Fan into Flame The Gift of God

Peter and John, they took note, these men had been with Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 769: Time With Jesus Every Day.

“FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD…” Timothy.

“They Took Note: These Men Had Been With Jesus.” Peter and John.

Good morning my friends, very soon I’m going to begin studying Paul’s Letters to Timothy. These are some of Paul’s warmest and yet most challenging letters in the New Testament. Timothy needed the Apostle’s tender encouragement, we do too. I’ll go through them systematically and you can follow them here at Daily Spirit & Word. However, let’s wet our appetites today with Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, and also Peter and John’s experience of having their GIFT fanned into flame.

2 Timothy 1:3-7 (NIV)
3  I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
4  Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

That “Gift Of God” sometimes called “The Anointing”: is the passion, zeal and desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Each and every Christian needs ENCOURAGEMENT: Because this calling is a tough one, we need it to get our flickering flame glowing from a spark into a burning flame of light for Jesus.

One of the things that keeps me on fire is being with Jesus in Daily Study of the Bible. It’s something I’ve been doing since I started following the LORD. Oh yes there have been times when I’ve stopped for a short while, but I can testify from sometimes bitter experience that I’ve been my weakest when I’m not with Jesus every day in His Word.

Daily Bible Study: Is just ONE of the ways you can “Fan into Flame the Gift of God”. How? Because God’s Word FEEDS your soul and spirit. It moves you to praise, prayer and seeking the power of the Lord. You don’t have to read much of God’s Word to soon realise that you NEED His personal presence with you and in you every day.

There are many wonderful gifts the LORD has given His followers that will ignite our faith; here are the main ones, neglect just one at your peril:

How to FAN into FLAME the Gift of God:

What is the gift you’ve been given? First and most important is the GIFT OF FAITH to believe in the LORD Jesus Christ for Salvation.

Here are some of the ways my FIRE keeps going;

1) Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving…
2) Bible Reading / Study.
3) Fellowship: Gathering in some way with God’s people every day.
4) Worship: Singing, Praising and giving thanks to the Lord.
5) Discipleship: Helping others to grow closer to Jesus with you.
6) Evangelism: This not only brings others into the Kingdom Family, but it also strengthens the faith and gifts that the LORD has given you. Philemon 1:6.
7) Generosity: When you are close to Jesus, you are going to be kind like Jesus. You’ll long to give and give…
8) LOVE: When we’re filled with God’s Holy Spirit daily, we’ll be FULL of His LOVE… This will enable us to LOVE others.
9) ……. I’m open to anything else being added here 🙂

I try and incorporate these things into my life almost every single day, and in that way, the FLAME is ignited and kept burning brightly for Jesus.

Whilst I know and acknowledge that this would be and is very difficult for most people, you have commitments; family, children, work. You have responsibilities; cleaning, caring, cooking. You have hobbies and need time to relax as well. Non-the-less, time spent with Jesus in one of these ways every day will transform your life. You will notice that suddenly you’ve actually got more free time, more energy, more self-control. You’ll notice that your desires will be changing and you’ll begin to love the opportunities that the LORD is bringing to you.

So many people testify to the fact that they get the POWER from the LORD they’ve been looking for for ages, when they follow these simple steps and put into practice some of the teachings of Jesus every day.

Here’s the verse the LORD put on my heart to share with you today. (NOTE it’s verse 13 from the passage below). Peter and John had healed a man and the commotion that followed led to them being arrested and thrown into prison.

Acts 4:5-14 (NIV)
5  The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.
6  Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.
7  They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
9  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,
10  then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
11  He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’
12  Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
13  When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
14  But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

What do I get from this passage?

When you are WITH JESUS EVERY DAY: You’ll soon see miracles happening all around you too. The miracles might seem small to start with, but they’ll encourage you and “FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF FAITH GOD HAS GIVEN YOU”… even more.

When you do things, good things, for Jesus; then it can lead to persecution. Jesus promised this would happen. It’s happening today my friends, to Christians all over the world. In England too; the other day in Bristol a man who was being abused by a large crowd when out preaching the Gospel and was arrested. He was exercising his freedom to speak publicly (something we can do legally here in the UK), but he was arrested instead of the ones abusing him. Don’t be surprised when persecution comes, but still; be gentle, be loving, be kind and compassionate, because it happened to Jesus as well.

We think today that the Methodists are very peaceful people, indeed they are, but when John Wesley visited a town or village in Cornwall, there were riots, he was often chased out of town, with all sorts of things being thrown at him. He noted in his journals, “It was a good day today, only three rotten tomatoes and a dead cat thrown at me”…

John Wesley was a Holy Spirit anointed and gifted preacher, thousands were moved to tears and repentance when he spoke, but his experience in Scotland (Accross the Tweed) needs special note.

“The applications of Wesley’s sermons were never slurred (He strove for simplicity and application). The discourses in the Scotch kirks (churches) struck him as specially defective in this respect. 1 On one occasion he speaks of the excellent truths he there listened to, but adds, “As there was no application, it is likely to do as much good as the singing of a lark.” His own experience in Scotland was not encouraging. Though he never met with people who loved preaching like his friends across the Tweed, he often felt helpless in the presence of those self-contained hearers. “Use the most cutting words, and apply them in the most pointed manner, still they hear, but feel no more than the seats they sit upon !” http://wesley.nnu.edu/?id=102

Sometimes, even the most gifted, powerful and Spirit filled preachers can’t break through the hardest hearts. It might be helpful to note that in the Scottish Borders at the time of John Wesley that Freemasonry was taking root. It was growing into a powerful organisation with influence in many spheres of society. It’s no wonder that even Wesley found it hard to break through into their hearts: ““Use the most cutting words, and apply them in the most pointed manner, still they hear, but feel no more than the seats they sit upon !”

