God’s Heart to Heal

Do you believe in the God of miracles?

Daily Spirit & Word: 753:

Can The God You Believe In Do Miracles?

“The smile on your face help me know you need me” (Knowing the Father’s Heart).

Good morning my friends, I want to put a huge wide smile on your face today. But not just on your face, on your heart too. The JOY of the LORD is my strength.

All this week we’ve been hearing about those who are sick and dying; friends, good friends, best friends, relatives: But do we actually believe in a God who cares, has compassion, is kind, gentle and loving? These are all attributes of God’s character, yes God is Holy, get’s angry as we heard yesterday, and can be full of wrath and anger against our sins. However, we also serve a God who fully revealed Himself in Jesus and before that in the Old Testament.

Listen with new ears, watch with renewed eyes to see what God is like today:

God Gives LIFE AGAIN to a Widow’s Son.

1 Kings 17:17-24 (NIV)
17  Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
18  She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19  “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
20  Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?”
21  Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22  The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.
23  Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24  Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

Elijah had gone to a widow’s house, initially she thought she and her son would starve to death because of a famine. But Elijah arrived and the flour and oil didn’t run out, it was a miracle of God’s provision. Now the woman’s son, her only son, died. Just listen to her, the way she’s talking to Elijah: “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

Often when tragedy strikes, because we’re hurting we strike out at others. Sometimes the ones who are closest to us, those who’ve been kindest to us, THEY are the ones who get blasted first. It’s both Elijah and God that this woman is shaking her fist at. “Man of God”…

But there’s more: The woman obviously had a past:

Like most of us, she’d not lived a completely righteous life, because somewhere in her past she knew she’d sinned. The knowledge of that sin had not left her, and because of her son’s death, she’d obviously been thinking to herself, “Who’s fault is it that my boy has died? Is it my fault? Did I bring this tragedy upon my son because of the things I did wrong in the past?”

We often do that too: I know I do. Whenever things go wrong, I think to myself, “Oh Lord, to what are you drawing my attention? Could it be something I’ve done?” It’s a good question. But to move from self-examination to attacking the man of God… as if God would be wrong somehow to exercise judgement at any time.

  • Perhaps the LORD was using her son’s death to get to the heart of her deepest issue in life.
  • Perhaps her son’s death was the only way the LORD would get this woman’s heart back to Himself.
  • Perhaps the LORD just wanted to show this woman most clearly that He is a God who FORGIVES SINS.

The Boy Comes Back To LIFE:

Just like Jesus who died and rose again from the dead; this boy’s life is restored by the LORD. Jesus was God’s ONE and ONLY Son, who died. The boy was the woman’s one and only son.

Elijah gives the boy back to the woman: Now listen to her response:

 1 Kings 17:24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

That “NOW I KNOW”: says a lot to me. because even though she’d been experiencing an ongoing miracle of God’s provision i.e. Her flour and oil never ran out: She’s been cooking with it for ages, but deep inside her heart there is an AVENUE OF DOUBT AND UNBELIEF. Those words “NOW I KNOW” shout out to me today.

“Donald, you’ve seen My miracles in the past, so why do you doubt today?”…

Oh LORD! “I have seen your miracles in the past, I know you goodness, kindness, mercy and love, give me a NEW HEART to believe in Your POWER to HEAL today” Amen!

The Oil and Flour Miracles wasn’t enough to move her to repent and trust the LORD completely.

The Resurrection of her son, moved the widow woman to a deeper knowledge and understanding of the LORD.

My friends, the RESURRECTION of God’s ONE and ONLY Son, Jesus Christ, moves me afresh today, to say with the woman, the widow, “NOW I KNOW”….

NOW I KNOW: God can do anything.

  • He can hear our prayer.
  • He can heal our sicknesses, diseases, blindness, deafness, hard-hardheartedness, coldness, stubbornness, sinfulness and rebellion.
  • He can deliver us from DEATH…

BUT: Do YOU Believe He WANTS to do it?

NOW I KNOW: He wants to Heal, Deliver and Forgive… TODAY.

I’m going to be praying much more, much more, for people to experience God’s HEALING touch in their lives. We are going to see miracles my friends.

My friends, doesn’t that put a huge, a massive smile on your face today? Isn’t your HEART warmed and filled with JOY because the LORD is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

Last night, we had a meeting in church about “Oh Happy Day” West Norwood, London. A festival of JOY. Saturday 16th July (Put the date in your diary and come and see God move).

The Lord gave me this song, it’s a secular song, but it spoke to me of God’s TRUTH: When you say nothing at all:

The smile on your face
Lets me know
That you need me
There’s a truth
In your eyes
Saying you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says
You’ll catch me
Whenever I fall
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all

My friends, God NEEDS you to be His hands, His feet, His heart to go to this hurting world and bring His HEALING: Will you go and touch, speak and heal today?

Some people argue, God can do it, but my friends, He’s chosen a way to do it; through His people. He’s going to do it through YOU! Have faith in the God who wants to Heal today.

Have a fantastic weekend, full of faith, full of trust and full of the JOY of the LORD.

Knowing the FATHER’S HEART.

Don.

 

After Pentecost What’s Next?

After the Pentecost Prayer Week, National Evangelisation, Power to SAVE

Daily Spirit & Word: 745: After Pentecost: The Power to SAVE Souls.

WOWzer! WOWzer! What an awesome Pentecostal Open Air Baptism Service we had.

IMG_1488 IMG_1490 IMG_1491 IMG_1494

Good morning my friends, it really was awesome. I got up early yesterday so that I could both write and get the Baptism pool ready. I wanted to encourage you before I went out. Oh my friends, I feel so blessed by the Lord. You know, we’ve got an AWESOME family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone came together yesterday to make it so special for those taking steps of commitment to Jesus. Thanks so much to David, John and Ben who got up very early and came to help me sweep, clean and build the baptismal pool. It was a sacrifice of pillow time 🙂 Thanks Amanda, who’d prepared song sheets and Bible notices in advance. Thanks to Robert, Celestin, Isaac and the worship team, even Abi and Rebecca joined in…. every one of you are AMAZING. But you all know who I’m most thankful for: The LORD Jesus Christ, He was with us. It was a costly service for us all in terms of time, talents and treasures, but even more so for Him.

Because before PENTECOST, there was a cost: Someone had to die before we could experience heaven in our hearts.

Jesus died upon the Cross for us.

He didn’t stay dead though, Jesus rose again back to life from the dead. He’s alive NOW! Enthroned in Heaven, but you can receive Him into your life today.

He sends the Holy Spirit upon everyone who believes that His death was for their sins, who repents of their sinful rebellion against God and turns in faith towards Jesus Christ to receive Him as Lord, then in faith and obedience gets baptised into the Name of; Father Son and Holy Spirit, to become a Follower of Jesus, a Disciple who seeks to live from that day forward in obedience to Jesus’ Commands and Teachings.

Did you know that Peter explained all this to the Jews and converts to Judaism gathered in Jerusalem that day: He told them HOW TO BE SAVED from their own corrupt generation.

Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
36  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?
38  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40  With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

On that first Day of Pentecost, when  the Holy Spirit fell on all the Followers of Jesus, it was Peter who stood up and preached. What Peter said to them broke their hearts and they were convicted and pleaded with Peter and the other Apostles to tell them what they should do next, how they could be saved from God’s wrath and anger because they had killed the Messiah. Peter explained, and told them how to be saved: they had to repent of their sins and believe on Jesus Christ. They would give proof of the sincerity of their repentance and faith by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, publicly doing so identified them with their Messiah and Lord and Saviour; Jesus Christ. That baptism would signal that their trust in Jesus death was for their sins, their sins would we washed away.

My friends, it was on the first Day of Pentecost that a person could be saved ONLY by repenting and believing on Jesus Christ. Only then could they too receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves (Gal. 3:2, 14), and this promise was for both the Jews and the “far off” Gentiles (Eph. 2:13-19). For ALL whom the Lord our God will call. He’s calling ALL Peoples, all over the Earth to have faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He’s pulling men to Himself through the Holy Spirit, even before you go out and witness to them. Do you believe that’s the Father’s Heart?

The Promise of the Holy Spirit is FOR ALL:

You, your children, your family, your friends, everybody who knows you: Your OIKOS.

My wife’s getting tired of me going on about OIKOS. She said, “If I hear it once more I’ll OIKOS you”… LOL.

But that’s the Father’s HEART: To save your complete family and bring in the whole company of those who know you follow Jesus, He wants to SAVE Them ALL.

Do you believe it’s the Father’s HEART: To SAVE everyone who knows you are a follower of Jesus? Everyone, you love, your Father in Heaven loves even more than you.

So What’s NEXT?

We’ve finished our Week of Prayer: But please DO NOT STOP praying for all those who’ve yet to trust in Jesus.

Keep praying for your OIKOS List; until they are ALL SAVED. God wants to SAVE your friends and family.

Who’s ON Your OIKOS List?

  • List them again by name before Jesus.
  • Think about their lives: What’s going on with them? What’s their problems? What’s their heart-desires? What’s their deepest need? And talk to the LORD for them.
  • Next: Do something LOVING for your OIKOS: give them a gift, do a good thing they are not expecting, show them Jesus’ LOVE is in your heart.
  • Next: Purposefully bring up something about Jesus, don’t ASK their permission, just share something. Even if they’ve rejected it before, do it again. Shown them that you are NOT going to give up on them, even if they’ve given up on God.
  • Finally: Remember, it’s their ETERNAL wealfare that you are most concerned about, their DESTINY is not looking good if they don’t trust Jesus. Get a handle on Hell and that will motivate you to endure rejection. Remember, anyone who’s not trusted in Jesus yet is BLIND and DEAF, they don’t know what they are rejecting, they can’t hear yet, because Satan has both blinded their eyes and deadened their ears. However, Holy Spirit POWER can break through into their darkness and let them see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Keep going back for more: You didn’t put your faith in Jesus the first time you heard the Gospel, so give them LOTS of opportunity. Even if they reject it three or four times before they come to faith. Share a little bit more of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be drawing them to faith and trust in Jesus.
  • PRAY: For yourself that you’ll STAY FULL of Pentecostal Power to reach out and SAVE others for Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit every day, you need Jesus presence and power in you, so ask Father God to fill you afresh every day in order that you can live in His will to save others.

Be blessed my friends, and live every day in Pentecostal Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, knowing that Jesus is with you always. Entreat your Heavenly Father for your friends, family and followers. Be obedient to Jesus commands and tell them HOW to be SAVED in this, their own, corrupt generation.

Don.

P.S. Pray for me, I’m shattered now 🙂 But I want to keep going for Jesus.

I’m also praying for everyone on my own OIKOS.

P.P. S. SEE more of the Baptism pictures here at St Luke’s Church Facebook Page. I’ll be posting some more awesome shots that my wife Julie took as well.

 

 

Jesus Christ Is Alive Today

Why are you looking for the living among the dead, He is not here, He is risen

Daily Spirit & Word: 712: Happy Resurrection Sunday

The Angel said to the Crowd of Ladies who went to the Tomb of Jesus, “Why do you look for the living among the dead, He is not here; He has risen”

I love that song / hymn of praise “Jesus Christ is alive today, I know, I know it’s true” But how can we KNOW for sure? You need to meet the Risen Saviour.

On this Resurrection Sunday, I want to say, “Happy Easter: i.e. I want all of you to have an enjoyable holiday time with friends, family, children with Easter Eggs and a lovely Easter Sunday Dinner etc, but I’m looking for another word, other than Easter, because it’s not Easter we Christians are celebrating, but the Resurrected LIFE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So I’m going to say, “Happy Resurrection Sunday” instead.

Let’s share that with Each other NOW: Say to your friends and family members, “Happy Resurrection Sunday”… Let the world KNOW we’re really celebrating the fact the Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.

GREETING ON Resurrection Sunday:

The Traditional Greeting on Resurrection Sunday is: “Christ is Risen”, and the crowds respond with, “He has Risen indeed, Alleluia”.

THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NIV)
1
 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
2  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
6  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
8  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

He is not here, he has risen
Why are you looking for the living among the dead?

1) Getting Ready For Resurrection Sunday:

Before we came to church today, we washed our faces (I hope 🙂 ). We did this to get ready to meet and greet one another. We did it to come before Jesus in worship. However, the Lord Jesus wants us to get ready in another way, to get ready for Resurrection Sunday.

Luke 23:50-56, 24:1-12 (NIV) Women Get Spices and Perfume Ready.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,
51  who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.
52  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.
53  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no-one had yet been laid.
54  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
55  The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.
56  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Those women didn’t know that Jesus was alive, they thought they were going to anoint a dead body with spices and perfumes, but what a shock and wonderful surprise they were about to get.

We too can get ourselves ready for Resurrection Sunday: By coming to Jesus and being forgiven and purified from all our sins.

Jesus died upon that Cross so that we can be forgiven: Let’s make sure we’re smelling good for Jesus today. Confess any known sin in your life right now. Take time to do this: Perfumed and Perfect in Christ: Forgiven and Cleansed from all sin. His blood purifies us from ALL SIN.

 

2) Getting Revelation On Resurrection Sunday: Bible Reading.

Easter Eggs: Shape of a Stone: The Stone The Angels Rolled Away.

Luke 24:1-12 (NIV) Revelation For Resurrection Sunday.
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3  but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ “
8  Then they remembered his words.
9  When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
10  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
11  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
12  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Did you get your revelation today? I got mine, because I didn’t realise that there were so many women at the tomb that day. I’ve been reading these same passages for over 30 years now, I’ve never noticed it was more than THREE… There was a crowd of ladies, we don’t know how many, but more than three.

I got another revelation: In every encounter with the Resurrected Christ there’s: Revelation (He’s not dead or they meet him, the see him, they can touch him, he eats with them. Then Jesus or the Angels instruct those to whom revelation is given. Then they are commissioned: Go and Tell… WOWzer! That’s the same for you and me.

3) Getting Your Commission On Resurrection Sunday. (GO).

In a few moments I’m going to say “Go” You’ll go and find some Easter Eggs hidden in the Church… But I want to say a bit more about How The Lord Commissioned Us: But I want you to see: That at each encounter with Jesus Resurrection: There’s Revelation, Physical Proof, Explanation / Instruction from the Scriptures and Commission.

