Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

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

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

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

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

First, Nehemiah:

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

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

INTRODUCTION:

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

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

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

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

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

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

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

1) PRAYER:

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

2) PERSISTENCE:

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

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

3) POWER:

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

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

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

CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

As one great preacher has said,

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

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

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

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

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

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

Don.

 

A Change of Mind

Christians preaching Christ Good News in Damascus

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

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

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

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

WE NEED A NEW MIND…

A change of mind.

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

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

WE NEED AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.

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

Romans 12:2 (NIV)  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing and perfect will.

WE NEED A RENEWED MIND:

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

So God’s Making us into TRANSFORMERS 🙂

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

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

“He’s TRANSFORMING ME”

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

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

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

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

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

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

It’s going to be costly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here follows an explanation of Jesus requirements:

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

1) Jesus Said You Must Deny SELF:

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

NOTE:

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

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

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

2) Take Up Your Cross Daily:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Follow Me:

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

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

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

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

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

Is Jesus Your KING?

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

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

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

 

When Jesus Forgives

how much we love Jesus will be shown by our appreciation of how much we've been forgiven

Daily Spirit & Word: 733: When Jesus Forgives.

The Woman With The Alabaster Jar

Good morning my friends, you know I said yesterday that it was my day off, well in the evening I had to attend a School Governor’s Meeting at St Luke’s School. The Head of School shared about a certain class that were being challenged to make progress and try harder. On the wall in huge letters it reads, “With Jesus Help We Can”… she pointed out the words and encouraged the class to ask for the Lord to help them understand. She reported, “That class is making progress, the children’s faces light up and they actually ask Jesus for help”…  My friends, when we see Jesus at work like that in our schools and in the lives of children in London today it is an amazing encouragment. It also makes me want to turn afresh to the Lord Jesus in faith today.

Today’s passage comes from Luke’s Gospel and he shares the account of how a sinful woman finds forgiveness in Jesus, but what is it about Jesus in this story that encourages you?

Luke 7:36-50 (NIV)
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38  and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40  Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41  “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43  Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44  Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48  Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49  The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
First The Pharisee’s Hospitality:

At first you think this Pharisee is being kind to Jesus, inviting him to dinner, but we soon discover that he didn’t even perform the customary greeting or extend the normal welcome. He didn’t greet Jesus with a kiss, he didn’t wash Jesus’ feet, he didn’t anoint Jesus with oil. All of these were normal practice for an honoured guest. It was just customary good manners. It’s a bit like offering someone a cup of tea and a little snack when they come to visit you in London.  What does that tell you about the Pharisee? It reveals that his motives for inviting Jesus to dinner were NOT to honour Him. So we’re left wondering why on earth the Pharisee invited Jesus in the first place.

A Rabbi would be welcomed with a customary kiss.

A Rabbi would have his feet washed, because in those days the roads were dusty and feet would get dirty. The cool water on the feet would also bring comfort.

A Rabbi would also be anointed with some kind of perfume; normally rose water.

That Pharisee didn’t honour the Lord Jesus.

 

My friends, when you follow Jesus Christ today, He comes with you wherever you go. That’s why Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of my Disciples, welcomes me”… He is with us, but how do we honour Jesus’ presence? Does his presence make us weep over our sinfulness? Does his presence make us want to honour him and serve him, like the sinful woman did?

 

Let’s see what she did for Jesus that day.

 

The Sinful Woman’s Actions:

  • A SINNER: She knew she was a sinner, she had “lived a sinful life”
  • COMES TO JESUS: She came where she knew Jesus was: Whenever a Rabbi entered a home of a wealthy man, many people would gather around the honoured guest, homes were much more open in those days and that explains how the woman could enter the house so easily.
  • READY TO ANOINT: The very fact that she carried an Alabaster Jar full of perfume indicates that she intended to use it to anoint Jesus. So we don’t know if she’d already met Jesus and had been forgiven by him. Perhaps she was the woman who’d been caught in the act of adultery, we just don’t know.
  • WASHES FEET WITH TEARS: What we do know is this: She wet Jesus feet with her tears: She was either full of remorse about her sinful life or so overcome with joy at being forgiven by Jesus. All we know is that In the presence of Jesus she wept. She was crying so much that her tears soaked Jesus feet.
  • DRIED FEET WITH HAIR: Next she wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. This too shows us the extent of her remorse and sadness about her sins. Who would wipe a person’s feet with their hair? That’s not normal. A woman’s hair is her glory, but she’s just used it to do the most base act. I don’t know anyone who’d wipe a person’s feet with their hair today and our feet a cleaner than those of someone in Jesus day.
  • KISSES JESUS FEET: Then she began to kiss Jesus’ feet: Who kisses another person’s feet? It’s normal for a defeated foe to bow down and kiss the conqueror’s feet. But it’s not normal to kiss someone’s feet. She must have been so overcome with relief and joy to have been forgiven by Jesus.
  • ANOINTS WITH OIL: Next, she anointed Jesus feet with the perfumed oil from the Alabaster Jar. The smell in the Pharisees’ house would be sweet and pungent.

Though she was a sinner she did everything the host of the house should have done to honour him. It’s strange that a supposed ‘righteous’ man, the Pharisee, didn’t see the need to honour Jesus with the normal good manners, but the SINNER didn’t stop honouring him from the moment she arrived.

The Pharisee’s Attitude Towards The Sinful Woman and Jesus.

Luke 7:39  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

In those days if a Pharisee was touched by a sinner or a sin contaminated person, then he’d be ritually unclean, so they avoided being touched. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan how the Priest and Levite avoided helping the wounded man, for fear of being made unclean. That’s not what God meant when He said we should avoid sin, whenever we can help someone, we should. Even the most sinful person can be given hope of a changed life. But according to the Pharisees, once a sinner, always a sinner. They looked down on sinful people and avoided all contact with them. Even today some strict sects of Jews will not touch anyone who is not a Jew. They view them as sinners or unclean. So the Pharisee is condemning of Jesus as well as having a stand-off attitude towards the sinful woman. He’s questioning Jesus prophetic anointing simply because Jesus is allowing himself to be touched by a supposed sinner. Simon didn’t know if Jesus had already forgiven this woman.

