My Hand.

Psalm 139: Part 3: God Made Me Wonderfully

 

 

Winning In Your Walk With Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 667: Winning In Your Walk With Jesus.

Philippians 2:12-15 (NIV)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14  Do everything without complaining or arguing,
15  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Good morning my friends, are there times when you struggle to be good? Times when it’s hard to be the person God has called you to be? We all know times of weakness and failure, however it is possible to win in your battle against; the world, the flesh and the devil: We must realise that it’s “NOT ALL ABOUT YOU” But it’s God who works in you to will and to act.
Will & Act: How According to His good pleasure.
When you avail yourself of God the Holy Spirit, submit to His divine authority in your life, then the way that you think, your desires, your will will be His will, then you will act righteously. Praise the LORD!
What an awesome verse from God’s Word today.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”..
That’s a massive relief: God WORKS IN ME to will and to act…
Rest assured that when God gets you into His family, He intends to keep you and transform you.
Be bless with the fullness today.
Don.

Lean On ME, when you’re not strong.

Jesus said, Come to ME

Daily Spirit & Word: 597: Lean On Me.

I’ve had a little more inspiration this morning from two sources in the world: From Bill Withers’ song “Lean on me” and from the traditional British red telephone boxes in Kingston Upon Thames. “Lean on me”.

You know something my friends, there are times when we don’t always feel strong, at those times Jesus is calling out to us “Lean on Me, when you’re not strong and I will help you carry on”. “Call on Me brother when you need a hand”.

Now before you say, “Well Donald, you’ve lost your mind, that’s not Biblical” lets just check out God’s Word and see if that’s true.

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God doesn’t like it when we are afraid, because He knows that when we’re giving into fear, we’re not trusting or relying upon Him. Psalm 18 reveals that David had a level of trust in the Lord that was awesome in times of danger or near defeat.

Psalm 18:1-3.
 [For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of King Saul. He said:] I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3  I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”

The Lord Responds When You Call Upon Him.

My friends, the next time you are feeling weak, when you are not strong, when you know trouble is coming or is already upon you, CALL UPON THE LORD.

Remember our Lord Jesus own words in this regard:

Matthew 11:28-30 
28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  • Who are we to come to? The Lord Jesus Christ.
  • When are we to come to Him? When we’re weary or burdened.
  • What happens when we come to Him? He will give us rest.
  • What does Jesus want us to do when we come to Him? Take up His yoke (follow His teaching and commands).
  • What does He want us to do? To learn from Him: from how He lived life on earth/
  • Why does Jesus want us to do that? Because He is gentle and humble in heart.
  • When we learn to live like Him, following His guiding principles in life, we will find the rest that our souls need.
  • What will we discover when we’re following Jesus in this way? That His yoke is EASY and His burden is LIGHT.

WOWzer! Call upon Jesus: He’s crying out to you today, “Lean on Me, when you’re not strong, I’ll give you hope to carry on”.

You know, there are so many times when I’ve been weak, foolish, burdened and feeling heavy, but when I’ve called upon the LORD Jesus, He’s proven to be faithful every single time, even when I’m not. He’ll give you the strength you need for every battle that you are facing today. You don’t have to be the strong one, because we’ve got ONE who’s power is unsurpassed.

Listen to Bill Withers’ little song: Lean On Me


Have a fantastic Thursday with Jesus.

When you are NOT strong, Jesus is the ONE who will always be there, so you can lean upon Him, He’ll give you the strength you need to carry on.

Don’t forget to seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit this day.

Because there will never be a time when we don’t need Him.

Don.

The Photo was taken in Kingston Upon Thames in 2011 by Rev Donald Davis.

 

It’s Like an EXODUS of Biblical Proportions

Syrian Exodus Help

Daily Spirit & Word, 594:

“IF” You Help The Thirsty & Afflicted ???

Will you? Will You? Will YOU HELP?

Have you seen the NEWS lately? We’ve all been shocked and moved by the plight of those poor people. Thousands of people pouring over the borders of many countries, they’ve been kept bottled up in Turkey for a few years now and quite understandable, they’ve had enough. Their country Syria has become a dangerous, desolate wasteland. Many countless thousands were given tents and water and the very basics, but they’d had much more than that and they expect much more than that for their children and grandchildren. If their homeland can’t be fixed, then what else can they do, but risk everything to make a perilous journey and head for the place where dreams come true: Europe; Germany, England, France and the forlorn hope of ever being able to get to the Golden Land: America. Places of peace, social security and probably most importantly PROSPERITY. All that they want is the freedom to work and build a secure, safe future for their families.

Some politicians have declared;

“It’s like an EXODUS of Biblical proportions”.

It is and the plight is equally deadly.

The RESPONSE of those on the RECEIVING end of THE EXODUS:

We’re divided in our response; some want to help them closer to their homeland, in the forlorn hope that they’ll be able to return to Syria or their country of origin one day. (The thinking behind that is; keep them away from us and perhaps the problem will go away).

