Only God Can SAVE You From The Judgement to come.

Good works or following religious rules and regulations can't save us from our sins. We can only be saved by God alone.

Daily Spirit & Word: 796: Being Saved Is Possible, but ONLY by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Only God Can SAVE You.

From the Judgement to Come.

Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By God.

Can A Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. In our gatherings in church, we’ve been going through Mark for almost a year now. The Journey has been amazing. We’re discovering what an amazing LORD Jesus really is, and how inspired Mark (the author) must have been by Holy Spirit. I don’t think it’s possible that a man could put this work together, without the help of God. For we’ve been experiencing progressive revelation and this portion of God’s Word has built for us a wonderful picture of Jesus nature and character, but in doing so He’s also opened up what true Discipleship is like, from each and every story, parable and incident He recorded.

What we’ve observed:

  • Jesus is more Godlike that we at first would imagine.
  • The Disciples are more human and unable to save themselves from the consequences of sin.
  • Jesus (God) needs less human and earthly resources to sustain His life.
  • The Disciples, followers of Jesus, need more and more Divine intervention and revelation.

What I’ve discovered afresh, as if I didn’t know, is that we all need to stay very close to Jesus, every day, just to keep going as His followers. Yes we have advantages over His own disciples; we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, the Word of God in full; so we know how to serve and we have Jesus’ promises to be with us always for the journey. However, we must be willing to maintain that connection with God.

Today we’re back with Mark 10:23-31. Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By An Act Of God.

  • Can a Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?
  • Can a Man Be SAVED by Good Works?

 

Mark 10:23-31 (NIV)
23  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
31  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Last week Robert preached, whilst I was away in Plymouth, about the Rich Young Ruler and how he thought he’d fulfilled and lived according to the requirements of the Old Testament Law (Summarised in the Ten Commandments)… When he said to Jesus, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” Jesus didn’t react by saying what He knew, “No, my friend you have not lived according to God’s Commandments”… Instead, Jesus looked at him and, as the Bible tells us, “He loved him”…

 

I wonder if Jesus look of love was one of pity; because the Rich Young Man was BLIND (He couldn’t see his Spiritual need and didn’t understand how much he was in need of God’s forgiveness). I do not think that WEALTH was his only problem. In fact I’ll go as far a declaring I KNOW it wasn’t. Because, when we look at the Ten Commandments properly and honestly we’ll soon see we’ve all FALLEN SHORT of every single one of them: None of us can say in front of God: “I’ve kept all of these since I was a child”…

 

However, Jesus did focus upon his WEALTH.

Jesus knows what a TRAP WEALTH IS for most people in this world.

It was back then and it is today.

That’s why He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God”.

 

The Disciples Knew It Too: “If A Camel CAN’T, Then We CAN’T either”

They knew that EVERYONE wanted to be RICH: Like the Rich Young Ruler…

 

Today, many people, all over the world, are clamouring for WEALTH, Health and Happiness:

People are risking life and limb in the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe, the Land of PROMISE.

They know, people in the West are Prosperous, Wealthy and Healthy: So, willing to risking everything in flimsy boats, that’s what they want for themselves. They launch themselves into the Mediterranean Ocean from all over Africa in their thousands ever month. Many of those boats are without even an engine, cram-packed with people; men, women and babies. How foolish to go to sea like that, without an engine in a flimsy rubber boat. That’s how desperate people in this world are for Wealth, Health and Happiness.

 

When they arrive, they head for the most prosperous, populous areas; Germany and the UK.

 

Oh my friends, if only they could see; Health, Wealth and Happiness can’t SAVE you; Only Jesus Christ can give you lasting peace and happiness upon this earth and the life to come.

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITY:

The Disciples KNEW it’s IMPOSSIBLE then, for ANYONE to enter the Kingdom of God.

So they asked that pertinent question; “Who Then Can Be SAVED?”

 

JESUS ANSWER: It’s Impossible for man to save himself: Therefore ONLY God can save.

The Disciples asked in Mark 10:26 and Jesus answered in Mark 10:27.
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
It’s IMPOSSIBLE: For anyone to SAVE themselves by human effort, by your own goodness or by your own righteousness.

The Rich Young Man: Good in his own eyes; couldn’t.

The Rest of Humanity: Good in their own eyes; can’t either.

However, Jesus revealed the IMPOSSIBILITY:

A Camel can’t ever FIT through the eye of a needle.

A Human being can’t ever FIT in the Kingdom of God.

 

NOTICE: The DISCIPLES: Were EVEN MORE AMAZED… i.e. They were amazed the Rich Young Man couldn’t be SAVED. Now they were EVEN MORE AMAZED, because they knew “NO ONE” could be saved. Unless God did something.

 

That “MORE AMAZED”: Reveals to me something about the Disciples.

Perhaps they we secretly thinking they were good enough themselves. After all they’d been with Jesus (they’d left EVERYTHING to follow Him).

Perhaps they’re just beginning to get Jesus message, that EVERYONE needs God’s intervention; if they ever hope to enter the Kingdom of God.

“Not with God, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God”.

 

It’s POSSIBLE: But ONLY with God.

A Camel Can’t go through the eye of a needle (Impossible).

A Man Can’t enter the Kingdom of God (Impossible).

 

Unless, God does something. (Mark has been revealing that Jesus is God, because only God can do the things Jesus did).

  • Only God could make a Camel fit through the eye of a needle.
  • Only God could turn water into wine.
  • Only God could walk on water.
  • Only God could calm a storm with a word.
  • Only God could command Demons.
  • Only God could open the eyes of a man born blind.
  • Only God could bring a dead girl back to life.
  • Only God could make you FIT Enough to enter into Heaven.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD.