You can almost hear the condemnation: “She is a SINNER”… i.e. in the mind of the Pharisee, there was no hope for the woman, she was a sinner once and she’ll always be that sinful woman.

Jesus Didn’t Condemn or Criticise The Sinful Woman.

He’s a wonderful example of how we should be towards those we KNOW are sinners. We cannot be like that Pharisee, because we know how much the Lord has also forgiven us. We too are sinners and we too need to be cleansed and forgiven.

That little story of Jesus about the debts being forgiven.

I love the way that Luke has recounted this meeting in the Pharisee’s house.

He sets the scene and right in the middle includes one of the most amazing and insightful teachings of Jesus.

In just two verses we discover pure GOLD:

Luke 7:41-42.
41  “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he cancelled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Five Hundred or Fifty: That’s an amazing difference. Of course the one who’s been let off the most debt is the one who’d be most appreciative. But you’d think that the one who’d been forgiven a little would also be a little bit grateful.

The Pharisee got it right, but then Jesus points out the sinful woman: She’s been doing for me Simon what you should have done. Imagine how Simon the Pharisee must have felt at that moment in time? Confronted and shown how wrong his own attitude was towards both the sinful woman and Jesus. I’ll bet he wanted to hide under his dinner table that day.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling coming upon you? I’ve had it a few times, when the Lord brings conviction, all you want to do is hide. I had it in church once, I was looking at other people and in my heart judging them. Then the Lord spoke to me, “Who are you to condemn anyone else, I’ve forgiven them, I’ve also forgiven you”…. I’ll never forget how embarrassed I was, my face went red, I bowed my head and closed my eyes and asked Jesus to forgive me. I was reminded of just how much I’d been forgiven and that it was my own sins that put the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet, and the spear into his side. It was my sins that thrust the crown of thorns upon His head.

The the most amazing pronouncement from Jesus lips:

“Your sins are forgiven.” and “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The woman’s actions towards Jesus demonstrated her faith. She believed that Jesus was the one good, righteous, religious, Rabbi who wouldn’t condemn her, she came to Jesus and cried at his feet and ends up being forgiven and more “go in peace”. There’s a deep peace we experience when we’ve been cleansed and forgiven by the Lord Jesus.

I’ve been a Christian since 1984, but I feel Jesus is asking me afresh this morning, “Donald, How’s your LOVE for Me?”

I think about that poor woman who was so aware of her sinful condition and probably reminded about it constantly by those who knew all about her life. No wonder she was so filled with faith when she encountered Jesus and wanted to do anything she could for him.

The story doesn’t tell us when Jesus forgave the woman. It might have been before he went to the Pharisees house to have dinner that day and she later discovered where Jesus was and wanted to do something special for Him. We don’t know if it was at the house she was forgiven, but we know she was a sinner, she acted in faith and was rewarded by being forgiven and sent away in peace.

I think how much I love Jesus will be determined by how much I know I’ve been forgiven and the cost of my forgiveness. Jesus gave His life so that I could be clean. When I experience the cleansing and washing away of my sins it produces within me an inward gratitude and inexpressible joy, it means that I want to serve the Lord Jesus and give so much, that like the woman with the expensive alabaster jar, I’ll pour out my life and what I’ve been given in His service. Oh LORD Jesus, I love You.

FAITH that expresses itself in LOVE towards Jesus.

  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all SHAME is removed.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him all CONDEMNATION is washed away.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LOVE grows within us.
  • When we’ve been forgiven by Him new LIFE begins.

When we’ve been forgiven so much by Jesus, we’ll LOVE Him lots too.

Notice Jesus words again; “Your sins are forgiven.” and “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus gives us FAITH to believe, then rewards us when we use the FAITH we’ve been given and gives us PEACE. That’s such Amazing Grace.

Finally, we’re left with the people questioning: “Who is this who even forgives sins?” The Jews knew that God alone can forgive sins. Jesus was God on earth, because we know too that ONLY God can forgive sin. But I’ve written enough for today 🙂

How much we love Jesus will be shown by how much we appreciate we’ve been forgiven by Him.

Hope you all have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful faith filled weekend with Jesus.

Don.

 

When the TV gets in the way of LIFE

seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness

Daily Word & Spirit: 724: Does God Get What He Wants?

Good morning my friends, it was such a privilege to conduct two funerals this week, one on Monday and the other yesterday. The first was for a wonderful Christian lady, the church was packed with friends and relatives from all over the world. I proclaimed the Gospel freely and called for a decision for Jesus Christ. Yesterday, an equally lovely lady, but who’s faith I knew very little about, the family said, “She was not a religious lady”… her family, as far as I knew, never attended church. What could I say to those grieving folks?

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.
29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.
30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The second group of mourners were all giving wonderful stories about the woman’s life; she was full of fun, knew how to laugh at herself and loved people, she was generous to a fault, giving so much sometimes that she was in need herself, but just thinking of others. As I read the above passage,I believe the Lord guided me to say, “Just like …. we can all learn from this, she obviously didn’t WORRY about her life”.

The world we live in encourages us to WORRY: i.e. adverts about your weight, style, looks, have you got the right tools, is your home looking like a palace, have you got the right garden furniture, are you eating the right foods, etc, etc,,, You’d be excused if you walked to your bed so worried after watching TV for just one evening. I’m sure you’d dream and they’d be full of worries about life. But thankfully Jesus tells us DO NOT WORRY. Why? Because who of us by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

The Gospel of Luke covers the same teaching of Jesus, but gives us a little more details: Luke 12:25-26 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

I love the Bible (God’s) logic here, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

We may or may not have a long life, but worrying about it’s duration won’t guarantee it. I’m sure we can shorten it though, through folly, but we can’t extend it longer than God intends it to be. “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away”… Sometimes, like when you mum or dad confiscated a precious toy when you were a child, that confiscation really hurts. When the LORD takes someone we love, no matter how old they are, it HURTS us, but we can’t lengthen the duration of our lives by worrying about them.