Some want to help them now, wherever they can be found, welcome them with open arms and give them assistance to become what they’re dreaming about.

However, there are countless other responses in-between; But the critical thing for Christians, followers of Jesus, is to ask this question: “What did Jesus do?” It is NOT “what would Jesus do?” because that is ambiguous and uncertain and we can be quite adept at making things up, but it is very definitely, “What DID Jesus do?”

He reached out His hand and said “I AM WILLING”…. “BE; clean, healed, delivered, set-free,”

My friends, that’s what Jesus did: Now I feel the LORD has given us ALL a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to be like Jesus.

Where do you sit in the current crisis?

I think we all know what Jesus would do: He’d reach out his hand and welcome them ALL with open arms. How do we KNOW that’s what Jesus would do? Because that’s what Jesus did whilst He was upon the earth. He went out of His way (Heaven) to come and help those that everybody else rejected. He lifted the dignity of the poor, the weak, the lame, the feeble, the sinful and the powerful. He gave them HOPE in a desert place. He gave them purpose when they didn’t have a reason to live. He gave them the ability to see above the dirt and the squalor of life here on this earth. My friends, that’s what Jesus has done for you too. How could we withhold that from anyone else?

Here’s what God wants YOU and ME to do today:

Isaiah 58:10 (NIV) and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

What a challenge: “If you spend yourself” i.e. get tired, exhausted, broken and beaten: On behalf of the hungry, afflicted and oppressed.

  • Watch what will happen to you if you do that: “Your light will rise” It’s what Jesus was teaching us about “letting our light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven”… WOWzer!
  • Watch what else will happen in your life, if you spend yourself on the hungry and afflicted and oppressed: “Your DARKNESS will become like noonday” I.E. all that troubles you, the darkness that surrounds your life, will vanish like a morning mist on a summer’s day.

The Lord’s NOT finished yet though:

Look at His promises in the next verse:

Isaiah 58:11 (NIV) “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

My friends, those of you filled with God’s Holy Spirit, Born of the Spirit, listen to His CALL to you today: “If you spend yourself on behalf of those in desperate need…” There is an “IF”, because the LORD has given us the freedom to respond. However how can we do anything else? We need to be STRONG my friends and PREPARED to COME TO THE AID of EVERYONE who needs our assistance.

I’m feeling challenged today: Because the LORD is saying to me: “Donald, what are you doing for the oppressed, the hungry and the afflicted?” “Donald, what’s your heart-attitude like towards those who NEED your help?”

And I KNOW: The LORD Himself will guide, strengthen, provide and supply ALL that I need to enable ‘me’ to help. All He’s looking for is a HEART THAT WILL SAY: “With me Lord, there is no ‘IF’ or ‘BUT’, I’m going to make the most of this golden opportunity to SHINE LIKE THE NOONDAY and see your hand of guidance and support Lord. Amen!”

I’m praying the Lord will enable you all to respond to His call to shine by responding to the call of those in desperate need today. Amen.

Don.

P.S. What will happen to us if we TURN AWAY from what we KNOW the LORD is calling us to do?

Jeremiah 17:5-6 (NIV)
5  This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no-one lives.

 

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.

 

Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

When Feeling Desperate Jesus is Near

Daily Spirit & Word, 489: Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 4. Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

John 20:10-14 (NIV)
10  Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14  At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.

Good morning my friends, we live in a world of deep despair. People are going through stuff every day and many are so troubled they give up any hope of ever being free from these desperate feelings. The reasons for our despair are many; for some it’s the daily struggle to make ends meet and provide for the family. For others it’s unhappiness at work or the fear of loosing one’s livelihood. For others it’s the break-up of significant relationships with loved ones and close friends.  Like Mary Magdalene mentioned above you may have also lost a love one. It might be that there’s nothing in your life right now to cause you to despair, but you are feeling as if something is missing, there’s an inner emptiness and restlessness.

The impression we get from reading John 20:10-14 above is that Mary is in deep despair, standing outside the tomb of Jesus weeping, she is so upset, heartbroken and grieving, that in her despair she fails to see or notice that God is showing her something to encourage her. Even the presence of Angelic Beings from Heaven should have indicated to Mary that God had something to do with the disappearance of Jesus’ body. It’s like that for many people in desperate times; no matter how hard you try to encourage them, because they are hurting, their soul focus is upon the hurt.

Try telling a man with toothache that the daffodils or forget-me-nots look lovely and the sunrise was awesome; he’ll not even want to entertain the idea of beauty until he gets relief from the pain in his teeth.

It’s the exact same for those who are suffering emotional pain and torment, sometimes even though there’s lots to be encouraged by, they cannot see it because something else has their complete attention, they are absorbed in their grief. This is hard for those trying to help them, because we cannot see their pain.

