Seeking The Presence of God

He is with you forever once you come to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 812: Seeking The Presence Of God.

Good morning my friends, what an awesome Sunday we just had. The church was full of people, because we had three Thanksgivings for babies. It was so good because as we praised the LORD, sang songs, listened to His Word and prayed, we sensed the presence of the LORD.

Acts 23:11 (NIV) “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””

There’s absolutely nothing more encouraging for any Christian than to KNOW the presence of the LORD. When you know that He is with you, then you can endure anything in this life.

It was true of some of the Ancients in the Bible: St Paul and Joseph, both in PRISON sensed, knew and experienced the presence of the LORD.

  • Paul in Prison in Jerusalem and Philippi Acts 23:11, Acts 16:16-40.
  • Joseph in Prison Genesis 39… That LORD was with him.

Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)
20  Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21  the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder.

Of course we can’t forget many others; Jacob, Moses, Abraham, Elijah and King David who begged the LORD not to take the presence of the Holy Spirit away from him.

My friends, when you are going through stuff in this life, troubles, hardships, tests and trials, attacks from people and persecution for you faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, then know this truth, the abiding presence of the LORD will encourage you, strengthen you and sustain you through it all.

It’s good when friends stick close in troubled times, but it seems to me that friends will always let you down when you need them most. It was true of Jesus and King David, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, Paul’s companions abandoned him when he was thrown into prison in Rome, and it will sometimes be true for you as well. So many Christians have been let down by those they expected would be there for them in sickness or hardships. However, the LORD would never leave you, that’s His promise once you’ve come to Jesus and put your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin. There is NOTHING we need more, and nothing more we need, than the abiding presence of the LORD.

There is NOTHING we need more, that to know and experience the presence of the LORD.

  • He will never leave you.
  • He will never forsake you.
  • He is with you forever.

If there’s any verse that a Christian should take to heart and memorise it’s this one:

James 4:7-10 (NKJV)
7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

God’s saying to you today, “…Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

YBH: Yes, but HOW? 

It’s easy to say, “Draw near to God”, but how do we actually do it?

Try this my friends and you’ll soon discover that God will reveal Himself to you in awesome ways.

  • Praise: Sing a few songs of praise. Look what happened when Paul and Silas did that in Prison (Acts 16).
  • Prayer: Honour God first by Praying The Lord’s Prayer, then Confess any known sins.
  • Repent: Repent afresh and seek His cleansing and forgiveness.
  • Trust: Trust in Jesus Christ again for your Salvation… Keep TRUSTING…
  • Seek: Seek the fullness and presence of God the Holy Spirit right now.
  • Praise: Worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD.
  • Seek to Serve: Be obedient to what the LORD is showing you to do today. God’s always got something He wants you to be doing for Him, every day. Just do it… You’ll be amazed when you listen to that prompting of the Holy Spirit.

 

There is NOTHING you need more, that to know and experience the abiding presence of the LORD.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

If ever I’m feeling troubled and need the LORD’S presence and fullness, that is what I do.

Have an awesome week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

 

Bening Grateful When You Are Not Feeling Worthy

Jesus is one who can sympathise with your weaknesses

Daily Spirit & Word: 790: When You Are Grateful Because Of God’s Calling.

Good morning my friends, it’s been an awesome week of ministry, service and witness for the Lord Jesus.

There have been high moments, like getting a call-back from someone we met while out witnessing on the streets, then low moments when you hear some heart-breaking news the very next day. It all makes me think back to the time when I knew the Lord was calling me into the ministry and how unworthy I felt. I was so convinced of my own unworthiness, that I wanted just one minister who was already ordained to tell me I was just dreaming, that I’d never be able to live up to that calling. However, in my quest to find that all I got was, “I think He may be calling you Donald”. I asked a Church of England Priest with whom I’d had regular debates (some bordering on arguments), The Venerable Reg said, “I was wondering when you’d come to me and ask me that question”. He was convinced it was God. I then went to the Church of Scotland Chaplain, I was sure he’d say yes, but I wanted to hear it from his mouth. “He was so overjoyed, Malcolm lifted me off my feet, gave me a great bear-hug and said, “Oh yes! I know He’s calling you Don”. When I telephoned my own minister back home to ask, he almost burst into tears on the other end of the phone.