So what are we to do?

Thankfully the Bible gives us the answers:

Matthew 6:33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

1) Seek First The KINGDOM of God.

(Remember that’s same priority in the Lord’s Prayer?)…

When we seek first the Kingdom of God, we’re putting God’s priorities at the TOP of the agenda of our lives.

The woman being buried yesterday loved to play CARDS: Have you ever played Patience? Patience is a game in which you are looking to line-up all your cards on the King, once you get the whole suit; i.e. hearts, spades, clubs or diamonds, onto your King, then that row is won.

My friends, God wants us to line-up our life along the lines of His KINGDOM. i.e. He wants to be our KING. Every aspect of our lives in-line with His Kingdom priorities. How’s your KINGDOM living going?

2) Seek His Righteousness:

Many (most) people already think they are “Good Enough For Heaven” i.e. ‘Righteous’). But the Bible clearly teaches there are “NONE righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10.

Psalm 53:2-3 (KJV)
2  God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3  Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

We do good things, but the GOOD the Bible is talking about here is “Seeking AFTER God” i.e. Putting His Kingdom agenda first. He looks down from Heaven and sees that there is “NONE” who do that. There are none who seek Him the way He wants to be sought.

So we NEED God’s Righteousness more than anything else in our lives, because we don’t have a righteousness of our own. It’s HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS we need. Yes we do good things for other people, sometimes we do magnificent acts of great kindness and self-sacrifice, but God’s idea of goodness and righteousness is to seek after Him. Apart from God every act of kindness is tinged with the flesh, i.e. there are fleshly reasons for acting in the ways that we do: To look good in the eyes of others, to be well thought about in society, but what really matters in Eternity is not what others think about us, but what God thinks. If we’re seeking a kind of self-righteousness, thinking that our good deeds will outweigh our bad ones, then we need to think again. The GREATEST SIN is living life without putting God first… i.e. Commandments 1 and 2. If we live without God or seeking after Him, we’re guilty of making ourselves into our own god, which is idolatry.

Imagine how God must feel when those He created and gave the gift of life worship everything else apart from Him?

The Gift Of A TV Set:

To live the life that He has given to us without ever thinking about the ONE who gave us life, that’s the greatest sin imaginable.

It’s like the loving father who bought a TV for his kids. Before he got the TV, they’d come running up to him for kisses and cuddles when he got home from work. Overjoyed just to see their daddy home. After he got the TV, he was hurt when they sat in front of it and paid him no attention at all when he got home. Even if he shouted out to them, they’d just sit there glued to the TV set. He missed the cuddles and kisses of his children. So he walked right in front of the TV and turned it off. The kids moaned and groaned, but he said, “I’m so upset that you love that TV I gave you more than me now”… My friends, have you ever thought how God feels when we love life more than the one who gave us life? When we love this beautiful Creation more than the Creator? When we’re so enamoured with the things in this world, rather than the one who gave us them all to richly enjoy?

To live the life that He has given to us without ever thinking about the ONE who gave us life, that’s the greatest sin imaginable.

A Man After God’s Own Heart:

Remember the Bible called King David, “A man after God’s own heart”… i.e. King David sought the Lord. He looked for God. He wanted God’s priorities to be first in his life. King David did many horrible things in his lifetime, but the Bible accords him “Righteous”, not because of what he did or didn’t do in life, but because he sought the LORD with all his heart, mind, will and strength.

So, do you seek His Righteousness? We become righteous in God’s sight, when we respond to the Gospel invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord by faith. When we see that Jesus died in our place upon the Cross for all our sins and wickedness, he died for us. When we see that Jesus rose from the dead three days later and ascended into Heaven. Jesus is calling all people in the world to REPENT and turn away from life without God. To turn in repentance, letting go of our old way of ignoring God and turning to Him in faith to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed.

God wants to GIVE US THE KINGDOM: However, for Him to do so, it was very costly indeed. Jesus gave his life.

All we need to do to receive God’s Kingdom and life is turn in repentance and faith and receive Him as our KING: Then we’ll want to live our lives seeking first the Kingdom of God and we’ll want to live a holy and righteous life with Him.

When we seek first His Kingdom and when we seek first His Righteousness, then He, our Heavenly Father, will give us His Kingdom, He will give us what we NEED in life and we needn’t worry about how long we’re going to live, because ETERNITY is in our hearts, we’re going to LIVE FOREVER WITH HIM. Your needs will be met by God once you seek His Kingdom and His righteousness in all things.

Being ‘good’ in our own eyes, is good and right, but when it comes down to it, God will be looking to see if we’ve been good from His perspective. It’s a matter of righteousness not religiousness. He won’t look to see if you’ve been attending church, reading your Bible, doing good to others and praying. His priority is righteousness, are you good enough for Him? The honest answer He’ll be looking for is “NO!” I’m not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, because I’ve sinned and broken Your Commandments. However, Father in Heaven, I’ve put my faith and trust in Jesus, Your Son, and I know that His death upon the Cross was for my sins. I’ve asked for His forgiveness and turned in repentance and faith, I’ve received Him as my King. I know that I’m a member of His Kingdom Family.”

He’ll say, “Welcome, I’m PLEASED to give you the Kingdom”…

Praise the Lord!

Don.

 

Praying For Putin

Take up your Cross Daily

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

Praying For Those In Authority.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praying For Revival:

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

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

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

Praying With Jesus Every Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don.

 

Foolishness of D.I.Y. Faith

Boast ONLY in the Cross of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 698: Boast Only About Jesus.

What a DAY of D.I.Y. Taught me.