My friends, if Angels couldn’t help Mary, then don’t think you are going to be able to lift someone out of deep depression either. It takes a supernatural effort to life them for the deepest pits of despair. Jesus was standing right behind Mary, but she didn’t realise. Many people who’re going through tough times don’t realise that Jesus is right there with them. He’s loving them, because that’s part of His DIVINE NATURE. God is LOVE. Even when she turned around and saw Jesus, her grief was so intense that she didn’t recognise Him. She was still looking for Jesus dead body and even asked Jesus where the his body was. Oh my friends, when we’re desperate, sometimes even though it’s right in front of our face, we don’t perceive that Jesus is with us, that He’s trying to show us something to encourage us and build us up again.

Mary Magdalene really loved Jesus and that’s why she was grieving, her grief had blinded her to the reality of Jesus being right in front of her nose. For everyone who’s in despair today, Jesus is with you by His Holy Spirit. No matter what the cause of your despair is, know that he’s consistent and faithful to His Holy Promises. “He’ll NEVER leave you or forsake you”, “He’s with you and in you”, Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

Listen afresh to the Divine promises of God in Isaiah 43:1-3.

Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)
1  But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.

For all of us, no matter what our emotional state at this moment in time, the above passage is medicine for our soul. God want you to know my friends just how much He loves you. His is an everlasting love. We all experience love from people and have been let down when they didn’t love us like we expected, right? Well my friends, God’s NOT like that, He’ll never let you down and when you pass through the troubled waters of grief His Holy Promise is “I WILL BE WITH YOU”.

Mary Magdalene didn’t see it until the Lord Jesus called her name, look at the Isaiah passage above, “I have summoned you by name”. When God called you into a relationship with Jesus, He called you by name, you are His, He chose you, He’s calling your name again this morning and He wants to be with you and heal you and help you.

Points to Ponder

  • Are you in deep despair? Do you believe that God’s love can overcome any pain or hopelessness you are facing? Is there someone you could ask to come and pray with you?
  • Have you noticed any patterns in your life where similar circumstances consistently cause you to feel down or depressed? How can you increase your awareness of the presence of Jesus? I’d suggest some of these things, they work for me every time: Prayer, Praise, Worship, Bible Reading and Study, Fellowship with fellow saints regularly, Fasting, Getting alone with the Lord and talking through my problems with Him.
  • Finally, do you know anyone who is currently in despair? Take some time to pray for them and ask the Lord if He wants you to be His hands and feet to be with them and to show them that Jesus really cares.

Prayers For Day 4 of 40 Days With Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to reaffirm my commitment to You. I choose to put my trust in You today despite what I am facing or how I am feeling. You know every broken place in my life. You are immediately aware of my hurts and you keep track of all my sorrows. (Psalm 56:8). Lord Jesus, because you became a human being just like me, fully human in every way (Hebrews 2:17), I know that You identify with what I’m going through. Open my eyes Lord to recognise You in the midst of my brokenness, I’m trusting and believing today that if I seek You with all my heart, I will find You (Jeremiah 29:13). Now, I thank You that You are looking for me too. With Your tender love, so come and lead me from despair into hope, from anxiety into peace and from brokenness into wholeness. Amen. 

40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

40 Days Resources / Video:

40 Days List.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 4: Jesus Presence for Your Despair.

Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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Daily Spirit & Word, 450: Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Good morning my friends, as we progress towards Easter we’re probably thinking of lots of different things;

  • Easter Bank Holiday Weekend: Means time with family and friends and perhaps the first trip out of the city in months. 
  • Easter Eggs / Chocolate Bunnies: Children love Easter Time with the shops filling up from February tempting them with chocolate eggs filled with goodies. 
  • Easter Hot Cross Buns: these are little spiced buns that, when I was a child, were only sold on Good Friday, but now you can get them most of the year round.

Christian Focus:

For Christians, who love the Lord Jesus, these Secular Easter focuses can be either an annoyance or a distraction, but we could also embrace them and still focus upon the main object of our Devotion: Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 “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.”

In St Luke’s Church: We begin our main Easter preparations with;

Palm Sunday: Jesus Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the joy filled crowds.
The Last Supper: Lord’s Last Supper with the Disciples, where He celebrated Passover with them: We’ll be doing that on Maundy Thursday; We’ll have all the elements of the Passover: Lovely Roasted Lamb, roasted eggs, horseradish, parsley, Charoset (reminding us of the mud and toil of captivity in Egypt), salt (reminding us of the tears and crying out to the Lord in captivity), etc… We don’t follow or focus entirely upon Passover, but on what the Lord was doing at the Passover: With the Bread and Wine. (Come and join us if you’re free).
Good Friday: We don’t have a Good Friday Service, but a Walk of Witness with Christians in West Norwood, London. We gather at 11.45am and walk about 3/4 of a mile to St Luke’s Gardens (We’re blessed that our gardens are already a focus for the town of West Norwood in London and it’s a great witness that there are hundreds of Christians who love Jesus. We sings hymns, songs and praise the Lord, we read from the Bible as we walk, we stop and pray, we bless people along the way and give out Easter Sunday invitations to worship with us. Then we gather to have a warm drink and some lovely Hot Cross Buns.
Easter Sunday: We remember the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Dead. His death upon the Cross was not the end and His resurrection shows us that Father God was satisfied that the price for sin had been paid in full with Jesus blood and death for everyone who will trust in Him.