PETER & JOHN

Peter and John, now filled with Holy Spirit POWER (Power to heal a man crippled from birth), but like the anointed Wesley, they also couldn’t break through into the hard-hearted high priestly family and the leaders in Jerusalem. Even though they’d witnessed a great and obvious miracle… Sometimes, there are people in this world who are so hard-hearted it seems almost impossible to break through into the soft-flesh of their hearts. That’s when ONLY PRAYER and sometimes FASTING will work. Why? Because every conversion of any soul is a work of the Holy Spirit upon that individual. And often before we see a breakthrough, the LORD wants us, those who love and follow Him, to draw even closer to Himself. When we do, we’ll soon discover that it’s not our anointing or gifting or strength, but His divine moving upon the hearts of men. When we do we’ll have our own FAITH IGNITED “Fan into flame the gift of God”…

I’m going to study Timothy, because I see that he needed encouragement from the Apostle Paul to fan into flame the gift of God, I need that too. We all need encouragement my friends, and as I study Paul’s letters to Timothy I hope we will all be set-ablaze with God’s GLORIOUS GIFTS too. Perhaps as we draw close to Jesus this week, we’ll see awesome miracles like Peter and John did on the way to the temple to pray.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, as I draw close to Jesus every day this coming week, I pray that the gift of faith you’ve given me will become a burning fire. I want to serve you with zeal, love, devotion and power. Help me to make use of those things that will ignite my faith; prayer, praise, worship, Bible reading and study, fellowship, witnessing and love… I’m praying that You will be glorified with my life this week. Come afresh into my life in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour I pray. Amen!

Acts 4:13  When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…

They took note that Peter and John had been with Jesus, they were just ordinary men, they knew HOW to fan into flame the gift of God. By being with Jesus, so we can do the same things every day.

Haven an awesome week WITH JESUS my friends,

Don.

 

How’s Your First Love

Revelation Letter to Ephesus forsaken first love

Daily Spirit & Word: 695: Letters to the Churches.

How’s Your First Love?

Good morning my friends, after Sunday comes Monday. Do you sometimes get those Monday Morning Blues? You know the feeling, the weekend has been great, but it is over and it’s back to work as usual. Sometimes life can become repetitive and mundane. We’ve got the endless rounds of politics, elections, and horrible slandering of politicians in the News. European exit or stay campaigning. Who to believe?  Perhaps we’re hungering for something new, something bright, something cheery, some really great NEWS to burst forth into our lives, news that will make the whole world so happy that they’ll just stop in their tracks and get along with one another and seek the common good of everyone. Imagine a world like that, a world without war and rumours of war. A world without disasters or disease or even death. Imagine a world where people really did love and care for each other. Wouldn’t that be outstanding? What would it take for the world to become more like the way the LORD Created it to be?

Of course we do see glimmers of it, real kindness and care from people who don’t hog the limelight. Generous people who give so much of their time and talents to a world that doesn’t even care or notice. Even in the face of blatant ingratitude, there are people who don’t even seem to count the cost to themselves and just keep on giving and giving. My wife’s a bit like that, I’m just so blessed to have a wonderful woman who really knows how to LOVE and not count the cost. Perhaps one day, like the man who was recognised many years after the war for his efforts to get hundreds of Jewish children over to the UK from Europe, away from the threats of Nazi death camps. That story made so many people cry with his selfless dedication and the risks that he took to SAVE those children. I think what moved us all was the children and grandchildren of the ones he’d saved, because without him none of them would be around today. Yes my friends there are glimmers of real HOPE in the world today.

As we reflect upon Jesus’ Letters to the Churches in early first century of Christianity, can you imagine what it must have been like for them receiving a letter from Jesus Christ?

I’m also wondering what Jesus would say to me. What would he say to you? What would He say to your Church or your leadership? Let’s take a little sneaky-peak into what Jesus wanted to say to those first Christians living in Asia all those years ago.

Revelation 2:1-7 (NIV) Jesus Message to the Christians in Ephesus. 
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
6  But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Do you remember what the Seven Stars and Seven Lampstands represented? (See the end of Chapter 1 of Revelation).

My friends, Jesus is walking amongst those churches, their leaders and every Christian. He’s not stopped walking amongst us also. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Nothing in all Creation. He knows everything.

Jesus reveals to John that He KNOWS all about those brothers and sisters in Ephesus.

He KNOWS their;

  • Deeds,
  • Hard work,
  • Perseverance,
  • Intolerance of wickedness,
  • Testing the Apostles, to see who’s true or false (We hate it if someone calls someone a ‘false prophet or false convert’ today don’t we, but right judgement of people is obviously a very high priority for our Heavenly Enthroned Risen and Alive Lord Jesus Christ.).
  • Perseverance is mentioned again (Verse 3)
  • Enduring hardships because of Jesus Name (The Christians in Ephesus were persecuted terribly in the first century). But they didn’t grow weary because of it.

Jesus really does KNOW these brothers and sisters in Ephesus. They have a great deal to commend and encourage. However, Jesus goes onto remind them of something critical to their walk with Him: They had forsaken their first LOVE! i.e. their DEVOTION to HIM as LORD. How had they done that? Jesus doesn’t go into the details, isn’t that so like Jesus, He knows but he’s not telling anybody how they’ve fallen, but the fact that He knows they have would have hit them so powerfully, because it’s obvious from everything else that Jesus says that once the really did love Him with all their hearts.

Imagine getting a letter from Jesus today and He said that about you?

You are very religious, you do great works, you even persevere under great trials, but you have FORSAKEN Me… oH WOWzer! How convicting, how terrible… Could it really be true that we can be all those things and yet not be walking with Jesus?

Notice: Jesus’ Compassionate Way:

Have you stopped to consider the gentle and compassionate way that Jesus reveals their spiritual condition and the danger they are in unless they turn once again to Him in true repentance?

He first Commends them with a deep knowledge of their TRIUMPHS, then rebukes them for their FAILINGS, then Encourages them once again for their practical righteousness. Now all they need to do is TURN back to Him and He’s promising them amazing rewards; access to the Tree of Life.

“I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”.

It’s like Jesus is counselling a young married couple who’ve gone through a real testing time in their relationship. I’ve known many a marriage be tested to the point of breaking because of financial difficulties, unfaithfulness or communication breakdown. It makes one or both of the parties believe that they’d be much better apart, their once burning love for each other has dimmed to a smouldering-wick. Or like a B&Q long-life light bulb, that’s meant to last a life-time, but only last a few months, before it begins to turn on very slowly and then you’ll notice just a little orange glow instead of bright white-hot light. So many marriages are like that because of the way we live our lives at break-neck speed. But so is our walk with Jesus, it suffers because we’re trapped in a lifestyle that demands so much of our time and attention, devotion to Jesus suffers as a result: “I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”

Just as a married couple can be shown how to re-kindle their passionate love for one another, by getting them in touch with the feeling they once felt for on another at the beginning of their relationship. So Lord Jesus is calling the Ephesian Christians to come back to their FIRST LOVE. He’s encouraging them to REMEMBER. “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” The Christians is Ephesus were once so on fire with Love for Jesus they were ready to give their lives in His service.

What happens when we forsake Jesus?

Our passion for close communion with Him slowly dies.