Good morning my friends, I had a wonderful day-off yesterday. Over at my daughter’s house, I was put to work on DIY. I don’t know how you feel about DIY, but I don’t relish the thought. However once I get started it’s quite good fun. Of course I was shadowed by my two year old grandson, Karamoko. He had his tools all ready too, but once he saw my new electric screwdriver, he wanted to play with that. I’ve never seen a kid so enthusiastic about helping with DIY, he loves toolboxes, tools, carrying, lifting heavy things and putting screws in. He also loves to watch “Bob the Builder”… He’s going to be absolutely brilliant at DIY one day soon. He helped me; put up a curtain rail, take apart a huge table, put together a new table, take apart his old cot and put together his brand new big-boy’s bed. He learned about taking care of the small packages of screws, following instructions, being careful with sharp things and how two are better than one.

DIY: Means “Do It Yourself”… As is my weakness or strength, I followed a rabbit trail yesterday and again this morning. The rabbit trail I’m talking about is Bible Study. Yesterday I wrote about us not being able to pull-the-wool over God’s eyes and how “God cannot be mocked” from Galatians 6. Well, I kept on reading and this little verse jumped out at me. It’s a bit like Karamoko going through the toolbox and finding an interesting item that he’s never seen before. You know what question he always asks don’t you? “What’s this Papa?” next “What’s it for Papa?”… Then I’ll have to say, “Here Moko, let me show you”…

Here’s what the LORD gave me to share from His Toolbox with you today.

Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

“May I never boast”: Truth is we all LOVE boasting. We long for others to know how brilliant we are, don’t we? Paul is not talking about the normal things in life here, he’s talking about boasting about how morally good he is or isn’t. The young Church in Galatia had been infested with Judaizers, Christians who wanted to keep the Jewish ceremonial laws and to belong to Christ at the same time. They were known for their boasting about it too and there was a real danger that some of the believers, who were young Christians, might be influenced to emulate their folly. That why Paul exclaimed, “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” Galatians 3:1.

NOTE: Judaizers is a term for Christians who insist that their co-religionists should follow the Law of Moses as well as being committed to Jesus Christ.

Their thinking was that because they kept the Jewish laws, they were like a kind of elevated Christian, a super Christian, better than ordinary Christians who merely trusted in the Grace, Mercy and Love of Jesus Christ. They boasted about the fact of how ‘religious’ they were and how observant of Jewish customs, traditions and laws.

You know my friends, religiosity counts for NOTHING in practical Christianity. It’s foolish to try and be ‘more’ religious. If you want to be a better Christian, and to be honest we all need to be better at following Jesus, don’t get more religious, get closer to Christ Himself.

That verse from; Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” reminded me of another similar teaching the LORD has already given to us.

Jeremiah 9:23-25 (NIV)
23  This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24  but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
25  “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—

WOWzer! Did you know that verse from the Lord’s toolbox? Now we can see what Paul was talking about can’t we? No wonder he declared: Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

You see my friends, Paul had been very ‘religious’ and he now counts all his religious knowledge, experience and understanding as rubbish, dross, empty and foolishness in comparison with knowing Christ Jesus as His Lord. That’s why he only wanted to boast about the Cross of Jesus. Not only that but, he couldn’t boast about Himself or his religious observance, because it didn’t bring him closer to God, it pulled him further and further away from God. Why? Because religion is DIY faith in Jesus and His Cross means “He did it for me”… It’s not our goodness that we’re trusting in, but the goodness of Jesus Christ.

Here’s is Paul’s argument about this in full, this is what he said to the young Christians in Philippi who were being troubled by Judaizers too.

Philippians 3:1-11 (NIV)
1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2  Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
3  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4  though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6  as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7  But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11  and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Question: Why would anyone who’s been saved by God’s Grace, Mercy and Kindness go back to being religious? Answer: They wouldn’t, couldn’t, but only FALSE Converts would think there is anything in being ‘religious’. Once you KNOW Jesus personally, it’s like being an unfaithful husband or wife to try ‘religion’ again to make you righteous in God’s sight. It’s DIY religion.

Going back to Judaism or the Law of Moses is a DIFFERENT faith entirely from that of following the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a DIY religion, you will be depending upon your own goodness not Christ’s. The reason it’s foolishness is because NO ONE, nobody will be declared righteous by observing the LAW. Romans 3:20. Because we all fall short, we all break God’s law and when we do, we’re contaminated with SIN.

So it’s no wonder Paul and the LORD got so upset when the Galatians, Philippians and many others began to practice ‘religiosity’ all over again.

Empty ritualistic religion will never save anyone, it’s a DIY faith.

  • Let’s be very careful that we boast ONLY in the Cross of Christ.
  • Let’s be JOY filled as we remind others that we’re NOT GOOD, because we’ve broken God’s Laws.
  • Let’s be EXCITED by the fact that Jesus alone is GOOD and He is the only way for mankind to be SAVED.

Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can see that there are times when I think I’m better than others at keeping the faith, help me always only to boast in the Cross of Jesus, His goodness, His love, His strength and the fact that I’m only saved by Your Grace, kindness and goodness and that You’ve drawn me to Yourself so that I can know You, the true and living God. Forgive me Lord for the times when I’ve been tempted to DIY my faith instead of relying upon the Holy Spirit to keep me from falling. Amen! Thank you so much for practical D.I.Y for when we’re doing the ordinary things in life, we can learn so much about the Spiritual aspects of life with You. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends.

You can learn a lot from grand-kids and DIY can’t you 🙂

Don.

 

Keep Going In The Spirit

Sowing and Reaping, God cannot be mocked

Daily Spirit & Word: 697:

Keep Going In The Spirit

Sowing and Reaping.

Galatians 6:7-10 (NIV)
7  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
8  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
 Good morning my friends, well what a stormy day yesterday was, I wasn’t looking forward to going out onto the streets sharing the Good News, it was cold and dark and wintry weather. However, we had a good team gathered to go, six of us from St Luke’s, so we split-up into twos; David and Sherrie, Ben and Gemma and Judy and me; after watching the newest video from “A New Reformation”, we were all fired-up to see the Lord at work in people’s lives. You know something, when you go in faith, you will not be disappointed my friends, we had some truly amazing encounters in sharing the Gospel and chatting with people about God’s Kingdom.
When we got back to the Parish Office afterwards and we all shared what happened, we saw that the Lord was with us. I love hearing from others how the Lord has used them and what He does is fantastically good. Even after years of sharing the Gospel I’m always encouraged and refreshed by how faithful Jesus Christ is to His Word.
When we look at those verses above from Galatians, you can be sure that God is serious; “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man (or woman) reaps what he sows”… Galatians 6:7. Now that’s a sobering verse from God’s Word.
Jesus gave us similar teaching in so many different ways: Sowing and Reaping.
In the Old Testament we see this principle illustrated in the lives of ancient forefathers and peoples.