How can we fix our eyes upon Jesus today?

I don’t advocate making a statue of Jesus for the Bible tells us not to make Idols nor to bow down to them or worship them. There’s always a danger in making images and statues of the Lord or Mary or any of the Saints, because people begin to focus upon them. We’re commanded by the Lord not to make statues in the Ten Commandments:

The Second Commandment: Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

  • So how can we, who want to be obedient to the Lord and His Word ‘fix our eyes upon Jesus’?
    We can do it easily: 
  • We’ve got God’s Word: The Gospel accounts of Jesus trial, cricifixion, resurrection and appearances. 
  • We’ve got Worship: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Songs about Jesus, what He did for us upon the cross. 
  • We’ve got Christian Gatherings: Regular Fellowship Groups. Outreach Groups. Evangelism Groups. Gathering regularly with those who Love Jesus, it won’t be long before you turn to Him in prayer and praise.
  • We’ve got Worship Services: With Preaching and Teaching about Jesus. 
  • We’ve got Prayer Meetings: Monthly and daily prayer.
  • We’ve got Personal Prayer and Worship and Bible Study / Meditation.

Focusing upon Jesus is easy for the Saints when we put our heart, soul, mind and strength to it. But will we? Will you focus upon Jesus? Will you think about the Cross and all that He endured upon the Cross for you?

I want to encourage those who’ve done this in the past, probably many times, to renew their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. To really FIX your eyes upon Jesus: Think about it, those crowds in Jerusalem; Shouting one week; “Jesus is King” and the next “Crucify”… To dwell upon the LAST SUPPER, the GARDEN of TEARS, the TRIAL of Jesus, the MOCKING He endured, the CRUCIFIXION, the DEATH and the RESURRECTION.

How to Practically FOCUS on Jesus and the Cross: 

When I was a lone-Christian on a Submarine at sea, I used to take a simple wooden cross with me and wear it undeneath my uniform. At times people would see it and sometimes ask, “Ginge (that’s what they called me), why are you wearing a wooden cross?”… It became an amazing stepping stone into conversations about my Lord Jesus. Why a wooden cross? We were not allowed to wear metal crosses. Electricity and metal don’t go well together 🙂 LOL. So with a simple black thread and an two inch cross, I became a witness for Jesus. But it really did help me, because there were times when I was feeling weak, my thoughts would wander, I didn’t have fellowship with other Christians, sometimes just grabbing that cross and feeling it would lead me to pray and worship Jesus in the Engine room or even in the Reactor Compartment. When I fixed my mind on Jesus I’d feel strong again and ready to face the world with renewed conviction and love for those in darkness.

How do you fix your eyes upon Jesus?

Let us do it this year every single day; In prayer, reading God’s Word and gathering and communicating with the saints as much as we can; to encourage and strengthen others in their walk and witness for Him.

What does fixing your eyes upon Jesus do for you? He’ll KEEP you, He’ll nourish you, He’ll wash you clean, He’ll renew your faith and strength and sometimes you’ll experience His awesome miracles, but most of all you’ll have the PEACE of JOY of the Lord in your heart. You’ll know Him and He’ll know you.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.
Don.

Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus.

Hebrews 3:1-6 “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

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Choose This Day Whom You Shall Sever

Daily Spirit & Word, 440: Choose This Day Whom You Shall Serve.

As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Choose this day whom you shall serve
Choose this day whom you shall serve

 

 Daily Spirit & Word, 440: Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve.

As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Good morning my friends, it was a wonderful Saturday which began with the Preacher’s Breakfast and ended with picking up the Grandchildren from Kids Space in Croydon. They enjoyed the whole day with their father, but by the time we got home they were all fast asleep in the car and it meant a tip-toe up to bed and gingerly getting them ready, trying not to rouse them from slumber.

Grandchildren at McDonalds Purley Way
Grandchildren at McDonalds Purley Way

If that is how we love our children and grandchildren, then as Christians we need to know our Heavenly Father loves us even more. We get warm-fuzzy-feelings when we see them happy, imagine Father’s joy when He knows we’re thrilled with His company and blessings?

Joshua 24:14-15
14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

My grandchildren have been staying with us over the last few days whilst their bathroom is being re-decorated and walls in the hallway and one bedroom being re-plastered, by the time they get out of bed I’ve been up praying and studying the Bible, but they come into my study and want to know everything. They’ll say, “Papa, what are you doing?” I’ll tell them, “Why are you doing that Papa?” they are naturally full of questions and interested in what Papa is doing, but what are they really doing? They are trying to get Papa’s full attention. Because I love them, I can’t deny them my heart, they win and we end up eating breakfast together.