  • I feel Jesus is asking me today “Donald, do you really love me like you did when you first came to trust me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying, “My love for you has not diminished, but where’s your passionate love for Me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying to me; “I know ALL that you are doing for Me and I think that’s just great, but where am I in all of it?”

You see my friends, we serve a RISEN Saviour, He’s in the world today, I know that He is LIVING whatever men may say, He’s right beside me, He’s inside me, He’s closer than a brother, He’s kinder than the Auntie who loved you no matter what you did. Jesus wants you back. He wants you to LOVE Him more than anything else in this world.

Prayer: “I want to thank you Lord Jesus for the gentle way you remind me to stay close to You as a first order priority in all that I do. Everything else is dross compared to knowing You Jesus. Amen!” “O Lord Jesus, I’m also praying for all my brothers ans sisters in Your Kingdom Family, that they too will have their FIRST LOVE rekindled, so they’ll want to be close to You always. Amen!”

Sometimes, we Forsake Jesus, because other loves creep into our lives, then slowly but surely we find that we’re not as passionate or on fire about Jesus or His desires or His likes or His wishes.

He’s calling YOU back to Himself. Keep going with the great things you are doing for Jesus, but LOVE Him first, the REWARDS will far exceed any sacrifice you have to make when you forsake this world and the pleasures it offers.

How’s your first love?

Have an awesome week with Jesus.

Don.

 

Get Your Personal Revelation Of Jesus

Revelation Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 688: “Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Me, Jesus”

You Need: “A Personal Revelation Of Jesus.”

Good morning my friends, well, it was a FALSE ALARM, Stephanie is still waiting and so are we, the baby didn’t come last night. Ahhh… It won’t be long though! You know that WAITING on something helps us to learn to be PATIENT.

Today we’re back with Revelation and John is describing the Vision that he had of Jesus. The words that John used to describe his vision of Jesus reveal that Lord in Heaven looks like: A King in Splendour, A High Priest and A Judge.

Revelation 1:12-18 (NIV)
12  I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13  and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man”, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.
14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
15  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

When John, who was “In The Spirit” heard the thunderous / trumpet like sound, he’s telling us what we’d all instinctively do; He turned to see who it was that was speaking so loudly. This is reminiscent of the rumbling thunderous sound that Moses and the People of Israel heard when the Lord was on the Mountain and Moses ascended to receive the Ten Commandments. Of course we know it was the SAME voice speaking. In contrast it’s different from the “Small Quiet Voice” King David heard.

The Seven Golden Lampstands: Remind us of the Tabernacle with it’s golden lampstand and Seven lamps that were meant to be lit every day by the Priest. Here in Revelation we’ll see that they represent Seven Churches, but even those churches are representative of every Church / Christian down through the ages. (See Also: Exodus 25:31-32, 37). You’ll note that the Lampstand in the Tabernacle on Earth was just one with seven lamps on top, this lampstand represented the Unity of the Tribes of Israel. However, in Heaven they are individual Lampstands and they represent Churches in Heaven. We are to keep shining our light for Jesus Christ in this world, our light is shining in Heaven too.

The Son of Man: “Someone “Like A SON of Man””… We know from both the Old Testament and Jesus own revelation in the Gospels that this is Jesus. He was God whilst he was on the Earth, but He looked just like everybody else, like the son of an ordinary man. i.e. John is telling us, though He looked like a human being, there was something very different about Him. We’ll see that too, because how many ordinary men do you see carrying Stars in their hands or having a sword coming out of their mouth and feet like molten hot metal or a face as bright as the sun in all it’s brilliance? Ezekiel 1:26 and Daniel 7:31. However, Jesus is in Heaven just like a human being. He’s like us but very different. He’s the same Jesus who walked and talked and touched unclean people to make them whole again. He’s the same Jesus who’s hands were pierced by nails. However, we’re going to see He’s also very different in Heaven.

The Dress of the Son of Man: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.” Who else do we know who dresses like that? Of course it’s the High Priest and Kings. The Golden Sash is like the Priest’s Girdle which was worn high and under his breast. The Gold represents Royalty.

Jesus is not just sitting on a Throne in Heaven: He’s our Great Hight Priest and Our Advocate (Lawyer) with the Father (1 John 2:1) I read somewhere that, “In Heaven Jesus is doing more for us every day, than He did for us upon the Cross” I know that sounds strange, but Jesus is continually coming before the Father on your behalf. He’s the High Priest and His Sacrifice upon the Cross is a constant reminder in Heaven that He paid the price of all your sins. Now He pleads your cause with the Father. That’s how we can approach the Throne with boldness, we’re completely covered in the Righteousness of Christ.

White Hair and Blazing Eyes: Those eyes sound so scary don’t they. I’ve seen movies with creatures with blazing eyes, but the LORD’S blazing eyes are eyes that can SEE everything. He knows everything. His Holy Eyes are on FIRE.

NOTE: John is describing the whole person: His clothes, His movement (Amongst the Golden Lampstands) What Jesus is holding: Stars (He’s the Creator of the Universe and holds all things and keeps all things. Jesus continually keeps Creation in check. His maintenance of His Creation is continual). He describes his face, his hair, his eyes, his mouth… WOWzer! John wants you and me to know EXACTLY what he saw, and was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to write it down.

NOTE: Even though John falls down on his face, Jesus reaches out and touches him

Revelation 1:17-18.
17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Imagine how John must have felt, the same Jesus that he’d been with, ate with, listened to and watched upon the Earth is now Glorified and say those words to John “Do not be afraid”. It reminds me of Jesus words to the Disciples who were afraid when they saw Jesus walking upon the water, “Don’t be afraid, it’s me”… He’s saying the same thing to John here, “John, don’t be scared, it’s me, yes I’m different looking, but it’s me”…

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

Jesus tells John “I AM the first and the last, I AM the Living One; I was dead, and behold I AM alive for ever and ever”…

WOWzer again! Jesus is ALIVE in Heaven: He’s not some ghost or spectre, He really is LIVING, ALIVE and today people on the Earth can truly know and experience the Living Christ.

It was awesome the first time I knew that Jesus was alive. It was before I was a Christian, before I ever submitted to Him as my Lord. It was 1984, I’d been attending church in order to get my child baptised. I didn’t want anything for myself, but if this God was real, I wanted the best for my child. I was shocked, frightened and startled to discover that Jesus Christ really is ALIVE and Knows all about me. I knew Jesus was alive, but it took me a long while to come to Him in Faith and Repentance and to receive Him as Lord of my life. It took about a month after my first revelation, but I knew Jesus was alive. When I received Him as my Lord, I was in no doubt whatsoever what I was doing. Peace and Joy flooded my being, when Jesus was in me, it was as if the whole earth had been renewed. I saw things in a very different way and appreciated the smell of wet mud, it was beautiful to me.