 Jacob: Genesis 27-31.

Did you know that Jacob was a trickster: He pulled a fast-one on his older brother and father. He covered himself in animal hair to look, smell and feel like his older brother. He did so because his father Isaac was getting old and blind and Jacob wanted the blessing due to his older brother. You know the story, but he eventually succeeded and ran away to avoid a clash with his angry brother. REAPING WHAT YOU SOW: Jacob really did get blessed by God, but he also REAPED. He fell in love with Rachel and wanted to marry her. Rachel’s dad made Jacob work for seven years before he would be able to marry her. After those seven long years, he was looking forward to his wedding night. After all the ceremony was over, he removed the veil and lo and behold, he’d not married Rachel, but Leah her older sister. (You can read all about Jacob in Genesis 27-31, you’ll see what a trickster he was and how he REAPED WHAT HE HAD SOWN).
Isn’t that amazing? You reap what you sow. He tricked his father and brother, now his father-in-law had tricked him. He was the younger brother and he tricked his older brother. He wanted the younger sister Rachel, but was tricked into marrying the older sister Leah. You reap what you sow.
  • When you plant tomatoes (as I’m about to do in the next few days), you’ll reap little tomatoes.
  • When you plant potatoes, you’ll not get grapes at the harvest time, but little potatoes.
  • You reap what you sow.
Think Seriously About Mocking God: If we’re sowing to our FLESH then watch out.
Leviticus 26:14-20 (NIV)
14  ” ‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands,
15  and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,
16  then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.
17  I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no-one is pursuing you.
18  ” ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.
19  I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze.
20  Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.

Time Doesn’t Matter:

Did you know that they’ve found wheat seeds in the ancient Egyptian Tombs, they planted those 3000 year old seeds, guess what they got at harvest time? Wheat! Those seeds did not forget what they were after all those years in the tomb. My friends, God keeps a perfect record, and at the judgement throne of Jesus Christ, every believer will REAP WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN. God cannot be mocked.
Galatians 6:8  “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
 If we’ve sown to our flesh, then from that flesh we shall reap corruption (diseases and eventually premature death).
If we’ve sown to the Holy Spirit, then we shall reap everlasting life.
A man or woman REAPS WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN.
God cannot be mocked. So many believers are convinced that God will just ‘wink’ at their sins because they’ve repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ. They’ll say, “Jesus died upon the Cross for my sins, past, present and future, so I’m forgiven”… That’s right my friends, you have been forgiven, you are blessed with the gift of eternal life, but God wants to reward us for the good things we’ve done whilst in the body: but His rewards also include REAPING what we have SOWN. If we sow to the fleshly sinful nature, then God will reward us in kind. God cannot be mocked: He will not just wink at your sinful choices on the day when you come face to face with Jesus Christ. Remember God’s chosen, blessed and elected people of old: Jacob, Joseph, King David and Solomon… They were all God’s Chosen and Anointed: but they ALL, every single one of them, REAPED what they had sown to their SINFUL natures. God cannot be mocked.
If ever there was a sobering verse in the Bible it’s this one for every truly born again believer: “God cannot be mocked”… We can’t pull-the-wool over God’s eyes. We can’t trick Him. We can’t hide it from Him. He sees and Knows EVERYTHING we do.
Don’t forget those amazing words of encouragement too: Galatians 6:9 “9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. “
In Britain, we are one of the most watched nations on earth today: CCTV Cameras can see our every move. We walk up the street and little cameras are watching us. We go on a train or tube, or bus, there are little cameras filming us. CCTV is everywhere.
God wants us to KNOW that we are being observed from Heaven too.
Hebrews 12:1-6 (NIV)
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
We’re reminded that we are being watched from Heaven: God disciplines us now, He doesn’t want us to loose our rewards in Heaven, but wants to bless us with so many great and wonderful things, but God cannot be mocked. You will REAP what you have SOWN.
I love the Message Paraphrase of these verses from Galatians:
Galatians 6:7-10 (MSG)
7  Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!— 8  harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9  So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. 10  Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Response:

  • Repent and turn again to Jesus.
  • Confess your sins to Him now.
  • Seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit now.
  • God cannot be mocked, you will reap what you have sown.
  • Do it immediately.

Last night we met a young man who played in the worship team in his uncle’s church for years. He knew all about being “Born Again” but was waiting until the time was ‘right’ to get right with Jesus. Imagine that, in the WORSHIP TEAM for years, knowing the Gospel and just waiting until the time is right. He was too young to need Jesus, he thought. He was waiting. My friends, imagine what would have happened if that young man had waited and got knocked over by a bus, where would he be spending his Eternity? We need Jesus NOW. We can’t play at being ‘Church’. God cannot be mocked.

 Then, If we sow to the spirit, then from the spirit we shall reap a wonderful harvest in God’s Kingdom. So don’t get weary in doing good my friends, especially to those who are from the household of faith, brothers and sisters in Jesus’ Kingdom Family.
Prayer: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, when I think of the times that I’ve chosen to feed my sinful nature, it fills me with great sadness. When I’ve chosen the flesh over the Spirit, I know that Heaven has been watching, the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” However, I know that when I turn to You in faith and true repentance, I’m forgiven, cleansed and renewed in Spirit. I know that You discipline those who come to You Lord. Help me today in my walk with You, I want to be full of Your Holy Spirit so that I can live the abundant holy life that You have called me for. I want to live in obedience to Your teachings Lord Jesus. Amen!!
 It was so good going out last night to share the Gospel with folks on the streets, the LORD was with us then, He’s with us NOW. If you are a believer in Jesus, there’s not a moment in time that He’s not with you. You have been set-apart and sealed with God the Holy Spirit. LIVE like the Prince or Princess that you are. You are an Ambassador for Jesus in this world, let them see Jesus in you.
Don.
P.S. Please pray for the people we chatted with last night. We had brilliant conversations and shared the Gospel with: Ebeneezer, Craig, Ada and and Italian man called Carlos.  Pray also for all those that the other members of the team chatted with and the many who received Gospel tracts but were just too busy or in a rush to get home last night.