ONLY GOD CAN SAVE YOU; YOU CAN’T SAVE YOURSELF.

Peter Reveals: (Why he was even more amazed) “We’ve left everything to follow You”… i.e. surely we’ll be saved by our human effort… “Look at the sacrifice we’ve made Jesus”… “Surely you can see how serious we are in following you”… My friends, no matter how hard you try, you’ll NEVER be good enough for Heaven. No matter what EFFORT you put into it yourself. You’ve got to STOP trying to SAVE yourself and let Jesus SAVE you. Why? Because no amount of effort to be good will wash away your sins that contaminate your soul.

Jesus answer, “No, Peter, because by leaving everything, you’ve gained much more”..

Mark 10:28-30.
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

If we let go of EVERYTHING: Then it’s possible to be SAVED: But only by God.

The great temptation is that most people think they can do enough good works to earn a place in Heaven. That’s why the Disciples asked Jesus that question, “Who then can be saved?”. Deep down inside all of us, is this desire to work for or earn Salvation for ourselves. It’s hard to let go and let God do the saving, but that’s exactly what we’ve got to do or we CAN’T be SAVED.

  • Let go of Human Effort to be GOOD enough for Heaven.
  • Let Jesus come into your life and take away all your SINS.
  • Then His blood will cleanse you and make you FIT for Heaven.
  • It’s impossible with MEN: But it’s POSSIBLE with God.

How is it POSSIBLE?

Next Week: We’re going to be looking at “Why Jesus Came To Die?” Mark 10.

He came into this world to SAVE SINNERS.

Everyone has sinned, The Disciples knew, so they asked “Who then can be saved?”

My friends, you don’t want to wait until next week:

God’s Word tells us, “Today is the DAY of SALVATION”.

i.e. Get right with God today.

A) Confess your sins to God: How, like the Rich Young Ruler, you’ve not kept the Ten Commandments. You’ve lied, you’ve stolen, you’ve not put God first in all things, all the time. You’ve dishonoured you mum and dad. You’ve lusted and been unfaithful sometimes. You’ve coveted what your neighbour has. We’ve all done it. Everyone has broken God’s Commandments: Confess how you’ve done it to God.

B) Believe Jesus died on the Cross for all your sins:

His death was in your place. He died so that you can receive Heaven, once you Repent, Believe and Receive Him as Lord and Saviour.

C) Repent: Turn away from living a life of sin a rebellion and turn around and come to Jesus Christ to be cleansed and forgiven and renewed by Holy Spirit.

D) Receive: Receive Jesus Christ by an act of faith.

Just like you would board a plane to go on holiday. You trust the Captain knows how to get you to your destination. You RECEIVE Jesus as your Captain, He’ll take you all the way to Heaven.

More than that; you’ll receive the Holy Spirit Birth. New Life and Abundant LIFE right now.

E) Live: Become a Disciple of Jesus and live according to His teaching in fellowship with other followers. (Your Christian brothers and sisters in God’s family).

In order to do that, to live this Christian life, you’ll need: To gather regularly in worship, fellowship and receive Discipleship training from God’s Word. You’ll need to sort out your TIME and make time for daily prayer to connect with Jesus every day. You’ll need TIME: to Study and begin to practice God’s Word; daily.

You’ll get God’s HEART for others, that they might know Him too. You’ll be overflowing with a burning desire to lead others to Jesus Christ.

All of these things are indicators that you’ve really and truly been SAVED by Jesus.

You’ll also notice the Fruit of the Holy Spirit begining to ripen in your life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

NOTE: Passages by Way of Illustrating of these points in today’s message.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
4  But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3 shows us;

  • We can’t be saved by ‘the good things we have done’… i.e. no amount of human effort will suffice.
  • That God in His mercy saves us by REGENERATION (RENEWAL) NEW LIFE, NEW BIRTH by The Holy Spirit.
  • We are JUSTIFIED (Made right with God: Justified = Just as if I’d never sinned). How? By God’s Grace and Kindness.
  • What happens? We become heirs (inheritors) of Eternal Life (Through this faith and trust in Jesus, we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven).

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) We’re POWERLESS: i.e. we don’t possess the strength or ability to SAVE ourselves.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus died on the Cross for us, so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, set free from sin’s power, so that we can be made fit for God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) Before We Put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are DEAD in our Transgressions and Sins.
1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Those who break God’s Commandments; all people).
3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Conclusion:

We’ve seen today that the Disciples discovered the impossibility of anyone being able to SAVE themselves by human effort to get into God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

We can’t SAVE ourselves, it’s impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. It’s impossible for a human being to be cleansed from sin by doing good or being religious or following the Ten Commandments.

So, it is only through God’s kindness, mercy and Grace that anyone can ever be SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin.

If we were to die without coming to Jesus Christ, then we would carry our sins to the Judgement. If we come to Jesus, we’ll be set free from sin, forgiven and cleansed. We’ll be born of the Spirit and receive NEW LIFE in Christ Jesus. When God sees us coming, He’ll throw open the gates of Heaven and welcome us in. Why? Not because of the good we’ve done, but because of His Son; Lord Jesus, who washed our sins away.

My friends, God has demonstrated just how much He loves everyone by sending Jesus to die for us. He doesn’t want anyone to end up in Hell or be judged because of their sins. He’s giving us all this moment in time to reflect, to repent, to return to Him. Do it right now! Don’t waste another moment of time. Get right with God today: Confess, Repent, Believe, Receive and Live. Amen!

Let us PRAY:

Have and awesome week with the LORD.

Trust Him every day and come close to Him in praise, worship, adoration. Then go out and share the Good News so that many more can come to Know HIM.

He’s alive! He wants to give your family, friends, workmates, school friends, college comrades and neighbours that NEW LIFE too.