After the Road To Emmaus: Luke 24:13-35. Jesus shows up again.

Luke 24:36-49 (NIV) Jesus Appeared, Showed hands and feet, ate, explained the Scriptures, commissioned and blessed.
36  While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37  They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
38  He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
39  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
41  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
42  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43  and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44  He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (The History, Writings and Poetry of Scripture Reveal Christ).
45  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
46  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
47  and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48  You are witnesses of these things. 49  I am going to send you what my Father has promised (The Holy Spirit); but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

What JOY!
What Amazement!

Imagine seeing your beloved Messiah again after He died upon the Cross: Alive? After the beating, the betrayal, the brutality; ALIVE…

NOTICE: At each of the Resurrection Appearances in Luke’s Gospel: there is first Revelation, then Explanation, then Commission.

My friends, when you Come to Faith in Jesus: i.e. You know Him, that He is ALIVE.

Then you get to know more about Him from the Bible, the Scriptures.

Then you get to Go for Him, to tell the world: Beginning in your family, neighbourhood, area, country, world.

Go and be His Witnesses: Tell about the Resurrected Lord, The Crucified Lord, The Ascended Lord, The Power of the Lord through His Holy Spirit. You go and you tell… For when you tell FAITH COMES to those who’s hearts have been prepared by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 10:17)

My friends, we who believe in The Resurrected Living Lord Jesus Christ have been truly blessed; we have received;

  • Revelation: We KNOW Jesus is Alive. We can say, “He’s my Lord”.
  • Explanation: Instruction in the Scriptures / Bible about Jesus and God’s Word / Commands. (Discipleship).
  • Empowerment: New Birth from the Holy Spirit and New Life and New Power (Gifts and presence of Holy Spirit).
  • Commission: Go and tell… Go with Jesus (He’s with you when you go in His Name)… Be obedient Go and Tell… When was the last time you share the Gospel with someone about Jesus?
  • Excitement: When you know the Resurrected Jesus, through faith, belief, repentance and having received Him as your Lord. You’ll experience the Excitement of The Abundant Life (More than happiness, peace and joy)… John 10:10. Philemon 1:6. You’ll get a DEEPER Knowledge of all these good things we have in Christ, through sharing our faith in Him.

Imagine: Charging up your Mobile Phone every day. And never turning it on to talk with someone.

That’s what it’s like if you are a Christian who’s constantly getting filled with the Holy Spirit and NEVER USING your anointing to do anything good with it. When you know the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and have been discipled for a while, then He’s commission you too, to go and use your Holy Spirit gifts for His Kingdom Service. GO!

Worship is great, but you’ll get much more, much more, much more REVELATION and ANOINTING if you use the GIFTS He’s already given to you. Share Jesus with everyone, be generous with your anointing, be gracious with your anointing. The world needs to know the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

You know the Resurrected LORD? Good, now go and tell someone about Him. Share Jesus… Have an AWESOME Resurrection Sunday.

Pease and Joy in Jesus.

Don.

1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV) 

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

 

The Kind of Friend We Have In Jesus

Lazarus brought back to life so that we could believe in Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 704:

The Kind of Friend We Have In Jesus.

Jesus The Creator God:

Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT) Jesus Christ Is Creator God.
15  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16  for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17  He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Colossians 1:15-17 (NKJV).

Good morning my friends, our START Course last night to prepare two children for Baptism with their parents was amazing. The questions children ask are often most honest and very thought provoking. They are not afraid to ask, “Why is there so much suffering, violence, war and hatred or evil in the world?” and “If God is so good, why doesn’t He stop it?”. We had a Swing-o-meter in the Video and in our booklet, this was to show where we are currently in our belief in the existence of God. It’s always an eye-opener for me when that question is asked, because quite often people will be ready to be more honest with a drawing or video than they will be in church. Far too often we respond with what we expect people want to hear, rather than what we actually believe.

Does God Exist? How can He Prove Himself to you?

Last night I explained, that God reveals Himself to us in many different ways: Through Creation, through prayer, through praise and worship, through the circumstances we go through in life, through the Bible, but ultimately God has already revealed Himself most fully in the person of His Son He sent to Earth. If you want to see what God is like, then look at the life, teachings and actions of Jesus Christ. These are recorded in the four Gospels, but also prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus was even born in Bethlehem.

You’ve heard that God is good, God is kind and God wants to be your friend, right?

But HOW can we know this is true?

You probably know that famous hymn; “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”… Well, we can clearly see the kind of friend we have in Jesus from the eleventh chapter in the Gospel of John. (Read it in full at bottom of page).

What Kind of a Friend Do We Have in Jesus?. John 11.

Jesus Is The Greatest Person Who Ever Lived.

  1. Jesus is The Listening Friend. “Jesus heard” (John 11:4).
  2. Jesus is The Loving Lord. “Jesus loved” (John 11:5).
  3. Jesus is The Gracious Teacher. “Jesus answered” (John 11:9).
  4. Jesus is The Wonderful Speaker. “Jesus said” and “spoke” (John 11:13, 23).
  5. Jesus Timing is Perfect. “Jesus came” (John 11:17).
  6. Jesus Presence Means Power. “Mary came to Jesus” (John 11:32).
  7. Jesus Sees Our Tears “Jesus saw her tears” (John 11:33).
  8. Jesus is Touched by our troubles. “He was deeply moved in Spirit” (John 11:33, 38).
  9. Jesus is The Weeping Saviour. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
  10. Jesus is God, The Son. “Jesus looked up and said, “Father”” (John 11:41). 
  11. Jesus WORDS mean LIFE: The Giver of Life. “He shouted Lazarus come out” (John 11:43). 
  12. Jesus Miracle Works Enable Belief, . “Jesus did… done” (John 11:45, 46). 
  13. The Undisputed Witness. “This Man does many miracles” (John 11:47). 
  14. The Delivering Substitute. “Jesus should die” (John 11:51, 53).

If you’ve ever doubted the existence of God, then take an honest look at yourself in a mirror and ask this question, “Could something as wonderful as me have happened by accident?” 😛  My friends, You are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139.

Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT) Jesus Christ Is Creator God.
15  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16  for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17  He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Jesus Is The Greatest Person Who Ever Lived Upon The EARTH.

Jesus Christ Is God: He always was, always will be.

The greatest person who ever lived wants to be your friend too: Click Here. What is the Second Death?

The Good News of Jesus Christ

Have and exciting journey of discovery about God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Prayer: O Lord God Almighty, Father will You please let us see Your Glory in the face of Jesus Christ through faith? I’ve seen today that Jesus is the kind of friend I need in my life. I’m coming afresh to you today Lord. I want to love You, Know You, Experience You more today than ever before. Fill me afresh with Holy Spirit. In the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour, Amen!

Don.

Bible Account of Lazarus: John Chapter 11.

John 11:1-16 (NIV)
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2  This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
3  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4  When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
5  Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6  Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7  Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8  “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
9  Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.
10  It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
11  After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”
13  Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14  So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
15  and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16  Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
So much more is revealed in the above account that simply the death of Lazarus: Jesus knowledge about all things. His Divinity “The Son of God”. How God the Father used bringing someone back from the dead to enable people to have faith in Jesus Christ.

The Grief-Stricken Sisters Are Comforted by Jesus.

