Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

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

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

It’s going to be costly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here follows an explanation of Jesus requirements:

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

1) Jesus Said You Must Deny SELF:

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

NOTE:

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

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

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

2) Take Up Your Cross Daily:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Follow Me:

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

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

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

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

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

Is Jesus Your KING?

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

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

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

 

The LORD is my Shepherd

no fear in death when Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Daily Spirit & Word: 765: The LORD is My Shepherd.

The Lord is MY Shepherd:

Good morning my friends, it was such a wonderful privilege to conduct the funeral of one of the oldest saints in St Luke’s Church, June Bailleau. She died in full assurance that Jesus Christ was her Good Shepherd. So we could celebrate her life and be comforted with the assurance she’s gone home to be with her LORD forever. There were awesome testimonies about June, the kind of woman she was, her dedication to the Lord, her love and service in church and community, but most importantly how she longed for everyone she knew to come to the point of knowing Jesus for themselves. She wanted me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus at her funeral. So I did, here’s the message that I gave.

A few days before she died, June couldn’t speak clearly, but she mouthed the words of this Psalm perfectly from memory as I read it out to her.

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I just love the way that King David has used the imagery of a Shepherd and his flock to describe the CARE and COMFORT which every one of God’s sheep can experience. However, it’s not just a group of sheep, but an individual sheep, my friends, Jesus wants to take the greatest care of your life too.

He begins by describing the comfort and care of His Lord for him in life.

He sums up all of God’s care in one phrase, “I shall not want.”

“I shall not want”

King David LACKS NOTHING, because his Shepherd cares for all of his earthly needs.

Let’s Look at the ways the Shepherd Looks After His Sheep in this LIFE:

  • He Leads me besides still waters: Jesus said, “NEVER THIRST AGAIN” & “Calmed the Storms” & “Walked on Water”…
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures: “NEVER HUNGER”

John 6:35 (NLT) “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

These two phrases tell me Jesus is concerned about my earthly existence as well as what follows next, my SPIRITUAL life.

  • He leads me in paths of righteousness: “I AM The Way, The Truth and The LIFE: No man comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.

How does the Good Shepherd lead us? With His ROD (Rod of correction: A small rod that shepherds would use to prod the sheep and keep them on the right path) With HIS STAFF (The STAFF is a bigger stick that shepherds would use to rescue the sheep when they got into difficulty).

My friends, Jesus is caring so much for those who become His sheep today. He disciplines, prunes (Luke 15, John 15) He guides (John 16-17 by His Holy Spirit).

LOOK AT THE WAY THE GOOD SHEPHERD LOOKS AFTER HIS SHEEP IN DEATH:

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is not just concerned with our life down here on the earth: When we’re going through the doorway of death, He’s right there with His sheep too.

DEATH: King David’s Shepherd doesn’t ABANDON Him through death, so he goes on to describe the Lord’s presence in death.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

Passing through death, David says, is like walking through dark shadows. That would normally be very frightening indeed. I’ve been called out to people who are just about to die and they are petrified, scared to death of dying. They call on a minister out of FEAR: I always come to them and proclaim the Gospel: When faced with DEATH people always REPENT of their sins.

Going through DEATH for everyone of us  is not pleasant experience, that’s why nobody wants to die.

However, if we are one of God’s Sheep, when we do pass through the dark shadow of death, there is NO FEAR…

Here we are COMFORTED with this TRUTH: That our LORD JESUS Christ, The Good Shepherd, who provided for all our earthly needs in life, is also with us as we pass through the dark doorway into ETERNITY.

For those who are passing through DEATH with Christ, there is NOTHING to FEAR: Why? Because Jesus is right there with us.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

 

HOW DO WE GET JESUS TO BE OUR GOOD SHEPHERD?

WHILE THIS PSALM ASSURES US THAT GOD IS WITH US AS WE PASS THROUGH THE SHADOW OF DEATH, IT DOES NOT TELL US HOW THIS HAPPENS.

King David was specially chosen by God, he was unique and had amazing experiences of God in life and knew and trusted God. But it wasn’t until Jesus came to this world, that ordinary people could also have that same kind of assurance.

One thing I am assured about June Bailleau is this, She KNEW JESUS as her Good Shepherd. She’d repented of her sins and trusted Jesus as her Lord. She loved the LORD, and would be singing His praises until her last breath, which I can testify that she did.

Well, Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd:

He said,

John 10:10-11 (NIV)
10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Notice The LINK: The Good Shepherd: The LORD is MY Shepherd.

Jesus died on the CROSS for the Sheep. “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”…

John 10:14-15 (NIV)
14  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, (June KNEW Jesus)
15  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (June was assured Jesus had given His life for her).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd: He lays down His LIFE for the Sheep.

But why? Why did Jesus need to give His life for the Sheep? 

It’s because without Jesus DEATH on the CROSS: We would all still be in our sins, we would be frightened on our way through the DARK SHADOWS of DEATH. We most certainly would be frightened.

ALL HAVE SINNED: God’s WORD, The Bible, tells us clearly, “ALL HAVE SINNED”… 

YBH: Yes! But how?

We’ve all broken God’s Commandments: Lied, Stolen, Cheated, Disobeyed Parents, Murdered (Hated), Not kept the Sabbath, Not put God first in our lives.

God’s Commandments reveal just how much we’ve all sinned. NO SINNER can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: If we were able to creep into Heaven with our sins still on us, we’d contaminate Heaven.

We THINK We’re Good Enough: Most people think they are ‘good enough’.

I’m reminded of a time when as a young Electrical Mechanic recruit waiting to be drafted to my first ship, having finished my courses, I was put to work on the Royal Navy Pig Farm: About 40000 pigs to look after: It’s a very smelly affair. You’d only need to be with those pigs for a few minutes and you’d begin to smell like them. After working with the pigs I’d take a shower, spray myself with deodorant and put on clean clothes. Then going to the Dining Hall with all the other Sailors, we’d line up to get in. There was a Petty Officer at the Door: He was controlling the entrance, letting in a few at a time, there were hundreds of us. I noticed there was something strange happening in the queue, there was a gap in front of me and a gap behind, I didn’t take any notice, but when I eventually got to the front of the queue, the Petty Officer said, “Go and get a shower, you stink, you can’t come into the Dining Hall smelling like that”… I was so embarrassed, I’d had a shower, sprayed myself with deodorant and thought I smelled clean, but the stench of the PIGS was still on my body.

My friends, I thought I was clean enough, I thought I could get in, I’d cleaned myself up: Oh My friends, there are so many people who’re hoping that they’ll be GOOD ENOUGH to get into Heaven when they pass through the dark shadow of death. They’ll be sadly shocked, because, JUST ONE SIN in your life: Will contaminate your SOUL and you’ll be unfit for Heaven for all eternity.

It’s my experience from going out to share the Gospel with folks on the streets every week, people who don’t go to church, people who are not religious, that they do believe in Heaven and they think they are going to be good enough to get in. My friends, we’re encouraged by God’s Word not to fool ourselves: No SINNER can get into HEAVEN.

