Working for Jesus? Expect Opposition.

when you work for Jesus, expect opposition from the enemy

Daily Spirit & Word: 800: Expect Opposition.

When the LORD calls you to do something for Him, expect opposition.

Good morning my friends, when you do a good work for the LORD you can expect opposition. If you are of the world, the world will accept you as one of it’s own, but if you are a Citizen of Heaven, working for another KING, then this world and it’s king (Satan) can never accept you and you are going to be opposed, persecuted and sometimes martyred. However, far from being in a position of weakness and fear, we’re going to be encouraged today to see that we can be God’s awesome power of LOVE in this world.

Opposition comes in many forms, but how can we react to opposition, no matter what form or guise it come in?

Let us take Nehemiah as one of our examples of what to do when opposition comes, and we’ll look at what God’s Word tells us about persecution and opposition for Him and for the Gospel.

First, Nehemiah:

An Example of how to proceed when your work for the LORD is opposed, ridiculed or hindered.

Nehemiah 4:1-23 (NIV)
1  When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2  and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”
4  Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6  So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7  But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10  Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11  Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12  Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13  Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15  When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16  From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah
17  who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18  and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19  Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
20  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
22  At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.”
23  Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

INTRODUCTION:

When you get busy for God, opposition will inevitably raise its ugly head. So no matter how GOOD the thing that you are doing is; be it a service for the poor people of this world or proclaiming the Good News of Jesus or taking a moral stand. Like Nehemiah discovered, when you do something for the LORD, the world (influenced by Satan) hates it with a vengeance, and will oppose you. However, they are not really opposing you, they are coming against your God, who’s called you to that task.

But we must bear in mind what it is that’s driving any form of opposition:

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV) When Opposition Comes: Be strong in the LORD and STAND.
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13  Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Read the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD Eph 6:14-20).

We must not resort to worldly ways of reacting to opposition:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So how should we react to opposition?

Think and Act Like Nehemiah.

Who was Nehemiah? His name means “the comfort of Jehovah.” His purpose and calling by the LORD really was a worthy one; He was instructed by the LORD to reconstruct the walls of the city of Jerusalem and in the process to rebuild the faith of the people of Israel. Yet, as soon as he began, Nehemiah was confronted by the dreaded opposition. So don’t be surprised by opposition, instead; expect it.

1) PRAYER:

When you get busy for God and the expected opposition comes, the first ingredient that will lead to success is PRAYER. “But we prayed to our God,” the Bible says (Nehemiah 4:9). Prayer was a key ingredient in Nehemiah’s spiritual life (1:4). When OPPOSITION came, Nehemiah looked up to Heaven first taking captive those opponents of God’s word with Spiritual weapons, before he persisted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.

2) PERSISTENCE:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the second ingredient that will lead to success is PERSISTENCE. Prayer is not a substitute for working at what you’ve been called to do. So often people will retreat and just pray, but you’ve been called to more than prayer. Instead, know that PRAYER preceeds PERSISTENCE. When opposition comes don’t just carry on regardless, get down to prayer first and then carry on regardless. PRAYER is a PRELUDE to PERSISTENCE. For the God’s Word says; “Nehemiah took their thoughts captive (He used Spiritual Weapons) Nehemiah 4:4.   “…the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6).

I don’t know who said it first, but whoever it was, this thought encapsulates the KEY INGREDIENTS when opposition comes; “I pray as if everything depended on God. Then I work as if everything depended on me.” I love that saying, we’ve got to PRAY and WORK at what we’ve been called to do. (See James Faith and Works).

3) POWER:

When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the third ingredient that will lead to your spiritual success is THE POWER OF HEAVEN. When confronted by the fear of the people, the fear of man, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of failure; then Nehemiah 4:14 says that Nehemiah arose and spoke to the people about the power of God, and about the purpose of their work. When we are reminded of the purpose to which God has called us, and the power with which to accomplish that purpose, then we will be encouraged to move on toward the completion of our task.