John 11:17-37 (NIV)
17  On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
18  Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
19  and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
20  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21  “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27  “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28  And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”
29  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
30  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
31  When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32  When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34  “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35  Jesus wept.
36  Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37  But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

The Shortest Verse in the Bible reveals Jesus’ compassion: John 11:35 “Jesus wept”… He feels what we are going through deeply in His Spirit, even today. God cares deeply about what you experience in this life.

Verse 25: reveals that Jesus Christ, Himself God, is the source of LIFE on Planet Earth: All things were Created by Him and for Him.

Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT) Jesus Christ Is Creator God.
15  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16  for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17  He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Jesus Raises Lazarus From The Dead

What a powerful miracle you are about to read.

John 11:38-45 (NIV)
38  Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39  “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
40  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41  So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43  When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45  Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

My friends, Lazarus was brought back to life so that we could see this miracle and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and to enable us to put our faith and trust in Him. Like Lazarus, we are all born Spiritually dead, but Jesus purpose in coming into this world is that we might experience New Birth and see New Life, full life and be “born of the Spirit”. It’s as if Jesus is saying to every single one of us; “Take off the grave clothes and let him go”… He wants to open our eyes and let us see His glory today. Put your faith and trust in the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

 

It’s Just Too Good to be True

Joy in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word, 596: It’s Just Too Good to be True.

Mark 16:9-11 9  “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10  She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11  When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”

When they heard that Jesus was alive, they DID NOT BELIEVE IT.

Good morning my friends. Many of us have friends and relatives that just don’t seem to want to believe in Jesus the way that we do. We often find it difficult to understand why. Why won’t they believe in Jesus?

Perhaps one of the reasons might be this one, the fact that it is just too good to be true.

Note from the verses above: The Disciples, the followers and students of Jesus teachings, were mourning and weeping. Why? Because they’d just witnessed three days beforehand their LORD and Master and Teacher being put to death by the Romans upon a cross. They’d watched Joseph of Arimathea taking charge of Jesus’ dead body, wrapping it in a cloth and taking it to a tomb and putting a great stone in front of the tomb. To them Jesus was definitely dead and gone, now they were doing what every one of us would be doing if someone that we loved, cared about, trusted and depended upon had died: They were weeping and mourning.

It’s just too good to be true that our beloved would come back from the dead. Many people find death so difficult to accept that they believe they can see and hear their loved ones, long after the event, until time and reality hit home and they accept the fact that they’ve really gone. I’ve known widows who, because they’ve been with someone for many years, have whole conversations and then suddenly realise “Ahhh, he’s not here”… No, it’s just too good to be true to believe that he would be.

Too Good To Be True? It’s fantastical, crazy, foolish even, to believe the good news. Some people actually think that you are MAD to believe that someone could come back to life after death. That’s why the Word of God, the Bible admits that the GOSPEL is foolishness to those who don’t believe.

So how can we possibly ever convince those that we love, who find it hard to believe, that Jesus is ALIVE and can be known today?

Evidence of Belief in Others:

I’ve known far too many people who’ve become convinced of this central truth of Christianity to doubt it. Even if I had not experienced the resurrected Jesus for myself, the evidence of the many could convince me of it. History, and even recent history in Iraq and Syria revealse the sincerity of their conviction, even going to point of being prepared to die with joy in their hearts, rather than renounce their faith and trust in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. However, sincerity alone will not move, convince or convict everyone to accept the truth.

The KEY: That UNLOCKS Hearts:

Thankfully, we don’t have to believe in the resurrection first, we’ll become convinced of it later on though, once we’ve got the resurrected Jesus in our life. It is after we KNOW HIM that we become like those who could never renounce their faith. To renounce Jesus after knowing Him would be like saying, “I came into this world without a mother or father”… It’s IMPOSSIBLE to say we don’t believe in Jesus, we’d be lying. Once Jesus comes into your life, then you too become a witness like Mary Magdalene, and just as she found that those who even loved Jesus found it hard to believe, we too will find it almost impossible to convince people about the resurrection of the Lord from the dead. Praise the Lord though, because He’s given us a KEY to open up those barricaded minds and locked up hearts.

The Good News: That Jesus is ALIVE only becomes good news once a person knows their need for the Lord Jesus. It becomes good news once they realised that they are sinners and that nothing they can ever do can take away their guilty conscience or wash them clean from their crimes against God. You see it’s our need of righteousness that will convict us and compel us to believe and become convinced of the truth of the Gospel Story. Just as God’s Word tells us; “FAITH comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”…

To get us to that point of Belief: God’s Holy Spirit first convinces us of our need of a Saviour.

He first uses God’s Law to do it. God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) are like a Schoolmaster / Instructor to lead us to a knowledge of our need of a Saviour. Because without a Saviour we’re doomed to be judged by God’s Law for our sins. Because we’ve ALL broken His Commandments. We’ve lied, stolen, coveted and lusted, we’ve not put God first, every day of our lives. God’s revealed in His Word: the punishment for liars, thieves and those who lust or covet; death and Hell. Even if we’d only broken ONE of His Commandments, we’d become guilty LAW Breakers. Once we know that God would be just and right to punish us for our moral failures, we are ready for the Good News: Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

God’s Commandments show us what we are like and the Gospel shows us what we need to do to be made right with God.

When a person is convinced of their need of a Saviour, they are ready to hear the rest of the Good News.

FAITH to believe; but believe what?

God gives us the gift of faith to Believe that Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, came to die upon the Cross for the sins of the whole world and three days later to rise from the dead and then ascend into heaven. He gives us faith to believe that Jesus died in our place for our own sins upon the Cross. He enables us to know that we need to repent and turn away from our life of sin to Jesus Christ and to receive Him as our Lord and Saviour.

From that point on, once we’ve repented of our sins and received Jesus as our Saviour, we’ll know HIM and become totally convinced of the fact of the resurrection, because Jesus is alive in our own life. We KNOW the Saviour personally. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, gives us NEW LIFE: We get born again by God’s Holy Spirit once we repent and receive the Lord Jesus. Without repentance there is no remission of sins. Until we receive Jesus by faith, we’re dead in our transgressions and sins and await God’s righteous judgement.

Have an awesome Tuesday with Jesus your Saviour.

Imagine the JOY that those followers felt when they discovered that what Mary was telling them was TRUE. Then they KNEW as everyone can today, that it may seem “Just Too Good to be True”, but it is TRUE: Jesus is ALIVE TODAY and we can all know Him personally.

Don’t keep trying to tell or convince people that Jesus rose from the dead, they’ll just laugh at you and think you’re mad. It’s like casting your pearls before swine. Instead, use the God given KEY to open their locked-up hearts and set them free from unbelief: The Law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul. The Law (Ten Commandments) can open up previously locked-up hearts, hard-to-reach individuals who find that stories of the resurrection are just too good to be true. Once they know their need of the Saviour, God will use that knowledge to give them faith to believe in His Son.

Faith really does come by hearing God’s Word: It is sharper than a two edged sword. It cuts right to the heart and converts the soul.

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.

40 Days Home Page: 

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

 

Peter is Recommissioned by Jesus.

Jesus gives so much GRACE

Daily Spirit & Word, 511: Peter is recommissioned by Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 27:

Peter is Recommissioned by Jesus. John 21:15-17.

