New Penny Black Stamp

Daily Spirit & Word, 501: New Penny Black Stamp.

Good morning my friends, I’ve not gone mad, I know we’re in a series looking at the disciples reactions to the resurrection appearances of the Lord, and that today the focus is upon JOY and the Title should read: “Jesus Gives A New Joy” Day 17. However, imagine how everybody in the UK would feel today, if the Post Office issued a commemorative Penny Black Stamp. Because it’s 175 Years since the First Penny Black Stamp was issued. You know the old fashioned stamp? You buy it and if you stick it to a letter then the STAMP itself guaranteed delivery of your item. So my friends, the Holy Spirit guarantees delivery of God’s Word to produce great JOY in your heart today.

Penny Black Stamp

It was a magnificent idea, People all over the county could send letters, notes, parcels etc to each other for the first time and the government guaranteed that it would be delivered, all because it carried the official Post Office Stamp: The Penny Black. Can you imagine the sheer joy and delight it must have been to receive the first letter in your life? If you had a relative who’d traveled to find work, they could now keep in contact by letter. Of course letters could take a few days to arrive 175 years ago, everything was very slow back then. Horses were the main means of transportation, it was before the advent of Steam Railways, Cars and Buses. No my friends, it was either horseback or coach and letters and mail were still in their infancy. You had to trust that someone would deliver you letter and you had no way of guaranteeing that it would be delivered. Also it would take a long time to discover if your letter had been delivered or not. The Penny Black Stamp changed all of that.

Now, when we read our lesson today from John’s Gospel, you’ll note that I’ve not gone completely bonkers: We’re thinking about the disciples JOY, now let’s look at the passage together;

John 20:19-21 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Notice what it says in verse 20; “… The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”

You know my friends, I want you to try and picture the scene and use your imagination, try and think what it must have been like to be one of Jesus disciples at that moment. You are perhaps; Peter, John or Mary and you’ve all gotten together three days after Jesus was tortured and killed upon the cross. You are all frightened to be there together, you imagine all sorts of horrible things happening to you if you are caught by the authorities. You can see them in your minds eyes, torturing you like the shamefully tortured Jesus’ body. You can imagine the sting of thw whip or the pain as they thrust the crown of thorns on your head. You can almost feel it, because you witnessed it just a few days ago, the memory of what they’d done to Jesus and what they could possible do to you, was still very fresh indeed. You’ve all got this dread of being captured and caught, then suddenly out of nowhere, because you’ve made certain the doors are locked anyway, Jesus stands in the midst. First you’d probably be shocked, but then Jesus utters these words; “Peace be with you” You know it’s Jesus’ voice. You recognise the voice of the Master. But your mind is doing summersaults, “it can’t be, He’s dead, but He’s here, how can He be here? He’s alive, no Jesus died, but yet I can hear his voice. Am I dreaming? Is this a ghost or a dream?” I know that my mind would be racing like this: but then slowly it begins to sink in; “This IS Jesus, that was His voice I just heard, He really IS here with us now” Then your surprise and shock give way to a Tsunami of Joy. Wave, after wave or Tsunami like Joy floods you soul.

Now can you see what I meant about the Penny Black? The Joy of having been contacted by a loved one hundreds of milse away, they actually touched this paper and put a pen to it and wrote upon it for you. Oh the Joy of the personal letter from a loved one, addressed to you personally. You’d look at your name, see the marvellous new innovative Queen or King’s Head on the Penny Black Stamp. WOWzer! You’d be over the moon, cock a hoop.

What does Over-the-moon mean? It was a phrase popularised by Private Eye who took-the-micky (made fun of) English football managers and their use of the English language. They would string phrases and words together that don’t make any sense at all. “Cock-a-hoop”, (filled with Joy), “over-the-moon” etc, would be used to express the sheer delight that their team had won a victory. i.e. “We were over-the-moon about the fact that we trounced Manchester 2-0”.

So my friends, the disciples would have been OVER THE MOON about Jesus resurrection. OVERJOYED.

Other Football Manager Quotes:

(You’ll not the funny side in a little while).

Football Manager Quotes:

  • “The Spaniards have been reduced to aiming aimless balls into the box.” (Ron Atkinson)
  • “If you can’t stand the heat in the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.” (Terry Venables)
  • “If Glenn Hoddle said one word to his team at half time, it was concentration and focus.” (Ron Atkinson)
  • “I felt a lump in my throat as the ball went in.” (Terry Venables)

These quotes are nonsensical, very funny and humorous, but they’re not intended to be. They’re what we’d call bleepers, bloops or silly mistakes of English grammar. You can just imagine Terry Venables swallowing a huge football down his throat can’t you. LOL.

Over the Moon: Was a phrase like that, it means, really, really happy, full of joy or as the Bible has said today about the Disciples upon seeing the Lord and hearing His voice, “They were OVERJOYED”

Cock a hoop is another phrase to express happiness, I’ll let you look that one up on Google yourself though. Have fun my friends.

OVERJOYED

Dave Smith, In his little book to accompany this series, talks about dogs wagging their tails when they see the master coming with breakfast. Even dogs can be overjoyed my friends.

You can be OVERJOYED too my friends. When you see a letter with your name, personally hand-written, it produces and air of expectation. You wonder who it was from, you turn it over to see if they’ve put a return address upon it. Nope, you open it up and you note immediately where it’s addressed from, and who signed it.

Notice that word: OVERJOYED. The disciples were not just joyed by seeing Jesus. It was no ordinary joy or happiness, as if we’re seeing a long lost friend, but imagine the delight you’d experience if you were to meet a dearly loved relative or friend if they came back from the dead? That’s what it means for the Disciples to be OVER-Joyed.

The PENNY BLACK: Guaranteed Delivery.

That’s what it’s like with the Bible: It’s God’s Book, It’s His LOVE LETTER addressed to YOU personally. It can produce the same JOY the disciples felt my friends, It’s like it’s got your own personal PENNY BLACK STAMP of guaranteed delivery, right into your heart today. You see my friends, the Bible’s Penny Black is God The Holy Spirit: who inspired the Bible to be written and who also enables us to understand the words contained within. (Spiritually discerned truth)

1 Corinthians 2:10-14 10  but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
11  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
14  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In other words, only the PERSON with the SPIRIT can understand God’s WORD. He’s like the Penny Black Stamp of authority and delivers God’s Word right into your heart today. Have you been filled with and OVERJOYED by the Holy Spirit.

Just as the Disciples were OVERJOYED by the LORD Jesus Presence my friends. So will you be when the Holy Spirit ushers in the presence of the Lord into your life today. Seek Him, seek the fullness and then you too will be OVERJOYED.