Yet that feeling of not being worthy, of feeling insecure, of not knowing enough, never left me, but then it hit me, if I ever felt able then I’d not be depending on the Lord for His strength but on my own; knowledge, experience and ability.

You see my friends, I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I felt how unworthy and ill equipped I was, I was in good company. How refreshing it is now to know that thousands of ministers, in fact most genuine Christians, who’ve felt God’s call to come and serve Him, feel the same thing.

  • Moses felt unworthy and ill equipped.
  • Gideon was so sure he wasn’t the man, he put out a fleece.

However, it not until you get to the great apostle Paul in the New Testament that you get a full picture of how unworthy anyone has ever felt;

Listen to Paul’s gratitude towards the LORD:

1 Timothy 1:12-16 (NIV)
12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
13  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
14  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
16  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

So my friends, if ever you feel God’s calling you to do something for Him, but don’t feel up-to the task, you are in great company.

Many of the greatest saints of old, have experienced the same feelings of unworthiness.

The TRUTH: We are unworthy, we are all sinners, we were dirty, naked, blind, foolish, blasphemous, ignorant; until the LORD opened our eyes and let us see the amazing mercy and grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How we can be washed clean, made pure, made holy, gifted for service and equipped with the power of Heaven.

It’s Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, who takes us and shapes us for His service.

Just look how Moses, Gideon and Paul turned out; each in their own time shook the world with their devotion to and love for the LORD.

They all maintained their walk with the LORD through intimacy with Him. Spending time in God’s presence.

My friends, when you feel God’s call, get into the presence of Jesus, pray, praise, worship and let His WORD soak into your soul. Because when you do, He’ll transform you more and more into His own likeness. He’ll fill you with His deep love for those in the world who don’t know Him yet. He’ll give you everything you need to be able to serve Him.

Moses, Gideon and Paul all felt unworthy and ill-equipped because they were unworthy. They’d all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, but through His mercy and grace God called and equipped them for His service. He’s calling you too.

Brothers and Sisters For The Work:

It’s also obvious, that Moses, Gideon and Paul had companions for the work the Lord called them to do. They would not have been able to accomplish much without them. Moses had Aaron and Joshua, Gideon had thousands, but the Lord whittled it down to 300. Paul had many who joined him in spreading the Good News of Jesus; Barnabas, Lydia, Timothy, Mark, etc… And I’ve also had great brothers and sisters in the Lord wherever I’ve been since I was called to follow Jesus; most recently; Robert and Valerie, David, David, David, Amanda, Pat, Ben and Judy, Sherrie, Isaac and Caroline, Judith, Pam, Gemma, Hayley, George, Prince, Anthony, Marcela, Betty and Budget, Jonathan, Celestin, Lloyd, John and Josie, Maria and Harold and many, many more. Of course I’ve got to mention my wife Julie and our children and grandchildren, what a family. It’s amazing how the LORD sustains us in our calling and keeps us going in His service with great joy and encouragements along the way.

  • Yes there are hard times, like saying goodbye to Stewart this week, who’s gone to be with the LORD. Getting a call from a distressed person. Visiting a heart-broken person.
  • Yes there are jubilant times, like hearing how someone is getting a breakthrough in their walk with Jesus.
  • And there are the slog times, like keeping going at night, when you’ve been up since before dawn, when all you want to do is put your feet up. Sometimes, it’s moments like that you’ll see awesome revelations from the LORD.

It happened to me this week: I was exhausted and ready for my pillow. Walking back home at 10.00pm I bumped into two women we’d witnessed to and prayed for about four months ago. I recognised her by her tattoos. She said, “I’m not pregnant yet, but I’ve got real HOPE in my heart since you prayed”. Even though I was tired, it put a skip into my step on the way home.

When you are feeling weak and unworthy, remember these wonderful verses from God’s Word:

Jesus knows you are not worthy, but He still calls you into His service in His Kingdom. None of us are worthy; Moses wasn’t, Gideon wasn’t worthy, Paul wasn’t worthy, I’m not worthy and neither are you, but He’s calling you into His service in His Kingdom for His Glory.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for calling me out of the darkness into your marvellous light. Thank You for the amazing mercy and grace in times of need.