Be blessed,

Don.

 

People say, “God’s Not Fair”

God is Good Always

Daily Spirit & Word: 785: “God’s Not Fair”

That’s what some people say, “God’s not just or fair”

Good morning my friends, you’ve probably all heard non-Christians and atheists say, “How can there be a God when there is so much evil, hatred and injustice in this world?” It’s like they are judging God and therefore reason that they don’t need to bother believing in him.

In our verse today, you’ll note that it was a constant complaint of the Israelites about their own God. “God is not fair”

Listen in to what God is saying in response to them:

Ezekiel 18:25-29 (NKJV)
25  “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?
26  When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.
27  Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.
28  Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
29  Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

In the Hebrew in which the Old Testament was written, the actual word for “fair” used in these verses was “unequal” referring to the unequal scales. Scales were used to measure grain and they were balance scales, when they were balanced a trade was fair and sealed, it’s done because we can see the scales are balanced, but what they are accusing God of is using unbalanced or unequal scales.

However, the LORD turns their argument on it’s head and accuses / complains back to the Israelites:

“It’s YOU who are not fair” or “It’s YOU Israelites who are using unbalanced / unequal scales”.

Both God and Israel are complaining in our passage.

The People said, “The way of the Lord is not fair”…

God responds, “Your ways are not fair”…

Who’s right?

This verse is repeated three more times in Ezekiel. It is basically God answering Israel’s complaints and setting the record straight.

Complaint about God. “Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair.”

First, it accuses God of being unfair. So the people here are accusing God of being unfair to man, of being unfaithful, untruthful, unjust towards them.

Yet when we look at God’s answer: You’ll note it’s because of the wickedness the Israelites have committed they are suffering.

Do not blame God for all the evil in this world; it is not God’s fault.

Think about Syria, the bombing and destruction, and all those poor people suffering; but when they showed a Christian Minister on the News last night, his church was blown to bit, dust and rubble. Most of the Christians had either been killed or had fled Syria. He remained in the land, but he was not screaming at God or accusing God. All he talked about was PEACE. Christians, Jews and Muslims seemed to get along in Syria for many generations, but now, they are killing the Christians and the Jews, they’ve been driven from the land of Syria or they have been murdered and now the Muslims are bombing each other.

Who’s to blame? It’s NOT GOD!

Sometimes, we do the same things as the Israelites: We may not say it out loud, but we might say it in our attitude or in the ways we serve the Lord.

For example: We know God wants us to live a certain way. We pray and ask God for something. He doesn’t respond as quickly as we’d want Him to. So we drag our feet in our Christian service. We become slack in our worship, praise and adoration of God. Just because He’s not doing things the way we want Him to.

We want God to bless our ways, but He wants us to serve Him always.

Also we cry out to God to bestow financial blessings in our lives, while we are tight and stingy when the offering plate is passed in our gatherings.

One of the ways the LORD has decided to test us is in the way we GIVE: It’s also one of the ways that we can and are encouraged by God to TEST HIM…

My friends, if we are FAIR in the ways we serve the LORD, He will OPEN up Heaven into our lives.

It’s NOT God’s WAYS that are unfair, unjust or unbalanced, but our own.

God doesn’t hate us, He loves us so much, and wants to bless our lives, but; death, destruction, cheating and craftiness are man’s ways; so mankind reaps what he sows.

God Speaking: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?”

Let’s determine in our heart today, to be the people God wants us to be.

  • He’s revealed in the Bible: “Love your neighbour as yourself”
  • He’s also revealed: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength”…
  • When God looks at your life today, will He see you being fair or unjust? Will He see you being; loving, kind, generous, faithful, gentle, good and self-controlled?

From yesterday’s teaching, we know that these things are the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If you are struggling in any of these areas, then God’s got some resourses He’s longing to pour into your life today: The fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I’m praying for all my friends today that God will richly bless you in every way.

I’m also praying you’ll be the joy filled servants of the LORD! That You’ll KNOW God is ALWAYS FAIR.

Psalm 145:17-19 (NIV)
17  The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving towards all he has made.
18  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19  He fulfils the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

God is ONLY A PRAYER AWAY!

Amen!

Don.

God is Good

The Goodness of God

God is Good.

Good morning my friends, I’m on holiday 🙂

AND I just wanted to share with you something really wonderful;

God is GOOD!

Where in the Bible does it tell us that God is GOOD?

Psalm 145:9  “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

This tells us much more than simply about the goodness of God: He is the CREATOR OF ALL.

HE: is good to EVERYONE (that means the good, the bad and everyone inbetween).

God is GOOD!

Psalm 107:1 1  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever.

The natural response to God’s goodness is to give thanks; why? Because His LOVE endures forever and He is GOOD.

God because He is good cannot ever be unloving; He’s always full of LOVE towards EVERYONE.

God is GOOD!

Matthew 19:16-17 16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” 17  And he said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Jesus answer: “There is NONE GOOD but God alone.”

If we want to be GOOD enough to enter into Heaven, then all we need to do is obey God’s Commandments: His standards of GOODNESS.

Question:

Are you GOOD enough to get into Heaven?

Why don’t you click here (The Gospel Good News) and see if you qualify?

GOD IS GOOD!

Remember; His love endures forever. He is good to everyone. He is the Creator. He has compassion on all He has made.

John 3:14-18 14  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15  that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

Simply by believing in God’s ONE and ONLY Son; The LORD Jesus Christ, it’s possible to receive the gift of ETERNAL LIFE.

GOD IS GOOD

I’m praying that you’ll have an AWESOME day.

IN Jesus.

Trust in God’s goodness.

Amen!