My friends, just like John, Paul, Peter and countless thousands of others, you too can MEET the Living One: The one who was dead and is ALIVE for ever and ever. When you get your own personal revelation, that you KNOW Jesus as Lord, Saviour, Master, Friend, you will NEVER doubt. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. My own faith sprang to life when I heard Jesus being preached, I KNEW He was alive and real long before I submitted to Him as Lord. Don’t leave it too long before you say to Jesus, “I know you died upon the Cross for my sins, I repent and ask forgiveness and receive You Jesus as my Lord”…

My friends, do you know that becoming a Christian today, as it has always been, is not about coming to church, getting baptised etc, it’s all about coming to Jesus Christ. Knowing that He’s alive and submitting to Him as Lord of your life. Then going to church will be your delight. Missing church is a heartache for someone who really KNOWS Jesus. Because, we KNOW that when we gather together with other brothers and sisters in God’s Family, Christ Jesus Himself comes into our midst in wonderful ways. When you KNOW HIM, you are in Him and He’s in you. So don’t get religious get Jesus. Turn now in repentance and faith and trust Jesus as your Saviour today.

Have a great day; The words that jump out to me today are “Don’t be afraid, it’s me, Jesus”…

Don.

P.S. I’m singing this great old Hymn now. It’s one that’s touched my life so many times. It’s OLD but brilliant.

He LIVES: “I Serve A Risen Saviour”.

I serve a risen Saviour
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Chorus:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

2

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

3

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

The Best Pick Me Up EVER

Rivers of Living Waters Holy Spirit

Daily Spirit & Word: 687: The BEST Pick-Me-Up EVER.

“In The Spirit”.

Good morning my friends, yesterday was awesome. We’re looking after three of our grandchildren and it took its toll on Granny last night, she fell asleep as Aminata was chatting away. Sometimes we forget that we’re getting older and things that we took for granted years ago, take more out of us today.

In life we’re constantly looking for that life TONIC that will pick-me-up. Some look for it in natural substances, that’s why Health Stores are doing so well; Vitamins, Herbs, Seeds, Nuts, Berries, Leaves etc… Some are turning to toxic substances; drugs and drink. Drugs give an addict a high (initially) but then they’re constantly in search of that first high again, but when drugs gets hold of you, it never delivers the expected results. Basically, drugs are a LIE from Hell. Because Satan is a liar and the father of lies, God has revealed that “He is a thief who only comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10) In the end these substances will poison our bodies and leave us even more shattered than ever.

However, today you are about to discover the UNLIMATE pick-me-up, the best discovery of all time: It’s the Holy Spirit. God Himself living in an individual. With the POWER of the CREATOR inside us, what else can happen but pick us up from the dust, the dirt and the mire. His pick-me-up takes us way beyond Earth into the Heavenly realms and often we just don’t want to come back down again.

Revelation 1:10-11 (NIV)
10  On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
11  which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

John tells us that on Sunday (The Lord’s Day) He was “IN THE SPIRIT”…

If ever there was a loaded phrase in the Bible this is it. Of course there are many countless others as well, but “In the Spirit” what does that mean? My friends, just like my daughter Stephanie, who’s expecting a baby any moment, this phrase is PREGNANT with meaning. Once we understand it, we’ll also want to be “In The Spirit” as much as we can. However, unlike drugs that don’t deliver that expected HIGH ever again, the Holy Spirit constantly takes us to brand NEW Heights.

By that stage in his life, John was a very old man, he seen so many wonderful things. John had been with Jesus and had witnessed the most incredible miracles, he’d met Jesus and touched Him after the Crucifixion, but it seems that the LORD has saved the best until the last few moments in John’s life.

His Circumstances were DIRE: He was a Prisoner on a Prison Island. He’d suffered a great deal at the hands of the Romans, but NO MATTER WHAT your circumstances are or will be, God can come in and give you a REVELATION of Himself that will TRANSPORT you above anything. No pain or suffering can keep you from being “IN THE SPIRIT”.

If you’ve ever watched “Shawshank Redemption” (The Great Prison Escape Movie): There’s one phrase that sticks out above all the others in the movie, “They can’t take away your mind, they can’t stop you using your imagination”… The great thing about being “In The Spirit” is that it’s NOT imagination, it’s NOT self-will, it’s NOT tapping into that secret power within or the hidden potential within human beings, but it’s making a connection with the Creator Himself. The Holy Spirit floods your inner-man / woman. He fills you with the LOVE of God. I don’t know why Christians don’t seek this filling every single day.

Once you get “In The Spirit” you are going to experience a Pick-me-Up like never before.

BUT what does John the Apostle mean by “In The Spirit”?

To discover that, we’re going to take a trip back to some of His other writings and parts of the Old Testament. We’re going to see that John explained it before and that others experienced what he did, hundreds of years before he was born.

Right at the Beginning of His Gospel, John was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about Jesus and how when we “RECEIVE” Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are BORN OF THE SPIRIT or BORN AGAIN: John 1:10-14, John 3. When that happens we become part of God’s Heavenly Family forever. Of course to get ‘Born Again’ it’s not simply believing in Jesus; i.e. that Jesus is real or about Jesus mission or even who Jesus is: The Messiah, The Saviour of Mankind… Even the Devil believes these things, but he’s not born of God’s Spirit. So it must mean more than simple ‘belief in Jesus’… Before we can receive Jesus, we must believe in Him as the Scriptures have said: i.e. We must acknowledge our need for God and for His forgiveness. We must turn in Repentance and Faith to be forgiven. Once we do that, then we’re ready to RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

John 7:37-39
37  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
38  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
39  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

When we put our trust and faith in Jesus as the Scriptures have said, then the streams of living water will flow from within him. Awesome! The streams come from within: I.E. The Holy Spirit living inside us will flood our being.

That’s what John meant by “Being In The Spirit” Revelation 1:10-11. Belief in Jesus as He is REVEALED in SCRIPTURE: He is God’s chosen lamb, the sacrifice for our sins, to set us free from sin and death and to give us Eternal life.

Where does it say that in the ‘Scriptures’? Hundreds of years before Jesus or John the Apostle in the book of Isaiah the Prophet. In many ways, Jesus is revealed; His Virgin birth, His life, what He came to do, why He came to do it and How His life would end, but also how His death would not be the end. Isaiah Prophesied all these things.