For over 2000 years the Bible has been delivering God’s message, with much more certainty than the New Penny Black Stamp ever could, because His message goes right into your heart and produces so much Joy, you’ll be over the moon, cock a hoop, filled with sheer delight. OVERJOYED. Not just happy, but OVER-JOYED. WOWzer! Who ever said that following Jesus would make life boring? It’s full of surprises and sheer delight and joy. Be OVERJOYED today, get the New Penny Black Stamp on your Heart, let it stick there forever by the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus will be your seal on your heart, you’ll know Him as Lord and Saviour forever.

Overjoyed when the New Penny Black Stamp was issued! Imagine what it must have been like for the disciples seeing, hearing and touching the RESURRECTED Lord Jesus Christ. WOWzer! OVERJOYED.

My friends, when you call upon Jesus today, you too can experience that same level of JOY. You’ll not have to work it up within yourself though, because you automatic response to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is going to be awesome; but eventually it will burst forth in to great JOY.

Have and exciting and JOY-Filled day my friends: The New Penny Black Stamp.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 17: Jesus Gives A New Joy. (As did the Penny Black Stamp), but much, much greater.

God bless and keep you all,

Don.

p.s. Did you notice that the Penny Black Stamp is on Google today?  😎  😎  😎

 

Jesus Gives A New Peace

Daily Spirit & Word, 499: Jesus Gives A New Peace.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 15: Jesus Gives A New Peace.

Good morning my friends, as we begin the third week of 40 Days With Jesus, we’re considering His appearing to the Disciples when they are all gathered together in a locked room frightened about what the Jews would do to them. You know my friends, as you walk with Jesus and continue in the faith there will be times when you experience these sudden and unexpected moments when you know that Jesus is specially present. He promised that whenever we’re gathered in His name, He’ll come. Matthew 18:20.

Many shared at last night’s meeting about their struggles to continue, they tried living the Christian life and being a Christian, but they either forgot or didn’t quite understand that the Christian life in not about our labouring or our effort to be a Christian, but of surrender and acceptance and being filled and equipped. Once we know the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we’ll realise that being a Christian is effortless on our part, because He’s taken complete control. We’re not called to walk by might, nor by power by by the Spirit. Here’s a wonderful verse from the Old Testament that conveys this awesome truth, let it soak into your heart today;

Zechariah 4:6 6  So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

During this third week, we’ll see that truth explained and applied to our lives, it’s when we know the Lord Jesus and receive all His blessings and promises that we’re going to run the race of faith in His fantastic supernatural power.

The Third Week’s Bible Reading: John 20:19-31. Jesus Appears in their Midst.

John 20:19-31 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
22  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
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.

When we meet Jesus, He gives ‘A New Peace’.

As stated earlier, Jesus comes when we gather in His name. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yet or not, but wheter we perceive it or not that’s Jesus promise. Of course we can’t see Him physically, that’s because, apart from the 40 days after the resurrection when Jesus ascended into Heaven, and since the first Pentecost, people get to know about Jesus by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who revealed Jesus to us, He leads us to faith and trust in Jesus and then indwells every single believer, but there’s an even greater witness when we’re gathered. I believe the Lord has done this on purpose, because He never indended us to be Lone-Ranger Christians. When He called us, He called us into a family, we’ve got brothers and sisters in the faith, like any family, we’ve got family obligations: To LOVE one another and that’s how Jesus has chosen to reveal to the world that we truly belong to Him, if we love each other.

Notice first How the Disciples were Gathered:

They were all together, locked in a room for fear of the Jews. It was fear in their hearts. Fear for their own lives. They must have been thinking, “If they can kill Jesus, who never did anything wrong and who only ever did good things to and for people, surely we’re doomed”

It’s a bit like Private Frazer in Dad’s Army on TV, his favourite saying is, “We’re Doomed Captain Manwarring”.

He’d been through a lot in life, so perhaps he had good reason to come up with that catchphrase, “We’re Doomed”. So the Disciples are locked in, in fear for their lives, when suddenly Jesus appears in their midst.

Oh WOW! Some of them had heard from the others that Jesus tomb was empty, Mary said she’d seen Him and spoken with Him, now these two Disciples claim they met Jesus on the Road to Emmaus and tonight, that same evening, Suddenly Jesus APPEARS IN THEIR MIDST. My friends, I don’t know about you, but that appearing is awesome. His first words to them “PEACE BE WITH YOU”.

Jesus knew what they were going through, He saw their terror and fear and He comes to them and meets their deepest need at that moment. They may have had other needs, hunger, thirst, healing from various aches and pains, but Jesus meets their deepest need and it was for “PEACE”.

When you come to Jesus or when He shows up in your worship services, fellowship groups, house study groups, and fellowship prayer meetings, that’s what Jesus does, He comes to give His PEACE. It’s a new kind of peace. His peace in not like the PEACE that the world can give us. Yes my friends, in this world their is pleasure, joy and peace, but it’s nothing like the Heavenly PEACE that the Lord Jesus can and will give to every true follower. It’s not something we have to work at to get either, it’s not by works of righteousness, it’s Jesus Himself who just give us, by His grace, this PEACE from Heaven.

Jesus had appeared, He didn’t open the door like normal people and let himself in, He just miraculously appeared. That’s the definition of a miracle, it happens beyond the realms of Scientific possibility. I.e. The laws of Physics say, you can’t walk through a solid door, but Jesus did. You can’t just pop out of a wrapped up sheet (grave clothes), but Jesus did. You can’t walk on water, but Jesus and Peter did. You can’t raise the dead, but Jesus did. You can’t heal a blind person, but Jesus did. You see my friends, Jesus resurrected body is totally awesome. he can appear and disappear and yet be touched and known. He’s real, He’s alive, but He’s different. He who does these amazing things, wants to give you REAL PEACE today.

What is this PEACE that Jesus Gives?

In our reading Jesus gives them this blessing of PEACE (Shalom). The full meaning of God’s PEACE is not like the world’s understanding of peace. When we think of peace with think of tranquility or stillness and lack of strife. However, the PEACE of God is far more than that. When Jesus died upon the Cross, He won for us a peace that the world and all our efforts to attain it couldn’t and can’t give us. Jesus death and resurrection proves that God was satisfied with what He did and now the longed for PEACE with God can be had by everyone who trusts in Christ. When you trust Christ as Lord, you get this awesome PEACE within.