For us, Christians, our FATHER is longing for us to wake up and be with Him. To ask Him the question, “What are you doing Abba?” (Daddy, Father) Knowing the Father’s will and what He wants us to do is critical to our walk and witness in the world. When you wake up in the morning you are faced with the same choice Joshua put before the People of Israel: to cast aside all other worldly desires, all those things that would tug your heart and devotion away from your Heavenly Father and to choose each and every morning “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”.

Joshua brought them to this point after leading the people for many years. What was it that Joshua had discovered in all that time? He’d been selected by the LORD as Israel’s leader, but before he took the reigns the Lord said to him; take time to read this for it’s very important in answering that question:

Joshua 1:1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant:  “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Now can you see why Joshua would say, “Choose this day whom you will serve” and “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”.

  • That LORD has been with Joshua.
  • The LORD had given him victory.
  • The LORD had given him the land of promise.
  • The LORD had defeated and driven out the enemy before them.
  • The LORD was with them all they way.

His repeated promise to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Choosing the LORD over the Promises and Pull of the world 
Guarantees SUCCESS and VICTORY in the Christian life.

Jesus gave the same kind of invitation many times and in different ways; “Take up your cross daily”. “Follow me and I will make you …”, “Take my yoke…” “Learn from me….” “Come to me…”

My friends, when we choose each day to be with our Father, the same God as Joshua’s, offering the same promises to you and me, we’re choosing VICTORY, we’re choosing SUCCESS, we’re choosing Divine COMPANIONSHIP and we’re choosing BLESSINGS beyond belief.

 

Joshua was reflecting back in chapter 14 what the LORD had done and decided he and his family were going to continue with the LORD. As you reflect back over your Spiritual Walk with Jesus, can you see that choosing Him over the world and it’s powerful pull has been better by far?

 

I know that I can, because each time, as a Christian, I’ve wandered away from Jesus will for my life, when I’ve neglected being with Him, when I’ve left off reading His Word, my life would become darkness, the Lord would seem distant and every decision I made whilst not being with Him was doubtful. However, when I’m with Jesus, being in His presence daily; in prayer, worship, study, desiring His will and way in my life, there’s everything He promised Joshua and more. My heart cries out to Him right now; “Oh to be in your Presence LORD! To sit at Your feet… this is my desire”

 

Just as my grandchildren know they can get Papa’s attention, you too will be assured of Father God’s Holy attention and He’ll be with you; BUT you’ve got a solemn choice to make each day.

 

The pull of the world, it’s false promises of delight, joy, happiness, success, prosperity, fulfilment and prestige in the eyes of others is POWERFUL. There’s no doubt about that, but when you weigh it up, all of that, against the overwhelming JOY in being with, walking with, talking with and enjoying FATHER’S presence with you all through the day, we can easily say to the world with all it’s glittering glow, “No, as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”.Come AND be in your Heavenly Father’s will today.

 

Come AND be in your Heavenly Father’s presence today.

Come AND be and He’ll be, as He promised, with you everywhere your feet touch and you’ll know true VICTORY in life.

Have and AWESOME Sunday with your Heavenly Father.

Don.

Song of Praise.
To be in Your presence,
to sit at Your feet.
Where Your love surrounds me,
And makes me complete.

This is my desire,
Oh LORD,
This is my desire.
This is my desire,
Oh LORD,
This is my desire.

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

432: God Rewards Faithfulness.

432 Fire Leads to Promotion
God Rewards Faithfulness. Enduring the Fire: God is with them.

 

Daily Spirit & Word, 432: God Rewards Faithfulness.

And the World Will Stand AGOG in Amazement. 

Enduring the Fire Leads to Promotion.