Listen to what God’s Word tells us: DON’T FOOL YOURSELVES…

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)
9  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10  or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
11  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Don’t FOOL YOURSELVES: We may think we’re ‘good enough’ but the Bible, God’s Word, reveals that JUST ONE SIN will keep us out of Heaven.

Like Adam and Eve, who were banished from God’s presence for ONE SIN, so we too will be sadly shocked and embarrassed to discover, we can’t get in.

Thankfully that same passage that tells us not to FOOL OURSELVES, and lists those who can’t get in, it also reveals who can.

It’s those who’ve made Jesus their Good Shepherd.

1 Corinthians 6:11 ” Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

  • When you TURN: In Repentance (Turn away from Sin) Confess your sins to Jesus.
  • When you TRUST: In Christ’s DEATH Upon the Cross, paying the price for your sins. (The Good Shepherd can become your Shepherd today).
  • When you RECEIVE Jesus Christ: By and act of Faith you say “Jesus, I believe you died upon the Cross for my sins, I repent of those sins (Name them, renounce them, and leave my life of sin) I turn to You Lord and I receive You as my LORD, My Shepherd, Come into my Life and be my Lord today. Amen!”

When you Turn, Trust and Receive Jesus Christ: You will be saved, your sins will be washed away, you’ll be made holy by Jesus Christ’s death and precious blood, you’ll be made right with God and you’ll be free to enter into Heaven. When you die you will not FEAR. When you pass through the Dark Shadows of Death, because Jesus become your Good Shepherd, He will be your Shepherd and He will be with you too.

ALL FEAR IS GONE:

When Jesus Christ is YOUR Good Shepherd.

 

JUNE KNEW Psalm 23 by HEART: June KNEW Jesus as her Good Shepherd: The LORD of her life.

You can cry out with confidence as June Bailleau has done countless times in her life, she knew it by heart, just a few days before she died, she mouthed the words;

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

You’ll have such a confidence that Jesus is your Good Shepherd, that you’ll KNOW you are just going to go through THE DARK SHADOW of DEATH, you won’t be afraid, because Jesus will be with you, and then once you’ve passed through, you’ll be with Him FOREVER.

You will receive the Gift of Eternal Life:

Death has lost it’s sting, when Jesus is your Good Shepherd.

John 3:13-18 (NIV)
13  No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
14  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up (Jesus died on the Cross),
15  that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (Those who TRUST that His Death was for their sins).
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.

It’s NOT ENOUGH to KNOW that Jesus died for your sins: We can all believe that easily enough, but we must TRUST IN Jesus Christ. i.e. Trust that He will forgive you, cleanse you and give you new life, by an act of faith.

It’s like a man called Charles Blondin: A World Famous Tight Rope Walker.

He would walk across the Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow. Back and forth (17 Times: Even Blindfolded). Then He asked the Crowd, “Do you believe that I could push a person in a wheelbarrow across the falls?” The Crowd responded “Yes”.

Charles Blondin asked, “Who’s going to get into the wheelbarrow?”

The Crowd was silent… He famously pushed his own mother across the falls in that wheelbarrow. She trusted in her own Son, enough to get into that wheelbarrow.

My friends, we’ve got to GET Jesus into Us if we are going to be SAVED: Will you TRUST the Son of God? Will you Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD today? He’ll take you across the Dark Shadow of Death all the way to Eternity with Him in Heaven Forever.. Trust Him.

Have you made Jesus your Good Shepherd yet?

Believe, Repent, Receive, LIVE….

Turn, Trust, Receive Him Today: And you will have HIM with you through life and through that doorway of death too. Amen!

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend.

Looking forward to gathering on Sunday with the Saints in St Luke’s Church,

Don.

 

Loving The World Leads You Away

King Ahaz appealed to the King of Assyria for help, folloed worldly ways

Daily Spirit & Word: 731: Following The Patterns Of This World.

What happens when we follow worldly ways?

Good morning my friends, what are you going to do when trouble comes knocking at the door of your life?

2 Kings 16:10 (NIV) “Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz, was the king of Judah, he was one of Judah’s baddie kings, because instead of following after and serving the One True God he’s followed previous kings and their evil practices that God had clearly forbidden. His life was a ‘Spiritual’ ruin and wasteland.

During his reign, Syria attacked Judah. But instead of going to God for help Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria to come to his aid and help him defeat Syria. Imagine, he took the silver and gold from the Temple of God to bribe the Assyrian king to help him. The Assyrian king did assist Ahaz and together they defeated Syria.

However, After the great victory, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria. Our verse today tells us about that very visit. We can note three things that happen to Ahaz and to us when we seek the world’s help in times of trouble instead of God’s.

You’ll notice in the verse these three things; The obligation of Ahaz, the observation by Ahaz, and the orders from Ahaz.

1) The Obligation of King Ahaz:

Obligation of Ahaz. “Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria.” Ahaz was obligated to go to Damascus to express his appreciation and give honour to the king of Assyria. Ahaz had forsaken Jehovah God, He’d wandered away from the God who had defeated the mightiest armies of Egypt and sought the assistance of a Worldly King when trouble came. Instead of going to God he appealed to the King of Assyria. So now he is the servant by choice (2 Kings 16:7) of the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 16:7 (NIV) “Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel who are attacking me.”

My friends, when we forsake God we become obligated to the world, we become the World’s slaves and servants, and that obligation will only become a burden to us.

It reminds me of the church that went to the National Lottery for money to rebuild it’s church, now that church is full of practices and activities and groups that no normal Christian would ever entertain. When we go to the world for assistance instead of to God, then world will burden us and we’ll become obliged to serve it instead of God. Instead of being a light to the world, we become it’s servant and slave. When we go to the world for help, it’s then that our SALT looses is ability to savour.

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
17  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.

It was obvious from King Ahaz’s conduct that he did not LOVE God or God’s commandments. It’s important to check where our affections are leading us, are they drawing us away from God and Kingdom living? or are they drawing us closer to Him and Kingdom service?

When we love the world then we’ll become IMPRESSED with what the world has to offer instead of God. This leads us to consider what Ahaz saw when he visited the worldly King of Assyria after he helped him.

2) The Observation by King Ahaz.

“Saw an altar that was at Damascus.” Ahaz was impressed by an altar he saw in Damascus. This altar was for heathen ungodly worship, but that did not seem to bother King Ahaz. Why? because we already know from previous verses in our chapter that he was already involved in heathen worship, even killing one of his own children. (2 Kings 16:3,4). So no wonder when Ahaz observed that magnificent foreign alter he was impressed with it.

1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

This world is always concerned with how things look, and that’s what impressed Ahaz. You may be tempted, when following worldly lusts to be impressed with how things look in this world. How people have fashioned their buildings, structures, clothes, vehicles and lives, etc… You might be impressed with their gadgets and gizmos, and tempted to long for them.

Having rejected Israel’s God, Ahaz was given to false religion which emphasizes ritual and outward form and appearance. All false religions aren’t concerned with the inner man or how to please or serve God. Their practice of religion is to see what they can get out of their god.

It’s never their inner character or conduct or the wishes or commands of God.

After being tempted and teased and impressed we now see where it leads King Ahaz.

3) The Orders from King Ahaz.

“He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.”