Notice that when Jesus came into that room He didn’t criticise the disciples for their failure, for their running away at His greatest moment of need. Jesus know us better than we know ourselves and when you come to Him in faith, He’ll not criticise you for your failures and weaknesses either, because all Jesus wants to give you is a deep PEACE within. Human beings look for peace, there’s a restlessness in every single one of us that cannot be satisfied until we find our peace with God. We do try and satisfy it though, with material wealth, with relationship and love and sex and things, but nothing can give us this peace that’s the kind of PEACE that only knowing Jesus can give. It’s more than tranquility, it’s more than not being anxious or perplexed, it’s an eternal peace with God.

In Romans 5:1-8 Paul reminds us about this PEACE that Jesus will give to every follower today:

Romans 5:1-8 1  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
3  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4  perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are justified by our faith and trust in Jesus and then we have peace (or experience peace) with God, through our LORD Jesus Christ. WOWzer!

My friends, have you got that PEACE in your life today?

Once we know this ETERNAL PEACE with God, we also get the INTERNAL PEACE that we are all craving for. There’s more, once we get eternal and internal peace, we’ll also leak peace out into the world. It will come our from inside us to those around about us. They’ll sence the PEACE of God in us, even non-believers will notice this strange phenomenon, this peace that’s almost tangible and touchable, Jesus PEACE is not something that can be manufactured or  worked for, we cannot earn it, it’s by grace that we receive it and reveal it to the world.

Be blessed with the PEACE of God today.

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  • In your experience, how do people imagine they’ll find peace?
  • What does it mean for you to be a peace with God? How will that affect the way you live today?
  • Becoming a Christian means knowing God as Father. How does our new status as children of God help bring peace into our lives?
  • Imagine someone who truly was at peace with God. What do you think would strike you about the way they talked and behaved?
  • How well do you manifest this PEACE to those around about you today?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ. You are the Prince of Peace. I thank You for paying for my sins on the Cross so that I can have this eternal peace with God the Father. Lord, it is life’s biggest privilege to know You as Lord and Saviour. Knowing that when you see me, You don’t see my failures and sins, you see me whole, forgiven, cleansed and renewed, I receive this wonderful truth again by faith. Holy Spirit, continue to remind me of this when circumstances around me try to steal my peace and when people around me are living in anxiety. You are my Rock, My fortress, Me Deliverer, in Whom I take refuge (Psalm 18:2). Lord, please fill me afresh with your Heavenly PEACE so that I can bring that peace to those around me. In Jesus wonderful Name. Amen.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page:

Jesus Gives A New Peace: Day 15 of 40 Days With Jesus.

The Breaking of Bread

Daily Spirit & Word, Vision Corrected by The Braking of Bread.

40 Days With Jesus; Day 13: Vision corrected by the breaking of bread.

Good morning my friends, I want to thank all of you who prayed for us yesterday, because our AGM (Annual General Meeting) went very well indeed. We’re looking forward to working closely with those who’ve been elected for the first time and those re-elected onto the PCC (Parochial Church Council) who, together with the Church Wardens and the Vicar oversee the running and maintenance of our Church. Please continue to pray that we’ll know the Lord’s will for the year ahead.

As we begin a new week today, we’re continuing in our 40 Days With Jesus, looking today at how our own vision of Jesus Christ can be corrected by the breaking of bread.

Luke 24:30-35 30  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31  Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32  They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33  They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
34  and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread.

In the account of Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we’ve now reached the climax of the incident, when their eyes were opened to who the stranger on their journey was. The realisation that their hearts burned withing them as their understanding of God’s Word was increased by the risen Christ explaining all that the Scriptures said concerning Himself. I hope your own hearts are burning now from having just read how they got their revelation.

Note once again the Order of Events:

  • First: They are downcast and defeated, feeling dejected and demoralised because the one they expected to be the Messiah who would reestablish the Kingdom of Israel had been killed and put in a tomb. 
  • Next as they discussed the events a stranger who didn’t seem to know what had happened in Jerusalem was walking with them and asking why they were so dejected?
  • As they explained their grievances, the stranger then explained all that must happen to the Messiah from God’s Word.
  • Then they arrived at Emmaus and Jesus acted like He was going further, but they did what every single person needs to do, they invited Jesus into their home (we need to receive Him as Lord), 
  • Once Jesus was with them in the house, He takes the bread, He gives thanks (Prayer of thanksgiving), He breaks the bread and then He gives it to them.
  • It’s when Jesus had done all of this, that eventually and finally their eyes were opened and they could see that it was Jesus who’d been with them all the time. Once they recognised Him, He immediately vanished from their midst.

WOWzer! What a story and it’s not a fairy tale or folk-lore, Jesus really did appear and disappear. Jesus really was alive and whilst He was present He could be touched and could touch things, like bread. He was not a ghost but a real person, yet different from ordinary people. He could appear and disappear.

It’s in the breaking of bread that they know Jesus.

This is where we are reminded by some commentators of Jesus words at His last Passover supper with the Disciples before He was crucified, when He once again took the break, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them. However at that meal just said, “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me”.

Now my friends, comes the BIG question: What was it about that moment that enabled the disciples to recognise Jesus? It could have been as they watched him breaking the bread, and then they saw His nail pierced hands. For we know He carried those scars in His resurrected body. It could have been that they just finally got it, they knew Jesus and once they’d gotten over their grief and doubt, they finally saw it was Jesus. It could have been that Jesus changed His voice and they recognised His voice, reminding us that those who are His sheep, know His voice and listen to the good shepherd of our souls.

The fact is we just don’t know: But at that moment, in the breaking of bread, they did suddenly know it was Jesus. Instead of bedding down for the night, they rushed out of the house and headed back to Jerusalem to tell everybody else.

My friends, when you get your own REVELATION of Jesus, you’ll want to do the same. I can tell who’s had their revelation, it’s those who’re bursting to tell others about Jesus, is that you? Perhaps you’re still waiting?

Charles Spurgeon said, “If you don’t want to share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have not been born again”.

The Bible tells us of another eye-opening moment of revelation: In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they realised they were naked. That eye-opening event brought, guilt, shame, condemnation, fear and dread of coming into God’s presence, they hid themselves away from God. But the eye opening of the disciples came after spending time with the risen Lord, hearing God’s Word, inviting Him in and eating bread together. It brought them closer to God and their hearts burned withing them and they knew the risen Lord Jesus Christ. For the normal Christian birth, we’ll come in the same way: We’ll hear about Jesus through Scripture and Gospel proclamation, the Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (our hearts burning within), then when we get to the point of receiving Jesus (inviting Him in), we’ll also get our own revelation of who He really is.