Good morning my friends, I’m always amazed by the utter grace that Jesus lavishes upon His chosen people. No wonder St Paul wrote, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It surely is. When we re-read the account of Peter’s restoration and recommissioning by Jesus, you’ll see His abundant GRACE in bucket-loads or as the famous hymn puts it: “Here is grace, vast as the ocean, loving kindness like a flood, when the Prince of Life, our ransom, shed for us His precious blood”, you see it here today.

Peter’s Recommissioning:

John 21:15-17 15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Thomas Edison’s Assistant:

Thomas Edison was working on a prototype light bulb and it took a whole team of men 24 straight hours to put just one bulb together. The story goes that when Edison was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young boy helper, who nervously carried it up the stairs. step by step he carefully watched his hands, obviously frightened of dropping such a priceless piece of work. You’ve probably guessed what happened next; the poor young fellow dropped the bulb at the top of the stairs. It took the entire team of men another 24 hours to make another bulb. Finally, tired and ready for a break, Edison was ready to have the bulb carried up the stairs. He gave it to the same young boy who’d dropped the first bulb. That’s true forgiveness and grace, because he gave the boy a second chance.

My friends, that’s what the Lord is doing with Peter in our passage today, and it’s what the Lord will do with you too. Once you come to Jesus and trust Him as Lord, He’s your LORD forever. He’ll never let you go and He’s constantly calling out to you to come to Him to be given another chance. He wants to give you another go at being His disciple again.

Notice, he also commissioned Peter to feed the lambs, look after the sheep and feed the sheep. There are those who are babies in the Kingdom of God, they need special care furst. The Mature sheep need looking after, watching out for wolves etc and they also need to be taken out into green pasture and shown how to feed on good green grass. He takes the fisherman and makes him into a shepherd of His flock.

We see a transformed Peter after Pentecost: Standing up in front of thousands and 3000 people coming to faith in Jesus. Acts 2. Then he’s thrown into prison and let out by an Angel. He’s also got people running after him, so that even if his shadow should fall upon them, they’d be healed. Peter does some really amazing things, but it all comes down to the fact that he was re-instated by Jesus. He was given a second chance and Peter is Recommissioned by Jesus.

You’ll experience times of failure:

Babies learn to get up and walk after trying many times, sometimes hurting their bums and falling over and bumping their heads. But as we can see from Peter’s experience of meeting the resurrected Lord Jesus on the beach that day, Jesus is full of grace, mercy and forgiveness. We serve a God of second chances: He’s longing to give you anther go my friends. So when you fail and fall, don’t give up on yourself, because Jesus never will. He wants to reach out to you, to lift you up and to give your feet a firm place to stand. He’ll then put a new song in your heart, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40.

Psalm 40:1-3 1  [For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.] I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
2  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

There’s a Prayer we pray sometimes in our Fellowship:

May the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the Love of God,
And the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
Be with us now, and forever more. Amen.

Sometimes, like Edison’s assistant, we need a ‘light-bulb moment. I hope you’ve had one today.

We need His grace and forgiveness every day.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

Day 27 of 40 Days With Jesus. Homepage:

Peter is Recommissioned by Jesus.

 

Jesus Restores Peter

After denial Peter is restored

Daily Spirit & Word, 510: Jesus Restores Peter.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 26.

Good morning my friends, I’ve just come back into the study after being with the Lord in my garden. It’s beginning to look a lot like summer, the wonderful blue Spring border is starting to be replaced by the warmer red, orange and yellow tones of my new flowers. The Seasons in the garden are awesome, but what’s even more amazing is the way that Jesus gives us new Seasons in life; today we’re going to discover more about Peter’s new life after being restored by the Lord Jesus and indwelt with the Holy Spirit a few days later.

Review; all last week we were thinking about Jesus Resurrection Appearance to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee: He’s watching them from the shore when they decided to go fishing, they’d been fishing all night and had caught nothing for all their efforts. Jesus shouts to them from the shore and asks if they’ve caught any fish, they say, “No!”, then He tells them to let the nets down on the right side of the boat and they’ll catch some. As they do so, John realises that it was Jesus who was speaking. Peter puts on his clothes and jumps into the water and swims ashore. He meets with Jesus and the Lord cooks them breakfast. Now today, we’re going to see Jesus taking Peter aside and interviewing him.

John 21:15-19 15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
18  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

As Jesus was cooking the breakfast of fish on the charcoal fire, it would have brought back to Peter’s mind, like a flash-back, the time that he was warming himself by a fire after Jesus had been arrested, and he first denied Jesus:

John 18:15-18 15  Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard,
16  but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17  “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”
18  It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

Yes my friends, it’s often strange how the Lord chooses to bring back memories of our slips and failures in our walk with Him. What truly amazes me is how gentle the Lord’s rebuke to Peter is: He asks him three times; “Do you love me?” Each time Peter responds with, “Yes Lord!” until the last time, when he finally blurts out, feeling hurt because of Jesus probing questioning, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Our English translation of the Greek here doesn’t do the questioning very much justice, because the words for ‘LOVE’ in Jesus questions are different in the Greek language. The Greeks had four words for love; each indicating a different kind of love. If we were to use them properly, we would not simply put the word ‘love’ in their place.

Here Are the Greek Words For LOVE and their Meaning:

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

The first time Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” The Greek word was: Agapao: From which we get Agape: meaning in table above. It’s a sacrificial kind of love. The KJV translates this word not as simple ‘love’, but Charity: Charity is a sacrificial kind of love. It means putting something else before your own affections or desires. It’s like when Jesus said, “Not my will, but Your will be done”… Jesus is asking Peter, “in the order of your affections for other people, do you love ME more than everybody else?” Peter answers, “Yes Lord! You know that I love You.” The word is not the same, Peter said, “You know that I Phileo you” Here Peter is expressing his deep friendship affection for Jesus more than the others. Can you see, simply using love doesn’t do the Greek or the Text of the Bible adequate justice. There’s far more to Greek LOVE than our English language allows.

The next time Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” He’s saying do you Agapao me: Is your love for me sacrificial. Are you dying to yourself to give Me this affection?

Peter responds in the same way: “Yes Lord, You know that I Phileo You”… (Fellowship / Friendship affectionate love).

Then Jesus asks Peter a third time: but this time Jesus uses a different word in the question: Jesus replaces AGAPE with PHILEO… He’s not asking Peter for his sacrificial love, but his affectionate, friendship and fellowship. Peter’s is HURT that Jesus would ask him a third time. But his answer this time, must have brought with it a much deeper conviction and true knowledge that he really did love Jesus more than anything else in the whole world, because Jesus had finished his probing of Peter.

The Lord has restored Peter: “Feed my lambs, look after my sheep, feed my sheep” Each time after the question Jesus is giving Peter a mission and a purpose for those deep and probing questions.

My friends, if Jesus was to ask you that question today how would you respond? If He were to ask you three times: “Am I your Lord? Am I your Lord? Am I your best friend?” How would you respond?

Notice what Jesus doesn’t say:

He didn’t take Peter aside and say, “Peter, do you remember when you denied me?” No! Jesus goes right to the HEART of the matter. He’s telling us all today that it’s a Matter of our HEART AFFECTIONS.