Isaiah’s Prophesies About Jesus:

  • Born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
  • Galilean Ministry (Isaiah 9:1-2).
  • Heir to David’s Throne (Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 11:1, 10).
  • His way prepared by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3-5).
  • He will be spat on and struck (Isaiah 50:6)
  • Will be lifted up (Isaiah 52:13).
  • Will be disfigured by suffering (Isaiah 52:14, 53:2).
  • Will make a blood atonement for sin (Isaiah 53:5).
  • Will be rejected by men (Isaiah 53:1,3).
  • Will bear our sins and sorrows (Isaiah 53:4-5).
  • Will be our substitute (Isaiah 53:6, 8).
  • He will voluntarily accept our guilt and punishment for our sins (Isaiah 53:7-8).
  • The Gentiles (non-Jews) will trust in Him (Isaiah 11:10).
  • Will be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7).
  • Will save those who trust in Him (Isaiah 53:12).
  • Will die with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).
  • Jesus will heal the broken-hearted (Isaiah 61:1,2).
  • God’s Spirit will rest upon Him (Isaiah 11:2).
  • Will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
  • Will judge the Earth in Righteousness (Isaiah 11:4,5).

All of these Prophesies and many, many more about Him, were fulfilled in Jesus birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

Once we believe in Jesus, as the Scriptures have said, when we put our Faith and Trust in Him, turning from sin to be cleansed and forgiven, then and only then can the new birth take place and we’re away “In The Spirit” streams of living water flow from within us…. “Oh LORD, fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit right now, I need Him”….

Do you want to be “In the Spirit” NOW?

Don’t simply say, “I believe in Jesus”, my friends, so does the Devil. Instead, turn from your sin, receive Jesus as Lord, be born of His Holy Spirit and believe in Him as the Scriptures have said, then you will be filled, it will be like a “river of living water”… That’s what it means to be “In The Spirit” … What a Pick-Me-Up that will be today. Amen!

Don.

 

Encouragement From Your Brother John

Revelation 1:9 John, your brother

Daily Spirit & Word: 683. Courageous Endurance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Was Not Ivory Tower Preaching:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When John Said Endure Patiently: He LIVED it Himself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When the Going Gets Tough.

The Tough Get Going: In Jesus.

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

Don.

Link: Christian Concern For Our Nation: 

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

Christian Concern: 

 

Called out of darkness into the LIGHT

The Darkness of Men

Daily Spirit & Word: 671: Called Out Of Darkness.

Into His Marvellous Light.

Good morning my friends, what an awesome Discipleship Fellowship last night. We were discussing the Fatherhood of God, got into all kinds of parenting, and discovered that throughout His Word Father God has been revealing aspects of His good, perfect parenthood from the beginning of time.

Do you know that God is calling you out of DARKNESS into His marvellous light?

Here’s is just a part of Pastor Rod Mattoon’s intro to John’s Gospel. What an EYE opener it is too.

I read the whole thing this morning as devotional study, here’s just part three.

III. THE POOR UNDERSTANDING OF MANKIND—1:5

The Greek text reads, “The light keeps on shining in the darkness and the darkness has not comprehended it.” What does this mean? The words “comprehended not” are from the Greek word katalambano {kat-al-am-ban’-o} which has several interesting meanings.

First, it means “never understood.” The Gospel is foolish to men. Men cannot fully or totally understand the truth of Christ until they first submit to Him and His truth. Why? Men without the Lord are in spiritual darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:4—In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Proverbs 4:19—The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Psalm 82:5—They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

Secondly, the word katalambano means “to pursue until one overtakes, lays hold of, or overcomes as a lion pursues and catches its prey. Those in darkness have NOT grasped the light of God’s truth. The darkness of this world has done all it can to eliminate Jesus Christ, but they cannot destroy Him.

John 3:19—And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

There are several kinds of darkness today.

There is the darkness of carnal minds that love sin and hate God.

John 3:20—For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

There is the darkness of religious minds that harbor superstition and nonsense.

This would include the darkness of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Muslims, and Roman Catholicism.

  1. Darkness of Mormonism

To the Mormon, Jesus was like an elder brother who pointed the way, but He was not the way to Heaven.

Jesus is considered God of the Old Testament. Once He took the physical form of a man, He had to earn His own spiritual salvation through good works like everyone else. He is considered the brother of Satan. The cross and the shed blood of Christ are foolish. From what I am told and have read, you will not see a cross in a Mormon church because they cannot deal with God’s gift of grace.

His death on the cross provided a general salvation where all will be resurrected and judged for our works.

In the Mormon church, safe passage through the doorway to personal godhood comes from using secret keys, secret handgrips and passwords learned in the Mormon temple.

  1. Darkness of the Jehovah’s Witness

They believe Jesus is a created being, not the Creator.

Jesus is Michael the archangel.

He was only a man, not the God-man.

Satan is the author of the doctrine of the Trinity. There is no Trinity.

Jesus is not to be worshiped, but honored as Jehovah’s first creation.

The Holy Spirit is an active force, but not the person of the Godhead.

Salvation is in being a Jehovah’s witness.

  1. Darkness of the Muslims.

Jesus is not God, just a messenger of God.

He did not die on the cross for our sins. Judas died in His place.

  1. The Darkness of Roman Catholicism

The Church was built upon Peter, not Christ.

After death, purgatory purges a person of his sins.

Prayers are offered to Mary and dead saints to mediate on our behalf. Mary is worshiped and considered on the same level or greater than Jesus.

Prayers are offered to idols, violating the second commandment.

Mass and sacraments are necessary for salvation. These come through the Roman Catholic Church.

Cleansing from sin comes by confessing sin to a Catholic priest.

Darkness comes from carnal minds, religious minds, and also scientific minds that try to explain away the existence of God. One reason for the darkness of mankind today is the war that is being raged on the battleground of religion and also science. Particularly damaging on the science front is the confrontation between evolution and the Biblical account of Creation. The debate is not to be ignored because the stakes are too high. The subject of our origin tells us who we really are and where we are heading.

Evolution is believed to be a valid, scientific solution to our existence. It is not ultimately scientific because evolution has few, if any, demonstrated truths or observed facts. It is more philosophy than science. It takes faith to believe it. The world has embraced evolution because it wanted to and did not want to come to grips with the truth about Almighty God and the Bible.

Romans 1:20-22—For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Men embrace evolution because the only other alternative is creation by God.