Oh my friends, as you break bread in the name of Jesus, remember His promises, that He’ll be with you. Jesus is wonderfully present in the breaking of bread and the gathering together of the saints. When you receive Jesus, He’s going to be in you for all eternity. Now, we’ve just got to live out that faith, live the resurrected life and spread the good news, like those first disciples, telling everyone you know, “I’ve met the risen Saviour”.

You know that old hymn: “He Lives, He Lives”?

I did a search on Google for this song and it’s playing in the background as I’m writing to you my friends. You can do the same and listen, worship and pray as you read.

I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

As you continue to spend 40 Days With Jesus, I’m praying that in your ‘The Breaking of Bread’ you’ll also know and recognise Jesus presence. May He come to you afresh today. Trust Him and His promises to be with you, to be in you, to reveal Himself to you. Walk with Jesus and know that He is ALIVE, as the song above tells us, He’s the SAME today as when He walked the earth. How do we know Christ is risen? Because “He lives, He lives, He lives withing my heart”

Have a fantastic new week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  • It is good to be reminded that Jesus revealed Himself at a fellowship meal. Is eating together with other Christians something that is part of your lifestyle? Do you thank God for your food, and expect Christ to be present amongst you?
  • If you are in a church that has small fellowship groups, and you are not part of such a group, can I encourage you to join one. Raise your expectations of meeting Jesus as you gather and break bread together.
  • Is there anyone with whom you know you are out of fellowship in any ways? Do all you can, as it rests with you, to be at peace with them.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for the tenderness and gentleness towards me today and that You revealed Yourself to the disciples over a meal. Forgive me for the times I’ve neglected to give thanks and remember You when we’ve gathered with other believers of a meal. Help me always to remember Your promise to be with us when we gather and when we eat in remembrance of You. Lord, I ask today that You’ll continue to reveal Yourself to me and all my friends, so that we can know You better every day and be so on fire and filled with JOY in Your company that we’ll long to tell others about You. Amen.

 

 40 Days Home Page

40 Days With Jesus: Day 13: Vision Corrected By The Breaking of The Bread.

The Breaking of Bread.

 

Vision Blurred By Doubt

How Knowing Jesus is blocked by doubt

Daily Spirit & Word, 494: Vision Blurred By Doubt.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 10: Vision Blurred By Doubt. Luke 24:22-26.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, we’ve got a wonderful weekend ahead of us, but today and tonight are going to be really special. First, this morning we’re going to see how when we doubt God’s Word, God’s Promises and ALL that He has said about the Messiah, we’re going to have a very dim and clouded or blurred view of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then later on, here at my home, we’ve got a very special visitor coming. He’s just arrived back from Pakistan and you know all about the recent troubles there between Muslims and Christians? Well my friend has been there and after meeting up with brothers and sisters in Pakistan, he’s going to share what’s been happening. Persecution is widespread, there are arrests, torture, death threats and actual murders taking place of innocent men, women and children who believe in Jesus Christ. If you are free, then please contact me and I’ll let you know the details.

Back to the Vision of the Resurrected Lord being blurred by doubt.

Bible Reading for Day 10: Vision Blurred By Doubt.

Luke 24:22-26 22  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning
23  but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.
24  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25  He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

We’re continuing on our ‘Eye Opening’ Journey with Jesus and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus today. Yesterday we saw what feelings of being disappointed can do to our vision or ability to trust in the Lord. How we need to re-focus upon the resurrected Christ. Today, we’re going to see that DOUBT doesn’t just blur our vision, but almost makes it impossible to see: I.E. Spiritual Blindness… Next week we’re looking at Thomas and his stubborn Unbelief, but today the focus is upon FOOLISHNESS of DOUBT and slowness of belief, but BELIEF in what?

Notice: And this is very important, Jesus didn’t stop them on the road and pull his hoodie down and show them the thorn marks on his head,  and he didn’t roll up his sleeve and say, “Here, guys, take at look at these NAIL marks.” He didn’t lift up his jumper and say, “Look, guys, look at the hole here, it was caused by the Roman Soldier’s Spear.” Notice also he didn’t take off his clothes and say, “Look at the whip marks on my back” It would have been so easy for the miserable, dejected, disheartened, belief-drained followers to trust in Him if he’d just done that. However, Jesus doesn’t always do what we’d expect. He’s always turning the world’s ways on it’s head. Surely PHYSICAL PROOF is what’s required for and needed to believe???? That’s what the WORLD wants: Professor Richard Dawkins, the world famous Atheist is looking for such PHYSICAL PROOF / EVIDENCE of the existence of God and without it, like doubting Thomas, he along with countless thousands of others are refusing to believe.  NO my friends, Jesus didn’t for one minute consider the physical proof to be more powerful or more convincing, because there’s something even more weighty and trustworthy than that of any mere Physical Proofs, more than actually seeing the Lord Jesus Christ alive. It’s how the VAST Majority of followers trust in the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ today.

What did Jesus point to, if it was not his wounds and scars? It was the even more convincing and attestible TRUTH of God’s Word. Yes, it’s because those ancient scriptures bear witness and make manifest the TRUTHS concerning the Messiah. The Jews would have understood this, because they believed and know that the Bible IS not just a book written by men, but the very WORDS of God, that were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  In fact Jesus didn’t just tell them, He rebuked them for their FOOLISHNESS / STUPIDITY… Luke 24:25 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken”

Tomorrow we’re going to see the POWER of the SCRIPTURES to enable us to BELIEVE. Our focus today in on the FOOLISHNESS of unbelief or doubt concerning the validity of the weight of testimony from all that the Prophets had said concerning the MESSIAH or Christ.

For a Jew back then in Jesus day, it was FOOLISH and STUPID not to know and believe God’s Word. However, even today, it’s those same Old Testament Scriptures that can and will convince people of the validity of the claims of Christians, that Jesus had to suffer and die upon the cross, because it was predicted and prophesied hundreds of years before it actually happened. Not only that, but His place of birth, how he’d be born, how he teach and how he’d come into town on a donkey and suffer and die and be resurrected three days later. It was all there in black and white in the Bible before any of it transpired.

But the followers of Jesus were being given proofs, by the women and the other disciples, but they still DOUBTED. My friends, that’s how DOUBT can blur your ability to SEE, it makes you blind to the glaring EVIDENCE.

We actually saw this the other day, when we were chatting with a man about Jesus and His claim to Divinity. No matter what EVIDENCE we pointed to, the man was more prepared to believe and listen to the claims or counter-claims of others, that it was all made up. Nothing we could do would shift his doubt. He was totally blinded by lies and couldn’t see the truth. Doubt can do that, but there’s something so POWERFUL that can shatter doubt into a thousand pieces. It’s the TESTIMONY OF GOD’S WORD and the fact that so much of what is written has come to pass.