Sowing to the Spirit or the Flesh:

Paul puts it like this: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (6:8a). Every time we nurse a grudge, spread gossip, linger in bad company whose influence we cannot long resist, every time we watch or read pornographic materials, we are sowing seeds that will reap corruption in our fellowship with God, our families, and our witness.

But he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (6:8b). What does it mean to sow to the Spirit? It means we allow the Spirit to do things that produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (5:22-23a).

When we sow to the Spirit, we also will reap life everlasting. The word everlasting refers not only to the duration of life but also the quality of life. Therefore, we can experience heaven here and now. How does Jesus express this fact in John 10:10b?
Journey Series – Book Studies – Journey Series – Book Studies.

Healing on The Sabbath

Healing on the Sabbath

Daily Spirit & Word: 666:

Religious People Want To Kill Jesus.

Opposition to Jesus is Growing Today.

Good morning my friends, it’s frightful that there are such striking similarities between attitudes towards Jesus and the Christian faith in His time and our own. We’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, it’s remarkable how much the opposition to Jesus is growing, and today we’ll discover how the plot thickens to such a boiling point that they want to kill the Lord Jesus: To murder Him.  Also, there are growing hostilities towards Christians and Christianity in the world today.

Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there.
2  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
3  Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4  Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5  He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
6  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

The Place: It’s a synagogue. 

The Temple in Jerusalem was not the only place that Jewish people gathered and worshipped the LORD. Because it was impractical to get to the Temple every week from all over the Land, Synagogues (Places of worship) were established to encourage devotion to God and instruct the Jews in the understanding of the Scriptures.

Note: Mark doesn’t tell us anything about what they did in the Synagogue that day, but by saying Synagogue, we know what they will have been doing; Praying, reading from the Jewish Scriptures, Study and sometimes a Rabbi would do some teaching / instruction. It was considered a Holy Place because of the worship of the LORD. It was also a meeting place for the Jewish Community.

The Man With The Shrivelled Hand.

Mark Immediately brings our attention to the subject: The Man with the Shrivelled hand and the fact that the Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus of being a Sabbath Breaker.

Why? Why were they looking to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath? By now the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a man of great compassion for people. He’d been healing many people of all kinds of diseases. Perhaps they even planted the man in the Congregation that day. (They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus).

They watched Him closely… This reveals to us their attitude towards Jesus ministry, that they were very intent of finding a reason to get rid of him. However, we need to understand why there was this growing tension.

You’ve probably heard the expression; “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, well, these Jewish religious leaders had also been scorned, they’d been upset by Jesus actions, teaching and public correction.

Some Background: (Shows us WHY they wanted to get rid of Jesus).

  • Remember that Jesus said He had come for “Sinners” not the righteous. Mark 2:17.
  • Remember that Jesus didn’t KEEP their RULES. Mark 2:18, 23.
  • Remember that Jesus had shown them they were wrong; from their own Holy Book: The Scriptures. Their understanding of their own religion was wrong. Mark 2:19-22, 25, 26.
  • Remember that Jesus even dared to say; That HE was LORD of the Sabbath. Mark 2:28.

It’s NO WONDER: It’s not a surprise to us now that they were opposed to Jesus, so the Pharisees began looking for a good reason to ACCUSE Him. A way to bring righteous judgement upon Jesus own head so that they could get rid of this upstart, this troublemaker.

MOST PEOPLE TODAY: The Attitude of People Today.

Most people today don’t hate Jesus nor are they opposed to Him the way that the religious Jews were in this account from Mark. The vast majority who know history and a little bit of the Bible think that Jesus was a very good man, Muslims believe Jesus was a Prophet, but they don’t hate Him. Most people today, know about Jesus teachings, but they just choose not to follow Him or His teachings. It’s as if Jesus is irrelevant to modern day life for most people. However that indifferent attitude changes once people really understand the implications of Jesus teaching and ministry even today.

The truth is: If we really UNDERSTAND Jesus we will either; love Him or hate Him.

  • We will LOVE Him; because He came into this world to be our Saviour: Who saves us as sinners from God’s wrath and judgement and condemnation to Hell.
  • Or we will HATE Him: because He reveals our sinful condition and that we a guilty before God.

RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: The Pharisees of Jesus Time:

We must also remember, it was in a Synagogue: This was a Holy Place, these people were very religious. However, it also shows us (perhaps as a warning today) that it’s possible to be “very religious” and yet be far away from God.

John the Baptist called these Pharisees; Hypocrites (they didn’t live like they should) and “A brood of vipers” (A viper is a poisonous snake) and “Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones” (Looking pure, clean and good on the outside, but inside they are DEAD). That’s what the Bible reveals about these ‘religious’ Pharisees: But today we’re going to see that they were also Treacherous and Deadly.

HEALING ON THE SABBATH:

They were watching to see if Jesus would HEAL on the SABBATH.

Is it WRONG to heal on the Sabbath day?

According to the Pharisees it was considered WORK.

According to Jesus: It was an opportunity to show COMPASSION. (Verse 4, )

As we discovered last week: it is WRONG to WORK on the Sabbath: However, is doing GOOD deeds for others what God would consider WORK?

Think About It: Exodus 35:2 (NIV) “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”

God has said that we can work in our regular employment for SIX DAYS a WEEK: But the seventh day is to be a day of rest from our LABOURS and a Day to Honour Him….i.e. It’s our NORMAL EMPLOYMENT, our work activity that we’re to rest from.