King Ahaz wanted an altar just like the one in worldly Damascus to use at the Holy Temple of God.

What’s really strange is that in The Temple God there was already an holy altar. Judah didn’t need a new one. God had prescribed the pattern and form of Israel’s altar already.

Can you see what’s happening in King Ahaz’s life? He’d gone to the world for help, he’d become obliged to the world and now after being impressed with the world, Ahaz wanted to shape and pattern his whole life and worship to become more like the world. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, because our affections and desires will change once we wander away from God.

When we go to the world for help, we’ll end up far away from the Lord.

My friends, when we go to the world for help in times of trouble, then we too will become obliged to the world, we’ll become it’s servant instead of God’s, we’ll want to fulfil it’s desires and wishes and we’ll be obliged to do so. Secondly, because our hearts are already away from the Lord, our desires will begin to change and we’ll want to become more and more like the world, we’ll want to fashion and patter our whole life and our worship to become more worldly. We’ll become more concerned with what the world thinks about us rather than what God thinks.

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

When Ahaz was attacked his life was already in ruins, so he naturally followed his fleshly instincts and went to the world for help. He must have thought, “I’m being attacked by a big boy, I’m going to get a bigger boy to come and help me”… What should Ahaz have done? He should have gone to the BIGGEST and STRONGEST and MOST ABLE: God, the KING of the UNIVERSE… Amen! If he had followed God’s desires, he would have been able to withstand ANY Enemy Attack.

My friends, Don’t GO to the world for help in times of trouble or hardship. Instead, first, go directly to your LOVING Heavenly Father.

Last night on Alpha we discovered just how much our Father in Heaven longs to give us what we need.

INSTEAD: ASK YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FOR HELP:

Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
9  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness again”… King Ahaz was walking in the deepest darkness, look at the rest of chapter 16 to see just how far away from the LORD Ahaz took the true worship.

John 8:12 (NIV) “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Sometimes we just don’t get because we forget to ASK.

Following Jesus will not make you immune from attacks or trouble, but when you face those trouble by faith, walking closely with Jesus, you will have total PEACE and even the deepest JOY that the world cannot understand.

When we forget to ASK, we’re walking in the darkness instead of the light and we’ll be led astray to follow worldly ways instead of God’s ways.

Ahaz made his choice long before an attack ever happened, my friends, if you are experiencing the blessings of peace now, keep close to Jesus, stay close to Him every day and He will guide your affections and heart’s desires.

Don.

 

Why Am I Suffering?

Jesus answer to suffering

Daily Spirit & Word 601: Why Am I Suffering?

Good morning my friends, did you see the Blood Moon yesterday? For some strange reason I awoke just as the shadow of the Earth began to cover the moon, so I watched it for a while. The moon looked quite big, they called it a super moon, but I’m sure I’ve seen even bigger moons than that when I was a child 🙂 Overshadow? I’m thinking what the Lord may be saying about that today.

I can’t give a reason for EVERYONE’S suffering, but sometimes the Lord wants to teach us something.

My friends Roy Hutchinson shared this on FB today:

Psalm 73:14-17 (ANIV)
14  All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
15  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
16  When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17  till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

If you read that whole Psalm, you’ll see the Psalmist is complaining to the LORD: Why do ‘good’ people have to suffer?

Suffering:

When we suffer sometimes we ask the question “Why?” Why am I suffering. Sometimes Christians get ashamed about their suffering or the duration of their suffering, because they think it’s the judgement of God. Other brothers and sisters sometimes don’t help, because they say things like; “You should pray about that” or “Perhaps God is disciplining you”… When you are suffering you want people to show some sympathy and empathy.

But it is GOOD to ask the question: “Why am I suffering?” but we should always ask the LORD not other people, because, unless they’ve been given a word of Knowledge from Him, they will not know.

1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
17  For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18  And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

However, there are some great reasons why we suffer, but it’s good to ask the Lord the question “WHY?” He may reveal something that, unless the suffering had come, you would continue to be unaware of in your character or walk with Him.

Two verses jumped out at me from that passage today (perhaps another speaks to you in a different way), the verses were 15 & 17.

Verse 15 “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a thief or any other kind of evildoer (criminal), or even as a meddler (someone who interferes in the affairs of others).”

How many ‘good’ Christians do you know, who are meddlers? The Church is rife with people who meddle, we should not do it.

  • If you are a meddler, then you are an obstacle to someone else’s pathway in life.
  • If you are a meddler, you are interfering in an obtrusive, noticeable way.

Verse 17: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

It is so easy for the follower of Jesus to skip over the first part of verse 17 and focus upon the outcome of the sinner who doesn’t respond to the Gospel when they hear it. However, the first part could quite possible be even more enlightening for us; “For it is TIME for judgement to begin with the family of God”. We don’t like to think that Father God will judge us, but it’s good for us if He does.

God disciplines, and judges those who belong to HIM NOW: “God disciplines those He loves”. He’s perfecting, training, shaping and moulding our Characters to become more and more like Jesus Christ, it is far better to KNOW that you belong to God’s family and experience His loving discipline now rather than wait for the judgement to come. We should invite the Lord to show us where we need to be transformed. “What’s next on Your agenda for me Heavenly Father?” Because our earthly nature, though it was put to death when we were baptised and united with Christ, is NOT completely dead, and will try and creep back up onto the throne of our life and kick the Lord Jesus Christ off.

It’s TIME for Judgement to begin with the Household (family) of God.

In other words, it is good for us when the Lord of Heaven disciplines us. So it’s no wonder this passage begins with “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” and continues with “rejoice”… It’s GOOD for us to experience some suffering, so we should never be ashamed or down-hearted or beaten down: Instead Christians should Rejoice! Sing hallelujah! Praise the LORD! Why? Because we are becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

So what should we do when we’re suffering?

First: REJOICE and PRAISE THE LORD: I know how hard that is sometimes, but it is what happens to us when we do it. JOY comes into our hearts when we praise the Lord, even when we’re in pain and suffering all kinds of trials.

Next: Continue to do Good: Verse 19 “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

Continue (even when you are suffering) to do good.

When I had a bad back just recently and found it difficult even to walk, there wasn’t much good I could do, but I prayed, studied God’s Word and shared with people in fellowship and online. It is the CONTINUING: Keep going even when the going gets tough.

Jesus will help you and give you the comfort, encouragement, and strength that you need when you are suffering. There were so many wonderful encouragements I received from the Lord whilst suffering in agony. Praise the LORD!

So it’s good to ASK the Lord, “Why Am I Suffering?”

Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.

Hope you all have a fantastic, wonderful, tremendous Tuesday with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Please PRAY for us as we gather for Discipleship Fellowship Tonight @ 7.30pm in St Luke’s Church.

 

The Gospel: People NEED Jesus.

The Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit and Word 600: The Gospel.