It was obvious that these men DOUBTED and didn’t trust the testimony of the women or the disciples who reported the body was gone, that the women had seen Angels and that they’d met the risen Lord Jesus Christ. They doubted and were STUPID not to believe the weight of testimony contained within the pages of the Bible.

My friends, wherever you are on your Spiritual quest, it is critically important to realise that DOUBT and unbelief concerning what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, is the main hindrance to seeing Him for who He really is. The GREAT NEWS is that no matter how blurred your spiritual vision of Jesus is, or how spiritually blinded you’ve become, there is a cure for your condition. God’s got an amazing gift waiting for you; the gift of FAITH. You know how to get this gift? It’s by hearing the WORD of God. “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God”. Also Jesus Himself came and walked along with those first disciples, and He’ll come to you too, but by His Holy Spirit, remember they are one, just like Jesus and the Father are one. He’s going to be with you on this journey to faith and full trust.

Have an AWESOME weekend my friend, if your free tonight come and join with me and my friend from Pakistan and you’ll hear how Jesus is alive and active in one of the most dangerous places on earth today to be a follower of Jesus.

Don.

Points to Ponder: Day 10 of 40 Days With Jesus.

  • How would you define doubt?
  • In what ways can unbelieve and doubt in the resurrection hinder faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ today?
  • Are there any particular areas of your life where you find it more difficult to believe the promises of God? Such as for healing, deliverance, provision or answers to prayer? How might you grow in your faith in these areas?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to forgive my doubts and unbelief and my slowness to believe today. I now know that my doubts and unbelief are foolish considering the weight of evidence in the Holy Scriptures. Thank you Lord for the Word of God, both Old and New Testaments, that reveal who You are and what You are like. Please Lord Jesus, send the Holy Spirit afresh and help my doubt and unbelief and I know that He’ll open up my understanding of Your Word. Amen.

 

Hearing The Voice Of Jesus

His Sheep Hear His Voice

Daily Spirit & Word, 490: Hearing The Voice Of Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 5: Hearing The Voice Of Jesus.

Good morning my friends, we had another brilliant Kingdom day on Friday. In the afternoon we went out onto the Streets sharing the Gospel with folks and handing out tracts. We got into quite a few great conversations, but the one that stands out the most was an elderly lady, who was so cold towards Jesus that it literally made the hairs on my neck stand up straight, but my colleague David was very gentle, calm and persistent with her. Though initially she was completely indifferent, she eventually warmed up a little and began to share why she didn’t believe or wouldn’t believe. Finally we left with a smile and a prayer for her. Not everyone welcomes the Good News and to some, as the Bible says, “We’re the smell of death” for them. It touched both of us, because this lady was quite elderly and ready to take the leap from Earth into Eternity unprepared. It was like having someone on a plane that was about to crash and the pilot had already issued the passengers with a parachute, but she was like one of the passengers who’s refusing to put her parachute on, declaring, “I don’t believe this plane is going to crash, so why do I need to put this thing on?”. We know that anyone who’s not trusted in the Lord Jesus before the dreadful day of departure arrives will spend Eternity in Hell and yesterday we felt for this woman. She’d heard the Gospel, but rejected it many times in her life. We don’t know the reasons why, but she was as closed as closed could be. Please pray for her today. We had many great conversations and some that led people to point of wanting to trust the Saviour for Salvation, but I share about the old lady, because not everyone will be hearing the voice of Jesus as we speak, they’ll be forever hearing by not perceiving.

Hearing the Voice of Jesus.

John 20:15-16 (NIV)
15  “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Today on the fifth day of 40 Days With Jesus, we’ve reached an important occasion. In John 20:15-16, we see something really significant. Dave Smith calls it, “The Most Significant Moment In Human History”, because it’s the day that Jesus spoke in His resurrected body to another human being. The Lord of Heaven spoke to Mary Magdalene, she was the first to hear His voice. It’s important for another reason, because she heard Jesus in the same way that each one of us who come to faith in Him also hear the revelation of His voice, because my friends Jesus is speaking to us today.

The Scene At The Tomb Of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was looking for Jesus body, she’d told the Disciples the body was gone, they’d come and inspected the tomb and returned home, but Mary lingered, crying and weeping, desperate to find the Lord’s body. She’d failed to recognise the Angelic visitors in the tomb as being something Heavenly happening with Jesus resurrected body. Now she turns to Jesus, thinking He’s the gardener, and Jesus asks her a question. He engages her in conversation: He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?”. Even though it was Jesus speaking, she didn’t recognise His voice.

My friends, there are people being called in the God’s Kingdom today, He’s speaking to them, but they are NOT recognising who’s voice it is. Whenever, the Gospel is proclaimed, it’s God calling and reaching out through the preacher’s voice into the hearts and lives of those who listen. Jesus said that would happen,  Mark 4:11-12 11  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12  so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’

2 Timothy 3:6-7  “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7  always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.”

Mary didn’t recognise it was Jesus speaking to her.

Jesus Shows Himself:

It’s one thing to rise from the dead and dissappear into Eternity, but quite another to rise and then show yourself ALIVE to people, that’s what Jesus was doing and He did it first with Mary Magdalene.

Not A Vision or A Ghost:

Secondly, it’s important to note that Mary is not just seeing a vision or a ghost or something she’s imagined, Jesus is REAL, He’s ALIVE and He could be touched by people. Yes, Jesus could appear and disappear, but when He was with people; He spoke, ate and could be touched by them. Remember the incident with doubting Thomas, we come to that later in the course. Jesus is real and alive today my friends, and He’s promised to be right there with us when we gather together in His name and He’s also promised that He’ll be IN those who trust in Him for Salvation. You can actually KNOW Jesus today.

Jesus Call His Sheep By Name:

Thirdly and of immense importance for everyone today, is that Jesus calls Mary by name. He knew Mary and He knows each and everyone of us too. John records that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

John 10:1-5 1  “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2  The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3  The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.”

It was only when Jesus said, “Mary” that she knew who He was. She wasn’t expecting to find Jesus alive, that’s probably why she didn’t recognise Him at first, but when He spoke her name, WOWzer! Suddenly her revelation came. “He’s ALIVE”… You can hear it in her head, she grabs hold of Jesus. She touches the risen Lord. He tells her not to hold onto him.

My friends, Jesus is calling each and every one in the world today. He’s calling out and some listen, some hear, some respond and some begin to worship. Mary called Him “Rabboni” which means; ‘Teacher’.