So simply remind yourself of God’s calling and purposes: To share the Gospel, to help the poor, to cure the sick, to make disciples, to follow the teachings of Jesus, to live by them and if need be to die for them. Remember also the POWER of HEAVEN, the Weapons are not worldly, we take our stand against opposition with the Armour of God in place: Ephesians 6:10-20. And bear in mind; Jesus is with you always. Holy Spirit has filled you and equipped you for this work for the LORD.

When you know and experience the POWER you will keep going at what He’s called you to do.

CONCLUSION:

Yes my friends, you will experience all kinds of opposition to what you’ve been called to do by the LORD: Demonic and Worldly OPPOSITION: Expect it, and react like Nehemiah the prophet and the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • Get down to PRAYER,
  • Get up to WORK by being PERSISTENT,
  • Get into the POWER of Heaven.

Through prayer and persistence with the power of Heaven, you will be able to overcome any of those troubling opponents.

As one great preacher has said,

“You’ll be able to turn those stumbling stones into stepping stones”

Also;

… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.

Also;

“Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Christian upon his knees.”

Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.

For most people it’s a rest day, to be with family and friends, but remember Jesus is your BEST BFF (Best Friend Forever).

So make and appointment and keep it with Him first. Then no matter what happens today, you’ll be ready. Amen!

Don.

 

Don’t Give Up In Prayer

the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge

Daily Spirit & Word: 726: Don’t Give-Up On Seeking The Lord.

The Unjust Judge Gives IN to Persistence.

Good morning my friends, do you know how our Nation is the way it is today? It’s because minorities complain the most. It gets to the point that the one’s they are complaining to just cave-in and give them what they want. I’m sure they do it for good reasons, but one can’t help thinking they’re doing it just so the once complaining will go away and stop grumbling, nagging and hen-pecking . However, once they’ve gotten their way once, they’ll be encouraged and emboldened to come back and push for more.

“I hate to be a kicker,
I always long for peace,
But the wheel that does the squeaking,
Is the one that gets the grease.”

By Josh Billings: An American Humourist.

A ‘kicker’ in Josh’s day was someone who complained a lot.

The ‘wheel’ that does the ‘squeaking’ (i.e. the ones complaining the most) get what they’re asking for.

“The Wheel That Does The Squeaking Gets The Grease”

In the Bible there’s a story about a woman who wants justice, but the unjust judge ignores her please for help, however;

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
2  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
3  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4  “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men,
5  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “
6  And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.
7  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
8  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Jesus wanted to show us Father God’s attitude towards justice, i.e. How God wants to see that those He loves will get justice, and quickly. But, do you remember how long it took for Nelson Mandela? 25 YEARS in Prison on Robin Island. In the end, his patience, persistence and fortitude won-out and South Africa is now FREE from Apartheid.

Do you remember Jacob, how he wrestled with God all night? He wouldn’t let go of the LORD until he received his blessing.

Genesis 32:22-32 (NIV)
22  That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23  After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
24  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
25  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
26  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27  The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.
28  Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29  Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31  The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
32  Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

We must bear in mind what was happening with Jacob when he wrestled with God: Jacob’s name means “Deciever”, but a more literal translation of his name is “Grabber” or “Grasper”… He came out of the womb grasping his twin brother Esau’s heel. Later on he deceived his father and grabbed, grasped his brother’s birthright blessing. He was fleeing his father-in-law Leban because he’d sneaked away in the night with all his possessions. Now he was headed home to meet-up with his brother who was hell-bent on revenge and had threatened Jacob’s life. So what did Jacob do? He’d sent everything he owned, including his wife and children and all his precious possessions ahead of him to pacify his brother’s furious anger. He was left with nothing but himself. God came to him and he wrestled with the Angelic presence of the Lord. Jacob grasped, grabbed hold all night until he got his blessing. He also got a name change “One who wrestles with God”.

Has there been a time in your life when you’ve prevailed in prayer, kept going, believing, having faith, not giving up; until the Lord blessed you? There was a lady I knew who couldn’t conceive for over eight years, she’d tried everything, but one day she came forward for prayer in church. A few weeks later her mother (who I didn’t know) came running up to me in the street and shouted, “You got my daughter pregnant”… First I thought about arguing, thinking in my head she was accusing me. How foolish, she was just overjoyed, because the LORD had answered her daughter’s prayer. She didn’t just have one baby, she had twins. The Lord gave her more than she bargained for. Sometimes we don’t get our answers for a long time, because we come to God last. We try everything else, but God. My friends, when you’ve got something going on in your life that you need help with, something your striving or struggling over, come to the Lord with it first.

My friends, Jacob didn’t deserve God’s blessing.

The woman deserved the un-just judge’s justice,

We don’t deserve anything from God,

BUT: In His mercy and grace, He’ll give us what we need.

If it’s justice, as in the case of Nelson Mandela, God gives it quickly (though not our version of quickly).

If it’s seeking; God’s guidance, power, provision, protection, forgiveness, mercy or Justice, then know this my friends, God hears the prayers of those who pray in faith.

Jesus told that story of the Persistent Widow to show us how to KEEP coming to the LORD, so we wouldn’t give up on seeking God.

“The wheel that does the squeaking gets the grease.”

God’s not encouraging us to be ‘grumblers’, in fact the Bible tells us not to grumble, but He’s encouraging us to keep going, to keep coming to Him for everything we need in life.

Have and awesome weekend, keep close to the Lord Jesus, be filled afresh with His Holy Spirit and don’t give up on prayer, because your answer might just be around the corner.

God HEARS you, so keep praying in faith, believing and trusting in Him who loves you.

Don.

P.S. Remember the great old hymn: “What a Friend we have in Jesus”?

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege to carry,
Everything to Him in prayer.

No Prayer – No Power.

Plug into the power of prayer

Daily Spirit & Word, 480: No Prayer – No Power.

 Plug into the POWER of PRAYER.

Good morning my friends, we’ve just had a wonderful few days over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, with family, friends and awesome fellowship. Easter Sunday was an exciting celebration of the Power of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. There are times in the life of every believer when we feel low, when we don’t feel close to the Lord and when things seem to get hard both spiritually and emotionally. Quite often that will happen after a wonderful time of close connection with Jesus and an encounter with the Holy Spirit. When that happens to me I get back to spending longer times in prayer with the Lord, and more often than not I begin to wonder, “Lord, what are you saying to me through this?” The Lord is so gentle and kind, because He’ll lead me back into His ways and He’ll gently show me or remind me what I should have been doing or ought not to have done.

You all know one of my mottoes in life is: No Read – No Feed… If I don’t read God’s Word then I’m not going to be fed Spiritually.

 It’s the same with Prayer: No Prayer – No Power. When we are prayerless, then we’re going to powerless as followers of Jesus. Think of prayer as a way to charge you up spiritually as one would your mobile phone. We’re always charging our phones to ensure they have enough power to see us through the day, but do we spend quality time charging in prayer with the Lord Jesus?

No Prayer – No Power

Little Prayer = Little Power.

Quality Prayer = Explosive POWER.

 My Spiritually Drained Life:

 First; No Read – No Feed: Sometimes it’s a lack of real engagement with the Word of God; I’ll be reading it, but then at the end of a passage or even a whole chapter, I’m left wondering what I’ve just read. Then I realise, I’ve been reading without thinking, reading without paying attention to what I’m reading, so the Lord guides me to go back and read it again. I’ve done that so many times, when I’ve woken up tired from a late night or been up during the night and just begin reading God’s Word automatically or out of routine. Then BAM! It hits me, I’ve been reading God’s Word as if it’s a Newspaper or an Advert: skim reading and not dwelling upon it or reading it prayerfully. That’s quickly followed by a confession and repentance and return to devotional reading, seeking the Lord for His light from His Word. You know my friends, I can confess to you right now, that these are some of the most powerful and profitable times in God’s Word. You see God didn’t call us to be like robots or to do things out of duty or routine, but always seeking to engage and talk with one another. That’s what should be happening when I’m reading His Word, because it’s His living Word and He wants to speak to me through His revelations and give me fresh revelations every single day.

Secondly: No Prayer – No Power. Then I’ll sometimes get convicted about my prayer life or more specifically my lack of engagement or communication with my Lord. You see Jesus wants us to know that when we pray, he’s right there with us, He’s not some distant deity that we have to emplore to be touched by our works our devotions or our dedications. No my friends, Jesus is right there and wants us to know it, the moment we turn to Him in prayer, His desire is to communicate and be with us. How awesome is that? Jesus is not impressed by how we posture ourselves or about how holy a place we’ve found to pray, what He’s impressed with is a heart that desires to know Him and be with Him and spend time in His company, a heart that desires to do His will, to live in accordance with His commands, for Jesus knows that when He gets a heart of a human being in the morning like that, that we are truly loving Him for who He is and not just what He can do for us.

When we come to Jesus in prayer and come to His Word with our focus and attention and heart right, then we’re going to get the power encounters that all the ancient saints of old and down through history have experienced with the Lord. Like Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, we’ll get revelation and power. They all plugged in and got the power. When we Read God’s Word and Spend Quality Time in Prayer, then we’re going to be fed and powered up for following Jesus today.

God’s Word, for reading and meditation today:
Luke 18:1-8
1  Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
2  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
3  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4  “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men,
5  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”
6  And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.
7  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
8  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

It’s amazing what people down through the ages have called this parable; “The Parable of the Persistent Widow” “The Widow that never gives us”. But it could also be called “The Parable of God’s Desire for Justice”. It just depends upon our focus; are we thinking about earthly things or heavenly things. Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. If our heart’s desire is to be God’s person, then we’ll be concerned with Heavenly things. God’s desire is that people always get justice and Christians should always be on the side of fairness, equality, justice, mercy. Giving aid and assistance to the poor and those who can’t care for themselves. Once we know the Lord and His deeper desires then we’ll also act in accordance with God’s character as well. However, just as the widow was persistent until she got the unjust judge to listen, we’ll also continue in prayer and never give up until we see that justice is being done. We’ll pray and act and then we’ll see the POWER of Heaven released.

We’re not to just to pray, God’s much more concerned about How we live in this world and about how we’re being obedient to what He’s already revealed. When we come to God in the morning and we’re ready to do His will in the world that day, don’t you believe that He’s ready to listen to your petitions? Oh yes my friends, David and Abraham were called the friends of God, because their hearts were filled with a desire to trust Him alone. Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness. David was a man after the Lord’s own heart. They both desired to do His will.

No Read – No Feed.

No Prayer – No Power.

Go on my friends, get close to Jesus right now: Pray and Feed upon His Word. You’ll get Power to sustain you throughout your day. You’ll be fed and nurtured by God’s Word to equip you for the fight of the faith. It’s your only weapon against the enemy.

No Prayer – No Power.

Little Prayer = Little Power.

Quality Prayer = Explosive POWER.

Prayer: Oh Lord, let me come to You and to Your Word ready to listen, to pay attention to what you’ve got to say to me every single day. Let me have a heart that’s ready and willing to obey what You are telling me. Show me Lord the areas of my life, that I’m slipping up in: is my prayer life right Lord? is my Bible reading right Lord? is my heart attitude towards others right Lord? I’m desiring to live my life Your way Lord. I want your power in me, I want to know your Word. Help me to be like David and Abraham, I want to be called a friend of God and friend of Jesus. I know that you are my friend Lord, but help me to live every moment knowing my best friend is with me wherever I go. Amen.

You know my friends, when you pray like that God’s going to show you things in His Word and He’ll answer your prayers quickly. So don’t ever think of quitting or giving up, but be like that widow, be persistent in prayer and the Lord who loves Justice, Mercy, Patience, Kindness, Goodness and Gentleness will answer your prayers quickly. Amen!

Don.

No Read – No Feed.

No Prayer – No Power.