  • Do we love Jesus more than our fellows?
  • Do we love Jesus more than our world?
  • Do we love Jesus as our Best Friend?

When we get our HEART affection for Jesus right, then everything else in our Discipleship makes sense. We’ll automatically want to live in obedience to the Father’s will as well. We’ll LOVE Jesus commands and we’ll walk with Him every single day. Yes my friends, the heart of the matter really is a matter of the heart’s affections.

The HEART of the MATTER really is a matter of your HEART’S affections for the LORD.

The emphasis of Jesus questions about our LOVE for Him, is not that it’s an EXCLUSIVE love, like a husband must love ONLY his wife, but a measure of our love: Quantitative rather than exclusive. He wants us to love Him with our ALL. Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength. All that we can muster must be focused upon serving and loving the Lord. If it was an exclusive love then we’d not be able to LOVE others as we love ourselves. No Jesus point is about our total love, the quality and quantity of how much we LOVE Him and others. We’re called to a sacrificial love for others and a fellowship / friendship and sacrificial love for Him.

Matthew 6:21 21  For where your treasure (Heart’s Affections) is, there your heart will be also.

Where are your HEART’S affections set today?

Remember, Jesus was gentle with Peter, but He’s so good that He can’t just leave Peter to wallow or worry about his past failures and denials. Jesus will also sort us out too, but be assured He’ll do it in a way that He intends to restore us and lift us up and set us upon the right pathway again. Trust Jesus with your whole HEART today. Jesus will restore you my friends.

Points to Ponder:

  • Has the Lord shown you today any areas of your life where you’re affection has been more on the world, other people or other things rather than the Lord Jesus Christ? 
  • It’s so easy to be self-deceived and think we are serving the Lord, when in actuality we’re just self-serving. Let’s be certain today, that in everything we’re doing for Jesus, we’re really doing it for Him and for His GLORY, not our own. 

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to thank you today. You’ve shown me that I need to get my heart priorities right in order to serve you. I know that You are calling me into a deeper and more committed friendship and fellowship with Yourself today. Help me to lay aside all other affections of my heart and enable me to truly love You. Amen.

Have an exciting day loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ, remember to seek His fullness of the Holy Spirit for your walk.

Don.

Every Day With Jesus: 26: Jesus Restores Peter.

40 Days Home Page

Jesus Restores Peter.

 

From The Miracles to The Miracle Maker

Jesus cares and provides fish and bread at the resurrection appearances on the beach

Daily Spirit & Word: 509: From The Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: John 21:7-14.

Good morning my friends, Saturday’s are always so special for me, because it’s the day of; rest and relaxation, a time to be with family and friends, a time to rebuild what the working week has drained out or us. Some of my friends relax so much on Saturdays that they spend the whole day in bed or in their night-clothes relaxing on the couch. Why? Because their working week is so stress-filled or exhausting and demanding, by the time Saturday comes around all they are ready to do is FLOP.

Today we’ll discover the tired, exhausted and hungry Disciples and the Lord Jesus coming to their assistance with a cooked breakfast for them to eat, also that Jesus is your friend and as a friend He comes to you for fellowship: He’s promised to do this many times in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and today we’ll see the very first time that it actually happened after His Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead.

John 21:7-14 7  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
8  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Close Friends Get The Revelations:

The first thing that happens after the Miracle of the catch of fish that didn’t sink the boat or break the nets, was one of the Disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, recognised who it was that told them to drop the net on the right side of the boat. That revelation comes to the one who was closest to Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. We know that disciple was John, the Gospel Writer and the very same John who wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Revelations. How close are you to Jesus today? If you are close like John, then you are going to get a some amazing revelations of the Miracle Maker.

As I pointed out yesterday: Jesus PROMISE is that He will come (John 14) He’ll come and REVEAL Himself to us and in us. He’ll come and have fellowship. He’ll come and we’ll EAT together (Rev 3:20)… It’s Awesome to know this as a TRUTH, but it’s even more awesome when we experience the risen and resurrected Lord’s presence and we get our own REVELATION. Not just once, but regularly. No wonder John wanted to communicate it so clearly throughout his Gospel and all his letter and the book of Revelation. Jesus wants a closer walk with you today and He’s waiting and watching and calling out to you today to come to Him.

It’s been my own experience that the Lord has made known to me that He is present, many times. I’ve had that feeling and knowledge that Jesus is HERE: Whilst washing dishes (I hate washing dishes, but I began to sing praise songs, then suddenly Jesus came, and the task that I was doing seemed so much easier and even joy filled, I was in the presence of Jesus and I began to cry with joy). He’s with us always, of course, from the moment we decided to follow Him as Lord and receive Him as Saviour, but there are times when He manifests Himself and makes Himself more KNOWN. Just like He did with the Disciples in all His resurrection appearances, somehow they didn’t recognise Him immediately, until the right moment when they eventually get the revelation: “It’s Jesus”. As we’ve just read above, that’s what happened to the beloved Disciple John whilst in the boat. Everyone else had their eyes on the Miracle, but John was focused upon the Miracle Maker.

It’s always going to be the friends of Jesus who’ll get the REVELATIONS. This is something that’s true throughout the whole Bible, it’s the friends of God, that He chooses to reveal His secret plans: Moses, David, Abraham, Elijah, etc… So I’m going to ask you that question unashamedly today: “How much of a close friend of Jesus are you?” One of the ways to know is this; how obedient are you being to Jesus commands? (see yesterday’s reading). You see my friends, we’ll also get a revelation of who we are when we come to Jesus. We’ll know that He loves us and we love Him. We’ll know that He loves us, WHEN we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can only love Him like that with the HELP of the HELPER, the Holy Spirit who indwells every true follower and believer.

It’s the friends of the LORD who’ll get His Revelations.

The Fallen Believer Runs To Jesus:

Notice secondly the impulsive Peter: Every time I read this portion of John’s Gospel, a great big smile comes over my face. I always think “I want to be like Peter” I want to run to the Lord, to be rushing up to Jesus. Upon hearing the news from John, that the person who’d told them to cast the net, the one standing on the shore, was Jesus, you’ll note that Peter does two things:

First: Peter Puts on His Outer Garment:

It’s an amazing few words; “he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off)”. Why did Peter feel the need to put on his outer garments? He’d have been naked from the waist-up: Reminds me of Builders working on site on a hot summer’s day when I was a boy, they’d all be lying around with their shirts off at lunch-time. Peter, had obviously taken it off because working the net was much easier without the clothing getting in the way. However, what was it that made him put it on? Well, many have speculated different reasons, but I believe it was like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who hearing the Lord’s footsteps in the Garden after eating the forbidden fruit run away and hide. Then the Lord makes clothing for them, for they were naked. It’s SHAME that Peter feels my friends, for he knew he’d sinned when he betrayed the Lord Jesus. When Peter denied the Lord three times and the cock crowed, it was then that he remembered the Lord’s words, warning that he’d deny him. Now Peter is ashamed when he hears John’s words, “It’s the Lord” and tries to cover up his shameful nakedness. He’s aware of his sinful condition before the Holy and Righteous Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker

That shame is what we experience sometimes when we’ve been living in sin. We too want to run and hide ourselves away from the Lord. That’s why so many fallen Christians won’t come back to church, they know that in the company of other believers, the Lord is likely to show up and make Himself known to them. They’d rather stay at home safe from the presence of the Lord.