Thank you Jesus that you are calling everyone who knows You as Lord, Saviour, Master and Friend, into full-time service in Your Kingdom.

O LORD, give us all ears to hear Your calling, eyes to see where you want us to serve You, and hands willing to work in obedience. Amen.

Have a blessed weekend my friends,

For those who gather with us in St Luke’s this Sunday: A gentle reminder that it’s Harvest: Please bring something for the Foodbank (They need supplies to give to those who’re going through a time of crisis in their lives). Put any money offerings for Foodbank in an envelope and write “For the work of the Foodbank”.

Some might like to make an offering to the Church: For the ministry of Jesus Kingdom in West Norwood. You can do that this weekend, just put it in an envelope and write; “For St Luke’s Church: Building for Jesus Kingdom”.

Stay close to Jesus, get equipped for Kingdom business,

Don.

 

A Change of Mind

Christians preaching Christ Good News in Damascus

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

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

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

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

WE NEED A NEW MIND…

A change of mind.

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

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

WE NEED AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.

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

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

WE NEED A RENEWED MIND:

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

So God’s Making us into TRANSFORMERS 🙂

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

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

“He’s TRANSFORMING ME”

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

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

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

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The LORD Grows His Church

Church Growth by Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 586:

The LORD Grows His Church

By; Calling, Guiding and Touching Hearts.

Acts 16 is amazing, it’s fast and furious, moving from one place to the next.

Paul’s Missionary Journey: After The Jerusalem Meeting. Travelling With Timothy and Silas.

Bible Readings: Acts 16:1-15.

1) Timothy Joins Paul and Silas. (Calling)

The Church Grew Daily In Numbers.

Acts 16:1-5 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.

2  The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
3  Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4  As they travelled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.

5  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

NOTE: See Paul’s Letters to Timothy. (1 Timothy and 2 Timothy).

Church Grew Daily In Numbers:

When we go out in the Power of God’s Holy Spirit, to share Jesus, to live the Christian life and witness for Jesus, the Church will grow.

Notice: Paul, Silas and Timothy: Travelled from town-to-town delivering decisions: (That’s a reference back to Acts 15 Jerusalem Council: Note what the Council didn’t say: meet every day for Communion, Pray every week, Stand this way or sit that way: There were NO RELIGIOUS RITUALS: NONE!

What did they tell them to do: The Jerusalem Letter: (We actually have it in our Bibles).

Acts 15:23-29 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.

24  We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. (Become Jewish, get circumcised, live by the Jewish traditions).
25  So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—
26  men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27  Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.
28  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

NOTHING Else, nothing about rituals or religious rites. They knew that when a person becomes a follower of Jesus, they’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit, will worship and gather together with the saints regularly and serve the risen Lord as He guides them.

As they delivered the message, they encouraged the brothers and sisters and the Church Grew Daily In Numbers. What was it that made the Church Grow? Encouragement & Strengthened Faith.

Gathering Together: Praying, Praising and Listening to God’s Word: Encourages and Strengthens our Faith.

It grows the church. (People spoke well of Timothy, therefore he was selected by Paul to come and what a journey Timothy had). Imagine: Being invited by Paul (the great Apostle) to come with him to share the Gospel from town to town. What a wonderful privilege that would have been. You can go too. (Every Wednesday We Go OUT to share Jesus on the Streets).

The Lord Grows His Church by Calling: Just as Timothy was called to join Paul and Silas, Is the Lord calling you to serve Him today?

2) The Man of Macedonia. (Guiding).

The Lord Grows His Church by Guiding by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:6-10 “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.

7  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
8  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

10  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

On Friday: I had a meeting with Ministers from other Churches in West Norwood.

It was amazing (Read Yesterday’s Daily Spirit & Word).

But God HIMSELF: Encourages us, when we meet: In Jesus Name: For fellowship, prayer and praise.

He’ll guide us into what it is that He wants us to do.

AND by His Holy Spirit: What He doesn’t want us to do.

Are we listening out for what God wants?