Remember what Jesus said about the Sabbath: “The Sabbath was made for man (for man’s benefit), not man for the Sabbath”.

Then we come to Jesus ‘Healing on the Sabbath’. Get this and you’ll get real REVELATION.

THE MAN WITH THE SHRIVELLED HAND.

Note: In those days, there was no welfare state, no disability allowances. If a man had a shrivelled hand, his employment was limited. You can’t use a powerless, useless hand to do anything. He was crippled. No wonder Jesus had compassion upon him. That’s what God is like my friends, He sees our NEED and longs to do something about it. Either through other people, you and me or through a miracle.

HERODIANS:

These were people who supported King Herod: Herod was a vassal Jesus King, a Supporter of Rome. Normally the Pharisees and Herodians hated each other, but now they were joining together in a plot to kill Jesus.

HARD HEARTED PHARISEES:

This section of the Bible is really SAD: Because it shows that we can be very religious and devoted in our religion, but become so hard-hearted that we begin to loose our compassion for people.

  • Every time we see a person in need; it’s God’s appointment to do something good.
  • Every time we see a person with trouble; God’s bringing them to our attention, to be His hands, His voice, His presence for them.

The Pharisees; they looked at this man with a shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do wrong.

The Lord Jesus: viewed the man with the shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do something good; to show compassion, care, love, concern, sympathy. He healed him on the Sabbath (God is ALWAYS willing to do us good, every day).

What does Mark 3:1-6 show us today?

  • In Jesus we observe a willingness to care;
  • That God cares, is interested in the minute of our daily lives.
  • That God Heals and does ‘good’ every single day. He doesn’t consider doing ‘good’ for others work, but a Joy and a Delight.
  • It also shows us how much we should be concerned for our fellow-man; to have fellow feelings. To show and demonstrate LOVE by doing good whenever we can, even on the Sabbath or Holy Day.
  • It also reveals that Jesus Christ considers Healing and Doing Good a joy and delight rather than WORK. 
  • Opposition towards Jesus grew the more good that He did; don’t be surprised when you are doing good and the world hates you all the more for it.

Jesus Anger and Distress:

The Verse That Gets Me Today: Jesus feelings revealed:

Mark 3:5  “He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”

They would not answer Jesus. He asked them a question and they refused to answer.

“Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath day, to do good or evil, to save life or to kill?” It’s OBVIOUS! The Answer was so obvious, but they remained silent.

My friends, that attitude got Jesus Christ very ANGRY indeed.

Not only angry, but deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the receiving end of Jesus’ anger or wrath or to make Him distressed at my stubborn heart. I want to be able to shout out in response to Jesus question; “Oh LORD Jesus, let me be one of your followers today who’ll answer loudly; “To do good and to save life”…. Amen!

It also shows us that it’s possible to be very religious and remain Hard-Hearted and Stubborn. Religious but closed-off towards God.

They were NOT willing to learn from Jesus Christ; they remained STUBBORN HEARTED. He challenged their positions of power, but He also challenged their attitudes to other people in many different ways; the sinners, the outcasts, the sick, the poor, the lame; Jesus was always willing to; CARE, to TOUCH the Untouchables, to have compassion and to DO GOOD. Are we?

We too, like Jesus may become angry and distressed at the stubborn unbelief of people in the world. Also there is growing opposition and tension between Christians and the world under Satan’s blindness. Christians and Christianity are the least tolerated group of people in the world today. It seems to be OK to blaspheme Jesus on TV, Movies and even mainstream media, but not the faith of Islam, Hinduism etc… Have you ever asked yourself why that is? This attitude of indifference, unbelief and hostility will only get worse as time draws ever closer to the return of Jesus in glory. But don’t stay angry too long, get the big picture, the LORD is in control, He’s coming soon.

So what should our attitude be like?

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath Day, but instead of rejoicing and giving thanks to God for a miracle, the opposition increased. To such a point that they eventually took the life of the most Holy man to walk the Earth; the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified.

When you focus upon the Son of God, and determine in your heart to live His way, then He seems to have a way of drying your tears and easing your fears. He makes your burdens lighter and your pathway brighter. When you decide to honour the King of Kings, He will supply all your needs. When you love Jesus, then your fear melts away as fast as the snow did in London yesterday. Amen.

Finally: One Day EVERYBODY will have to face this Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:7-8 (NIV  “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

These Pharisees and the Herodians with the Romans and Jews eventually succeeded in their plotting and managed to KILL Jesus Christ on the Cross. However; Praise the LORD: He is ALIVE today, because the grave couldn’t keep Him.

Every EYE: will see Him. Those who pierced Him: The Pharisees, The Herodians, The Romans, The Jews, You and Me: We’ll all see Jesus one day. On that day; we’ll either be rejoicing because we’ve turned in repentance and faith or we’ll “mourn because of Him”… But on that Day: Every knee will bow before Him.

Let’s make certain we’re in that number who’ll be rejoicing and not mourning on the Day that Jesus comes. Amen!

  • Have Compassion of Jesus every day.
  • Remember He still cares for you.
  • Respond to Jesus teaching.
  • Repent from your sins and hardness of heart today.
  • Receive Him as your LORD.

Let us pray:

Hope you all have a wonderful week full of the JOY of the LORD Jesus Christ.

Don’t get too perplexed at the opposition towards Christianity, it’s pre-ordained and will grow as the time draws for Jesus return in glory. Remain steadfast and fix your eyes on Jesus. Live joyfully in His abundant life and look forward to being with Him forever. Amen.

 

Christmas Freedom From Knowing the KING

Knowing King Jesus instead of Knowing About Him

Daily Spirit & Word;655;

How to Have A Happy Christmas: When Jesus Sets You Free.

Jesus is the KING of The Heavenly Kingdom.

The Incredible Peace & Freedom When Jesus Is Your King.