Many do not accept this truth. Guesses and speculations are framed to sustain evolutionary beliefs. It is ironic that the beliefs of evolutionists today were doubted by Charles Darwin. In Darwin’s, Original Origin of the Species, 1859, Darwin openly acknowledged the necessity of God. Few people realize the extent of Darwin’s own doubts over his own theory, a theory which he confessed was grievously hypothetical (This was recorded in a letter to Asa Gray, November 29, 1859). As Darwin wrestled over his doubts, he suffered physically, mentally, and spiritually. Darwin admitted he could find NO real evidence for his theory (Origins…page 205, 230, 123, 227, 292, 453).

Most of the scientists in Darwin’s day could not accept his theory on scientific grounds.

Scientists today proclaim the same message of the wastefulness and destructiveness of evolution.

  1. Dr. A.E. Wilder Smith—”The dead hand of Darwinism has weighed heavily on scientific progress for over 100 years.”
  2. Dr. Dmitri Kouzetson…Russian Biochemist—Dmitri has earned three doctorates in science. He observed that in Russia, scientist become believers in creation on scientific grounds, noting that evolutionist are very subjective in which data they decide to use as evidence for their theories. They will not look at all the facts or evidence.
  3. Dr. Nilsson, after 40 years of scientific research that attempted to prove evolution, he concluded his time had been thoroughly wasted. He stated that this theory should be entirely abandoned as a serious obstruction to biological research.
  4. Dr. Louis Bounoure—He is the Director of Research at France’s National Center of Scientific Research. He stated, “Evolution is a fairytale for grown-ups. The theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” Why? It ignores the truth and is without God.

Modern scientists are re-thinking and re-considering God as their Creator. For example, in the book Cosmos, Bios, Theos produced by sixty world-class scientist of which 24 are Nobel prize winners, the scientist Henry Margenaw, a Yale University physicist reasons, “There is only one convincing answer to explain the intricate complexity and laws of the universe….. creation by an omniscient, omnipotent God.”

Evolution has damaged not only science, but society, as life has been cheapened by this theory. God is the one who gives value to life. Sir Arthur Keith, an evolutionist, and author of Evolution and Ethics, concludes that evolution weakens the ethics of people. The ways of natural evolution are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.

The evolution of Germany as a master race is what prompted Adolf Hitler to drench Europe in blood by slaughtering Jews, the sick, the weak, and those who were handicapped and to begin breeding babies with “perfect” Arian couples. Hitler had little value for life. He had a “survival of the fittest mentality.”

Some folks may ask, “What about all the evidence of the bones of different men that have been found?” All right, let’s take a look at those bones!

  • The Neanderthal Man—He was not a man. Recent DNA tests show that the chromosomes do not match humans, but apes.
  • The Piltdown Man—This was a deliberate hoax. A jaw of an ape was attached to a human skull and was stained to look old.
  • The Peking Man—Tools and human bones were found near the apes whose brains they were eating. (Monkey brains are still eaten in China.)
  • Nebraska Man—An entire person and family was envisioned from a single tooth, a tooth that proved to come from a pig.
  • Lucy—This was re-classified as an extinct ape.

Evolutionists not only deny the truth of Scripture, they deny the truth of science. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy or matter cannot be created or destroyed. It can be converted from one form to another. The Big Bang Theory runs into a snag with this law. Where did the original matter and energy come from? Evolution has no answer. Some say, “It just was.” Our answer is “God put the universe into motion.”

Evolution states that man and the world are getting better and that order came from chaos by chance. Beloved, order does not come from chaos. Explosions produce chaos. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that life deteriorates. Every system left to itself goes from order to disorder or decay. Everything runs down eventually. The world is not getting better. It is running down.

Fools reject truth. They reject God who holds the universe together.

Colossians 1:16-17—For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The earth is a delicate balance protected and maintained by God. Life could not exist if any one of the following situations were true.

  • A slower or faster rotation of the earth.
  • If the earth was 2-5% closer or further from the sun.
  • If there was a 1% change in sunlight.
  • If the earth or moon was smaller or larger.
  • If there was more than one moon.
  • If the earth’s crust was thicker or thinner.
  • If the oxygen/nitrogen ratio was greater or less.

Men can persist in rejecting God’s truth. The truth, however, still remains and is not altered by men’s objections and pessimism.

Mattoon’s Treasures – Mattoon’s Treasures – Treasures from John, Volume 1.

When you consider that God CREATED the Universe: Then you are on your way out of DARKNESS into the LIGHT.

What an awesome Father we have in the God who created this universe and us too.

Awesome!

Have an awesome Wednesday my friends.

Don.

 

A Surprising Encounter

40 Days With Jesus: Day 1

Daily Spirit & Word, 486: A Surprising Encounter.

40 Days With Jesus:

Week 1: Day 1.

John 20:1-18. A Surprising Encounter

 Good morning my friends, I had quite a frustrating day yesterday, I tried to post first thing in the morning as normal, but discovered to my horror that Virgin Media still wasn’t working. I contacted them, and got the same message but with different times for it to be fixed. Here’s the message, “There is a problem in your area with Television and Internet, we have identified the problem, an engineer is on the way, the problem should be fixed by 1.00am, …” Then after 1.00am came and went “9.00am”, then “4.09pm”, then “2.06am”, then “16.24” WOWzer, funny how they can be so specific about the times, each time, when the Engineer is still on the way 🙂 Made me laugh and a bit annoyed at the same time. However, it’s NOW up and running again after 48 hours without internet or TV, and I still don’t know why or what the problem was. 

Yesterday, I was going to introduce you to 40 Days With Jesus, a new course we’re running in church for those who, after Easter, were interested in getting to know more about the Christian faith and to help those who’ve yet to discover Fellowship Groups to be part of one for a very short time, and also to prepare those who want to be Baptised this year. It might be quite a large group 🙂 I’m hoping!. The 40 Days with Jesus is all about those people in the Bible who encountered the risen (resurrected) Lord Jesus and what impact that had for their lives and for the community of believers in the first century of the Christian faith. (I’m posting the introduction on the Website). The little booklet we’re using is very cheap and readily available for download, with great questions and also a video to watch every week. “40 Days With Jesus, by Dave Smith”. Also available on Kindle.

 Day 1: A Surprising Encounter.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few memorable and surprising encounters with people. I’ve met the Queen (Queen Elizabeth ll), I’ve met the Queen Mother, Rod Stewart (Pop Singer), Rod Stewart’s Girlfriend, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Freddie Starr (Funny Comedian). In 1988 I met my soon to be wife, that was a meeting that has changed my life and continues to be a real blessing, but probably my most surprising and life transforming encounter I’ve ever had was when I met the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn’t expect Jesus to be real or alive or knowable or that He’s want anything to do with me. I thought people who were religious were born that way, and I most definitely wasn’t one of them (I’m still not). But when my wife wanted to get our little baby girl, Abigail, baptised we started attending a little church in Plymouth, called St Budeaux Parish Church. In those days 1984, it was packed full of people, young families and lots of teenagers, we felt at home quite quickly, but I didn’t want to keep going or to become like the people there, I just wanted the baptism done then I’d be on my way. However, the minister at the time asked us to attend for three months, he visit us at home and then after preparation he’d baptise the baby. We agreed, then over the next few weeks I discovered Jesus was real. I knew from observing the people in the church, they had something that I didn’t have, I could just tell, and though at that time I didn’t want it, I wondered what it was. Each week the message seemed to be about my life, my questions, my fears, my sins, my everything. It was as if the minister could read my mind. Slowly but surely I began to know that Jesus was real, but I didn’t want to become a Christian. The Minister asked me every week on the way out of Church, “Are you a Christian yet?” I said, “No!” every time. Then one week he asked me something different, he said, “Donald, you do know that Jesus wants you to be a Christian, don’t you?” I walked away saying, “Yea, Yea sure he does”… But it was that question and everyting else playing on my mind, “If Jesus wants me, what does He want me for?”… My friends, Jesus speaks in so many amazing and wonderful ways. I was beginning to read about Jesus in the Bible by then and it jumped out at me: God answered a question and it was amazing, embarrassing and surprising all at the same time. I know Jesus was definitely alive, but I wasn’t ready yet to become a Christian. It took a few more weeks of attending church, joining a Bible Study and the Lord Jesus speaking, challenging and opening me up, until I was ready to repent of my sins and receive Him as my Saviour. However, I knew long before I finally submitted that Jesus was most definitely ALIVE.

 Mary Magdalene.

We’ll be taking a look at Mary’s encounter with Jesus this week, but today I want us to consider that Mary, a woman, was the first follower of Jesus to actually meet the risen Lord. This is a surprising encounter in many ways. You’ll notice as you read through John 20:1-18 that the disciples; Peter and John (the closest friends of Jesus whilst he was on earth, the one’s you’d probably expect to see Him first) they ran to the tomb, but they didn’t see the risen Christ. All they saw was an empty tomb and the linen cloths that Jesus dead body had been wrapped in when it was taken down from the cross. No my friends, it was Mary Magdalene who lingered at the tomb, with tears running down her face and kept on asking the question, “What have they done with the body of my Lord?” She was looking for Jesus dead body, but Mary was the first person to discover that He was actually raised from the dead. Mary Magdalene, an prostitute who’d been delivered from seven demons was the first person to encounter the resurrected Jesus. Why?

 Dave Smith doesn’t touch on this in the booklet, but I’ve been thinking about it. Mary had been forgiven and delivered from evil. Remember what Jesus said about a person who knows how much they’ve been forgiven and how grateful they’d be? Luke 7:36-50 Jesus anointed by a sinful woman. Jesus said about her Luke 7:44-47 “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.”

“Those who recognise how much they’ve been forgiven love lots, but those who have only been forgiven a little, love little”

 Do you see it my friends, Mary Magdalene had been forgiven so much, we have too, but we don’t often realise the seriousness of our sins, that each sin we commit is enough on it’s own to keep us out of heaven forever, but Mary had been a harlot a very obviously sinful person and she had been delivered from seven demons too. My friends, when you realise just how many sins you’ve been forgiven for, you’d be as devoted to the Lord as Mary Magdalene was, you’d be at the tomb lingering, weeping and crying and determined as she was, to find the body of your Lord and do what needed to be done. She got far more than she bargained for that day, Mary’s surprising encounter was with the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was the first to meet with the risen Lord Jesus.

Points to Ponder:

  1. Are you convinced of the resurrection of Jesus? What difference would it make to your life and to the world at large if it really were true?
  2. What is your response to the idea that the risen Jesus wants to meet with you? In what ways would you like to meet with Jesus over the next 40 Days?
  3. When have you encountered the presence of the Living Lord Jesus before? How did it impact your life?

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I realise that by asking about the implications of the resurrection for my life, I must be prepared to hear the answers. I cannot be the same and I don’t want to be. I long to know You and meet with You. Take me on a journey over the next 40 days. Help me to be brave enough to respond to the things that you are whispering to me. Breathe Your life into any part of me that is currently lifeless or lacking in energy and spirit. Then move me forward by the power of Your Spirit in ways that only You can. I pray this in faith. Amen.

 

God bless and I’ll hopefully be back again tomorrow, God willing and Virgin Media keeps up and running 🙂

I’m praying for you all today that you’ll actually meet the resurrected LORD Jesus Christ in a Surprising Encounter of your own. Amen.

Don.

  John 20:1-18

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3  So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6  Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7  as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
8  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9  (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes,
11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14  At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
15  “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “
18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Study Booklet

Study Video For Week 1:

Resources: Scroll down for the Video.

40 Days With Jesus Week 1 Video: A Surprising Encounter.

I would really encourage you to get hold of the little study booklet for this whole course. We’ve got some in Church for anyone who comes along tonight. If there is any left we’ll make them available to the whole church. But you can get them easily here or at Amazon even cheaper. And you can get a Kindle version to read on your devices and phones. The Kindle version on Amazon is just £5.60.

A Surprising Encounter: Day 1 of 40 Days With Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page: With Course Outline and Links to Daily Readings & Weekly Video.

 

Seven Ways To Appreciate Mummy

[fusion_text]

Daily Spirit & Word, 460: Seven Ways To Appreciate Mummy.

Mother’s Day 2015.

Mother’s Day: Good morning my friends, it’s Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday.

Someone asked me the other day; “When is Mother’s Day?” I answered, “Nine months after Father’s Day”. 🙂 LOL. The old ones are the best…

Last year I explained the history of Mothering Sunday, this year I want to focus upon the Relationship of Mothers to her children and the ways we can and should APPRECIATE our mothers. Even if your mum, like mine, has died and gone to be with the Lord: There are still ways we can honour our mums today.

Jesus Cared For Everyone: Even His own Mummy whilst dying upon the Cross.