Mary was called by Jesus, she heard His voice and recognised who He was. She was led that day our of her darkness into the light of understanding and revelation, for distress and grief into everlasting joy, because she met the risen Saviour. We can get that same kind of revelation for ourselves today. When we meet the risen Saviour by faith, when we read God’s Words in the Bible, He’ll speak to us to, Jesus speaks to us today by His Spirit and He’s calling you too my friends.

Jesus is calling everyone into a NEW and DEEPER understanding of who He is and what He wants for your life. Will you come and spend a day with Jesus. We’re spending 40 Days With Jesus and each day our understanding is growing.

Have an awesome Saturday my friends, come tomorrow for Worship, come on Tuesday for the gathering together to watch the video for the week and share in discussion what you’ve been learning every day.

God bless and keep you in Jesus today,

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  •  What an incredible thought, that God Almighty, the King of the Heavens, knows you and me by name! Do you need to hear Jesus calling your name?
  • How aware are you that Jesus is a real person, with thoughts, feelings, a personality and a voice? What difference does this make to the way you can relate to Him today?
  • How will you live differently today knowing that Jesus is present with you right now by the Holy Spirit? Just as Jesus spoke to Mary in her despair, so He can and will speak to you, too. The great news is that your ‘lows’ can be made ‘highs’ by just one word from the Saviour of your soul. 

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You Lord for caring enough about me to call my name and I thank You for making it possible for me to hear your voice and respond to Your call. Holy Spirit, I welcome You into my life and ask that You would make real to me the presence of Jesus in a wonderful fresh way today. I know that I’m honoured that You would choose to make Your home in my heart. Show me how I can be a great host to You today. Help me to know Your Presence wherever I am in the world and to be listening out for Your voice. Amen. 

Note: 40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

40 Days With Jesus Video (Scroll down to view video).

40 Days Home Page

 

 

A Surprising Encounter

40 Days With Jesus: Day 1

Daily Spirit & Word, 486: A Surprising Encounter.

40 Days With Jesus:

Week 1: Day 1.

John 20:1-18. A Surprising Encounter

 Good morning my friends, I had quite a frustrating day yesterday, I tried to post first thing in the morning as normal, but discovered to my horror that Virgin Media still wasn’t working. I contacted them, and got the same message but with different times for it to be fixed. Here’s the message, “There is a problem in your area with Television and Internet, we have identified the problem, an engineer is on the way, the problem should be fixed by 1.00am, …” Then after 1.00am came and went “9.00am”, then “4.09pm”, then “2.06am”, then “16.24” WOWzer, funny how they can be so specific about the times, each time, when the Engineer is still on the way 🙂 Made me laugh and a bit annoyed at the same time. However, it’s NOW up and running again after 48 hours without internet or TV, and I still don’t know why or what the problem was. 

Yesterday, I was going to introduce you to 40 Days With Jesus, a new course we’re running in church for those who, after Easter, were interested in getting to know more about the Christian faith and to help those who’ve yet to discover Fellowship Groups to be part of one for a very short time, and also to prepare those who want to be Baptised this year. It might be quite a large group 🙂 I’m hoping!. The 40 Days with Jesus is all about those people in the Bible who encountered the risen (resurrected) Lord Jesus and what impact that had for their lives and for the community of believers in the first century of the Christian faith. (I’m posting the introduction on the Website). The little booklet we’re using is very cheap and readily available for download, with great questions and also a video to watch every week. “40 Days With Jesus, by Dave Smith”. Also available on Kindle.

 Day 1: A Surprising Encounter.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few memorable and surprising encounters with people. I’ve met the Queen (Queen Elizabeth ll), I’ve met the Queen Mother, Rod Stewart (Pop Singer), Rod Stewart’s Girlfriend, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Freddie Starr (Funny Comedian). In 1988 I met my soon to be wife, that was a meeting that has changed my life and continues to be a real blessing, but probably my most surprising and life transforming encounter I’ve ever had was when I met the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn’t expect Jesus to be real or alive or knowable or that He’s want anything to do with me. I thought people who were religious were born that way, and I most definitely wasn’t one of them (I’m still not). But when my wife wanted to get our little baby girl, Abigail, baptised we started attending a little church in Plymouth, called St Budeaux Parish Church. In those days 1984, it was packed full of people, young families and lots of teenagers, we felt at home quite quickly, but I didn’t want to keep going or to become like the people there, I just wanted the baptism done then I’d be on my way. However, the minister at the time asked us to attend for three months, he visit us at home and then after preparation he’d baptise the baby. We agreed, then over the next few weeks I discovered Jesus was real. I knew from observing the people in the church, they had something that I didn’t have, I could just tell, and though at that time I didn’t want it, I wondered what it was. Each week the message seemed to be about my life, my questions, my fears, my sins, my everything. It was as if the minister could read my mind. Slowly but surely I began to know that Jesus was real, but I didn’t want to become a Christian. The Minister asked me every week on the way out of Church, “Are you a Christian yet?” I said, “No!” every time. Then one week he asked me something different, he said, “Donald, you do know that Jesus wants you to be a Christian, don’t you?” I walked away saying, “Yea, Yea sure he does”… But it was that question and everyting else playing on my mind, “If Jesus wants me, what does He want me for?”… My friends, Jesus speaks in so many amazing and wonderful ways. I was beginning to read about Jesus in the Bible by then and it jumped out at me: God answered a question and it was amazing, embarrassing and surprising all at the same time. I know Jesus was definitely alive, but I wasn’t ready yet to become a Christian. It took a few more weeks of attending church, joining a Bible Study and the Lord Jesus speaking, challenging and opening me up, until I was ready to repent of my sins and receive Him as my Saviour. However, I knew long before I finally submitted that Jesus was most definitely ALIVE.

 Mary Magdalene.

We’ll be taking a look at Mary’s encounter with Jesus this week, but today I want us to consider that Mary, a woman, was the first follower of Jesus to actually meet the risen Lord. This is a surprising encounter in many ways. You’ll notice as you read through John 20:1-18 that the disciples; Peter and John (the closest friends of Jesus whilst he was on earth, the one’s you’d probably expect to see Him first) they ran to the tomb, but they didn’t see the risen Christ. All they saw was an empty tomb and the linen cloths that Jesus dead body had been wrapped in when it was taken down from the cross. No my friends, it was Mary Magdalene who lingered at the tomb, with tears running down her face and kept on asking the question, “What have they done with the body of my Lord?” She was looking for Jesus dead body, but Mary was the first person to discover that He was actually raised from the dead. Mary Magdalene, an prostitute who’d been delivered from seven demons was the first person to encounter the resurrected Jesus. Why?

 Dave Smith doesn’t touch on this in the booklet, but I’ve been thinking about it. Mary had been forgiven and delivered from evil. Remember what Jesus said about a person who knows how much they’ve been forgiven and how grateful they’d be? Luke 7:36-50 Jesus anointed by a sinful woman. Jesus said about her Luke 7:44-47 “Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

“Those who recognise how much they’ve been forgiven love lots, but those who have only been forgiven a little, love little”

 Do you see it my friends, Mary Magdalene had been forgiven so much, we have too, but we don’t often realise the seriousness of our sins, that each sin we commit is enough on it’s own to keep us out of heaven forever, but Mary had been a harlot a very obviously sinful person and she had been delivered from seven demons too. My friends, when you realise just how many sins you’ve been forgiven for, you’d be as devoted to the Lord as Mary Magdalene was, you’d be at the tomb lingering, weeping and crying and determined as she was, to find the body of your Lord and do what needed to be done. She got far more than she bargained for that day, Mary’s surprising encounter was with the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was the first to meet with the risen Lord Jesus.

Points to Ponder:

  1. Are you convinced of the resurrection of Jesus? What difference would it make to your life and to the world at large if it really were true?
  2. What is your response to the idea that the risen Jesus wants to meet with you? In what ways would you like to meet with Jesus over the next 40 Days?
  3. When have you encountered the presence of the Living Lord Jesus before? How did it impact your life?

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I realise that by asking about the implications of the resurrection for my life, I must be prepared to hear the answers. I cannot be the same and I don’t want to be. I long to know You and meet with You. Take me on a journey over the next 40 days. Help me to be brave enough to respond to the things that you are whispering to me. Breathe Your life into any part of me that is currently lifeless or lacking in energy and spirit. Then move me forward by the power of Your Spirit in ways that only You can. I pray this in faith. Amen.

 

God bless and I’ll hopefully be back again tomorrow, God willing and Virgin Media keeps up and running 🙂

I’m praying for you all today that you’ll actually meet the resurrected LORD Jesus Christ in a Surprising Encounter of your own. Amen.

Don.

  John 20:1-18

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3  So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6  Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7  as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
8  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9  (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes,
11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14  At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
15  “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “
18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Study Booklet

Study Video For Week 1:

Resources: Scroll down for the Video.

40 Days With Jesus Week 1 Video: A Surprising Encounter.

I would really encourage you to get hold of the little study booklet for this whole course. We’ve got some in Church for anyone who comes along tonight. If there is any left we’ll make them available to the whole church. But you can get them easily here or at Amazon even cheaper. And you can get a Kindle version to read on your devices and phones. The Kindle version on Amazon is just £5.60.

A Surprising Encounter: Day 1 of 40 Days With Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page: With Course Outline and Links to Daily Readings & Weekly Video.

 

The Triumphal Entry

The Triumphal Entry

Daily Spirit & Word, 474: The Triumphal Entry.

Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem.

 

Jesus Christ: The Son of David

Good morning my friends, today I’m posting yesterday’s theme for our Sunday worship. It was Palm Sunday 2015. Jesus Authority and Humility Revealed.

Celebrations sometimes signify honour being bestowed on one or more people. When it’s someone’s birthday, anniversary etc.

  • Think about the most exciting celebration, party or parade you’ve attended.

What / Who was it for?

What made it so memorable?

How did it make you feel?

Personally, I love parades and parties, because one of my other passions is photography and being a photographer there’s nothing more exciting for me that to see people happy, enjoying themselves and I try and capture the feelings and atmosphere of events. I got some great pictures of the Queen and many other royals as they passed me by on the Mall in London during the Trooping of the Colours. The crowds were also very happy to see the Queen, you should have seen their faces and waving arms with flags. So many had their mobile phones and iPads out ready to snap the Queen.A Palm Sunday

Bible Reading: Today’s Bible lesson shows how a celebration for Jesus signified not just His Royal Authority but also His Servant Humility.

Mark 11:1-11

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2  saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.‘ ”

4  They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5  some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.

7  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

11  Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.

This was a great celebration: But who was it for? Was it for Jesus, whom they perceived to be the Messiah, the Son of David or was it for themselves, because they thought His coming signified freedom from Roman bondage and restoration of their National identity? I’m sure that in the crowd out of the thousands gathered that day, there would be some on both sides.

 How Did Jesus Get Here?

First; There’s The Command:

Mark 11:1-3 “Go into the Town and bring me the colt”

Commanded, but Not Knowing Why:

Have you ever been asked to do something, when you don’t know the reason why? Or even after reflection you think it’s a foolish thing to be asked to do? Sometimes in life we’re expected to be obedient without knowing the reasons why. I was used to that in the Royal Navy, we were not always told why we were being sent somewhere or being commanded to do something, but we knew and trusted our leaders and that it would be for a good reasons. That’s trusting a respected authority. Jesus had obviously won the Disciples honour and respect, for they didn’t question Him, they didn’t say, “Why Lord?” They just did as the Master commanded. “Go”.

This signifies Jesus Authority: Over People. He demonstrated that He also had authority over many spheres;

Jesus Authority:

  • Over Nature: Commanding and Calming the Storms
  • Over Elements: Changing water into wine, a few fish and a few loaves to feed thousands.
  • Over People: “Come follow me” People left everything to follow Jesus as their new Master in life.
  • Over Sickness and Diseases: Jesus healed wherever he went.
  • Over Life and Death: Jesus raised people from death to life and the grave could not hold Him.

However, does Jesus have Authority over you? Is He your LORD? He’ll never force you to accept His Lordship, but one day the Bible tells us, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess; Jesus Christ is LORD!” He may give you freedom to choose if He’s your Lord now, but we don’t know when He’s coming back. It must surely be better to submit to His Royal Authority before He returns and everyone is compelled to bow before Him. However, if you won’t trust Jesus because of His Authority, perhaps you will because of His Humility.

Jesus can obviously be trusted and we’ve got an obligation once we know that, to willingly submit to His Divine Authority. Being obedient to Him when He commands, even though we don’t know the BIG PICTURE.

 2) There’s the Obedience to Jesus Command. Authority.

Mark 11:4-6. They obediently went into the town, found the Donkey’s Colt as Jesus had said and untied it and brought it to Jesus. WOWzer! That’s awesome.