Take a few minutes: to sit and think and pray: Ask God: “Father, what is it that You want me to be doing in my life for you?”

The LORD Grows His Church by Guiding Us by His Holy Spirit: Are we listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit today?

3) Lydia’s Conversion At Philippi (Touching Hearts).

(Note: Read Philippians).

The Lord Grows His Church by Touching Hearts.

Acts 16:11-15 “From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis.

12  From there we travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13  On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
14  One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

15  When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.”

When We Come Together: Gathering for Prayer.

Those ladies gathered regularly at the river to pray. The Place of Prayer.

When Jews didn’t have a Synagogue, the met in open places (normally by a river) to pray.

I’m certain they didn’t expect to meet with God in such a way that day, but God’s ways are amazing.

When we come together, to meet with each other, to pray, to praise Jesus and to worship together. We’re going to be: Strengthened, Encouraged, Lifted. The Holy Spirit will draw us to put MORE faith, trust and commitment in Jesus.

Lydia: The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message: The Gospel.

Lydia: Practised Hospitality: Immediately she came to know Jesus. (That’s an indication that Jesus had touched her heart).

She was a wealthy business woman. Dealer in Purple: Purple Thyatira: Purple Cloth: Made from the shells of fish. A purple (indigo) dye that was very expensive. Purple was a very difficult colour to reproduce, it’s rarity made it expensive, but they’d discovered a way to get it. In some places only the very rich could afford the Purple Cloth.

My friends, when we come together, listen to God’s Word (The Teaching) we’re also going to have our hearts touched by the Lord as He did Lydia. “The Lord Opened Her Heart”… He can open up your heart too.

We all get hard-hearted, but just by coming and being in the hearing of God’s Word can and will open up our hearts to the Lord. He’ll do it.

The Lord Grows His Church by; Touching Hearts: Has the Lord been touching your heart today?

Conclusion:

Don’t Neglect The Gathering Together To Praise the LORD.

Hebrews 10:19-25 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 

23  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24  And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

25  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

When we gather: (Calling) God will send us out into the world: With HIS message. (Timothy: Acts 16:1-5)

People will be encouraged, faith will be strengthened and the Church will grow.

 

When we gather: (Guiding) The Holy Spirit will guide us. (Macedonia: Acts 16:6-10) (Do this, go there, do that or don’t go, don’t do).

We’ll be encouraged and strengthened in our faith: We will grow as Christians, when we grow, the church grows.

 

When we gather: (Touching Hearts) People will hear the message.(Lydia Acts 16:11-15) God will touch hearts. People will be transformed. And the Church will grow.

The Lord Grows His Church by: Calling, Guiding by the Holy Spirit and by Touching Hearts.

I’m Praying: That He’s calling you, guiding you and touching your heart today.

Have an Awesome Week: Don’t neglect the gathering together of the saints, because you’ll be encouraged, you’ll grow in faith and the Church will grow, because The LORD builds His Church.

Don.

NOTES:

Objection: Some people say to us regularly as we go out onto the streets with the Gospel.

“I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to go to church to be a good Christian”

I almost always respond with “Yes you do!”

Why? Because IF you are a Christian, then you’ll want to be obedient to God. He commands that we “Don’t neglect the gathering together”, why? Because when we do, our faith can be shipwrecked.

If you are a real Christian, then you’ll have your “want to” changed, you’ll want to gather together, to; praise, worship, pray, study, listen, encourage, etc… You KNOW that it’s good for you. You KNOW it’s what the LORD wants. You KNOW that you will grow and the Church will grow as you gather with brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Don’t NEGLECT the Gathering Together… The LORD Builds His Church by; Calling, Guiding and Touching Hearts.

 

Grandmother and Mother’s Sincere Faith

Grandmother and Mother’s Sincere Faith.

 

The Church Today NEEDS faithful, Praying, Grandmothers, Mums, Dads and Granddads.
The Church Today NEEDS faithful, Praying, Grandmothers, Mums, Dads and Granddads.

Daily Spirit & Word, 445: Grandmother and Mother’s Sincere Faith.

The Church today needs more faithful Grandmothers and Mothers, who’ll be able to ignite the faith of Jesus Christ in their children and grandchildren.

Good morning my friends, I was really encouraged this morning reading through 2 Timothy, by Paul’s devotion to praying for him and the way that Paul was encouraging Timothy in so many ways. The things that jumped out at me were having people in our lives who are inspirations to keep us going, examples that we can follow and emulate and encouragements to know that because God was active in their lives, He’ll also be with us on the journey too.

2 Timothy 1:3-7

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

 Faithful In Prayer:

When children observe a Mother praying at home regularly. When she has a sincere faith it will leave a life-long impression upon her children and even her grandchildren.

 Firstly notice Paul’s own Faithfulness in Prayer:

“I thank God, who I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.”
Paul’s remembering back to his faithful praying ancestors: It’s good for us as Christians to have heroes of the faith, men and women of prayer who’ve served the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully in all kinds of circumstances. When I was a young Christian some old saint gave me a book and said, “Read this, pray about it and ask God to help you to be a Christian like some of these were”. I took that book with me to sea and read it upon my bunk on the Submarine hundreds of feet below the surface of the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic. I was, as far as I knew, the only Christian aboard. It soon became known that I was using a room on the Boat for prayers, for months no one joined me. Then a young man, Shawn Frow, gave his life to the Lord and we began to meet almost every day; to pray, read the Bible and sing and praise the Lord. Me upon my guitar and he with faltering voice because he’d never sang hymns of praise in his life before. I shared the contents of the book with Sean and together we marvelled at the old saints. We were encouraged aboard a boat full of unrepentant sinners to be faithful to the Lord in all things and to be His witnesses. People began to be interested and requested the Bibles that took up half my bunk. I’d intended to give them away to folks, but it didn’t’ begin happening until young Shawn became a believer and we prayed together about it.

 

When you think about FAITHFUL Christians and how they served the Lord and what the Lord did through their lives, you too will be encouraged in your own situations, you’ll be enthused to walk as Jesus did, in faith and power of the Holy Spirit. So I would encourage you to get to know the Saints of the past as Paul did, his “faithful praying ancestor”s. Even if you don’t have any in your own immediate family who love the Lord, then you have them in abundance in the Lord’s Family of believers. Read, study and meditate upon the lives of people like: George Muller, Isobel Khun, Billy Bray, David Brainerd, Robert Annan, David Wilkerson and Jackie Pullinger. Faithful saints who gave up the world to follow Jesus and it’ll blow-your-socks-off what Jesus did in and through their lives; but what was it that made them so great, such heroes of the faith? PRAYER and BEING WITH JESUS REGULARLY.

 

Heroes of the Fath: Susanna Wesley:

Here’s a little account of Susanna Wesley (The Mother of John and Charles Wesley, the Great Methodist Preachers and Hymn Writers).
“Since there were no afternoon church services, Susanna began an evening family gathering where they sang psalms, prayed and Susanna read a short sermon from her husband’s library. It began with the family and the servants but soon word spread and others neighbors appeared, and soon there were too many for the parsonage. Susanna had written her husband of what she was doing, but then in his own letter when he perhaps saw the services as competition, Mr. Inman complained to Samuel. His claim to Samuel was that such irregular services could cause criticism or even scandal for the church. For while women have been ordained in many Methodist churches for more than 50 years at that time the idea of a woman having any part in a worship service – even in her own home – was unheard of. Samuel suggested to Susanna that she have someone else read the sermons, but still Mr. Inman complained and finally Samuel told Susanna to discontinue the meetings. However, she declined as she described how the meetings were a genuine and effective ministry to those who attended and that Mr. Inman was about the only one who‘d objected. The services continued.” Taken from the site History’s Women Read more about Susanna by clicking the link.

 

NEXT Timothy is encouraged to do the same thing too: To remember the faithfulness of his own Grandmother and Mother. In an ideal world there would be generations of faithful relatives who loved the Lord Jesus, but I know that most people today, who come to faith, have very few of the Lord’s anointed in our families. My own mother became a Christian on her death-bed, my father became a Christian whilst in a coma; both of whom had been witnessed to by my brother Paul and I for years. We’d shared the Gospel, read the Bible, prayed for them, but they stubbornly refused to trust in Jesus, until they were in a desperate situation.