When Jesus was with the Disciple, he cared for them so much. Even before the Cross, Jesus knew what He was about to endure, yet he cared for them and wanted to give them so much assurance. First telling them, though He’d be taken from them, he’d be going on ahead of them to get a place ready in Heaven for them. He assured them they would not be left without comfort or strength, provided by Himself, the Father and the Holy Spirit. He told them, even though He was going away physically, he’d be with them forever.

Now, when Jesus was hanging upon the Cross, imagine the sheer agony of those moments. Here was the Son of God, dying in agony, but his concern was for his mummy. He said to John though the pain;  John 19:25-27 “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Jesus knew his mum needed taking care of: She’d cared for the Saviour all through His life, now when He was dying, Jesus showed just how much he loved his Mother Mary.

My friends on this Mother’s Day: Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we could think of ways to APPRECIATE our own MOTHERS.

 1) Tell Your Mum You LOVE Her:

You probably all know the bloke thing, the manly man who doesn’t need to say it. He shows how much he loves his mum by what he does for her. Some husbands are like that with their wifes too, the mother’s of their children. We think we don’t need to say it out loud, because we show it by; working hard for the family, providing for their needs, putting food upon the table… But my friends, there is nothing more powerful than these words in you mummy’s ears; “I LOVE YOU MUM”….

I can tell you right now, you Mummy is longing to hear those words from your lips:

Now what if you mummy has died? Then my friends, tell someone today, “I LOVED My Mummy.” and then proceed to tell them why.

2) Be Patient With Your Mother:

We all know that Mothers can poke their noses into our business when it’s not wanted. They give advice when we’re not even asking for it.

You know why that it my friends? It’s because she still love you. She’s invested years in your life, sweated and was in pain at your birth. She wiped your face, your runny nose, your bottom, and helped you to learn to clean your teeth.

Mummy listened to you when you came home from school;

Crying: She comforted.

Excited about a Star or Prize: She was overjoyed.

Upset because you fell out with your best friends: She helped you through by showing there are other good friends.

When you got older and fell in love: She had to be there when you Father gave you away to another man. She had to learn the hardest thing in life: to let her children go.

Be patient with your Mother today.

3) Your Mummy Needs a HUG:

Physical touch is so important, especially in relationship that are important.

As mums get older they don’t get as much physical touch as they did when they were younger.

But their children: They have access to mums like no-body else.

When was the last time you gave your mum a great big hug?

Now don’t go telling me she’s not the loving kind or that She’s not the huggy type of person.

Even the the person who loves hugs the least, will deep down appreciate the effort you have made to show her how special she is to you.

Hug you mummy today.

4) Let Your Mum Tell You Stuff:

When you were young she listened intently to all your troubles.

When you came home and blurted out stuff, it was mum who listened.

Mum’s can be there for their children like nobody else. You know Children tell their mums stuff, they won’t tell anybody else on earth.

Now it’s Mum’s turn to be listened to: Let you Mum tell you her troubles, fears and the things she’s concerned about.

Be an EAR for you mum today.

5) Show Your Mum You ARE Grateful:

It’s NOT just flowers on mother’s day, or cup-cakes or chocolate etc…

Your mum did things for you for many years: Now it’s time to DEMONSTRATE to her that you are Grateful for what she did, what she does and who she is.

Being grateful is not just saying “Thank you mummy” It’s being grateful: Let her hear you telling others what she has done for you. Boast about your mum’s efforts to make you happy, successful, and peaceful in this world.

Yes give her presents, but be appreciative as a person. In the way you talk to you mum. Always showing her respect, even when you think she doesn’t deserve it. Even when you think or know you mum is wrong.

Show your gratitude by NOT arguing with your mummy.

How can you show your Mum that you are grateful.

6) Love Your Mummy Generously:

She gave you so much when you were growing up.

Now it’s TIME to be less selfish and stop asking and pay-her-back some of what she’s given over many years.

Don’t do it grudgingly.

Do it GENEROUSLY.

7) WHY? Why LOVE your mummy like that?

Why should we?:

1) Tell Her You LOVE her.

2) Be Patient With Mummy.

3) Hug Your Mummy.

4) Let Your Mum Tell You Stuff.

5) She Her You ARE Grateful.

6) Love Her Generously.

Because God commands us to HONOUR our Mother’s and Fathers.

Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

It’s the ONLY Commandment with a promise: That we’ll have a long life in the land of promise.

WOWzer! Just for doing what we should do anyway, God is going to reward us.

Can you imagine a set of rules at work like that? If you do these things then the Company will reward you???

But, that’s exactly what God has done my friends, but He didn’t do it with Himself, He chose to do it with your Parents.

He could have said, “If you love me with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, I’ll reward you” But He didn’t, instead He’s chosen to reward you if you will just HONOUR you mother and father.

Jesus did it on the Cross in the only way he could. “Mother’s your son, John, your mother” He made certain, because He knew how much John love him, that he’d take care of Jesus’ mother until his dying day.

Will you LOVE your mummy today?

The Unemployed Stay At Home Mum:

No Occupation (The Government says, “They are unemployed and should be made to seek employment or we’ll stop their benefits). Really: Unemployed! I’d like to see some of those people do what Mummy’s have to do every single day of their children’s young lives:

 She rises up at break of day and through her tasks she races.

She cooks the meals as best she may and scrubs the children’s faces.

While schoolbooks, lunches, homework too, all need consideration…

And yet the census man insists

She has— “No Occupation”

When breakfast dishes all are done

She bakes a pudding, maybe.

She cleans the rooms up, one by one,

With one eye watching baby.

The washing pile she then attacks

by way of variation.

And yet the census man insists,

She has — “No Occupation.”

She irons for a little while, then presses pants for Daddy.

She welcomes with a cheery smile returning lass and laddie.

A hearty dinner next she cooks (no time for relaxation),

And yet the census man insists,

She has—“No Occupation.”

My friend’s This is MOTHER’S DAY: She’s been OCCUPIED since the day you were born into this world and most mothers will be employed in caring, loving and looking after their children till they day they leave this world.

It’s time to Show Mummys today:

  1.  Tell Her You LOVE her.
  2.  Be Patient With Mummy.
  3.  Hug Your Mummy.
  4.  Let Your Mum Tell You Stuff.
  5.  She Her You ARE Grateful.
  6.  Love Her Generously.
  7.  Do It, because Father God Has Commanded You.

God bless and I hope you can show how much you LOVE, Honour and Respect your Mummy’s today and Always.

Worship the LORD with GLADNESS in your HEART today.

Don.

[/fusion_text]