 Modern Equivalent: Imagine if Jesus were here in London today and He commanded you; “Go down West Norwood Road and you’ll find a Volkswagen parked outside B&Q, you’ll find the keys in the ignition, get into the car and bring it to me. If anyone asks why you are taking the car, tell them the Master needs it” (Notice that it wasn’t a Merceedes or BMW, but a Volkswagen: Volkswagen means People’s Car or a car for the people). “If anyone asks you!” My friends if we were to get into a car in London, we’d probably be immediately arrested and questioned by the Police. Try explaining that the Master needs it as a reason for taking someone’s car these days. LOL

However, Jesus followers were obedient, they did it and were not aware of the reasons why, but this also reveals another Aspect of Jesus Authority: He knows things, He knew they’d find the Colt and how it would be tied. He knew the people wouldn’t object.

 3) There’s the Humility of the LORD:

He came into Jerusalem on a Donkey. Not as a normal Triumphal Procession: In a Chariot or on a White Charger. Even today when the Queen Processes down the Mall it’s either in a Golden Carriage or a Stretched Limousine, not a Volkswagen. 🙂

 Jesus is the Model of Humility:

Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus didn’t come to earth to be served, but to serve and give His life.

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus is gentle and humble in heart.

Those who are truly following the Lord Jesus Christ will also be humble, gentle too. Look at the fruits of the Holy Spirit of God: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. WOWzer! He’s making you to be more like Jesus Christ when you follow Him.

4) The People’s Response:

Shouting, cheering and Waving Palm Branches. Crowds can be so fickle: Don’t always follow the crowd.

Some crowds, parades, parties etc are good, but you’ll know from recent history that some crowds can turn nasty; The Tottenham Riots in London and countless Demonstrations around the world these days. The crowds can turn nasty, violent and very dangerous.

The Crowd: Was filled with JOY, Praise, Adoration. Why? Because their New King was coming into their Capital City Jerusalem.

Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)
9  Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey riding on a donkey’s colt.

How Fickle This Crowd Was:

Just a few days after Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem we find large crowds, stirred up by their leaders, shouting with just as much enthusiasm for Jesus to be Crucified. Remember the crowds motivated to stone Stephen, to beat Paul within an inch of his life and left for dead. The Crowds cannot always be trusted to get things right. Mob mentality takes over and everyone follows like a sheep.

 The Modern Crowds:

The Popular Religious Writers: Some calling themselves ‘Christian’ say things the world and foolish Christians long to hear, but they are far from the revealed will of God. They’ll advocate things the Lord has condemned and say that they are good for you.

The Christian who chooses to live in sin: They want others to endorse their wayward way of life, and the world loves to hear of hypocritical believers, the crowd’s pressure is intense these days.

The Non-Christian: They’ll say all kinds of strange things about Jesus, about the Bible and about God. The World loves it and the pressure to go along is needle like too, it penetrates to all levels of the modern church. The fact of God’s Creation is being constantly attacked. Compromise and acceptance of false beliefs, because the glamour of the crowd is deafening. Christians are shutting their mouths and the world is getting worse by the day. Christians don’t want to appear odd or out of kilter with society, so they’ll accommodate and acquiesce. Christians are afraid of being made to look foolish when scientists and psychologist try and explain away our revealed faith. However, true science is nothing to be afraid of, for it will in the end, find God’s Word to be trustworthy and true. Soon they’ll discover that there was indeed a Creator and He still holds Creation in balance.

 The Triumphal Entry: If you were in that Crowd when Jesus came into Jerusalem, would you be shouting Hosanna (praise the Lord) just because everyone else was shouting or would it be because Jesus really was your King?

A week later, if you were there when Jesus was brought out and you were asked who should be released, Barabbas or Jesus, would you go along with the crowd or would Jesus still be your King?

When the Crowd today says things about Jesus, God, the Bible and Christianity that are NOT true, will you stand up for Jesus or go along with the crowd or worse still, stay silent?

 A Tapestry: If you look at the reverse side of a tapestry, all you see is knots and bits of thread, but turn it over and WOWzer, you’ll see the bigger picture in all it’s splendour.

Just like the Disciples of Jesus who were not aware of why they were being commanded to go get a Donkey’s colt, we too are not always aware of why the Lord wants us to do certain things, be certain places or speak His word in season; turning the other cheek, blessing our enemies and forgiving those who do evil things to us, etc, but because we know Jesus and love and respect and honour Him, we’ll do what He says, because He’s got the bigger picture, He knows the end from the beginning, because He knows the BIG PICTURE, even though to us it all looks like a mess down here on earth, one day we’ll observe and be overyjoyed by the splendour of the KING.

After the Triumphal Entry, Trial, Crucifixion and Resurrection; Jesus is now the Ascended King of kings and LORD of Lords, He’s on the Throne in Heaven, He’s coming back again soon, will you be in that Crowd cheering Jesus return? Are you longing for the return of Jesus in all his glory? He’s coming soon my friends at an hour we don’t expect.

The LORD NEEDS IT:

Sometimes we give to the LORD begrudgingly, but this man let Jesus have his Donkey’s Colt, because the Disciples said, “The Master Needs It”… Oh WOW! Is there anything you can give to Jesus today? Oh yes there is my friends; Jesus wants you to use;

  • Your TIME:
  • Your TALENTS:
  • Your MONEY:
  • Your THINGS:

All of these things for the KING and for use in the KINGDOM of Jesus.

You don’t need to be like that FICKLE CROWD.

You can be; Trusting Jesus today, because He’s proven to be TRUSTWORTHY.

You can live in Obedience today, because He’s your King and Lord and knows the beginning and the end.

You can be Serving Jesus today, because you LOVE Him: with all your heart, mind, soul, will and strength.

You cannot do it in your own strength, you need Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s help. If you try, even with all your own strength and might you’ll fail, but if you SUBMIT to His Authority, recognising His Humility, you’ll flourish and grow as a Christian, because He’ll give you all you need to be triumphant and victorious in the Christian life.

Have an amazing Holy Week and come and join us on;

  • Maunday Thursday: as we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper over a Passover Meal, then on;
  • Good Friday Walk of Witness: at 11.45am come and join with Christians from all over West Norwood and walk and witness for Jesus. Click Here for More Details of the Walk of Witness.
  • Resurrection Sunday at 10.30am as we Celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m praying for you all today, that you’ll be able to resist the clamour of the crowds and continue steadfastly to follow the Lord Jesus as your King and Master, Saviour and Lord. Amen!

Don.

The Triumphal Entry.

 

A Humbled King’s Message To The World.

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

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

 

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

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

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

This chapter is easily broken down into sections:

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

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

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

The Mighty Tree:

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

 The Stump in the Ground:

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