People NEED Jesus

Good morning my friends, this is the day we begin to study afresh the Gospel according to Mark. As you know there are four Gospel writers in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each gives us quite a unique view of the life, message and purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Matthew’s Focus: Audience: for the Jews. Reveals the Messiah who fulfilled OT Prophesy.   
  • Luke’s thrust: Audience: Greeks (Gentiles: Non-Jews). Reveals Jesus as The Son of God, Empowered by Holy Spirit who came to Seek and SAVE Sinners.
  • John’s thrust: Audience: For people with a Greek and Roman World View: Jesus is the Creator, Divine Son of God, The Sacrifice who Gives His Life so that mankind may receive Eternal Life.
  • However Mark reveals Jesus as the Servant King: The thrust is on What Jesus did. Main focus of His Gospel (Half of it) The Last three weeks of Jesus life. (Mark wasn’t one of Jesus Apostles: He was a close associate of Peter and Paul.).

In the beginning he sets out to declare the Gospel (The Good News) of Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:1-8
1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2  It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
3  “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “
4  And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River.
6  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7  And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8  I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel:

“The Gospel” is a phrase that slips off our tongues easily, and we use it so frequently that we rarely stop to think about it’s meaning.

Usage of the Phrase: “The Gospel” Not used much by the other Apostles: But Paul and Mark use it regularly in their writings.

So what does “The Gospel” mean? 

It means the Good News:

  • First of all it is the Good News of the Coming Kingdom: Proclaimed by John the Baptist, getting people ready.
  • Then it is the Good News of the King of the Kingdom: The Lord Jesus Christ and His mission upon the earth.
  • Then it is the Good News of The Lord Jesus Christ: Died upon the Cross, Risen to Life and Ascended and Reigning in Heaven.

So NOW when we think of The Gospel: We always think of it as the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ: He is the subject and message. He alone is the only way a person can enter into the Kingdom of God. He is God.

Whenever I hear the phrase “The Gospel”: I immediately translate it, subconsciously, as “The Good News of Jesus Christ”: But many others don’t think of it that way.

In Common Use: In the World: 

You’ll often hear people in London saying, when they want to communicate that they are telling the truth: “Gospel truth brother” or in East End “Gospel guv, God’s honest truth guv”…

For example: When I was going to buy a computer the sales assistant in PC World said, “This is the best deal you’ll get, ‘gospel truth’ and we’ll match any other offer you get”….

The world uses “The Gospel” to associate TRUTH. They know when they hear the word Gospel it means truth. So when we’re out there trying to communicate the Gospel with people and we say I’m out sharing the Gospel, we’d better be clear, because they want to know what we’re telling the truth about. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Gospel Meets Your Deepest Needs:

Although the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, it’s also something that radically meets the needs of all mankind.

When we need: Only Jesus can meet those needs;

People Need Peace: People want real peace: Peace from war, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Middle East. But peace only ever lasts a short time. There will be wars. However, Jesus gives us a “Peace that the world cannot give”: Peace even in the storms of life.

People Need Gladness: Jesus give us gladness. We search the world for gladness and look to it for refreshment; (It does satisfy for a short while, like a McDonald’s burger, a holiday, but after a while, we’re hungry again)  but we search for gladness in vain, because the world was not Created to provide it for us. Non-the-less we keep searching, trying, scratching, scraping, hoping, yearning, longing. The gladness or satisfaction we’re looking for can only be found in Jesus Christ, He Created the world, and He alone is the true (gospel) source of gladness and satisfaction in life.

People Need Understanding: The world seeks to KNOW: To know the world and the universe: The quest for knowledge is immense, people spend thousands of pounds on their education. However, if they’d but open up the Bible and turn to Mark’s Gospel, and ask God to open their heart they’d find: True (Gospel) Understanding (Enlightenment: When the Light of Christ comes into our hearts, our understanding, knowing is transformened into an experience of the Light of Christ: The Good News, the Gospel).

People Need a Clear Conscience: Most people are aware that they are NOT all they should be. God given each one of us a conscience, when we go against His Commands, the Conscience cries it’s warning, so we try to quieten our Conscience: Some do it by ignoring it: We’re pretty good at that. (It’s like ignoring the smoke alarm) Some take the batteries out of the Conscience too 🙂 They try to do some good things, thinking that’s enough to quieten the conscience. Even hardened Criminals give money or offering to the church; thinking that will remove their guilt. Only the Whole Message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, His death upon the Cross and suffering for the world, will remove the pain of a guilty Conscience. (Conscience means: Con means with and Science means knowledge, therefore when we sin we do so With-Knowledge.)

People Need A Strong Will to Live Right: Many people struggle with self-control. Many books are written on the subject. Self-help books litter the shelves of book stores and Amazon pops them up: How to eat well. How to live debt free. How to speak. How to write. How to …. ?????

A Google Search of “An Idiot’s Guide to”

Do a Google search for “an idiot’s guide to”: You’ll find a bewildering and enlightening list of the things that people are really looking for in life: from Science, Quantum Physics, Yoga, Relationships, Marriage, Politics, Debating, Dating, Friends, Management, etc… They’ve even got “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to: The Bible”… LOL.

My friends, people want to KNOW HOW to do their LIFE better: Only Jesus Christ can meet all these needs, desires, hungers and wants in life. That’s the Good NEWS of Jesus Christ.

Need for Forgiveness: (Not many books on An Idiot’s Guide to Forgiveness).

You won’t find any books (yet) on: “An Idiot’s Guide to God’s Forgiveness”… Perhaps it’s time to write it 🙂

Google search that and you won’t find it. Why? Most people don’t think they NEED forgiveness. There is NO HUNGER or Desire for it. It is not high on the list of most important things in life.

  • Most people don’t think they need to be forgiven by God.
  • They think they are ‘good enough’ deep down, just a little bit wayward.
  • So they don’t think they need the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • They think they can get along perfectly well without the hindrance of being ‘religious’.
  • Life is just to busy for ‘religion’… “Church: No thank you. I’m NOT religious”.

When we were out on Friday sharing the Gospel in Brixton: We got chatting to lots of different people about Jesus.

But four ladies that David and I were chatting with stand out for me: It ended with the ladies saying to us; “We’re just out having a good time, so please…” She didn’t say “leave us alone” but that’s what she meant and we got the message. It was a sad way to end a conversation about the LORD. However, people don’t think they NEED Jesus, they’re OK without Him, they’re having a great time without thinking about God. I ended the conversation with; “You know in your hearts you’ve broken God’s Commandments; you’ve admitted that you’ve lied and stolen and lusted, that’s only three of them, so I’m pleading with you, listen to your conscience, and think about what Jesus Christ did on the Cross so that you could be forgiven” They said they would and we left them to have a ‘good time’…. The next man we chatted to, about one minute after the ladies, thought that He was God. We sat down with him and had a very interesting time sharing the message of Jesus.

What Hit me more than anything else today: Is this my friends: People NEED the Gospel. We all NEED the Gospel: The whole Good News of Jesus Christ. We need to HEAR if: Because FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD.

We also need to RESPOND to it: Just as those who heard John the Baptist responded to his invitation to get ready for the coming Kingdom: They repented and were baptised.

After Jesus came; The Apostles (Early Church) proclaimed, preached and witnessed: The Gospel: People responded by:

  • BELIEVING (that Jesus Christ had indeed died upon the Cross for their sins)
  • REPENTING (Turning away from their sin and trusting in Jesus death)
  • RECEIVING: They responded by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives as both Saviour and Lord.
  • GETTING BAPTISED: This was to show the world that they’d been transformed by Jesus and were going to live a new life, in the power of the Holy Spirit and that they were dead to their old ways of living.
  • FOLLOWING JESUS: They then responded by living the Christian life, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, they became His disciples.

Most Christian Churches Today: The focus and thrust of good Evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Charismatics is this: Believe, Repent and Receive (with a greater emphesis on the receiving end of the scale). Sadly so few, very few, focus upon the most important aspect, making Disciples (followers who’ll LIVE according to the Teachings of Jesus Christ and God’s Word). They pander to people’s hunger for experience, excitement and fun; but focus little upon the sacrificial life that Jesus has called us to: Taking up our Cross Daily and following / living with Jesus Christ. However, it’s ONLY when we begin to die to self that we can truly know that the Gospel IS the Good News we’ve been longing to hear.

Worship: I Surrender ALL to You Lord Jesus.

Conclusion:

We’re going to see over the coming weeks, as we unpack Mark’s Gospel of Good News of the Servant King: The Lord Jesus did some amazing wonderful things, he had Authority over all aspects of life and even death,  you’ll not want to miss any of that teaching I’m sure.

For NOW: Today:

Know this today my friends, this Gospel can transform your life today. The Good News of Jesus is for every hungry human soul in this world. They don’t even know they need Jesus, we’ve got to show them their; needs, hungers and desires can only truly be met in the Gospel Good News and Truth of the Person of Jesus Christ: The Son of God who died for them.

First: Have you truly responded? Do you Believe, repent, receive and follow Him daily?. Are you following and living according to the teachings of Jesus Christ right this moment? (If you know you are not, then come and receive prayer. Perhaps you need to repent and receive Jesus afresh in your life today).

Second: Will you be obedient to Jesus Command: Go into all the world and share the Gospel? Make Disciples?

Third: If you have not yet responded to the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for you, will you turn and ask His forgiveness for your sins right now? Will you believe that He died upon the Cross for your sins? Will you receive Him as both Saviour and Lord? Will you seek His power and fullness of the Holy Spirit to enable you to live your life for Him?

Let us pray: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we can see today that we need a much clearer understanding of the whole Gospel message. It’s life and peace and joy and satisfaction can only truly be found in You Lord. Help us to respond as they first followers did, by giving our lives completely to You. Help us Lord and equip us Lord to spread this message that we know people are longing to hear, but don’t know it. Give us the desire to live like You Lord Jesus and LOVE people into Your Kingdom. Amen.

I hope you all read and re-read Mark’s Gospel.

Have an awesome Sunday and stay close to Jesus Christ.

Live in the Power of the Spirit today.

Don.

 

Knowing Your Enemies: The World.

A Christian faces three enemies on the battlefield

Daily Spirit & Word 566: Know Your Enemies: The World.

Good morning my friends, it’s amazing but true that when you begin following the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, you come under attack from His ememies. Who would want to be an ‘enemy’ of the Lord Jesus? And why would anyone or anything want to take a stand against someone soooo loving, soooo kind, soooo gentle?

Well the truth is as a follower of Jesus Christ you have entered a Battlefield.

On a Battlefield, the missiles are exploding, guns are blazing, bombs are falling and booming, and casualties are mounting. Our first and natural inclination is to get off the Battlefield and save ourselves, but as a Christian you can’t.

As the wisest of Generals know, we should never underestimate our Enemies, but we need to know something from the off: Jesus is the WINNER of this Battle, but the Enemies will just not accept it yet. Satan has been defeated, when Jesus died upon the Cross, rose again from the Dead and Ascended into Heaven: So Satan now runs around like a wounded lion, but as you know a wounded lion is sometimes more dangerous and desperate than an uninjured lion.

Followers of Jesus need to know their Enemies: It’s been said that we have THREE major enemies: The World, The Flesh and The Devil.

Lets take them in turn over three studies:

Your First Enemy: “The WORLD”.

You might object about that, as I did, because isn’t the World that God made a beautiful and stunning place? I do love this amazing and awesome world and all that God has provided for our enjoyment. However, there is something that not quite ‘right’ with God’s Created World: Part of the Created World is Polluted: I’m not talking about Carbon emissions or global warming or nuclear waste though, but the pollution is; rebellion, rejection of God as King.

It’s that polluted part of God’s Good Creation that is in Rebellion against Him: That World System that loves the Darkness and Hates the Light:

John 3:18-21  “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.
19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” 

Everyone: Who does EVIL hates the Light (Jesus).

The World System that hates Jesus is “EVERYONE” who does EVIL.

What is EVIL?

You might say, well I’m not ‘EVIL’: Simply put, ‘evil’ is rejection of God and all that’s good. We do ‘evil’ when we; lie, steal, cheat, lust, disobey our parents, covet (inordinate desire of things of this world) and blaspheme God (by using God’s name or Jesus Christ as a swear word). Now we know what the Evil World is: But there’s more….

However, we don’t really know the full effects of the sinful decisions that Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden and how that decision has infected every human soul since. We’re born into that same kind rebellion, we’re born on the opposite side, we’re born opposing Jesus, we’re born an enemy of the LIGHT.

Whenever anyone comes into the Light it’s as if they are like those who escaped from Communism during the Cold War: They had to sneak out of Russia or those Eastern Block countries that were part of the Russian Federation. The were called “Defectors“: When you come over to Jesus camp, when you come across over to the side of light, you are defecting against the rule and reign of Satan and the world system under his authority.

Evil is what we are when we are born: Because we’re born into sinful rebellion against the Creator and His wishes. We’re in the camp of the enemy until we defect (Repent and Trust in Jesus side).

We’re Born LOVING Rebellion:

Just as the Russians viewed Defectors as Enemies of the State: So Satan and his world system views everyone who comes over to the side of Jesus as Enemies: So your first enemy is the World (Governed by it’s Ruller: Satan). It’s the Evil World System, but not the world that God Created Good. (Hope you can now see how the world is polluted?).

What is this Rebellious World Like:

We know what living in rebellion against God is like, if we’ve traveled from the Darkness into the Light: We must have come through the darkness ourselves, we must have passed over into the light or we would not be Christians, we would not be followers of Jesus yet.

From DARKNESS to LIGHT: From Satan’s Evil World Order to the Rule and Reign of King Jesus.

Isaiah 9:2  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. “

Remedy: The Soul that Seeks The Light:

“The People Walking In Darkness Have Seen A Great Light”

It’s like there’s light, hope, joy, love, peace at the end of a long-dark-tunnel.

Those Defecting from Russia were escaping a cruel and hard Dictatorial Communist regime and crossing over to freedom in the free Western world governed by Human rights ruled by Democracy.

A Christian is Defecting: A world system ruled by Satan, who wants to enslave people and keep them in bondage. He wants to blind people so that they cannot see the light. He wants to keep people in Darkness and ignorance of their true condition.

Isaiah and John wrote the same thing;

In John’s Gospel we get a clear indication of How we can know the difference between the Kingdoms of Light and Darkness:

John 1:1-13
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jesus is God).
2  He was with God in the beginning. (Jesus is the Eternal God).
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Jesus is the Creator).
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (Jesus GIVES life to everyone).
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (Jesus came into the world).
6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. (John the Baptist).
7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.
11  He came to that which was his own (the Jewish People), but his own did not receive him.
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (Every Christian who comes over into Jesus side in this battle becomes a child of God).
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (The Holy Spirit of God brings about the new birth, you are born-again into God’s Eternal Family when you trust in Jesus Christ for Salvation or when you defect out of Satan’s World System)

The DARK Night Of The Soul: In this amazing and difficult book, John of the Cross reveals the dilemma for mankind; crossing over from Darkness into the Light: He calls it’

“Dark Night Of The Soul:”  goes on to say; “We may say that there are three reasons for which this journey made by the soul to union with God is called night. The first has to do with the point from which the soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself of desire for all the worldly things which it possessed, by denying them to itself; the which denial and deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of man. The second reason has to do with the mean, or the road along which the soul must travel to this union — that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to the understanding. The third has to do with the point to which it travels — namely, God, Who, equally, is dark night to the soul in this life. These three nights must pass through the soul — or, rather, the soul must pass through them — in order that it may come to Divine union with God.

Ascent of Mount Carmel.”

The Three:

Worldly Things: Love for the world and it’s pleasures, the sensual world, the rebellious world.

FAITH: Darkness, we don’t naturally possess faith. We don’t naturally understand faith.

God: We’re not born knowing God, we know that He exists, but we don’t know Him personally, we’re born estranged from God, we’re born in Darkness needing the light of faith and Jesus before we can ever see the light and cross over from the Darkness of this world into His Kingdom of light.

There’s nothing wrong with the things of this world, but it’s our inordinate affection for them: We want the world too much. We want to possess the world and have it all for ourselves, but this inordinate affection is nothing short of Idolatry: Making the World our God: Loving the World more than the Creator who made it.

Escape: The Bible tells us the Christian has escaped the ‘corruption of the world’.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

So we need to say, “Goodbye” to the World System and it’s Ruler.

The first enemy is the World for the Christian, the next Enemy is our own flesh and our arch-enemy is Satan.

PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, we’ve seen today just how important it is to know about our enemies. Today we’ve thought about the fact that when we are born, we’re born into a world system that is in rebellion against You. Lord Jesus, since I’ve come over to Your side by believing and trusting in You as my Lord (KING) and Master, please help me to live in this world, knowing that I’m part of a different Kingdom, that I am Your Ambassador Lord, please help me to represent You with love, gentleness, faithfulness and honour today. Please keep me from loving this world so much that I’m falling away from You. I don’t want to have an inordinate affection for this world Lord, so help me to LOVE YOU with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Thank You Lord for setting me free from the World and letting me see the awesome light of Your Kingdom. Amen.

Have an Awesome Saturday in the Kingdom of the KING of Kings my friends.

Don.

NOTE: The Gospel Good NEWS of Jesus.

Discover: The Spirit Filled Christian Life.

 

At The Cross, At The Cross

At The Cross, At The Cross of Jesus Christ.

Daily Spirit & Word, 475: At The Cross, At The CROSS.

Now, I AM Happy, All The Day. Every Day.

Jesus knew the Cross was getting nearer, and as it weighed upon His precious soul, so His message of the Kingdom grew more intense. The heart’s desire of the Lord of life is that, not just the Nation of Israel be turned in repentance back to their God, but the whole world come to know the offer of Salvation. The Nations will put their hope in Jesus.

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

Matthew 12:18-21  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19  He will not quarrel or cry out; no-one will hear his voice in the streets. 20  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21  In his name the nations will put their hope.”

These two passages above show us a definite full-stop, a switch in the message Jesus is giving. Up to this point the Lord Jesus and all God’s messengers had been teaching; “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Having presented His CV as the Messiah and been rejected by the majority of religious leadership of the Nation. These cities which have been mentioned in chapter 11 of Matthew, turned their backs on Him, and so had Jerusalem. Now the Lord turns His back upon the nation of Israel, no longer presenting to them the Kingdom. He is on His way to the cross, and His invitation is to the individual and to the whole world. Listen to Jesus crying out:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

This language is in stark contrast to what Jesus had been proclaiming in the rest of this chapter. And from that point on Jesus is headed for the Cross and instead of focusing upon the Nation, he’s revealing the Kingdom of God to the individual and to the world.

My friends, it’s really windy out this morning, I love it, but I had to hang onto my hat it’s just so strong. When we come into the warm from such a blustery storm, it’s amazing how warm the house seems, how calm when you can’t hear the raging of the wind.

The change in Jesus message is just like that; It is like coming out of a winter blizzard into the warmth of a spring day. Just like passing from a raging storm into a sea of calm. It’s like going from the darkness of night, into brightness of daylight. This is the same message from Jesus, but presented in a radical new way; He’d switched from a National perspective to a new message for the Individual. He changes from speaking to everyone in the Nation of Israel to EVERYONE in the WORLD. It is no longer the national announcement about a Messianic Kingdom but a personal invitation for everybody to find the much needed “rest” of Salvation.

When Jesus speaks of being “heavy laden,” He is referring to the individual being burdened with sin. “I will give you rest” Jesus is the one who will enable you to find rest from your struggle to be good.

This same idea and focus is used by Isaiah and the Psalmist:

Isaiah 1:4 (NLT) “Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.”

Look back at chapter 11 of Matthew and you’ll see Jesus crying out to those Cities where He’d performed Miracles and they’d not REPENTED,  they’d not received the Message of the Kingdom.

Psalm 38:4 (NLT) “My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.”

So when Jesus is crying out to everyone, come to ME ALL you who are weary of carrying your load of sin and I will give you rest from your struggle to try and be good, I will lift your heavy burden of sin.

My friends, sin is way too heavy a burden for you to keep carrying all your life. When you try and lift things that are too heavy for you, you can give yourself a hernia, and trying to live righteously without coming first to Jesus Christ to have the burden lifted is the exact same, you’ll really get a spiritual hernia if you try to carry your load of sin yourself.

The only place in this world to put that heavy unbearable burden of sin is at the Cross of Jesus Christ. When He died there, He bore your sin and took it away from you onto Himself. Now He invites you individually and the whole world to come individually  bringing your burdens of sin to Him. Jesus can forgive you because on the cross He bore the burden of sin for you and for everyone else in the world.

 But we must respond to Jesus Invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” This is referring to the Salvation of the sinner through Jesus Christ. But the next phrase of Jesus, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” is referring to the practical sanctification of the believer.

Oh WOWzer! I’ve just come back into the study after a short break from writing this, and I’ve seen the LIGHT. What a glorious sunrise, great colours in the sky and clouds. The storm is still raging, but the sky is full of light. The LORD spoke to me, “That’s what it’s like for those who follow me, there is a storm still raging, but there’s more light than they can imagine for their souls”.

Jesus REST

There is a REST that Jesus gives, and it is the rest of Redemption and Salvation from the heavy burden of sin.

There is also a REST which the Believer Experiences, and it comes through; conversion, commitment and consecration of our lives to Jesus Christ. You don’t have to struggle to be Holy any more, because Jesus, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, will enable you, but your part is to stay close to the vine, remain in Christ, to remain committed to living for Jesus, to be willing to submit to His burden of obedience to His commands. Remember what Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light”.  Yes you will probably fall from time to time, but Jesus transforms your heart’s desires. Once He’s lifted your heavy load of sin from your shoulders and carried them to the Cross for you, you will not have to struggle ever again when you are in Him and He is in you.

 The VAST Majority Are NOT burdened with sin:

We go out every week and share the Gospel with people on the streets, the vast majority are NOT burdened by their sins, they don’t care, they love sin and don’t want to hear about it. They’re happy to be without church, Jesus or religion. They’ll happily declare and some quite loudly, “I’m NOT religious”, what they’re saying is, “I don’t need someone telling me how to live.” and “I don’t want a God in the sky, who’s trying to control my life”… That’s why they need to hear the LAW of God before we share the GRACE of the Cross of Christ.

 It’s Un-regenerate believers in Jesus who are burdened with sin:

It’s my experience that those who are burdened with sin are those who believe in Jesus, but have not yet been converted, regenerated or born again of God’s Holy Spirit.

Yes they believe all the tenets of the Christian faith, they’ll willingly ascent to the creeds, but it’s all head knowledge, because they’ve not got to the point of letting go of their burden of sin and receiving Jesus as their Lord. It’s a simple transaction, but so many have not taken that step of faith.

How have they come so far and a yet so far away?

Because they may have responded to a ‘false’ gospel. One that says “Simply Believe in Jesus and you are a Christian.” Without REPENTANCE and without RECEIVING Jesus Christ as LORD, we’re still in our sins no matter how much we believe in Him.

They’ll come in with their burden of sin, they’ll say confession in church, recite the creed and even receive Holy Communion, then they’ll walk out with their burden of sin still on their back. They are still trying with all their own strength to be good enough. It’s those un-regenerate believers in Jesus who’ve not been converted my friends, they are the ones who feel the burden of sin. They are like the Nation of Israel who had ‘religion’, but who didn’t know the Saviour and rejected the Messiah.

We must preach, preach and preach again CONVERSION: IT’S the GOSPEL that leads sinners to repent of their sins and trust the Saviour. It’s the Holy Spirit who works on their hearts to enable them to feel the heavy load of sin, and it’s the law that leads people to an awareness of their need of a Saviour. However, until they come to Jesus and finally put their trust in Him for their Salvation, turning away from sin in repentance and from their own efforts to be good enough, realising that they can’t do a thing to shift the heavy load, they’ll finally dump their burden of sin at the cross. At the Cross, At THE CROSS.

I love that old hymn: At the Cross, at the Cross… but we often miss out the most powerful first verse these days and just begin with the chorus, we’re happy to think of the cross, but not the conversion from sin that’s needed. Isaac Watts who wrote the hymn, knew what he needed to do to have the burden of sin lifted by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Alas! and did my Savior bleed

And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Refrain:
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do.

Refrain;

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Author: Isaac Watts (The Scientist and Inventor of the Steam Engine).

My heart’s plea and the LORD’S today, is that you, you who are reading this, you who may believe in Jesus, but are still burdened with sin, will come and be converted, changed, transformed and translated from darkness into the glorious light. Your burden will be lifted once you trust the Saviour and take Him as your Lord.

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

I shared on Saturday at the Wedding in St Luke’s how people believe that Jesus died for them, but the vast majority of those who believe this, have NEVER been born of God’s Spirit, because they’ve NOT Repented, Trusted and Recieved The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. All the right belief in the world will count for nothing when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ and He says, “Depart from me, I never knew you”…

Matthew 7:21-23 21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

My friends, do you know Christ? Does Christ know you? Do you know Him as your LORD? Is Jesus Christ your Saviour? Come to the Cross of Christ and let Jesus remove your burden of sin, of guilt and of shame, then you’ll be able to enjoy the Son’s Light and “BE HAPPY ALL THE DAY”.

AT THE CROSS, AT THE CROSS.

You believe that Jesus died for you, good and so you should, but Satan also knows this, but he’s not turned in repentance, he’s still a rebel against the cause of Christ. You must believe and repent and trust and take Jesus as your Saviour. Believe, Repent, Receive.

Stay blessed and keep close to Jesus today.

Don.

 

A Simple Prayer:

  • Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you died upon the Cross for my sins.
  • I know that I’ve broken your Holy Law revealed in the Commandments, that you died there so that my heavy burden of sin could be lifted from me and transferred onto You.
  • I turn now from all sin in my life and trust in Your amazing grace and ask for Your forgiveness.
  • I receive You, Lord Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
  • I believe that You will send the Holy Spirit and give me new birth, new life and everlasting life.
  • Please help me now Lord Jesus to live from now on for You and I want to serve in Your Kingdom.
  • Help me to find fellowship with other Christians.
  • I’m going to read and feed upon Your Word every day. Please open up the pages of the Bible by Your Spirit Lord, so that I can understand and apply them to my own life.
  • In your most blessed and Holy Name I pray, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer, let us know by leaving a message here or on our Facebook Page, we’d love to be praying for you. It’s good that Christians or those who think they are Christians, re-visit this kind of prayer regularly, to remind ourselves of our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and His commitment to us. Read John’s Gospel today.

At The Cross, At The Cross.

 

Believer: The LORD Is Your Protector

Daily Spirit & Word, 458: Believer: The LORD Is Your Protector.

It takes courage, unity and determination to defeat the enemies of the LORD.

Exodus 17:15 “Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).”

Israel had been attacked by the Amalekites. It’s an amazing incident, for when Moses tired, his hands were supported by others. We need to remember that Moses by now was a very old man, but he was still God’s chosen man to lead the Nation of Israel from Slavery to Freedom in the promised land.

Joshua was the commander of the army of Israel: He was a faithful warrior for the Lord, but this battle plan had a strategy; Joshua would fight and Moses would stand.

 

Exodus 17:8-16

8  While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them.

9  Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”

10  So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.

11  As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.

12  Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.

13  As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

14  After the victory, the LORD instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

15  Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).

16  He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”

To Help Defeat The Enemy:

  • Joshua needed Moses
  • Moses needed Aaron and Hur
  • Israel needed the Lord

When they attacked Israel it wasn’t just Israel’s army they were attacking; He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.” Verse 16.

My friends you, those of you who have been chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ, are members of God’s Holy, Heavenly Family forever, so whenever you are attacked from any source, they are attacking the “Throne of the LORD” Therefore, the LORD will be engaged in the battle with you. That’s why King David had such confidence in the LORD, because he knew that with the Lord no enemy need be feared.

Psalm 60:4 “But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.”

Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV) [Of David.] “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2  When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.”

As believers we’ve also got the same kind of assurance that Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Hur and King David had; God is with you.

Revelation 17:14  “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” My friends, when you trusted in Jesus Christ and turned in repentance and faith to receive His forgiveness, did you realise that you were; “Called and Chosen?” WOWzer! Sometimes we think our walk with Jesus is all down to us, but He’s the one who called you, you simply responded. He’s the one who chose you. Out of all the people on the earth today, you were called and chosen by the Lord to be a member of His family forever, so He’s going to fight for you when you need His divine help.

Here is the Confidence we can have that Jesus is with us in every single battle that we face as Christians.

Romans 8:28-31 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

“If God is for us, who can be against us”

Oh WOW! “If God is for us (on our side) who can be against us?”

A NOTE of Caution: Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood (  ) but when we are attacked by other human beings the LORD will watch your back.

Be sure that you never attack one of the Lord’s chosen, anointed, justified and sanctified people, because if you do then He’ll become your most fearsome enemy.

For the Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ:

The Lord will help you in every battle, against every enemy.

My friends, I hope you have an AWESOME week, knowing that you’ve been called by Jesus, chosen by Jesus, justified by Jesus and that you are also protected by Jesus and the LORD’S Army. Fight valiantly dear warriors of Jesus.

Don.

 Bible References: Romans 8:31. Psalm 118:6. Psalm 60:4. Psalm 27:1,3. 2 Chronicles 13:12. Psalm 46:7. Revelation 17:14. Psalm 2:1,4. Isaiah 8:10.

Daily Spirit & Word.

If you like or have been helped by today’s devotions in Daily Spirit and Word, then why not share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter or Google +? Spreading the Word. God bless and keep you today. Don.

 

A Humbled King’s Message To The World.

 Daily Spirit & Word, 438: A Message From A Humbled King.

King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Fulfillment and Restoration.
A Message From A Humbled King.

 

Daily Spirit & Word, 438: A Message From A Humbled King.

God humbles the proud, but gives mercy and grace to the humble.

 Good morning my friends, the rain is falling, but it hasn’t got the bitter coldness of winter anymore, because the days are getting longer and the sun is warming the UK once again: Spring is on it’s way. In the fourth chapter of Daniel, we see the wonderful account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, it’s meaning, it’s fulfilment and his acknowledging of the LORD of Heaven. It’s amazing, because this King, who had everything was much like the proud people in our own times, who think they are too advanced or clever or smart to need the foolishness of faith in their lives. But we’ll see how the LORD can change all of that in an instant or in Nebuchadnezzar’s case after Seven Years…
 
Daniel 4:1-18
1  King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you!
2  “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.
3  How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations.
4  “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity.
5  But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.
6  So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant.
7  When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant.
8  At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9  “I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means.
10  “‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth.
11  The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see.
12  It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.
13  “‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven.
14  The messenger shouted, “Cut down the tree and lop off its branches! Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit! Chase the wild animals from its shade and the birds from its branches.
15  But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
16  For seven periods of time, let him have the mind of a wild animal instead of the mind of a human.
17  For this has been decreed by the messengers; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people.”
18  “‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’

This chapter is easily broken down into sections:

  • The King’s Dream and Calling of Daniel:
  • Daniel Explains The Dream:
  • The Dream is Fulfilled:
  • The King Honours The Lord:

What does it take to bring The Proud of Heart to their knees before God?This king had already had two AWESOME miracles that clearly demonstrated that there was a Sovereign God who’d made all things, even kings were in their place because the LORD wills it.

Remember how Daniel had revealed that God knew about the King’s first dream and Daniel told the king what it was and what it meant.
Remember how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been rescued from the fiery furnace.
The King had seen them and acknowledged that only God could have rescued them.
Now, this is the THIRD time, the LORD is doing something great in his life.
God showed the King, long before it happened what would take place. but WHY? Why didn’t God just immediately remove the proud of heart king from his place and put someone who loves and worships the Lord on the throne instead? Well the answer of course is that God’s ways are not our ways. Also God always gives a warning of what will happen unless people repent and change their ways. He sends his messengers; either prophets and priests or dreams and visions.
Even today God uses these things to bring people to their senses and acknowledge the Lord Jesus as King of their lives. How, through His Word (The Bible) through His messengers; evangelists and Christians who’ll tell the Gospel Good News, but He still does it through dreams and visions as well.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if the GREAT LEADERS: China’s Chairman Xi Jinping, Russia’s Mr Putin, America’s Barack Obamah or even in our own country Prime Minister David Cameron, came to their senses and realised they are only in their positions of power and influence because God wills it? Imagine what the world would be like, if whilst in power they all turned to Jesus Christ as LORD of their lives? How would PEACE rule the earth? How would world hunger be eradicated? How we could see fairness, equality and justice for everyone? How there would be no armies or tanks or weapons of mass destruction. Pray for them all my friends, but I know that the LORD also deals with small and insignificant people of this world to change the hearts of the proud of heart. He uses those who are nothing in the eyes of the world to shame the wise in their own understanding.

The Mighty Tree:

Of course the dream is obvious to us all now, but it is strange non-the-less.
Trees can being either a source of Good or an influence for Evil: As can Kings or Presidents or Prime Ministers.
Trees can supply the needs: Their fruits distributed to feed the nations: Their leaves used to bring healing to the nations. Their leaves provide a cover of protection for those who can’t protect themselves. Their branches used to make houses and shelters.
However, The Mighty Tree: That once stood proud and tall for all the world to see: Can be toppled so quickly.

 The Stump in the Ground:

The LORD chooses to leave a STUMP in the ground: This speaks to me today of Hope of Resurrection. The King was given the meaning by Daniel, we’ll look at that tomorrow, but the stump of course is the King, who after being wild would be restored.
Perhaps, the LORD is going to bring something like this in our day, to bring all those who are proud in heart to the point of acknowledging there really is a God in Heaven, then He’ll put a desire within them to seek God and discover who he is, they’ll find that the LORD Jesus Christ is the only way to understand Heaven. That Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to true knowledge and understanding. That ONLY Jesus can fully meet all of our needs.
Yes we can get by, if the LORD will allow, for a while, even all our life on our own. However, as long as we are away from the LORD we’re NOT living life as He intends. We’re not fulfilling our Divine destiny. We are NOT a peace within. We’re not experiencing life in His abundance.
Like King Nebuchadnezzar, we have a choice; whom shall we serve: Ourselves, our ego, our empire or His?
We must also remember the message of the LORD through John the Baptist, the last and greatest Prophet before the Lord Jesus came; He gave this warning to those who had ears to hear God’s message;
“The Axe Is At The Root”
 Matthew 3:10-12 10  The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11  “I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
May the Lord Jesus grant that all those who are Proud of Heart find repentance and forgiveness in Jesus. Those who think they are the masters of their own destiny. Those who think this world revolves around them. Those who think that others are here for their pleasure and purposes. Those who think that the world owes them everything. May they be brought to the point of joy in discovering that Jesus Christ is the true King.
Let us be sure in our own hearts today that we’ve gotten low so that He can lift us up. Is Jesus your KING or are you still hanging onto being the master of your own destiny?
This weekend I’m praying for you all my friends; let’s continue our journey towards glory with the LORD Jesus. Let His Word feed your soul, the Holy Spirit guide your feet and keep you on His narrow path, and fill you with understanding and wisdom and with His power: so that you can bring glory to the LORD with your life. Amen.
Don.
A Humbled King’s Message to the World.
A Message from a Humbled King.