That shame is also why non-believers refuse to come to the Saviour. It’s because they love sin and they are ashamed and frightened that their evil deeds will be exposed. Of course no sinner would articulate it that way, we only know this by God’s revelation on so many places in the Bible.

John 3:19-20 19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Peter had to put on his outer clothing to cover up, it was in instinctive thing, something that the Police know when they are interviewing suspects. When someone is guilty, they’ll try and put something in front of them; their hand over their mouth, something between the interviewer and the suspect. So sinners need to try and hide behind something in God’s presence. That’s what Peter was doing when He heard it was Jesus, trying to cover up his sinful, shameful nakedness. Have you ever felt exposed when you heard a Sermon that hits home to where you’ve been sinning in life? I have and I just wanted to hide in the pew. God knows how to get to our hearts doesn’t he, but His purpose in doing so is always to restore us and clean us up so we can be of further useful service in His Kingdom.

However, even though Peter’s natural instinct is to hide his sinful, shameful nakedness, he does something extraordinary next;

Next: Peter Dives Into The Water:

Yes my friends, that’s the sinner diving into the water to get to Jesus faster than the boat is able to carry him. Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to the shore, so he jumps into the water because he’s desperate to get to Jesus. No thought is given to the others who need to tow the net full of fish ashore, now Peter knows that it’s Jesus, all he can do is get to Him as fast as he can.

This is one of my favourite passages in the whole Bible my friends, I just LOVE Peter. Because it reveals part of what happened to me and many other brothers and sisters I’ve known since I started following Jesus. When I realised just how much a sinner I was, how I’d fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, How I’d broken His commandments, there is nothing else that I could possibly do to remove the stain of sin in my soul. None of my good works would balance the scales of God’s Justice, sin must be punished or purged and I knew it. Unless I responded to the call of the Gospel, I knew I was headed for hell. But then I responded the Good News, “I don’t need to suffer God’s wrath and anger against my sins, I could trust in Jesus.” I knew I didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness, but I knew that I could be forgiven, because of Jesus love for me. So many of my friends had turned to Jesus as well, they know they don’t deserve God’s amazing grace, but He gives it freely to all who will come to Him in Repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ. Once I knew what to do, and why I needed to do it, nothing on earth would have stopped me trusting in Jesus Christ for Salvation.

That’s what Peter was doing, He was coming to Jesus as fast as his body could carry him. He know Jesus was the ONLY way to be saved. My friends, I’ve actually seen people RUNNING down to the front of church to give their lives to Jesus, when they Holy Spirit convicted them of their need of The Saviour. I’m going to encourage you to listen to His voice today; to be like Peter, to be like my friends and so many that I’ve seen. I’m going to encourage you to come running to Jesus Christ right now. Don’t listen to your brain, be impulsive and just do it. Come!

From the Miracles of the Catch of Fish and the Un-burstable Nets: Peter comes running to the Resurrected Miracle Maker: The Lord Jesus Christ.

When they get to the Miracle Maker, they find the fish cooking and He’s giving them bread and fish.

Jesus wants to eat with you too my friends, to have fellowship with you. To be in your company and to provide for your nourishment in life. Oh what a glory it is today, to get this awesome awareness that Jesus is right inside you… Word’s can’t explain. But you need to try hard and take your eyes off the miracles and mover from the miracles to the miracle maker.

Imagine though, if your church was to have a fellowship breakfast on the beach with fish cooking on the fire: how many would show up? I’d be in that number as quick as a flash 🙂

Points to Ponder:

  • When was the last time you KNEW Jesus was with you?
  • How quick are you to recognise the voice of the Lord in your life?
  • Tomorrow, we’ll see that after the breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and has a conversation about His love and devotion. Today let’s ponder on what we’ve been thinking about:

Jesus performs a Miracle in order to reveal Himself to His closest friends, and then because He knows they a tired from fishing all night, Jesus provides a meal of fish and bread for them to eat with Him. He’s right there today with you my friends. He loves you so much and wants you to experience His presence. That means not just knowing about Jesus, but actually getting your own revelation that He’s actually with you by His Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ; Thank you so much for who You are, how You reveal Yourself to us and how it happened with the first followers. Please help me to recognise Your interventions in my life quickly, help me not to focus so much on the Miracles that I miss the Miracle Maker, it’s Your face that I long for more than the Miracles You can perform. Help me to realise that being in Your presence is far more precious than anything else that I can have or that will happen in my life. Amen.

Have an awesome Saturday, relax as much as you can, because the LORD needs you tomorrow to Worship, to Fellowship, to Encourage you and build you up and to strengthen one another in the faith. I’ll see you on Sunday 🙂 I hope and pray you’ll get closer to Jesus today. Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

Doubting Thomas

The day that Doubting Thomas met Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 504: Doubting Thomas.

The Difference Between Honest Doubts and Stubborn Unbelief.

40 Days With Jesus. Day 20: Doubting Thomas.

As our church fellowship goes through 40 Days With Jesus. We’re all considering the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus afresh. Some have been followers of Jesus for many years, but it’s amazing the way that fresh light is being thrown upon the pathway of righteousness. I’m really happy that the Lord is working in so many of our lives today and we’re discovering more about Jesus and ourselves every single day. You know my friends, it’s OK to have honest doubts, as long as we don’t remain stuck in those doubts and that we’re really looking for the answers to our questions. A person stuck in doubt is a person who’s refusing to move. That might be because of fear or even further doubts, what if it’s true, what will that mean for me? We can move through the tunnel of honest doubt today. But there are others who’re like CAVE explorers, the further they go into the cave, the further away they are from the light. Stubborn Unbelief is like that dark cave of doubt that refuses to even consider the evidence or the truth.

John 20:24-31 24  Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
27  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30  Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

I know a man who refused to come to the Lord Jesus, because He thought he wasn’t ready for a HOLY life, you know the life that means you get all boring and can’t do this or can’t do that… It’s really funny, but Christians have been better known for what they don’t do, rather than what they actually do. Thankfully the tide is turning and because of the recent Government Austerity measures and the way that Conservative and Lib-Dem policy has made if much more difficult for the poorest people in the whole of the United Kingdom and those who’ve suffered most during this depression are those who are the most vulnerable. It’s been Christians who’ve come out with a great BIG LIGHT shining all around them and giving GLORY  to God; because they’ve responded to the NEED, they’ve manned FOODBANKS to give people food for free who are experiencing real hardships in life. We must thank God for the Governments Austerity Measures, because it’s enabled us to DEMONSTRATE REAL LOVE IN ACTION. However, we don’t rejoice that it was because of these measures that the poorest have suffered the most. Now we’re beginning to turn the tide of Public impressions of Christians change, from that bad impression of Christians, now we’re becoming famous again for what we do because we LOVE Jesus. i.e. It’s by our LOVE for others that Christians are once again being seen as expressing true faith, others are seeing that we are Christ’s disciples because of what we do in loving response to people’s needs.

Honest Doubt is like a long road tunnel, but your driving through and headed for the light.

Thomas, was not there in the Upper-Room when Jesus appeared the first time. However, a week later and Thomas was there with the others. But that leaves me with a question that I’m looking for answers to today:  “Was Thomas’ statement, “I refuse to believe, unless I see the nail-marks in His hands” was this STUBBORN UNBELIEF? Or was Thomas’ statement simply expressing openly his HONEST DOUBT?

STUBBORN UNBELIEF: is like a deep dark cave, the deeper you do, the further away from the light you get. Great is that darkness of stubborn unbelief.

On the surface it’s hard to answer that question, it would seem a clear case of stubborn unbelief or refusal to believe, but as we look deeper and follow Thomas’ life in the Bible, and get to know the man a little bit more, we’ll begin to see an honest, openhearted and questioning kind of a character. For example just about a week before Jesus died, we see Thomas and Jesus again, recorded by John in his Gospel, John 14.

John 14:1-7 1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4  You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
7  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

This is another of those famous passages that have been read out at countless hundreds of thousands of funerals; funerals of both Christians and Non-Christians, because it’s in the Church of England Funeral Book and as Ministers of a Parish, we’re required by law to conduct funerals for everyone, regardless of their faith, if they desire a Minister, we’re duty bound to attend to them. So I’ve taken many hundreds of funerals myself for people who’ve said they didn’t believe. But I’ve read out this, one of the most exclusive statements our Lord Jesus ever made at those funerals of unbelievers. We’ve just got to hold out the lantern of faith in the darkest of caves.

Thomas was HONEST and OPEN and quickly asked Jesus for clarification when He didn’t know something. You know my friends, because of Thomas, we’ve been given one of the Brightest Statements contained within the Bible. It’s that statement where Jesus is telling us all in no uncertain terms, that there is NO OTHER WAY for human beings to enter in to Heaven, other than through faith and trust in HIM alone. We can’t get there because of our own goodness or our own good deeds or good works, because that still leaves us stained with sin. Jesus quite rightly expresses to Thomas’ honest question; “We don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” and he gets the most beautiful and brilliantly dazzling light filled answers in the whole Bible; “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”. In other words;

  • If we want to know the way to Heaven, we must come to Jesus.
  • If we want to know the TRUTH about God and Heaven, we must come to Jesus.
  • If we want to know how to get ETERNAL LIFE, then we must come to Jesus.

Why? Because He reveals: “I AM THE ONLY WAY TO THE FATHER”, “YOU MUST COME THROUGH ME”.

Now we can just dismiss this claim as the rantings of a mad-man or Jesus was just a simple deluded man or Jesus was telling us the TRUTH. An Honest Doubter, is like someone going through a long road tunnel, they know that the further they are going, they are getting closer to the light, but a person who is in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, wants to remain in that condition of darkness, they’re like someone who’s going into a deep dark CAVE, they are getting further and further into the darkness and going away from the source of light with each step they take.

My friends, are you headed for the light? At the end of your honest doubts and sincere questions are you desiring to know the way, the truth and the life? That’s the most important question you’ll ever ask yourself in life.

If you are in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, I want to encourage you today, there is still HOPE, because I’ve known sinful, stubborn unbelievers who’ve hated the light and hates me coming to them to talk about Jesus, because each time I did, I brought the light into their dark lives. They were happy, trying to hide in the cave of unbelief, but each time I appeared, it was as if I was carrying that brightest of lights in the deepest darkness, it’s a blinding light to those who are in stubborn unbelief. But we must, must, must, must continue to keep it shining. For when we do we’re bringing the light of the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ into the darkness of someone’s life.

You don’t know why they are in or want to remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, why they won’t or refuse to even consider the evidence, openly and honestly. You don’t know why, but the LORD does and He is the one who is best equipped to bring them out of the dankness where they are hiding, into His marvellous, glorious and beautiful light. Where they will find, life and joy and peace and happiness. Why are they hiding? Perhaps the last half of John 3 will give us a clue. The Bible always has the answer somewhere 🙂 People are hiding in their dark caves of stubborn unbelief because of sin in their lives, they are refusing to come out into the light. They LOVE the darkness the Bible tells us. God has shown us the answer my friends, but it’s not always so simple as that, because each person is different.

What a brilliant passage in the Bible, I’m so glad the the Apostle John, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, kept DOUBTING THOMAS in the story of Jesus resurrection encounters. Because if they hadn’t then we’d probably be a lot more harsh and critical of people who have Honest Doubts and sincere questions regarding the faith once delivered to the saints. Don’t be afraid of people who are expressing their sincere doubts, because Jesus can very easily deal with them, they are in a tunnel that is headed for the light. However, don’t even be afraid of people who are in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, because, if Jesus doesn’t come back in the mean-time, you’ll have ample opportunity to share the LIGHT with them again. You’ll be SALT in their wounds of Unbelief. We know that salt stings open wounds and so it does those who are in stubborn unbelief, but it also know that salt has a curative effect; SALT is good. So keep being Salt and Light for those in any kind of darkness my friends.

Conclusion: It’s wonderful that Thomas’ Doubt is in the Bible. Because of Doubting Thomas, we’ve got some wonderful proofs of Jesus RESURRECTION and Divinity. Thomas said, “My LORD and My God”… He saw, touch and believed. Jesus said, that those who believe in Him afterwards would be blessed. My friends, we ARE blessed too, because Jesus will come into your life in just a real a way as He did with Thomas, so that you will not linger in doubt, but you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel of sincere and honest doubt that is looking for the answers. Jesus is still “THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE”… He always will be, so come into the light, stop doubting and believe.

We can also see that what a person says, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they are like deep down inside. We’d probably assume, if we didn’t have more about Thomas in the Bible that he was a Stubborn Unbeliever, but we know that he wasn’t like that, because of what the Bible tells us about him. However, we don’t know other people’s live or why they say what they do. Something terrible may have happened, that makes them NOT WANT to believe that there is a God or a Jesus that came back from death to life. They may have lost a precious loved one as my friends, ROSA, Read how she Encounters Jesus Kingdom did (you must read her story of her encounter with the risen Jesus and His Kingdom Power). But STUBBORN UNBELIEF is a sin, because it’s a refusal to come into the light or to even consider the truth.

Doubting Thomas
Doubting Thomas

My friends, those of you who have trust Jesus, YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. When you trusted Jesus, you came into the light and now you ARE light for those in the darkness of unbelief, your the torchlight for those who have honest doubts, you are the light that shines up the pathway towards faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Keep going my friends. Don’t be afraid to break into the dark caves where you’ll find those who are hiding from the Light, who are refusing to even consider the questions and the doubt, they are in Stubborn Unbelief, but there is always HOPE for them my friends, carry the light of Jesus into their lives today. Let your light shine up and perhaps they’ll see that the darkness of the cave is not a nice as the brightness and beauty we’ll see when we come out into the light of Jesus Christ.

I hope you’ve been able to see today the difference between honest doubt and stubborn unbelief. One is looking for evidence and answers to their questions, the other is refusing to come into the light. Only God really knows, but we must just continue to be obedient and be SALT and LIGHT to both.

Have an AWESOME Bank Holiday MONDAY.

Don.

P.S. Even though it’s BANK HOLIDAY Monday, I’m still going to be at the Prayer Meeting in Church tonight at 7.00pm for Fellowship, we’ll begin praying at 7.30pm. If you are free you are welcome to come along and join with me. Don.