God Rewards Faithfulness: Good morning my friends, Being faithful to God in times of trail, testing and fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prove faithful and He rewards them.
I’ve got that Friday feeling 🙂 The weekend is coming and I’ve only got a few things to do before Saturday; A funeral this afternoon for a 92 year old man and the CRU (Youth Group) tonight, who’re making pancakes. We’ve also got our grandchildren and daughter staying for a few days whilst her bathroom is being renovated. Life is busy, but good. How’s your weekend looking?
Today is the day we finally get to see what happened when three of God’s chosen people refused to bow the knee and worship a created idol. Yes they aroused the King’s anger and rage. Yes they ended up being thrown into the fire, but WOWzer! They also get another transforming experience of God’s power over nature and the schemes of evil men.
INTO THE FIRE:
Daniel 3:19-30 19  Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude towards them changed. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual
20  and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21  So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22  The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
23  and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”
25  He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26  Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,
27  and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29  Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Firstly notice: Fury, Anger and Rage will lead men to do the most evil things. We mustn’t make any mistakes, because King Nebuchadnezzar was a very powerful king. He’d conquered much of the Middle East and now commanded the obedience of millions of people, but three young Jewish men refused to obey him; no wonder then his anger was roused.
But what would have happened if he’d been less rash? What if he’d taken time to sit down and discuss this willingness to die rather than worship another person’s god? He may have discovered in a less dramatic way the God of the Universe is real, powerful and commands obedience even of great kings.
Secondly Remember: Nebuchadnezzar had stated in yesterday’s reading; “What god is more powerful than me, who can rescue you from the fire?” He thought himself untouchable, above everything and everyone, even the gods. We know there is only ONE God, but this account in chapter 3 reveals just how blinded men had become, their awareness of the true and living God was much like the people of our own day who think belief in Jesus or God an irrelevance to modern living. Faith and trust in God are outmoded because we’ve moved on from superstitious things like that 🙂 How foolish the people of the world are. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride led him into the most evil cruelty in his dominance of others, thinking nothing of human life, using fear and domination to get his own way. However, his intimidation of the three young men didn’t work.
Thirdly Notice: When they are thrown into the heat of the ten-times-hotter oven, though they were bound and helpless, the next time we hear about them, they are walking in the midst of the fire and heat and smoke without being harmed. The King was obviously sitting in a position where he could observe them being thrown into the furnace. He must have imagined that death would be instant, but here they were walking in the fire.
My friends, the people of this world are often totally amazed at how believers cope when the fiery trials come. It’s because at those times, God’s presence is known more keenly than at any other times in our life. That has happened to many of my friends and countless brothers and sisters throughout history. In the heat and smoke of disaster, God comes and brings relief, comfort and courage to face the flames. They’d trusted God with their lives and He’d proven to be faithful, present and powerful.
When you trust God in the HEAT: He’s promised to be with you too. Now we know that not everyone gets the kind of DELIVERANCE Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego enjoyed; because some of God’s chosen ones died at the hands of evil men; John the Baptist lost his head to an evil King, Stephen was stoned to death for proclaiming Jesus Christ as God’s Son. So sometimes being a believer won’t mean rescue from the trial, but we can be confidently assured that when we endure with faith, hope and trust, God will ultimately deliver us; either in this life or the next. That’s the confidence the three young men had too.
It’s my hope and prayer that your trials will lead to promotion as it had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but what’s more important for us to consider is the outcome of their faithful witness; not their promotion, but that God gets the GLORY. Because of what they did, being prepared to die for their beliefs, God Himself Gets the HONOUR and GLORY and PRAISE of the King of an vast Empire, Babylon would now honour God Almighty. Hallelujah. Praise the LORD!
Has there been a time in your life when you could say, “God Rewards Faithfulness?” or “The Lord has rewarded my faithful service?” Sometimes it’s just a feeling of deep peace or joy and gladness, but at others we receive great blessings from the LORD.
So our promotion or demise will both bring glory to the LORD, that’s what the Christian life is all about. When we get the revelation that it’s much more abut Him than Us, then we’ll experience the JOY unspeakable. Let that JOY flood your soul today as you praise HIM, and you sing of HIS glory, power and might. Honour God and even if the world throws you into fires and flames you’ll be lifted higher than you can ever imagine and they will stand agog in amazement.
Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends.
Don.
P.S. I do hope you’ve enjoyed our dip into the little book of Daniel this week. But please do continue reading, there’s so much more, but don’t just read it through quickly, take time to meditate upon each and every even within the book, you’ll be astounded at how valuable it is to take a week to look at a single story as we have. You’ll get fresh revelation for your life as a believer in the world today by thinking things through with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember my motto: “No READ, No FEED” If I don’t read the Bible I don’t eat breakfast. Why because going hungry reminds me I’ve skipped my ‘spiritual’ breakfast. I need God every day, and I’m not ashamed to admit I can’t do anything apart from Jesus, so I need to come to Him, to be filled afresh and fed by Him every day. If I skip Bible devotion I know I’m going to get hungry spiritually, I’ll feel the darkness creeping in, and it really does in tangible ways. Come afresh to Jesus every day and you’ll continue in the light of life.
Finally (Again) 🙂 I’ve been left with a Question that’s been bugging me all week. I’ve been pondering over it and wondering. “Where was Daniel when his friends were being thrown into the fire?”
Perhaps, because the King knew Daniel would never bow the knee, he’d sent him away to protect him from his own decree. Let us not forget that Daniel had already won the king’s favour, because he’d recounted and interpreted the dreadful dream.
What do you think my friends, where was Daniel?
You can also read the Daily Spirit & Word @ St Luke’s Church Facebook Page:
Post God Rewards Faithfulness @ St Luke’s Facebook Page.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be moving over 400 Daily Devotions for you to enjoy at your leisure.
It’s difficult to archive on Facebook, but a website allows so many more ways to search through and find the articles that may be of help.