I am enjoying a great few days off my usual work, but I can’t STOP thinking about the Goodness of God. He’s always been good to me. Even in my darkest hour, God is GOOD. I’ve experienced the great goodness of God many times. I’ve known His presence and power in the deepest darkest of times. He’s Always Good! No matter what you are going through, TRUST in the goodness of God. He is only a prayer away, turn to Him and trust in His goodness. He IS good!

Don.

God’s Way Of LOVE: Practical, Practicable and Possible.

Practical Love, Possible Love

GOD’S WAY OF LOVE:

Daily Spirit & Word: 567:

LOVE IS NOT A GETTING: IT’S A GIVING

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

 

Good morning my friends, I love that old song by “Wet, Wet, Wet” the Pop Group. “Love Is All Around Us”.

“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes”

The phrase that stands out for me today is; “And So the “Feeling” Grows.”

How many of us today want to FEEL more in LOVE? Answer: “ALL OF US” Am I right?

I want to say right now: Real LOVE Is: Practical, Practicable & Possible: LOVE.

Questions: What DOES the Bible Say About LOVE? What Does God want us to understand about LOVE?

TYPES OF LOVE IN THE BIBLE:

Bible Question: How many words are there in the Greek language for love?

Bible Answer: There are four major GREEK words for love:

AGAPE, PHILEO, EROS, and STERGO.

There are also a number of variations of these words such as AGAPETOS, ASTORGOS, KATAPHILEO, PHILADELPHIA, PHILANTHROPIA, PHILEMA, PHILIA, PHILOS, PHILOSTORGOS.

Four Main Words. (In Ancient / Classical Greek)

AGAPE is the most common word for love in the New Testament. It occurs 259 times as a verb or as a noun.

PHILOS and PHILEO occur only 54 times.

EROS and STERGO do not occur at all in the New Testament.

English Form Meaning
AGAPE This word was used in Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favored by a god. It has the idea of a person giving all his or her love or favor to another. It was used to speak of parents giving all of their love to their only child. So in the New Testament it is used to make the same point. God gives each of us all of His love.
PHILEO This Greek word has the idea of emotional love. While AGAPE emphasizes the complete giving of love to another person, PHILEO emphasizes the affection, emotion, a fondness one person has for another.
EROS EROS refers to love between a husband and wife. It is more than sexual ecstasy because it also includes embraces, longing, and caring.
STERGO STERGO primarily refers to love between parents and children. It sometimes refers to love between people and their ruler and to love between a dog and his owner.

The Other Words. The other words for love combine different words to make a special point. The meanings of these words are briefly given below.

English Form Meaning
AGAPETOS Beloved or loved one.
ASTORGOS Without love.
PHILADELPHIA Brotherly love.
PHILANTHROPIA Love for mankind
PHILEMA A kiss.
PHILIA Friendship love.
PHILOS A love for a friend or relative.
PHILOSTORGOS Tender love or affectionate love.

Conclusion:AGAPE is the most common word used in the GREEK New Testament. The greatest example of love is Jesus Christ who died for our sins. God shows His love by rescuing us from our sins.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB) John 3:16

It is the word God uses to call us to love Him and others.

He is calling us to give Him all of our love and give others all of our love.

The emphasis is not an exclusive love but a total love.

Otherwise, we would only be able to love one person.

And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ (NASB) Matt. 22:37-39

God calls us to give ourselves completely to Him in every way – heart, soul, and mind.

HOW ARE WE TO LOVE?

In our Bible reading today, we discovered that God wants us to LOVE: But in a very special way.

1 Corinthians 13: Emphasises HOW we are to LOVE EACH OTHER. (AGAPE = Sacrificial / Giving LOVE).

Can you see that LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

Real LOVE: is not what you get out of a person, but what you give to them.

To be “Really In LOVE” is to want to give your all to another.

“But what about emotional love?” (Fondness, Feeling and Affection).

WHAT ABOUT EMOTIONAL LOVE? AFFECTIONATE LOVE?

Yes! The Bible does speak about that kind of love too.

God wants our EMOTIONAL AND AFFECTIONATE LOVE and expects it to be EXCLUSIVE (Complete).

He also asks us to have an emotional love for Him in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

1 Corinthians 16:22 (NIV) “If anyone does not love (Phileo) the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord! (Maranatha)”

God wants our Emotional LOVE too: So when He’s calling us to Agape (Sacrificial) LOVE for Him & Others, He’s also calling us to have an Emotional LOVE as well. (It’s our whole being, total and complete affections that God wants and expects to see).

THE BELIEVER’S LOVE AFFAIR.

UNFAITHFUL: To the Lord and Each Other.

“If anyone loves the world, the Love of the Father is not in Him” (1 John 2:15)

i.e. You cannot be loving God and having a LOVE AFFAIR with the World at the same time.

  • But you cannot DEMAND Love:
  • It’s got to come from the heart.
  • It’s got to come from your relationship with the LORD.

You will NOT be in LOVE with the LORD if you are in love with the world.

Let’s admit it! Many of us have been carrying on a secret love affair for years!

And doing a pretty good job of MASKING it from our BROTHERS AND SISTERS, FELLOW Believers in Christ.

And why do we continue the “affair WITH THE WORLD”?

Simply because we love how it:

  • Panders our appetite for sensual gratification
  • Entices our eyes and caters to the greedy longings of our mind, and
  • Fosters our desire to live a life of pretension.

The “love affair” to which I am referring is our surrender (giving in) to the evil values of this world system that governs the goings on of mankind; a system which is headed by none other than Satan himself – “The Prince of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30)

If we have GIVEN IN (SURRENDERED) to this Prince by fostering and feeding a “love affair” with his domain (THE WORLD), we have a serious problem. You see, as professed followers of Jesus Christ, God will not allow us the luxury of two loves:

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

We simply cannot have it both ways: Loving the “world” and loving God.
HOW CAN WE GET OUT? 

How can we escape the trap of our love affair with the world?

Jesus’ prayer to the Father for His follower on the night before the cross, gives us insight into the answer to that question:
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14, 17)

As the Disciples and Followers of Jesus were given the WORD’S of Jesus (Word of God) they were TRANSFORMED.

It was that inner transformation by the receiving of the Word of God that showed the whole world that they were no longer one of them, they were DIFFERENT (SANCTIFIED = SET APART / DIFFERENT). So the world “hated” them.

PAUL WAS DEAD TO THE WORLD:

(Paul had escaped the “love affair”).

Galatians 6:11,12-14,15 11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12  Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
14  May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christthrough which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

PAUL had grown to hate the “world system” THAT WAS GOVERNED BY SATAN.

WHAT COUNTS? Dead to the world: NEW LIFE in Christ: (In Baptism: death to old life, rises to live a new life).
SO… THE BIG QUESTION IS: Just as the Disciples were transformed by Soaking in God’s Word (And later on by the Holy Spirit) Are you resisting the world’s seductive charm by the inner change that results from consistent, and disciplined meditation upon God’s Word? Are you seeking the in-filling of the Holy Spirit?

If you are a Phileo, Lover of the LORD, then you’ll want to become more of what He’s called you to be.

It’s NOT like a Demand, but an INNER-TRANSFORMATION: Your affections will change, the more you give yourself to ACTING in LOVE. (1 Cor 13).

REAL LOVE IS:

1 Corinthians 13.
Practical, Practicable & Possible: LOVE.

IF YOU DON’T: 

If not, you are choosing by default to foster your “love affair” with the “Prince of this world’s” dominion (This WORLD and ALL it has to offer). And in so doing you have become God’s adversary, because

“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

IF YOU DO: 

We’ve seen today:

  • The Types of LOVE: Agape and Phileo in the Bible. God wants your Sacrificial LOVE & your Emotional LOVE.
  • He wants us to BREAK FREE from our LOVE AFFAIR with the World.
  • He wants us to Experience His LOVE for us (Complete and Emotional) Fatherly, Tender and True.
  • What counts is a NEW CREATION: You will LOVE like Jesus (AGAPE: Self-Sacrificial).

When we Decide to LOVE: Then the feelings of LOVE will follow. (Emotions / Tenderness)

Couples struggling to LOVE (feel in LOVE) with each other; Solution: AGAPE (Give LOVE, then feelings will follow).

LOVE IS NOT A GETTING: IT’S A GIVING.

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

Have an AWESOME Sunday full of the LOVE of God: For Him and for each other. And I KNOW that when you love like that, you’re going to have a FOUNTAIN of LOVING FEELINGS on the inside as well. You are going to FEEL it all around you, in your fingers and in your toes, and so the FEELING GROWS.

Don.

P.S. When I discovered AGAPE (God’s Way Of LOVE) I was really SET-FREE from all kinds of feelings. I no longer needed others to express their love towards me, I still like it though :-), but my FEELINGS of love for others just keeps grown, the more I LOVE like Jesus, the more free I become. It enables me to forgive, forget and let-go, in so doing, I’m becoming even more in LOVE with God and others. Real LOVE is Practical, Practicable and Possible with the LORD’S Help. Praise the LORD for His REVELATIONS IN THE WORD. Amen!

Being Open-Handed and Open-Hearted.

Daily Spirit & Word 562:

Being Open-Handed and Open-Hearted.

Sunnybeach Bulgaria.

A few years ago (Sept 2011) Julie (my wife) and I enjoyed a lovely late Summer holiday at Sunnybeach in Bulgaria. Barcelo Royal Beach Hotel. It was a wonderful 5 Star Hotel. The security was obvious and the staff so welcoming and ready and willing to serve. We were greeted with warmth every time we needed service. The Hotel was truly awesome, the best I’ve ever been in and our room was so clean with an amazing view over the swimming pools and out to the beach and sea.

Don Davis Photography
Barcelo Royal Beach Hotel Bulgaria

 

On a few days we took some trips, one was to the Blue Mountains to visit real historical Bulgaria. On the way we stopped at a few places of interest, but what struck me was the level of deprivation, it was noticable almost immediately we left the Sunnybeach resort. However, the roads in Bulgaria were much better than the roads in London. Bulgarian roads didn’t have any pot-holes, speed-bumps or other hazards to avoid.

 

In our air-conditioned coach zooming through the countryside, we noticed people with donkey and cart, it was like being transported back in time, but that was life in Bulgaria today. I began to feel sorry for the people of Bulgaria and wondered how they could be so charming, welcoming and friendly towards outsiders like us.

Blue Mountains Bulgaria
Historical Bulgarian Village

The ancient villages we visited were amazing, but the lingering thought was, how privileged we are in the UK and how we moan about our conditions so much, we just don’t realise how rich we’ve become.

 

In the mornings I’d arise early to meet with the Lord on the Balcony, sitting at our table with a warm mug of coffee, watching the sun rise with Bible in hand, as I read God’s Word: I looked up “The Poor” and “The Needy” on my iPad software.

 

Proverbs 19:17 17  He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Proverbs 19:17 17  He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Although I’m always; friendly, generous, welcoming and keen to chat with people of all walks of life, I determined that whilst on holiday, I’d make a special effort to talk with as many of the staff and locals as we could. It wasn’t easy, because we didn’t speak Bulgarian, but most of them had learned English. I left tips every time I was served and greeted the waiters by name. Julie and I made friends with a young woman who came to do morning exercises in the pool and run a little competition. Julie won a huge drink one day and we all laughed together. We had a photo taken, before selfies became the norm, we’d done it 🙂 LOL.

The POOR & The NEEDY:

Deuteronomy 15:11 11  There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.

It’s not just open-handed, but open-hearted and open-life with everyone. Not just with the poor, but being generous with everyone, with our time as well. Some of the people who needed our help most on that holiday were people who had everything in life, like us, and they were struggling with simple relational things. We prayed with a few people on that holiday who opened their hearts to us.

Revelation 3:17 17  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

INSULTING:

We observed some people in the swimming pool area, who’d obviously had far too much to drink, shouting and being rude to the bar-staff. They responded with polite and assured grace. I approached the bar soon afterwards for a refreshing drink and they served me with the usual friendliness. I spoke with the man and thanked him and assured that the LORD would reward him for his amazing patience and kindness in the face of such rudeness. He smiled!

Proverbs 14:31 31  He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.

It doesn’t cost anything to be friendly, to show respect towards all people, but it’s rewards are beyond measure. When Julie and I left, we gathered all our Bulgarian money we had left-over and gave it to the Staff members who’d made our stay so enjoyable and relaxing, they’d become quite good friends. One of them cried when we left, that was so moving. You can make friends with people very quickly in life.

Remember the Lord’s kindnesses towards you and you’ll be so full of gratitude that you’ll want to be kind and generous and open-handed and open-hearted towards everyone.

Hope you have an awesome holiday, but don’t take a holiday from the Lord: He’s with you even in foreign lands. We’re not going away this year, but we’re looking forward to having some time with family and friends.

Be blessed and enjoy your Summer Walk with Jesus.

Don.

I took the pictures for today’s post whilst on our travels on holiday in Bulgaria, the Hotel and the ancient village in the Blue Mountains in Bulgaria.

 

Love One Another

Love Like Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 484: Love One Another.

It’s our LOVE for one another that is one of the tests we can use to discover if we’ve passed from death to life. In other words, to know if we’ve been born of God’s Holy Spirit and are true followers of Jesus Christ, if we’re living in obedience to His commands to LOVE Him first and LOVE one another.

Good morning my friends. Don’t you just LOVE Sundays? I do because I can gather with brothers and sisters in my eternal family and we can worship our Lord Jesus Christ together.

Yesterday I took my grandchildren Aminata and Leila to Bockett’s Farm Park in Surrey, what a great day out it was. They had fun on the tractors, fed the little lambs and the sheep and goats and petted the rabbits and horses. There was pig racing and castles to explore. Then they enjoyed the awesome children’s play areas and we all sat down for some sandwiches that my wife had prepared for us.

When I paid for entrance to Bockett’s Farm they gave us a yellow wrist-band, this shows that we’re paid up and allowed on all the rides and can enjoy the whole of Bockett’s Farm. WOWzer! What a gift of a sermon Illustration: Imagine if God gave every single one of us an Yellow Bracelet to show that we’re Paid Up Members of His Kingdom Family? And we can have access to all the rights of the Children of God in the Kingdom? It would be easy for anyone to recognise that we belong to the LORD.

Well, we do have a kind of wrist-band and He’s revealing it today: It’s Called LOVE.

1 John 3:11-24
11  This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13  Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
19  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20  whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22  and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

The Steps to Faith and Trust In Jesus:

When you come to faith in Jesus Christ: It involves definite steps: Those steps can sometimes be instant and for others a much longer journey.

The Steps to Faith and Trust in Jesus Are:

1) An awareness of our NEED of a SAVIOUR: The Holy Spirit draws us to God the Father and Faith in Jesus Christ, by first producing a hunger for Righteousness: The NEED to be right with God.

2) The Holy Spirit makes us aware that we’re NOT Righteous in ourselves, because of our Sin. He convicts the world of guilt… That’s one of His functions as God The Holy Spirit. It’s His task from Jesus and the Father. (This is the process that can either be instant or can take some time, because people confuse Religious Activity with Righteousness. They get involved with ‘church’ and begin to do the things that real believers do, thinking they are saved because of it.)

3) The Gospel Shows us God’s Solution for Righteousness: That He sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross in our place to make us right with God: Righteousness Satisfied: We’re RIGHTEOUS when we’re in Christ.

4) We’re convicted and moved to REPENT of our sins and put our faith and trust in God’s revealed solution to our righteousness problem. We then comply with the Spirit’s call and respond to Jesus invitation to RECEIVE Him as both LORD and Saviour.

5) We’re SAVED: We begin a New Life in Jesus Christ: He gives us New Life by sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts and bringing about the New Birth: We’re born again, Regenerated, Renewed by the Holy Spirit. (The Washing of Rebirth)

6) When the Holy Spirit comes into our life: Some things happens to us:

  1. a) We no longer view the Commandmentsas a threat: i.e. “You must do this” “You must not do that”, but as promises; “You will not want to tell lies, steal or lust” “You will want to Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and Love your neighbour as yourself”.
  2. b) Those changes come as we’re filled with God’s LOVE by the Spirit He gives us. (Verse 24).
  3. c) The Holy Spirit Begins to Transform Us: Sanctification: Into the Likeness of Christ: Producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. That’s what Jesus was like and is like today. That’s what we’re being transformed into: The Likeness of Christ.
  4. d) The Holy Spirit Gifts: Tongues, Word’s of Knowledge, Healing, Discernment, Administration, Prophesy, Service, Hospitality, LOVE. The Greatest Gift Being LOVE.

Death To LIFE: Verse 14.

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

So we can know today if we’ve passed from death to life (Verse 14) if we LOVE our brothers. i.e. Our neighbours, our fellow Christians, our workmates, our own family members. If we’ve got hatred in our hearts instead of LOVE, then we’ve NOT been born again by God’s Holy Spirit (Verse 24). Though we may want or even demand to be viewed as Christians because of everything else we’ve done; our religious devotion, our church activity, our charitable acts, etc, etc, but if we don’t LOVE others all these things are like a Clanging (Very Loud: Cymball). 1 Corinthians 13.

Cain Vs Christ.

Cain and Jesus are examples of the extremes between hating and loving.

Let’s Compare and Contrast: Cain and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cain: 1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.

Jesus: 1 John 3:16 16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Cain TOOK LIFE:
Jesus GIVES LIFE.

What was their MOTIVATION?

Cain: Angry and Jealous and Bitter: Because God accepted Able’s offering.

Jesus: Love: Love motivated Jesus to offer His life. 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16.

How Can we KNOW if we are LOVING our Brothers and Sisters or NOT?

Well, our reading gives some indication: 1 John 3:16-18. (This is HOW we KNOW).
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (Are we laying down our lives for others? Self-Sacrifice: Greed = wanting the biggest slice, more money than others, better houses than others. Avarice, The need to have so much that you can dominate others. The need to win arguments???)
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (How can the LOVE of God be in us if we don’t respond to need? Some people ask us when we’re out sharing Jesus, “How can there be a God of Love when He allows so much suffering of innocent people; perhaps God allows this suffering to show his love through the Saints He’s called into His family: I.e. God has no hands but our hands, He has no feet but our feet, He has no mouth but the Christian’s mouth in this world…)
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (God wants us to DEMONSTRATE that we’re actually LIVING IN OBEDIENCE to the Commandments of Jesus Christ).

Let’s look at that great chapter on LOVE:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(WOWzer! You’d think that a person who did all these things was really good, loving and kind, wouldn’t you? But the Bible tells us that even though we are doing these things, we can do them in a LOVELESS WAY.).
Now let’s continue in Corinthians 13:
4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Respond: 

My friends, what can you do this week to show that you have passed from DEATH to LIFE?

How can you love each other more?

Examples: How can you help the homeless? How can you help the widow, the single parent, the refugee, the alien and stranger, the lonely, the depressed, those who are suffering, the poor, the weak, the strong, the rich, the proud, etc… How will you help?

  • First: Don’t be overwhelmed: That’s what stops a lot of Christians from doing what they know they should do.
  • Second: Don’t be afraid: Fear can cripple our LOVE. It’s actions speak louder than words.
  • ThirdTrust: Trust again in Jesus and receive His LOVE into your own heart. Know that He really loves you and then be filled afresh with His LOVE. Ask for His Divine Help and Power to do what you know you should.

Be FULL of LOVE and Act in LOVE towards EVERYONE.

Conclusion: 

My friends, The WHOLE of God’s WORD is filled with this awesome message: God IS LOVE. John 3:16, Romans 13:8, John 13:34-35, 1 John 3.

Those who say they LOVE God will PROVE their love for Him by how they act towards others in the world.

We won’t just SAY we love others, but we’ll actually feel it, we’ll want to lay down our lives for others, that’s the fullness of LOVE, that’s why God has said it in so many different ways in His Word.

The Greatest Gift of the Holy Spirit, the Greatest Gift that God can and will give us is LOVE.

This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH to LIFE.

We’ll show it by our ACTIONS  and ATTITUDES towards one another.  We’ll actively LOVE One Another.

My friends, is there a want of love in your heart today? This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH (God’s curse upon a sinful person is Death for sin) to LIFE (New Life comes when we REPENT and TRUST God’s SAVIOUR: Jesus Christ).

Then you can know if you’re truly Born of God’s Spirit.

If you have got the Spirit of God and you are less loving than you should be; REPENT and receive and be filled with His Holy Spirit afresh today.

May the LORD bless this reading and insight into His Word Today. Amen!

I’m praying for everyone who says they really love Jesus today, and those who truly want to follow Him every single day, that we’ll know the wrist-band of LOVE. We’ll wear it with pride and we’ll get more love into our hearts when we become aware that we’re not being as loving as we should be. Let us LOVE One Another. Amen!

 

 

The Wideness of God’s Mercy

The Wideness of God's Mercy

Daily Spirit & Word, 481: The Wideness of God’s Mercy.

Good morning my friends, I hope your Easter Week is going well. Today we’re thinking of God’s mercy towards sinners. He’s just so outstandingly kind, gracious, forgiving, loving, gentle. When we hear of God’s wrath, anger and justice, we must always remember that they are tempered and controlled by every other aspect of His Divine Character.

 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

My friends there is a wideness in God’s MERCY that I believe we’ve only just touched upon. So many Christians it seems love to hear or talk about God’s wrath and anger against sin (and He is), but there’s also such a breadth to God’s Divine Nature that we miss out on when we simplify our focus too much. It’s not surprising that when we concentrate on just one characteristic that we produce lop-sided followers. It’s like we’re producing Disciples with limps or with a load on one shoulder and we do a real dis-service to God’s Kingdom. Not only that, when your Heavenly Father looks at you, He’s probably wondering why you’re not conveying the whole Good News.

 Mercy triumphs over judgement.

James 2:13 (NIV) “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement!”

Can you see that my friends? God’s Justice and Judgement are good and righteous and necessary, but there’s a wideness in God’s mercy, that means because we’ve been forgiven so much, we should also extend that same mercy and forgiveness towards others.

 How is God Merciful?