Good morning my friends, we’ve had an amazing week of Carol Services, with more to come; Christingle Making on Saturday at 2.00pm, then a party at Jonathan and Louise’s house. On Sunday our BIG Carol Service with Cristingles and Crib… BUT do you KNOW the KING of Christmas. Jesus is the KING and knowing him is very different from knowing all about Him. To get the Angelic promise of PEACE AND GOODWILL TOWARDS MANKIND, you’ll need to get to know the King personally.

The late, great Dr. Vance Havner had this to say:

“One does not ordinarily associate law books with songbooks, mandates with music. But here’s a man to whom the law of the Lord is no burdensome thing, a pattern of hard lines. Here’s a radiant believer to whom law is liberty and service like unto a happy song.

One may be good in such a bad way.

Some of us have punctiliously kept the statutes but have failed to sing the songs. We have whiteness but no light. The Christian life does have its stern, unyielding requirements; but every law has a song written on the back and between the requirements runs the refrain. Duty turns to delight and mandates become melodies.

There must be a law if there is to be liberty.

Try to play a piano and you will run into laws as fixed as the decrees of the Medes and Persians. But through those statutes you reach the songs, drudgery leads to delight. The law of Christ brings the liberty of Christ. Keep His statutes, and they become songs.

The other side of commandment is conquest. What seems restraint to the outsider means release to you.

  • “Ye shall know the truth”—there are the statutes.
  • “The truth shall make you free”—there is the song.

But to know the truth is to know Him, otherwise it is legalism. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” His law book becomes a song book!”

From “The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority”: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld. ( by Adrian Rogers).

There is also Jesus promise about His requirements:

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

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.”

That promise of being able to follow Christ’s Commands, Laws and Decrees and His doctrines, is given in sharp contrast to the almost impossible and heavy, burdensome demands of the legalists of Jesus day, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. When we just have duty without release, service without reward, obedience without experience, it becomes legalism. We must try and be obedient, but our obedience and the desire to be obedient stem from our nearness to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must come to HIM in order to be set free and filled with joy. Or we’ll just become religious or legalists or worse; we’ll become both at the same time; religious legalists. Only through knowing Jesus as your KING will you be set free from the impossible demands of God’s Law or any man made religious laws.

  • There is an invitation at Christmas: “Come to me” said Jesus.
  • There is a way to respond to Jesus at Christmas: “Repent, Believe, Receive, Return, and be Renewed”.
  • There is a promise when we respond to Jesus invitation at Christmas: “Freedom and New Life”.
  • There is a NEW SONG in your heart, you will KNOW the TRUTH and the truth will make you FREE. That will lead to singing songs of freedom, joy, release, i.e. “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed Thee”. From the song “And can it be”…
  • There is a New Desire in your life once you KNOW Jesus as KING: You’ll love God’s Law, You’ll long to be obedient, You’ll be transformed in such a way that His Law is your delight. Being Holy is not something that’s a secret anymore, you’re every molecule and fragment of being will be crying out to be completely free from the desires of the flesh. You’ll discover that freedom with Jesus as KING this Christmas.

YBH: Yes But How? How do we know if we know Him?

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey my commands”… We’ll know if we know Jesus if there is a strong desire to live in obedience to His teachings, commands, decrees. They will not seem burdensom. The Law of God changes from something that seems harsh, restrictive and designed to ruin our enjoyment of this world, into something that becomes a joy and delight to the believer who is close to Jesus Christ. However, once you KNOW Jesus, then you’ll also KNOW that God gave us the Commandments because He loves us, has a plan to prosper us and enable us to live in His freedom. The Law of the LORD is light. You’ll delight in God and He’ll give you the desires of your heart. Your desires will change though, because once, when you were in darkness, you longed for the things of this world, the same things the people of the world long for, but once you’re set free, they are no longer so attractive, you’ll long instead to be filled with God’s goodness; the New Wine of the Kingdom.

Jesus invites you to come to Him today, when you respond in repentance, faith and trust, you will receive; Him, New Life, Freedom from Sin’s power to control you, freedom from Satan’s rule in your life and freedom to live in God’s power and authority.

When you know Jesus, the KING that the wise men worshipped and presented with gifts, you’re going to have an AWESOME Christmas.

Your Kingdom Come Lord Jesus.

Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus my friends,

Don.

 

SING THIS AWESOME HYMN:

AND CAN IT BE:

1 And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

(NOTE: Verse One speaks about the almost ubelievable fact that someone so good, so holy and so pure, would die for a sinner who’s broken God’s commandments, someone like me. It really is ‘amazing love’ we wonder ‘how can it be’?)

Refrain:
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

2 ‘Tis mystery all! Th’Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
‘Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more. [Refrain]

(NOTE: Verse two speaks about the mystery of the Gospel, that even Angels couldn’t understand and wanted to know about from the beginning of time, but was only revealed after Jesus dies and rose again).

3 He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me. [Refrain]

(NOTE: Verse 3; speaks about the joy of being set free when you come to Jesus. The truth of Jesus pre-existence before coming from Heaven to Earth, how He emptied Himself of some of His Godly attributes to take on human flesh, but couldn’t empty Himself of love).

4 Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain]

(NOTE: Verse 4 is jam-packed with truth. It tells of the imprisoned sinner, bound in sin it’s like darkness, but when we come to Jesus, we get the awesome light and we see the dungeon for what it is; sin is a horrible dungeon, an prison, it keeps it’s prisoners in chains that are impossible for mankind to break on their own, “fast bound”. 2 Corinthians 4:4. The Gospel the knowledge of Christ’s death for law-breaking sinners, will make those chains fall off. Fantastic! Freedom!).

5 No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]

NOTE: Verse 5: Once we KNOW Jesus and Jesus knows us; there is unspeakable joy and freedom, “No condemnation” the dread of facing God’s judgement is taken away. We’re ‘Alive in Him’; i.e. Jesus gives us life in Himself when we receive Him as Lord. We can approach the throne of GRACE boldly.)…

There’s the Modern Worship Song: Break Every Chain.
Jesus will set you completely free: “I Am the Vine” John 15.