427 The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

427 Good Samaritan LOVE

 

Daily Spirit & Word, 427: Who Do You Know That Needs A Neighbour?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Praise the LORD for today is the day we gather together to worship Him. In my home country Scotland, we call it “The Lord’s Day”. When I was a boy no shops opened on a Sunday, no bars, pubs or restaurants, because Sunday was a day of rest and lots of people attended church. It meant planning for you couldn’t just pop along to a shop to buy things like; mild, bread, butter or sugar. If you did run out of those things on a Sunday, that’s when you needed to know your neighbours, so you could borrow them.
As I read through the Bible text today, a question struck me; “Who do you know Donald that is in desperate need of a good neighbour today?”
Let’s read it now;
Luke 10:25-37 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26  “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27  He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ ”
28  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30  In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead.
31  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33  But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36  “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37  The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The Expert in the Law:
This ‘expert’ was not someone who knew all about Civil Law, but someone who was an ‘expert’ in God’s Law. Jewish Law was made up of the first five books of the Old Testament, often called the Torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Most times when they came to Jesus with a question they came with a question to try and test Jesus or trip him up to see if He’d make a foolish mistake in interpreting or applying the Law, then they’d have reason to either put Jesus to death or make him out to look like a fool in the eyes of everyone. This was such an occasion, for the ‘expert’ in the Law “Stood up to test Jesus”.
This indicated to me that he must have been sitting down with Jesus, probably in a group with others, because why would he try and test Jesus on his own? He’d want to show, in front of others that this man, who claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah, the Son of Man, was an imposter and a fool. That’s the kind of test or trap he’d set for Jesus.
The Expert’s Question: 
When the Expert in the Law asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He was not as we might imagine acknowledging Jesus as his teacher, but a ‘teacher of people’. For that is what Jesus did. The text says he was an expert in the law, therefore, he probably thought he knew the Law of God, better than this illiterate, unlearned (Jesus never attended any highly respected school of Rabbinical teaching) and unenlightened man.
He seemed to know the answer, before he ever asked Jesus the question. That’s what it means to try and trip someone up, knowing the ‘right’ answer, and trying and make him out to be a fool.
The LORD’S Response:
Jesus, as was His custom when confronted with a sneaky, tricky, twisted question asked another question in response, “What is written in the law?” “How do you read it?”
Jesus is asking a very important question here; “What is written in the law”: He saying to the expert, “What does God say is required to gain or merit eternal life?”
Jesus very often, when asked questions by people; even genuine questions, checked their understanding of God’s Law. You see Jesus knew the Old Testament was God’s Word and must be obeyed and applied to life, so he asked the ‘Expert’ a further question, “How do you read it?” He’s saying, “OK, ‘Expert in the Law’, What does the Law say and what does the Law mean?”
Jesus also knew something many Christians don’t know today; that a Jewish ‘Expert’ in the Law, would have attended one of the Rabbinical Schools of Thought (Rabbi was someone who taught the people and expounded upon God’s Law; it was his task to interpret the law and apply it to daily living). Each School of Thought had slightly different interpretations of God’s Law and this often led to very heated debates amongst rival Rabbis.
So when Jesus asked this question, He knew that when this so called expert responded, Jesus would know which school of thought he’d been trained in.
Clergymen: In the Church of England, there are different schools of thought too:
  • Anglo-Catholic (Almost Roman Catholic, but not quite).
  • Liberal: This is a group made up of partly Catholic orthodox in practice, but loose in belief or dogma.
  • Evangelical: Made up of Reformed, Evangelical and Charismatic believers.
Each group normally attends a Theological School of Thought based upon their pre-determined convictions.
It’s weird when we gather together and try to figure each other out, sometimes we’ll get asked by another, “Where did you train for the Ministry?” Upon getting the answer they’ll know what our convictions are, and sometimes it’s rather sad. I was asked once and when I responded the man simply said “Oh” (As if he’d smelt rotten eggs) and he walked away from me.
“The Golden Rule”
So when Jesus asked this question, whatever the man responded with, Jesus would know if his question was a genuine one or not. His first response seemed to indicate he was on the right track towards Heaven and Eternal Life. He responded with what had come to be known as; “The Golden Rule”
He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ “
We say this almost every week here in St Luke’s Church before we have a time of Confession.
What does it mean?
Where does it come from?
The Golden Rule: Love God: Love Neighbour.
“Do unto others, what you’d want them to do for you”…
The Way To Eternal Life:
The Expert Knew The Answer: But didn’t want to live by what he knew was right.
Luke 10:29. “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?””
When we speak of eternal life, and the way to obtain it, in a careless manner as this Pharisee did, then we’re standing in judgement over God’s revealed will. It as if the man thought he knew better than God’s Word did.
You see my friends, no one will ever LOVE God completely as the Commandments Demand, neither will anyone be able to LOVE his neighbour as he loves himself. We can’t do these two things with any measure of pure, spiritual love in our own human strength, because it will always be tainted with sin.
It’s not until we’ve been born of God, by the Holy Spirit of God, that we can do it. We can only love God by the power and strength and renewal of Spirit of God. In order to LOVE God as the Scriptures Demand, we must first be changed into one of God’s Children. We need His Grace which is obtained by Faith.