Well, when we reflect upon the Cross and why it was that Jesus came to die, we discover that it was because of God’s great love for those He had created, He doesn’t want anyone to perish in hell, but everybody to come to repentance. Of course if people refuse God’s mercy, then He’ll have to give them His judgement, anger and wrath against their rebellion and sin. However, the amazing thing is God holds out the olive branch of peace and mercy and forgiveness. He’ll remove all our transgressions, trespasses and sins, “As far as the east if from the west”…

My friends, if you are sincerely desiring to follow after God, become more like Jesus, then you need to discover more about what God is like in His Character, the Holy Spirit will be moulding you into the same shape as Him. There’s no better place to look than to the stories of the Saviour, but the same nature and character are also revealed in the Old Testament.

Let’s look at just one Psalm that shows us God’s great kindnesses and mercies. Psalm 103. Read it and meditate upon it, highlight every word that speaks to you of God’s goodness, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, grace, etc…

Read this Psalm out as loud as you can, get to a lonely place and shout it out, for faith comes by hearing the words of the Lord. My friends, God’s MERCY will become evident when you HEAR God’s Word Today. Let His grace and kindness wash you clean.

Psalm 103:1-22 (NIV)
1  [Of David.] Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2  Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits
3  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7  He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8  The LORD is compassionate and graciousslow to angerabounding in love. 
9  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
10  he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16  the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17  But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18  with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19  The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20  Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21  Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22  Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Did you shout it out? I’d have woken all the grandchildren, but I shouted it out in my mind 🙂 I’ll be shouting it when they all wake up in about an hour though.

From the start to the finish this Psalm shouts out loudly of the wideness of God’s MERCY.

The themes ringing loudly in your ears today should be: Forgiveness, Healing, Deliverance, Soul-Satisfaction, Redemption, Compassion, Renewal, He Fights For Justice, Gracious, Patience (slow to anger), Love (abounding in love), Cleansing from All sin, Praise the LORD my soul.

 “As a Father has compassion on his children”

One day when I was playing football (soccer) with my brother in the garden, I broke a big window. My mum shouted at me and told me to come into the house, she said, “Wait until your father gets home, he’s going to punish you severely for this”. All the rest of that day I was dreading the moment my dad got home from work. He came in and I thought at first my mum had forgotten to tell him, but then she did and my dad said, “Go into the bedroom, I’ll be in soon to sort you out boy”… I was crying and saying how sorry I was, it was an accident, pleading for forgiveness, but my dad’s eyes said it all. He came in and closed the door, then he said, “Get over my knees”. All the time me pleading, “I didn’t mean it”. Then he whispered in my ear, “make a loud scream and I’ll pretend to whack you” So that’s what we did, I creamed and he made a whacking sound. Then he said, “I know you didn’t mean it, but be very careful, you’ll have to work to pay for the window” I nodded and he said, “Now go in and rub your bum like it hurts”. My brothers and sisters and mother were all looking at me when I went in and I played my part and pretended to be hurt.

“As a Father has compassion on his children” My dad gave me a great lesson that day. I deserved punishment, it was in the days when parents disciplined their children and I knew I was wrong, but he had mercy upon me. Earthly fathers love their kids, but God our Heavenly Father has so much more compassion, He doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve (Verse 10).

Does this remind you of the Lord’s prayer? It should. It ends as the Lord’s prayer begins, but the themes of God’s grace and mercy are as evident. Pray this Psalm, let His Character soak your soul and sing songs about how merciful our Father in Heaven really is. He’s forgiven me so much, and yet He’s calling me to a higher walk with Him. He knows what I’m like, yet He’s crowning me with glory and honour. How can we not PRAISE the LORD, O my soul.

Hymn: There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment given.

For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we would gladly trust God’s Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

Turn and again and dust yourself off my friends, get cleaned up and wash your hands to serve the Lord. Let His kindness, mercy and grace wash over your soul today.

Jesus died to set you free from sin. Live in that freedom, knowing the depths and wideness of God’s mercy and how it triumphs over judgement.

Don.

 

Day 8: Tick Tock

Tick Tock

40 Acts Together
40 Acts Together

40 Acts Together. 40 Acts of Generosity.

Tick Tock: That’s the Sound of a Clock 🙂

You’ve probably all heard or used the phrases; “Time is ticking away” or “Time flies by” or “I can’t believe it’s March already” etc…

There is another saying, “Time stands still for no man”. You can’t STOP the clock and you can’t go back.

Lateness, without genuine reason, says ‘I’m more important than you’. If you’ve ever had to sit around waiting for someone who said they’d arrive half an hour ago, you’ll know how annoying it is. Set your alarm 15 minutes early, get organised the night before, and get there. On time.

How to use TIME to your advantage:

Plan it!

Be there ON TIME (Be early).

I don’t know why, but I hate being late, I’ll often arrive 10 or 15 mins ahead of important events. Sometimes if it’s a funeral, wedding or church service half an hour or an hour before if I’m leading or preaching.

I’ve noticed that many people don’t share the same TIME priorities as me. We’ve got lots of people in our fellowship from The West Indies: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. From Africa: Nigeria, Congo, Liberia, Kenya. We’ve got people from India and Sri Lanka. Europe and the UK… But we’ve ALL got different time perspectives; some don’t mind being late, even up to an hour late, in their cultrue, is not rude or disrespectful, whilst others have a much more rigid and inflexible attitude. What do you think? Is it right to keep people waiting?

I think in our busy lifestyle here in the UK, no matter what culture we’re from, we’ve got to be considerate of others. Because sometimes people are working hard and they’ve only got a very short amount of free time, so we’d better respect and honour one another with the way we handle time. I know I’ve kept some people in Church too long, but preaching for way too long sometimes and I’ve paid the price as people have stopped coming to church. We learn our lessons the hard way sometimes.

For more help on Keeping TIME: Click 40 Acts of Generosity.

Have an awesome Day.

Don.

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