 

However, Timothy had that witness. I’ve found as I’ve studied Timothy that Paul must have regarded him as a bit timid a bit weak in his faith and frightened to carry out his commission. His letters to Timothy are so full of encouragement to be faithful, to keep going, to be prepared to suffer for the Gospel.

 

Sometimes, having faithful relatives and strong Christians in our family is NO guarantee that the faith they have will be shared by every member of the family. We meet people out on the streets of London every week who’ll say, “My grandmother was a woman of prayer”. As if that faithful old saint was enough, they didn’t need to do it themselves, because she did it for the whole family. I aways respond with “What about you?” Paul said, “I’m persuaded is in you”. He needed to be persuaded, to be convinced, to have it certified that Timothy really did have that same faith as his grandmother and mother. But he’d become convinced of it. Notice too that Paul was praying for Him day and night. I pray for my friends and some of you I pray for every single day, but I don’t pray for you DAY & NIGHT like Paul did for Timothy. He must have thought that Timothy needed his prayers, that something was lacking in his walk with Jesus.

 

There’s NO Second-Hand Faith in God’s Family.
I’ve found that when there’s been a very strong person of faith in a family, the rest of the family are not very fire-filled, they are like the Laodican Church in the book of Revelation; Luke Warm Believers. They don’t have the same kind of compulsion, zeal, commitment and drive to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. I’m not sure why that is, but it seems that a totally surrendered life and a faithful life to members of ones own family is a hindrance to those who live with them and know them personally. It’s like they depend upon the faith of the faith-filled rather than cultivate their own faith. I’ve known many Preachers children, great preachers and wonderful men and women of God, who’s own children’s faith is almost non-existent. I know they must be praying for them, witnessing to them and sharing Jesus with them constantly. But we must always bear in mind: “Remember there are no second-hand Christians in God’s Family.” We must all come to Saviour for ourselves. We are not Christians because our Grandmother or Mother was a believer. Perhaps Paul was wondering if Timothy really had been born-again of the Holy Spirit, he’d laid hands upon him to receive the gift, but wasn’t convinced it was a genuine conversion, because he’d not seen the evidence of it, but now he’s writing and he’s been persuaded and convinced (we don’t know how).

 

We do need faithful Mothers, Grandmothers, Brothers, Fathers, Sisters of the faith today; who’ll encourage family members, who’ll pray for their children and grandchildren, but who’ll also lead them to the Lord so that the children will be set on fire with love for Jesus too. 

 

My four year old granddaughter Leila is a natural evangelist. She lives in South London, in Thornton Heath, which is an area full of Muslims. She can identify a Muslim and said to me the other day, “That lady is a Muslim grandpa, but we’re Christians”. She was out shopping with her mother in Tesco and at the check-out asked the Teller “Are you a Muslim? I’m a Christian, I love Jesus. You should love Jesus too”… She’s only FOUR and is a bold as a lion. Her mother, my daughter, apologised for her and said to her, “You don’t ask people that!”. There’s NO second-hand faith in the family of God. Each and every individual needs to come on their own to Jesus Christ, in faith, in repentance and to take Him as their own Master, Lord and King.
 
I hope and pray that Timothy was faithful and continued in the faith, we just don’t know. Paul wanted him to “fan into flames” that gift of the Spirit. My friends, I want every Christian to be FULL OF FIRE OF THE LORD JESUS, AND FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

READ REVELATIONS:

No Second-Hand Faith in the Family of God.

Revelation 3:14-22 

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16  So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see. 19  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

As Paul said, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

 

My friends, the weekend is coming, keep going with Jesus, gather with the saints on Sunday, worship Him, Love Him, Serve Him. He’s with you, in you and will encourage you to keep going in the strength that He provides. Mothers, keep praying for your children, but lead them to the Saviour for themselves. Grandmothers, pray for your grand-kids that they’ll get the FIRE for themselves. The Church today desperately needs faithful, fire-filled Grandmothers and mums, dads and granddads.
 
Don.
 

Can also be read at St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.

 

 

The Church Today Needs The Sincere Faith and Prayers of Grandmothers and Mothers. Dads and Granddads.