The Proud of Heart: Will never see it.
 But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. They’ll always try to JUSTIFY THEMSELVES.
That’s why Jesus clarified the LAW for this Pharisee: This Expert in God’s Law. He knew it, but was self-righteously standing in judgement over it.
Why did Jesus use the LAW? Because the right understanding of the LAW of God, will reveal that we can never be justified in our own strength, because no one can wholeheartedly live according to God’s Holy LAW.
Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39  Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
We can NEVER be Justified or Earn a Place in Heaven, by trying to live according to God’s Law, Moses (first five books of the Bible). Why, because the LAW doesn’t take care of SIN. Sin still clings to the human heart, until it’s washed away by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this Parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus Christ gave an instance of a poor Jewish man in distress, who was given relief by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds.
He was ignored by those who should have been his friends, the Priest and the Levite (People who claimed to know God’s Law, just like this ‘Expert’ who was questioning Jesus)  and was instead cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. They believed the Samaritans to be beyond hope of being brought into God’s Family of Believers.
 Oh my friends, it is really distressing to discover how selfishness governs the hearts of most people today.
Just like this Pharisee, the Expert in God’s Law; how many excuses will we make to avoid our DUTY to CARE, Revealed in God’s Law of LOVE?
We avoid caring for others as the Bible and God’s Word and God wants, because it will mean; commitment, time, trouble and expense in helping others.
  • However, the true Christian is one who has God’s law of love written in his heart.
  • The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells within a true Christian.
  • We’re being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, we’ll become more and more like Jesus Christ. That’s what RENEWAL means. That’s what REVIVAL means.
This Parable of the Good Samaritan is a BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE of the GOLDEN RULE: How we should love others as ourselves. God’s LAW of loving Him first and loving our neighbour as ourselves.
A Christian will love someone without even thinking about;
  • which Nation they come from,
  • which Political Party they belong to,
  • which Religious Affiliations they may have; Jew, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist,
A truly CONVERTED and BORN AGAIN Christian will GIVE ASSISTANCE to ANYONE, REGARDLESS.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, LIKE THE GOOD SAMARITAN:
Finally, the Parable of the Good Samaritan REVEALS the DEPTH of the kindness and love of God and of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ towards; sinful people like you and me.
How? Because, in our NATURAL STATE: Before we come to Christ, we were like this poor, distressed Jewish traveller. We were set upon and beaten up by our great enemy Satan. He had robbed us of the knowledge of the Saviour, Blinded us to the Gospel, and wounded us by tempting us to sin: That’s what SIN has done for mankind and Satan wants to keep us in that darkness too.
Then through His GRACE, MERCY, KINDNESS, LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS, Your beloved Lord Jesus Christ (Like the Good Samaritan) had compassion upon you.
How Did Jesus Show Compassion?
  • He bound up your wounds; “By His stripes you have been healed” When Jesus died upon the Cross, your sins were forgiven and washed away when you TRUSTED Him as your SAVIOUR.
  • His blood shed upon the CROSS Cleanses us from ALL SIN.
  • Jesus Christ gives us a chance of NEW LIFE, rather than ETERNAL DEATH.
  • Finally, like the Good Samaritan who paid the innkeeper for the wounded traveller, Jesus paid the price so that you can stay with God forever, being cared for and having every tear wiped away by Him in Heaven.
 The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, even whilst we were still his enemy and a rebel; and Jesus having shown us His mercy, encourages us by His Holy Spirit and by the Word of God, to go and do likewise.
Romans 5:6-8   “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 
THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST, LIKE THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
It is the duty of every Christian,
it is the impulse of every Christian,
it is the hearts desire of every true Christian to LOVE like Jesus loves us.
We’ll do it; 
in our homes, being a good neighbour to our family.
in our places of work, being a good neighbour to our workmates,
in our neighbourhood, being a good neighbour to those who live around us,
in our country and nation and world, being a good neighbour to everybody, regardless of who they are.
How will we do it? We’ll want to help them, if we are able, to relieve their distress, bind up their wounds, heal the sick, drive out demons, give to the poor, be generous, welcoming, hospitable, kind, and show peace to everybody.
You can’t do that without first coming to Jesus Christ, to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed by His Holy Spirit, He’ll then pour into your hearts that same love that He has for everyone.
What’s Amazing About Jesus?
He used every challenge or trap set for Him by the Pharisees and Sadducees, Experts in the LAW; as an opportunity to open up the Law of God and reveal God’s way of understanding it and applying it to life. WOWzer! You can do that too my friends, when you face challenges, traps or tricks of men. When they question you about why you would trust in Jesus today. Open up God’s Law to reveal their heart’s condition and show them the way of Salvation.
My friends, you’ve hopefully seen the Parable of the Good Samaritan in a new light.
Let’s get RENEWED first, before we become religious.
We need to make certain that we’re saved, before we try to be saved or live like a Christian.
The Good Samaritan HEART is available from Jesus Christ, do you want to love others like Jesus did?
Who do you know who needs a Good Neighbour?
“Go and do thou likewise”
Have an awesome Sunday,
Don.
Trust in and Worship the LORD with all your heart, lean not upon your own understanding (of God’s Law), in all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will direct your paths through life.
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Today’s reading can be found here: