The Single Grain Must Die

Life and Harvest from the death of the Wheat Grain

Daily Spirit & Word 555: The Single Grain Of Wheat Must Die To Produce A Harvest.

“Sir” they said, “We would like to see Jesus”.

Good morning my friends, I must admit I was worried yesterday. As we gathered for worship yesterday, there were so few people in the Congregation at the start of the service, I felt like saying, “The Service is Cancelled, I’m going home”. However, I knew instantly that was not the voice of the Lord in my head. So we began slowly and by the end of the third praise song, there were a few more people, by the time it came to begin preaching there was a decent crowd of people. At the end of the service, by the time of the Lord’s Supper, there were many more. The Crowd had gathered and we were all encouraged by the Lord in one way or another.

That feeling of wanting to go home when it seem bleak or the prospect seems small: When you look at a grain of wheat it’s small, seems insignificant, yet when you put it into the ground, it dies, then slowly a new plant emerges, and it grows-up and produces a seed-head, with hundreds of little seeds inside it. WOWzer! New Life comes when the grain of wheat dies.

If we’re ever going to learn to serve the Lord Jesus, we too must learn to continually die to self. It’s so hard being a living-sacrifice, but sometimes when you do it, all-be-it ever so reluctantly, you’re going to get a glimpse of heaven. Perhaps I should have titled today’s thought; How to Get A Glimpse Of Heaven ūüôā

Here’s Jesus teaching on the subject;

John 12:20-36 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
21 ¬†They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
22  Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 ¬†Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24  I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
25  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.
27 ¬†“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
28 ¬†Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
29  The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 ¬†Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.
31  Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
32 ¬†But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
33  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 ¬†The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain for ever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 ¬†Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
36 ¬†Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

Whoever serves me must follow me:

It’s amazing how we only really get to know what Jesus means after we’ve been following Him for a while. It means applying this “dying-to-self” principle many times before it finally hits home and becomes a reality. The voice from Heaven said, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again”. Jesus was glorified by God the Father many times in His ministry, He must have been thinking that the only time He’d be glorified was when He died, but the Father gives that reassuring voice from Heaven, “I have glorified it already”. Jesus was glorified just by being Jesus. He was glorified the moment He came into the world, He was glorified at His baptism, in His temptation in the wilderness, in His teaching and preaching, in His healings and miracles, in His eating and sleeping, Jesus was full of the glory of the Lord. Yet there’s the wonderful promise from the Father in verse 28 “… and I will glorify it again”. God the Father wants to continually GLORIFY Jesus His Son.

You too will be glorified again, you are being glorified now, by just being a Christian in Jesus. You’ve got the GLORY. How did you get the glory? By doing what Jesus did; “Whoever serves me must follow me” Verse 26. What did Jesus do and where did Jesus go that we must follow?

THE SINGLE GRAIN OF WHEAT.

Jesus was that single grain of wheat that was prepared to die in order that it might produce many seeds. V24.

We don’t traditionally think of John 12:24 as a Parable of Jesus. Normally Jesus parables are longer, but Jesus was a walking-talking-living-parable. Thinking of wheat like this; ‘dying and producing a crop’ is parabolic. Jesus knew that He’d come into this world to die so that others might live forever. He knew that death would not be able to hold him, that he’d rise again from the dead after three days in the grave, but he also knew that he MUST die. He must endure death, torture, punishment and pain, so that others would be able to live.

“NOW MY HEART IS TROUBLED” Verse 27:

This dying-to-self and ‘taking up our cross daily’ is NOT EASY.

Jesus was troubled by the thoughts of what He must do. How he knew about the torture he was about to endure and it quite rightly troubled him. Nobody in their right mind would welcome torture, pain, agony. However if it’s got a purpose and a good reason, then of course we’re prepared to endure it.

We know that people endure pain of operations by doctors and dentists, because after the pain wears off we’re going to feel much better afterwards.

We know that many thousands were prepared to endure pain, discomfort and possible death to serve our Nation in times of war, but nobody in their right mind wants there to be a war.

Jesus knew that His DEATH would bring LIFE and eternity to all who would put their faith and trust in Him. It was the prospect of what would happen afterwards, because He knew the single grain of wheat must die in order that a crop of many thousands would result. It was the ONLY WAY to produce the crop.

PUT YOUR TRUST IN THE LIGHT (Verse 36)

Jesus was indicating to those who were with Him, there’s ONLY ONE WAY to be SAVED, by trusting in the LIGHT.

Today, Jesus has gone through the Cross, He died and rose again from the dead, He’s now ascended into Heaven: He’s ALIVE in His resurrected and¬†glorified¬†body.

However, this “Put your trust in the LIGHT whilst you can” is an¬†opportunity¬†for¬†everyone¬†to receive¬†the¬†gift of life. However, we must not put-it-off, for we don’t know when the end will come. We don’t know when we’re going to depart this life.

On Tuesday I’m¬†conducting¬†a funeral for a man who tripped and fell at home, he crashed into a glass-mirror and died instantly. His poor wife heard the noise of his fall, rushed up the stairs and found his crumpled body. She tried frantically to revive him, but he’d gone.

My friends, God forbid, but we could fall over and die like that, but if we’re not walking in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, If we have not come to the light, if we have not received the light, then we are going to be tripping into eternity without Jesus as our Lord. We’ll face the Judgement. He’ll judge us on the basis of His Goodness (NOT OURS), His standard of goodness is much higher than ours is. We think we only have to be more good than bad and we’ll be OK at the Judgement. We think, “If I do some good things, I’ll be saved, because a good God will look at all the good things I’ve done in life and I’ll be saved.”

However, it’s the very thing we’re counting on to save us that will condemn us. We are right in thinking that God IS Good, but His goodness is so great that He can’t allow any badness into Heaven. You wouldn’t put a piece of rotten chicken into your fridge beside the good chicken would you? You wouldn’t put a rotten peach into your fruit bowl. You wouldn’t give sour milk to your tea or coffee.

I opened up a packet of bread the other day and was just about to pop it into the toaster when I noticed a green mouldy patch. I looked at the rest of the bread in the packet it was all contaminated and green. The packaging was intact, the label said that t was a few days before the “EAT BY DATE” but it was rotten on the inside.

We might look good to¬†ourselves (the packaging) and think I’m looking good, but it’s God that’s going to judge us. Unless we’ve died to self; Unless our grain of wheat has died, then we’re still rotting on the inside because we’re contaminated with sin. Unless we die to self and come to the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we’re going to die in our sin and face His Judgement.

God cannot and will not allow anything contaminated with sin into His Holy Heaven. No amount of good deeds will remove your sin from your record. Once committed, sin stains your soul until it is washed away, but doing good doesn’t wash sin away.

In order to get into Heaven, the grain of wheat must die.

Jesus died so that we could live forever. He died in our place; now if we want to go to Heaven, we too must die in order that we can live forever. However our death is different; we simply need to die to self. We need to come and trust in Jesus death so that we can live forever, but to do that, we must die to self. We’ve got to let go of our life in order to gain eternal life.

YBH: Yes, but how?

To die to self: We must STOP trusting in our own goodness: Recognise that we’re rotten and contaminated with sin on the inside. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve all broken God’s commandments, when we do we become contaminated with sin. We may still be in-date, alive for a while, but we’re walking and living contaminated.

First: Believe:

That Jesus is the GRAIN of Wheat that Died For YOU.

He died upon the cross for the sins of all. Jesus knew that’s why He had come;

John 12:27¬†¬†“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” Simply believe that Jesus came to that hour on the Cross for your sin.

1 Timothy 1:15¬†“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …”

Full Acceptance: Means we can fully accept and trust that Jesus came to die for our sins.

Secondly: Repent:

Turn away from your sin and trust Jesus: Stop trusting in your own goodness to save you (check the bread above). You’re going to be sadly disappointed on Judgement day if you continue to trust yourself. Repent and Trust the Saviour.

Thirdly: Receive:

Walk in the Light. Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD and you’ll begin walking in the light. Walking in Jesus. Remember Jesus is the “The Light Of The World” John 1.

Fourthly: SERVE: (DIE-to-Self):

Die to self. “Take up your cross daily”

Living a life of service means we must be prepared every day to follow Jesus example, He died in order that many would live. The single grain of wheat must die to bring life to countless thousands of others. We too must be prepared to die to self in order that we can live forever.

John 12:36 ¬†“Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”

A son of light: A daughter of light: Is a person who’s trusted in the LIGHT.

NOW: After trusting we can do our good deeds, not to be saved, but because we’re ALIVE: We’ve died to self and we’re LIVING for God.

John 12:26 ¬†“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.”

Believe, Repent, Receive, Serve and be HONOURED by the Father.

Have an AWESOME week walking in the Light of the Lord, taking up your own cross every day for Jesus.

Don.

 

Relax, Work Less, Enjoy Life to the Full.

Working Less, Overwork makes you dull

Daily Spirit & Word: 553: The Importance of Relaxation and Enjoyment of Life.

“Relax, Work Less, Enjoy Life to the Full.”

Good Saturday morning my friends. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s Saturday’s were always good times of family fun and relaxation. Saturday was family day; time to be fixing the car, riding bikes, going to the club and having a dance; well that’s what my parents did ūüôā When we had the time, we took our kids to the beach, woods, rivers, parks, picking blackberries, picking flowers and making swings over the rivers. Saturdays were for FUN and FAMILY.

It’s wise advice to have some FUN sometimes; You know the saying we had in the Royal Navy, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” Jack was a slang term for a Sailor (Jack-Tar). People need to work less and live more.

It is for FREEDOM:

Galatians 5:1 1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Overwork makes a man and woman miserable: Mother’s get all flustered and upset. Dad’s get tetchy; so take time OFF and enjoy and live the life that Jesus died to give you.

Remember Solomon’s Wisdom:

Proverbs 23:4-5 4  Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
5  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Worrying only about money will NOT make you happy.

Nobody is ever going to say when they reach retirement age (75) and say, “I wish I’d spent just a little more time at the office instead of playing with my kids and grandkids” NO! No! No!… We’ll be wishing we’d had a little more fun along the way. So often people work towards retirement, and exhaust their bodies so much that by the time ‘retirement’ comes along, they’re totally; knackered, worn-out, dog-tired, washed-out, spent, fatigued, fagged, run-down, sapped of energy, dried-up and¬†depleted.

Now you KNOW that Jesus doesn’t want His followers to be like that, so take some time OFF your hard-pressed life, strive a little less, enjoy life, you only get one shot at life, enjoy the kids, play more, work less, have a few less things and enjoy the daisies. Watch the clouds, look at the stars, enjoy a BBQ with the neighbours, whatever……………………… (You fill in the blank).

John 10:10 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.

Don’t let OVER-WORK steal your life, your joy or your happiness: Work is NOT the be-all and end-all of life. LIFE is to be lived to the full with Jesus and family and friends.

Have an awesome Saturday.

NOW: Share your FAITH the way Jesus would:

Saturday’s ARE for FUN.

Stay Blessed and Strong In Jesus.

Don.

 

The Christian’s Call To Holiness Today

The Christians's Call To Holiness

Daily Spirit & Word: 551: The Christian’s Holiness Today.

“There will come a time when the love of most will grow cold.”

Good morning my friends, I’m so sad that I couldn’t post yesterday. However, I’m re-assured by some of you who’ve been telling me that’s it’s given you a chance to catch-up on some of my writings. I know it’s HARD to follow, when someone writes as I do, sooooooo much ūüôā You’ll find countless, hundreds of other daily devotionals that are much shorter, more pithy and pointed. You’ll get a truth from them that will sustain you for a day or a whole week. Praise the LORD for them! I also read some of them too. However, I’m not called by the LORD to be short or concise. Sometimes, I’ll be short, but mostly, I just share what the LORD has put upon my heart to share.

 Matthew 24:9-14
9 ¬† “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be¬†hated by all nations¬†because of me.
10  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
11  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
12  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
13  but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD

Today, the Lord Jesus is speaking to me (personally) about Holiness. How He called me and every Christian to be Holy. Now holiness is NOT easy, especially as we live in a fallen world, where the love of most for the things of God has gone completely cold, even amongst the churches. It seems to me that the world and the church have fallen away from the high calling of Jesus Christ in the new testament to be a holy people. However, there are a few faithful left, but the world and the¬†worldly¬†church hate them, because we stand out like a sore thumb. It’s evident to the world today who the true followers of Jesus Christ are; because they will not go along with the ways of the world, they love the Lord and His Word too much for that. But in doing so, in being committed to living according to Jesus teachings, they’ve become targets. Nobody likes to be singled out or viewed as different or odd, yet that’s exactly what Jesus warned His own disciples they¬†would¬†become or be to the world and the worldly church.

FOR INSTANCE: Reverend Melvin Tinker:

He is a Minister in the province of York who protested about the blessing and prayers offered by the staff of York Minster for the ‘Gay Pride Parade’. His public protest hit the headlines and even reached Parliament. He was ridiculed on the BBC and by the Prime Minister, because he dared to stand up for God’s standards revealed in the Bible about morality. The world really does hate the saints when we declare boldly God’s standards of holiness and life.

The LOVE (Holiness, Devotion, Dedication and Faithfulness) of MOST will grow cold.

If Jesus was physically upon the earth today, I’m convinced that He would shout loudly and say, “The End IS Near: Repent and turn to God and walk in Holiness: Judgement is imminent”.

His call has always included a sacrifice from those who respond; the sacrifice for sins is finished with in His own blood upon the Cross, but the sacrifice He expects in return is death to self (selfishness, self-determination, self-will). Jesus’ call is for ALL His followers (Disciples) is to BE Holy.¬†Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God‚ÄĒthis is your spiritual act of worship.”

Holiness of LIFE:

It’s living a separated life. That’s what HOLY means:

The word translated ‘Holy’ in the Greek of the New Testament is ‘Hagios’ (Scottish Christians love that, because it reminds them of their favourite food ‘Haggis’).

Hagios: Is translated in three main ways:

  • Holy: 161 times.
    Saints: 61 times.
    Holy One: 4 times.
    Miscellaneous translations 3
  • [Total Count: 229] Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

The Temple Was Holy: (Because of God’s presence in God’s Holy Place).
The Jewish People Were Holy: (Because He made them Holy by selecting them out from among all the people on Earth).
The Christian Is Called To Be Holy: (Because God the Holy Spirit lives in the Believer: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Christian Is NOW Part of God’s Holy Called-Out People:

1 Peter 2:9-12¬†“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him¬†who called you out¬†of darkness into his wonderful light.
10  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12¬†¬†Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

God’s calling His Church and Jesus calling His Followers (Disciples) to BE HOLY.

William Barclay said; “In the first days of Christianity there was a glory and a splendour, but now Christianity had become a thing of habit, “traditional, half-hearted, nominal.”¬†Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).

William Barclay was not writing about the state of the church today, but the state of the¬†church¬†by the end of the first century. He was commenting upon the state of affairs that the Apostle John was writing to address at the end of his life in his first Epistle ‘1 John’. A ‘nominal’ Christian is one who loves being religious, but his ‘religion’ doesn’t affect his behaviour in the world. He lives like everyone else in society. He’s become a false-convert that Jesus warned about in the Parables; someone who has a form of holiness, but¬†doesn’t¬†live according to his professed belief. John said that a person like that, who “Claims to walk in the light, but continues to sin, cannot have fellowship with God” i.e. He cannot really be converted, the Holy Spirit has never done His work of conversion upon that person’s heart.

What is it that makes many half-hearted, false-believers fall away from their half-hearted ‘nominal’ form of Christianity? Jesus tells us clearly; “Because of the increase of wickedness…” Matthew 24:12. Be sure of this, no true believer will ever fall away from Jesus Christ, only those who were false-converts to begin with.

Romans 8:35-39
35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 ¬†As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NOTHING can or will be able to separate the true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ for their Master: NOTHING.

However, there will be a pull, a tugging of the heart-strings and a war of the Saints: Because nobody likes to live at odds with those around them. Compromise and half-hearted responses to worldly ways (just like York Minster’s response to the Gay Pride Parade) will be the condition of MOST, but not all. There will always be few who’ll remain faithful to the Lord, His Word and His Teachings until He returns.

His call to you and me is “BE HOLY”.

But the Christians’ response, because our nature has been transformed by the Holy Spirit, is to welcome holiness as a way of life, it’s not a burden, it’s a strong inward desire to live in accordance to the will of God. Our Spirit, will and desires are in line with His, we want to be walking as Jesus walked. We are daily being transformed into the likeness and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re going to become; more loving, good, pure, holy, happy, joy-filled, peaceful, righteous, forgiving, patient, kind, generous, giving, gentle and self-controlled. What a wonderful full and abundant life we’ve been called to and set-apart for, but it’s not going to be EASY as the world moves further and further away from God’s revealed standards of holiness.

Holiness is NOT a lifestyle choice for Christians, it’s a loving response to His Call upon our lives.

Don’t be surprised that the world hates you because of what you believe and the way that you want to live for Jesus, because Jesus warned us all in advance that this is what it’s going to be like just before He comes back again. There will be an increase of wickedness (sinfulness) in the last days. That’s obvious is we watch the News for just a few moments. However, you, dear brothers and sisters, be strong and of good courage as you live in the last-days.

Praise the LORD because, despite it all, we can be FULL OF THE JOY OF THE LORD.

Be Holy, be ready, be full of the JOY of the Lord.

Don.

 

Jesus Is Your Authority For His Mission

Jesus Gives Authoity

Daily Spirit & Word, 514: Jesus Is Your Authority For His Mission.

 40 Days With Jesus: Day 31: Matthew 28:18.

Good morning my friends.¬†Firstly let me thank you all for your prayers. I missed posting yesterday because I was in terrible pain, it didn’t get any better throughout the day. Yes! I’ve been taking my tablets and they eased the pain, but as soon as they were wearing off, the pain returned. I’m still praising the LORD and what’s helped more than tablets is the knowledge, that brothers and sisters are praying for me. That the Lord is faithful and when we turn to Him in praise and thanksgiving He hears us. He’s truly the GREAT SHEPHERD of the sheep and walks through the valley of the shadow of death with us.

Divine Authority To EVANGELISE.

Today, we’re continuing with this week’s focus on the GREAT COMMISSION. How we’re sent out into the world to bring others into God’s Kingdom and how we’re to disciple those who respond to the Gospel. Today, we’re going to discover the ultimate AUTHORITY for our Mission: it’s the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. Knowing this will set us free, because we’ll KNOW we’re not just taking the initiative to go and evangelise others, but we’re just being obedient and we’ve also got Divine authority to share the Gospel with EVERYONE.

Authority: The Bible has so much to tell us about Authority, but let’s just make certain we understand the word and what Jesus meant when He said,

Matthew 28:18 18 ¬†Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Authority Means:

  • The power or right to give orders or make decisions.
  • A person or persons who exercise administrative control over others; e.g. the local Government Authority.
  • An expert whose views are taken as definitive.
  • Freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities.
  • An authoritative written work

So we can see that Jesus has been given Authority: The Power and Right to GIVE ORDERS and to MAKE DECISIONS. He had ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL He is an EXPERT who’s views are to be taken as DEFINITIVE. There is no DOUBT and every Disciple can have an ASSURED BELIEF in His ABILITIES to perform or do all that He’s promised. He’s also given us His AUTHORITATIVE WRITTEN WORD: The Bible.

Now when we read Jesus words again; “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” We can see that it’s not a little bit of authority or partial authority, but ALL authority has been given to Jesus Christ. Not just on earth or over our lives but over the whole Universe and the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus really is the Boss of the Cosmos and the Heavenly places.

What does that mean?

Well when I was in the Royal Navy, I was given authority sometimes to enter certain restricted areas. Even though Military personnel had their Identification Card that enabled them to enter Military Establishments, I had a much higher clearance, I could enter Top Secret areas. How? Because I’d been given a photographic and electronic pass that I wore around my neck. When I placed the pass on a machine, the gates opened and I was allowed to enter. If someone tried to enter who didn’t have one of those passes or even some other way; all Hell would break-out and armed security guards would come running to the scene. The pass was my authority to enter and gain access.

Those who belong to Jesus have been given similar authority to access areas and powers that normal human beings cannot. We are members of an elite group, because we’ve been specially selected by the Lord of Creation and given His permission to go anywhere in the world with the specific mandate of fulfilling His commands.

How can we do this?

Because Jesus is the ONE who has the AUTHORITY to send us. 

Where does Jesus Authority come from? The answer is given to us in the passage we just read above. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18.

Jesus told us many times throughout His ministry that the Father and the Son are ONE: but the Son willingly and wholeheartedly submits to the Father’s will. Why? Because, unlike sinful human beings, God is LOVE and Jesus knew His Father intimately. He knew that submission is complete FREEDOM. To submit in this way takes total trust. Just as a child trusts his own father, i.e. he’ll launch himself into his father’s arms from a great height. So Jesus fully trusts His Father, even to the point of giving up His own life upon the cross. Even though Jesus submits to the Father’s will, He is non-the-less DIVINE. Many times we’ll read in the Bible of the Jews understanding of this, because time and again they tried to stone Jesus because He claimed to be the Son of God. To them such a statement was blasphemy, because they said, “You are mere man, claim to be equal with God”. He did, because He was. Jesus Christ the Carpenter’s son, was also the Divine Son of God on earth. He has been given ALL authority.

But notice that Jesus didn’t just leave us with the Father and Son relationship. In this passage He also reveals our Mission and Commission is from; The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: The Trinity. What a divine MANDATE we have for sharing the Gospel. It’s not our message, but His. It’s not our idea or our own initiative to GO. The Disciples din’t just dream it up my friends, it’s not another good idea, it’s a God idea. It’s His WILL, it’s HIS Mission and He has the Authority to COMMISSION.

Notice also the word COMMISSION: ¬†It should remind you that not only have you got the Authority to go, but it’s a JOINT Mission. We’re simply working in a team: It’s a DIVINE team: We’ve get to accompany Jesus, because He’s with us Always. We also get the Holy Spirit, who’s in us and empowering us for the Mission. We also get the presence of our Heavenly Father, because when we come to Jesus we become ONE with Him too. WOWzer! We’re on a Mission together to go out into the world an reach out to mankind, to seek and to save the lost together.

That tells me this today:

  1. We’ve been sent out to do it: Evangelise.
  2. We’ve got Divine Authority to do it: Evangelise.
  3. We’ve got Divine Company in it: Evangelise.
  4. We’ve got Divine Power to accomplish it: Evangelise.

Now all we’ve got to do is TRUST AND OBEY. We’ve got everything we need to accomplish God’s Mission we’re doing it together, so let’s trust Jesus’ words today and in simple, childlike obedience, do it. As you do it, knowing you’ve been sent and are accompanied by Jesus will give you great confidence. I’m sure those Disciples who doubted when they saw Jesus would have had their doubts displaced either at His words or later when the Holy Spirit filled them, but it would only have been confirmed as they were being obedient. It was, when Peter stood up to address the crowds on the Day of Pentecost: The Divine POWER was made manifest and 3000 people came to Jesus Christ that day. It will happen to you too my friends, but you’ll only see it if you are obedient. You’ll never experience it in any other way: all you’ve got to do is TRUST AND OBEY.¬†

So whenever you don’t feel like going and sharing and spreading the GOOD NEWS, know this and take it to heart: Jesus has given you the authority to proclaim the Gospel to everyone, He’s given you the Power through His Holy Spirit, so that you don’t have to depend upon your own strength, and to top it all off, He’s going to go out with you. Oh WOWzer! Why wouldn’t you go and have a go today? Try it in His strength. Share the Gospel with someone today: YOU’LL BE AMAZED at the results.

Have an awesome day my friends, fulfilling the LORD’S Mission with Him and In Him. Do it today.

Don.

P.S. Just in case you don’t know WHAT the Good News is, that you’ve been Commissioned and Commanded to share;

  1. Everybody on Earth Today: Needs Jesus Christ. Why? Because without Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they’ll perish in Hell.
  2. Compassion Compels Us: You wouldn’t sit idly by and watch your neighbour’s house burn with them inside it would you? No, of course not. So normal human compassion for others will compel even the most timid Christian to reach out and save those who’re headed for the fires of hell. You’ll overcome your fears of rejection, when you get a decent amount of compassion.
  3. Why are they headed for Hell? Because everyone has SINNED. Every single human being has broken God’s Commandments. It’s the breaking of His commandments that makes us sinners. No sinner can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Even one lie will make us unfit for Heaven. So we need to be cleansed from all sin. Our sins need to be washed away.
  4. Nobody wants Righteousness: Many people try lots of things like religion or good works to be saved. They don’t naturally want to come to Jesus Christ to be made righteous in God’s sight. They think they can do it themselves. That’s why God has told us He hates ‘religion’. Everyone who’s trusting in their own goodness to get into heaven will be sadly and cruelly dissappointed. Because, nothing good that we do can remove the stain of sin. We need life-blood and death to take away the punishment for sin in our life. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven. The Bible tells us that the “WAGES of SIN is DEATH” and we must know, that unlike some bosses who’ll try and scam their employees, God always pays His wages. You’ll get your wages for sin, death and judgement and Hell, unless you’ve had your sins removed.
  5. What gives people a hunger for righteousness? Faith comes by hearing God’s Word. When you go out in the power of the Holy Spirit, He goes with you. As you share the Gospel of man’s need for righteousness with God, He’ll bring conviction that leads to repentance, which is a Turning away from sin and He’ll also convince people that Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY of Salvation. Jesus is everyone’s only hope of Heaven.
  6. When folks are sufficiently convicted, then you can share the Good News: There’s a way to avoid Hell. It’s by TRUSTING IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. It’s not simply saying, “I believe in Jesus” or “I give my heart to Jesus”, but being convinced that without Him and His sacrifice upon the Cross for your sins, you are headed for Hell. So the only way that you can be saved is by receiving His forgiveness and receiving Him as your Lord. Once a person trusts in Jesus, they will be saved from God’s wrath and anger against sin.
  7. God did it because He loves: For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish (in Hell) but will receive the gift of everlasting life” John 3:16. I repeat, to believe is not simply to say “I believe in Jesus”, the Devil does that and trembles. But to TRUST IN Jesus death.
  8. Ask them when they are going to TRUST in Jesus? We don’t know if this day will be our last day on earth. When we die we’ll either face God’s Judgement and be cast into Hell because we’ve still got sin on us or we’ll be welcomed into Heaven, because we’ve had our sins removed.
  9. Encourage them to TRUST IN JESUS TODAY. Today is the day of salvation.
  10. You’ve been given everything you need and Jesus is with you, the Holy Spirit is your Helper, He’ll empower you. Now: When will you next share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? People NEED Jesus. They don’t need Him to improve their life here on earth, they need Him so that they can enjoy eternity. God loves everyone and doesn’t want anyone to perish in Hell, that’s why He’s commissioned you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

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40 Days With Jesus: Day 31: Divine Authority Comes From Jesus: So Jesus IS Your Authority For His Mission.

 

Seeking and Finding

Seeking and Finding

Daily Spirit & Word, 492: Seeking and Finding.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 7

Good morning my friends, as we look back over the first week of 40 Days With Jesus, we can learn an important lesson for life from Mary Magdalene and her encounter with the risen Lord Jesus.

First, we are inspired by Mary’s seeking the Lord Jesus. She was the first to go to the tomb and the last to leave. It reminds me of Joshua and Moses who met with the Lord in the tent and after Moses left Joshua lingered in the Lord’s presence. Joshua took over from Moses and went on to lead the Nation of Israel for many years. Mary after arriving first was not satisfied with the empty tomb, she wanted to find the body of the Lord, eventually she was the first to see Him alive and was given the message of His resurrection to take to the others.

Seek The Lord:

Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to diligently seek the Lord, with the promise that when we do, we’ll find Him.

Isaiah 55:6-7 6  Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Jeremiah 29:13¬†“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

1 Chronicles 16:10-11 10  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 11  Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

The Chronicles reading above encourages us to seek the face of the Lord. Many people only turn to the Lord when they need something, i.e. His mighty hand, but few are seeking the Lord for Himself. We think it’s few but the Bible tells us that it’s NONE:

Romans 3:10-12 10 ¬†As it is written: “There is no-one righteous, not even one;
11  there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God.
12 ¬†All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one.”

God alone knows our hearts, but it’s possible after being filled with God’s Spirit to diligently seek the Lord for He is worthy to be praised. Not for what He can do for us or will do, but for who He is. Once we begin to do that, Oh the glory that’s revealed.

Jesus as the Risen Lord revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene because of her diligent searching, He’d given her signs along the way; first the open tomb with the stone rolled away, then the folded grave clothes and then the Angels in the tomb, then finally the Lord Himself speaking with Mary. My friends, Jesus took the initiative and was already showing Mary He was alive and had risen before that final revelation. He’ll do the same with you too, the moment you set your heart to seek the Lord, He’s already begun the process of revelation. You see my friends, whenever our hearts desire is to seek the Lord, guess who planted that desire in the first place? He’s always calling you into an even deeper revelation than you’ve already had, He wants to show you more, but He wants you to seek Himself. When you do, He’s promised to answer that prayer and heart’s desire.

Luke 11:9-13 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!”

In the Luke reading above we can clearly see Jesus promise that when we diligently seek the Lord, we’re going to find even more than we imagined. Not just answered prayers, but the powerful presence and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Look at verse 13 above, it’s God’s desire to fill you my friends.

All of the above highlights the need for followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to seek the Lord diligently, hanging-in, holding-on, pressing-in, pursuing with great earnestness, are you seeking the Lord? Persist in this and don’t give up, you will find the Lord.

As we continue through the 40 Days With Jesus, be encouraged to seek the Lord in the following ways:

Find The Time: Yes we can meet with God anytime, even on a bus or on the toilet, but I would encourage every sincere follower of Jesus, a disciple, to make the effort to have a daily quiet time to be alone with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, to meet with Him, to make an appointment in your diary and be with Jesus, on time, every day. You wouldn’t be late for a dentist or doctor’s appointment would you? Make an appointment with Jesus and do your utmost to Keep it.

Find the Place: Yes we can meet with God anywhere, but you need to find your own place to meet with the Lord. John Wesley’s mother used to meet with the Lord under a sheet. It’s a place where you can be undisturbed for a while to be with Jesus. On a Submarine at sea it was difficult, because every part of the boat is continually manned, but we used to meet up in a place called the SINNS ROOM (Compass Room). You’ll find your own place to be with Jesus and it will become a special place, because when you seek the Lord, you’re going to meet Him there.

Find the Way: There are many wonderful ways to meet with he Lord. ¬†But here are the Bible’s ways: Begin with Praise, “I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart” Thanksgiving is so important. Then prayer, then reading His Word and thinking, meditating and going over in your mind what you’ve ready. I meet so many Christians who say they can’t get anything out of the Bible, but after talking with them, and finding out how they read, I’m not at all surprised. We need to know that the Bible is God’s Word to our lives; it’s useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness, so that the man and woman of God can be thoroughly equipped for every good work of service. 2 Tim 3:16-17.

When you find the TIME and the PLACE and the WAY: You’ll discover afresh that Jesus Christ really is the WAY, THE TRUTH and the LIFE. John 14. He’s only ever a prayer away. You will find Jesus in your quiet place, and you’ll long to be with Him every day. You’ll experience LIFE the way that Jesus wants, fullness or abundance of spiritual life. You’ll overflow with God’s Spirit and touch the lives of many people because you’ve been meeting with the King of kings and LORD of Lords. All because, Like Mary Magdalene you were Seeking and Finding.

Keep going my friends, I’m with you on this journey through 40 Days With Jesus.

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  • How can you more diligently seek after Jesus on a daily basis?
  • Encourage yourself with the fact that He is already taking the initiative to seek after you.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you so much from my heart today that you’ve taken the first steps before I even began to look for you. I’m encouraged today Lord by Mary and how You revealed yourself to her, and the promises from Your Word that encourage me to seek you with all my heart and I will find you. Oh Lord Jesus, I want to see more of You, to know You better every single day. Help me today to continue and walk closely with me Lord Jesus, I want to do Your will in my life today. Amen!

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P.S. I’m really looking forward to meeting up with our group again tonight. If you are free and live close by, you are welcome to come along and join with us. It’s great fun to discover the Lord with others. You’ll also be encouraged by what other people have experienced in their walk with Jesus.

These Thoughts Are Inspired by the book 40 Days With Jesus by Dave Smith. Don’s thoughts for the day.

The Second Video can be found on this PAGE.

The Movie can be found at the resources website above.

Seeking and Finding: 40 Days With Jesus: Day 7: Seeking and Finding.

 

 

Life Overcomes Death

Jesus Victory Over Death

Daily Spirit & Word, 488: Life Overcomes Death.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 3: Life Overcomes Death.

Good morning my friends, I’ve just come back into the study after being out in the garden for prayer. As I reflected upon last night’s Street Evangelism and the people we met and had discussions with, I’m filled with excitement, expectation and wonder. We talked before going out about the meaning of being ‘Born Again’. We had a little tract to give to people and though it’s a phrase many Christians use every day, it’s my experience of regular ministry that most don’t know what it actually means or how a person gets born again. All they know is that it’s an imperative, that unless a person IS born again, they cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. It was good preparation, because the conversations we had with people enabled us to engage them on a Spiritual level rather than merely focusing upon reason or argument. The best conversation I had last night was with a dedicated / devoted young Muslim man. We got chatting about the real meaning of Easter and Eternal Life and after inquiring, he explained the Muslim’s hope for Heaven. We gently shared that we believe that Jesus is God and that we who believe and trust in His death upon the Cross can gain assurance that we have a place in Heaven from the moment we trust in Him.

When we think about Mary Magdalene’s first encounter with Jesus and the first two disciples; Peter and John, we’re going to see some of humanity’s greatest fears blown out of the water. Sorry, that’s the Submariner in me speaking again ūüôā But one of the greatest fears human beings have is that DEATH is approaching and though we try to avoid it as best we can, there’s really not a lot we can do about it, because history proves that TEN out of TEN people will actually die, for those that know what that means, it’s a 100% success rate for DEATH.

If we’re not snatched away into eternity in our infancy, youth or young adult life, then from the age of about 45-50 we’re on the downward slope heading for certain death. Throughout history, in every generation, people have tried various ways to avoid the inevitable. Some have even tried to ensure that they have a good afterlife, like the ancient Egyptians and south Americans who mummified their corpses and provided material wealth and everything someone might need on the others side of life. No matter how hard we try, even with the best anti-aging treatments available, we eventually are hit with the reality we’re all going to die.

Great News For Believers:

The great news for those who believe in Jesus Christ is that we have a hope of being resurrected too. Jesus Christ overcame DEATH and came back to life after dying. However, many argue against Christianity on that basis, “Christians a just living in delusion and vainly hope for something that’s impossible”. But as you look at the historical evidence within the texts of the Bible and some manuscripts from non-believers at the time, you’ll discover that it’s based upon certain facts. The historicity of the resurrection is beyond question the most attested fact in the history of the human race. John devotes two whole chapters to the fact of the resurrection after the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. So my friends, our faith is not based upon wishful thinking or vain hopes for something that might never happen. It’s a sure and certain HOPE, because it’s already happened once, Jesus did rise and the evidence of those who met the risen Lord Jesus shout out the reality. Not only that, but millions of Christians all over the world will tell you today, “I KNOW Jesus”. We don’t just know about Jesus, we actually know Him from experience of walking, talking and being with Jesus every single day. We can’t see Him today physically, because He’s in Heaven, but we can know Him by Holy Spirit who’s within everyone who’s trusted in Jesus and His death upon the cross to wash us clean from our sins.

The Resurrection Was A Surprise

The Followers of Jesus DIDN’T expect Him to rise from the dead. That’s something we can see very clearly from John 20:2-9.

John 20:2-9 (NIV)
2 ¬†So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 ¬†So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 ¬†Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 ¬†He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 ¬†Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 ¬†as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 ¬†Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 ¬†(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Mary was on the way to the tomb not to see Jesus but to perform his funeral rites and anoint his dead body. The Disciples didn’t expect Jesus to be alive either, they didn’t understand. So if the RESURRECTION was a hoax or trick, they’d surely have included the certainty that they expected Jesus to rise from death. That’s what I love about the Bible, it doesn’t hide the fact that those we hold up as pillars of the faith today, didn’t KNOW or UNDERSTAND Jesus message or mission even though they’d been with Him for over three years and witnessed his miracles and teachings. This for me is one of the greatest pointers to the authenticity of the Gospel accounts.

Peter an John didn’t hang around to find Jesus, they simply returned home. It was only Mary Magdalene who lingered and looked, perhaps that’s why she was the first to experience and see the resurrected Lord.

LIFE and DEATH

John’s Gospel is filled with contrasting elements; yesterday we looked at Light and Darkness, today we’re touching upon another greath theme that runs through and is weaved into almost every page of his Gospel account; Life Overcome Death. The Gospel begins with statements about Jesus being the source of LIFE and that He is in fact LIFE.

John 1:1-5
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was with God in the beginning.
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

 

Then John goes on to tell us about the New Life that we can all have by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. In many places you’ll see LIFE juxtaposed with DEATH. John 3:16-21. Tells us how we can know that we’ve passed from DEATH to LIFE. There are many incidents that John records where people in conversation with Jesus are given the revelation of LIFE and it’s fullness in Him John 4, John 6, John 10 and John 14. It’s full of LIFE and DEATH, but more importantly how believing and trusting in Jesus we can have both; fullness of life and eternal life in Him.

The Witness Of The Grave-Clothes.

The second fact of the resurrection’s historicity you’ll notice in John 20:2-9 above, is the presence of the grave-clothes. If Jesus body had been stolen or smuggled away as some suggest, then surely they’d have taken the most valuable things as well. Cloth was not cheap in those days, it was a luxury item and it would have been taken too. But the grave clothes were in place, Jesus body was not unwrapped like Lazarus’ was (John 11:44), but his resurrected body emerged out of the cloths without disturbing them. The head-covering was neatly folded.

 The Tomb of Jesus

The third fact of the authenticity of the resurrection is that the followers of Jesus didn’t venerate his tomb like those of other religions do today. That’s because Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, he’s alive, He’s not there anymore, His Holy Body is gone and is ALIVE today in Heaven. There’s no body here on earth for us to find or worship or venerate. We serve a living Saviour.

Points to Ponder Day 3 of 40 Days With Jesus:

  • Consider the evidence given for the resurrection of Jesus in John 20:2-9. Which fact or facts do you find most convincing or compelling?
  • Are you living in a way that reflects the reality of the resurrection?
  • How do you feel about the fact that because Jesus has triumphed over death, you can have abundant life now and eternal life as gift from the moment you trusted Jesus?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you that You have provided such convincing proofs of Your resurrection. I’m rejoicing now that You didn’t stay in the tomb, but rose from the dead. I’m inviting You Lord Jesus to make Yourself known to me today. Oh Lord, grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation that I might have a deeper and more lasting conviction of the historical reality of Your resurrection and how You have shown us that Your Life has Triumphed OVER Death, And that Life Overcomes Death. Amen.

Praying for all my friends who follow Daily Spirit & Word today. It’s been difficult to TAG people on Facebook, because when I try it locks me out and I have to enter a new password, they keep reporting my page has been hacked, but I know it hasn’t as it keeps a rocord of login attempts. So I’ll just have to rely upon people’s LIKES and SHARES¬† ūüėé

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Love One Another

Love Like Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 484: Love One Another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Steps to Faith and Trust In Jesus:

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

The Steps to Faith and Trust in Jesus Are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Death To LIFE: Verse 14.

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

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

Cain Vs Christ.

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

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

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

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

Cain TOOK LIFE:
Jesus GIVES LIFE.

What was their MOTIVATION?

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at that great chapter on LOVE:

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

Respond: 

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

How can you love each other more?

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

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

Be FULL of LOVE and Act in LOVE towards EVERYONE.

Conclusion: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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‚ÄĒ 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‚ÄĒ¬†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‚ÄĒ
And bathed in its own blood‚ÄĒ
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.

 

Be Strong and Courageous

Daily Spirit & Word, 473: Be Strong and Courageous.

¬†“Be strong and of a good courage.”¬†Joshua 1:18

Good morning my friends, it seems strange to me that the LORD would need to keep encouraging Joshua to be “Strong and of good courage”, because of all the people in the Nation of Israel, Joshua was probably one of the most courageous and strongest. Perhaps the LORD knew Joshua better than we do and outward appearances were not the same as his heart condition. Just look at how many times the LORD encouraged Joshua to be; STRONG and COURAGEOUS.

Joshua 1:5-9¬†“No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.¬†6 ¬†“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.¬†7 ¬†Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.¬†8 ¬†Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.¬†9 ¬†Have I not commanded you?¬†Be strong and courageous.¬†Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

“Be Strong and very courageous” Joshua 1:7.

God knows each one of us intimately and what our fears and anxieties are, He knew Joshua better than he knew himself, but note the power of Joshua’s life, it was because he chose to spend time alone with God. Even after Moses had left the tent of meeting, Joshua remained in the tent with the Lord.

  • The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?
  • The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?
  • He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
  • Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
  • but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
  • they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
  • they shall run, and not be weary;
  • and they shall walk, and not faint. ‚ÄĒ
  • My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
  • ¬†If God be for us, who can be against us? ‚ÄĒ
  • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? ‚ÄĒ
  • Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. ‚ÄĒ
  • We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  • ¬†Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.

Acts 4:13. Psalm 27:1. Isaiah 40:29-31. Psalm 73:26. Romans 8:31. Psalm 118:6. Psalm 44:5. Romans 8:37. 1 Chronicles 22:16.

My friends, there’s just one more verse from the Bible to share with you today, note that the Apostles were transformed and very courageous, but take note of why:¬†Acts 4:13 (NIV) “When they saw the¬†courage¬†of Peter and John and realised that¬†they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and¬†they took note¬†that¬†these men had been with Jesus.”

 Joshua was very strong and courageous.

Peter and John were courageous.

Moses, Gideon, David, Elijah, Paul, James, Stephen; were all courageous.

WHY?

Because they spent TIME with the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

And God was with them.

Now, let’s get alone with Jesus and talk with Him, be with Jesus, soak in His Word, read and meditate upon His Word, pray to Jesus about your day, be strengthened and encouraged, be strong and courageous.

Then you too will be very strong and courageous and the world will be ASTONISHED.

“For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

He’s with you to the end my friends.

I hope your Saturday is filled with great things from the LORD today.

Don.

Be Strong and Courageous.

 

The Highest Bidder Wins

Daily Spirit & Word, 464: The Highest Bidder Wins.

The Highest Bidder Wins.

Or the things that screams the loudest in our lives often take priority.

Good morning my friends, we had a wonderful evening of Evangelism on the Streets of West Norwood last night. The weather is warming up in the evenings now, so we were quite surprised by the number of people who were prepared to stop and have a chat about; Jesus, faith, the real meaning of Easter etc… The little Easter tract was a real winner too, so my thanks go to a lady from Chatsworth Baptist Church who pointed them out and to Amanda our Church Administrator who printed the labels with Church details. It was really good, because so many people took one as they rushed out of the Station on their way home from work. These little tracts were a great Springboard into Gospel conversations. I think a good springboard is something that enables you to get into ‘spiritual’ conversations quickly.

Once I got back home I began to think about the conversations and it seems to me that people have lots of things in life that are priorities for them, but they are not living according to the list of things they actually value or see as important to them. Quite often the one with the loudest voice is like the highest bidder at an auction, screaming out for our attention and focus.

For instance, the following list are things that might possibly be important to you, what I would like you to do today is put a number from 1-10 in their order of priority for you. One being highest and 10 being the lowest.

  • ___ happy family ____________________
  • ___ successful career ______________________
  • ___ fame/popularity ______________________
  • ___ wealth _____________________________
  • ___ sex _________________________
  • ___ strong relationship with God __________________
  • ___ fun/pleasure/good feelings _____________________
  • ___ good looks ________________________
  • ___ athletic skill ________________________
  • ___ solid marriage _______________________

Having listed them in order of priority for you, now I want you to think of your reasons why? Do it quickly without analysing it too much.

Now, how did you feel as you were asking yourself, “Which of these is the highest priority in my life?”

and “Did¬†what I think should be a high priority turn out to be something I spend a lot of time on during a typical week?”

Most often we find that people value their families and God as highest in their ranking or priority, followed by career or job, but very often they spend little time during the week maintaining these first two critically important aspects of their lives.

Don’t feel crushed if that’s you today, because you are not alone. You see my friends, what is important in our lives reveals our heart’s desires, but what we do about it and how we prioritise our working / living week is something only we and the Lord will be able to sort out. Remember where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • Matthew 6:20-21 (ANIV) 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

¬†Today’s Verses From God’s Word:

John 9:4-5¬†“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work. 5¬†While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

As long as it is day, we must do the work of our Father in Heaven. Remember, Jesus said, “YOU are the Light of the Word”… We can’t keep hiding our light, we must shine brightly for Jesus and let others see His glory through our lives.

I love the little letter of James, he’s just so straightforward and forthright.¬†James 4:13-17¬†“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”¬†14 ¬†Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.¬†15 ¬†Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”¬†16 ¬†As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.¬†17 ¬†Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

If you’ve got time then please also read; The Parable of The Talents; Matthew 25:14-30 (Printed at the end of today’s message)..

It seems to me that we’re all very busy doing things that aren’t even high on our list of priorities in life, we’re overwhelmed with pressures of work and finance, therefore family and God get pushed much further down the list of things to do on a daily and weekly basis. We long to be better husbands and wives, and worshippers of the Lord, but because we fail to prioritise these things in the order they should be we live with a constant feeling of guilt and often shame a well.

It’s TIME to be set-free from these traps my friends. God wants to be FIRST in your life, when we do put him first it’s amazing just how much time we’ll then find for everything else that’s really important to us. Below I’ve listed some really good books to help us find priorities in life, I’m sure you’ve probably got some more that you’ve read, please share them with everyone in the comments section below.

God bless and have an awesome Thursday with Jesus, but Don’t let the one who shouts the loudest rule your life. As a believer in the Lord Jesus we must listen out for¬†the voice of the Holy Spirit and He’ll guide you and show you what should be highest priority for you and Him today.

Be at PEACE!

Don.

P.S. I’m sorry this is late today, I’ve had to spend time with my daughter and her children having breakfast. It was fantastic, she’d cooked sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes and beans, toast etc… Yummmmy. The Children were great fun to be with and eating around the table together is always great. Aminata read me a story from her school-book before she got ready for school. Family really does come a very close second to time with Jesus. God bless my friends. Don.

 Good Books and Helps:

Here is a list of good books that will help you to Prioritise your life after God’s patterns for righteous living.

  • ¬†How Now Should We Live?: by Chuck Colson (Tyndale House Publishers). This insightful analysis of culture challenges Christians to live their faith in a hostile environment.
  • Meeting the Jesus Challenge, Real Life… Real Questions… Real Jesus: by Len Woods (Standard Publishing). This book, the third in a series of four devotionals tied to The Jesus Bible (Tyndale Publishing House), it helps people rise to the Jesus challenge. You’ll be challenged to watch Jesus in action, to listen to his teachings, and then to obey what Jesus tells you to do. The third section takes a close look at priorities and values, answering the question, “How does life change when we view it from Jesus’ perspective?” The challenge here is for people to seek first Christ and his kingdom.
  • Ordering Your Private World: by Gordon McDonald (Thomas Nelson Publishers). McDonald teaches that time and talents are gifts to be carefully invested and he provides biblical principles to help care for the inner self.
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: by Stephen Covey (Simon & Schuster). This business world classic and top ten seller for over a decade takes people from dependence to independence and finally to interdependence in relationships. It provides helpful counsel on choosing priorities and sticking with them.
  • Who Switched the Price Tags?: by Tony Campolo (Word Publishing). Campolo challenges readers to risk more, reflect more, and do things of lasting value. To get the most out of life, we must put first things first.

Also I love Rob Parsons and his books on family life and getting it right from a Christian perspective: His Website: Care For The Family: http://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/

The Parable of The Talents: Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

  • Matthew 25:14-30 (ANIV)
    14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.
    15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
    16  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.
    17  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
    18 ¬†But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
    19 ¬†“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
    20 ¬†The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
    21 ¬†“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    22 ¬†“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
    23 ¬†“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    24 ¬†“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
    25 ¬†So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
    26 ¬†“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
    27  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
    28 ¬†” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
    29  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
    30 ¬†And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’