Preaching True Repentance

The ingredients of true repentance

Daily Spirit & Word: 725:

TRUE REPENTANCE: Not Just Saying “Sorry” to God.

True Repentance Is NOT Just Saying “Sorry”…

True Repentance Is A Requirement For: Salvation from,  Forgiveness for and Cleansing From Sin.

KNOW THE TRUTH & THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

Mark 6:12-13 (NIV)
12  They went out and preached that people should repent.
13  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

I was so touched last night when out sharing the Good News of Jesus in West Norwood with David and Ben. For a change we ventured just up from our church to West Norwood Train Station and began engaging those returning from a day’s work as they exited the entrance. Of course many people after a day’s toil were tired and just wanted to get home, put their feet up and watch TV or whatever else they planned to do. But we did get into some great conversations. Ben and David talked with a Muslim woman for over half and hour, and all that time I was talking to a couple of young ladies.

It was amazing, because I began by giving them one of our little tracts, The Million Pound Note: I asked them, “If it was real, what would you do with it?” One of them immediately said, “I give half of it away to the poor”… I said, “WOWzer! What a nice lady you are”. I asked her friend, “What would you do with it?” She said, “I’d go on a holiday, then buy a nice house”… then her friend said, “We could go away together”… They were really nice young ladies. I said, “flip it over and look at the Million Pound Question”. One of them did and read it out loud, “Would you sell one of your eyes for £1,000,000?” She said, “No way. My eyes are too valuable”… I said, that’s amazing. Her friend also confirmed she wouldn’t sell one of her eyes either.

Then we moved on to the value of their Eternal Soul.

What followed was a bit of to and fro about; the SOUL, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Sin, etc…

I was able to share the whole Gospel with them and finally led to the question: “If God were to judge you tonight, according to His standards revealed in His Commandments, would you go to heaven or hell?”

Their heads hung low and they went a bit quiet, “Hell” they both answered.

I asked, “Does that concern you?” One said, “Yes” and the other said, “No, because God is a forgiving God”…

I said, “You are right, God is a forgiving God, but it’s not automatic”… “It doens’t just happen, God doesn’t say, “Oh, I know you’ve sinned, but it’s OK, you just come on in anyway”… I explained, “God can’t do that, because as well as being; full of mercy, kindness, goodness, forgiveness and gentleness, He’s also a just Judge and must punish sin. He can’t in His Justice just let sinners off with their sins”.

The Good Earthly Judge: I then gave them an example of a good earthly judge, who with a guilty criminal before him, no matter how sorry he is, must give the punishment or fine that the LAW requires. They agreed, criminals need to be punished for their crimes. I explained that God will also punish our sin. One lie will keep us out of Heaven forever, because sin contaminates the soul, and no sin contaminated soul can enter into Heaven. “Can you imagine what Heaven would be like if it was full or murderers and liars?”

So I asked them again, “Will you go to Heaven or Hell?” They had now stopped trying to justify themselves, but said instead, “Well, that means nobody can go to Heaven”BOOM! “You’ve got it ladies, that’s right, because ALL HAVE SINNED, just ONE sin will keep us out of Heaven forever.”

Then I asked, “Do you know what God has done so that no one need end up in Hell?” They said they didn’t, but I inquired further, “Christians all over the world have just celebrated Easter. Have you heard about Jesus? How He died upon a Cross? How Jesus rose again three days later on the first Easter Sunday?” It was like I just brought them out of a dark dungeon into the full light of the sun, because they both smiled, “It was because of Jesus death”. I said, “That’s right ladies, Jesus died so that we could go to Heaven and be forgiven and cleansed from sin to be made fit for heaven. His blood purifies us from all sin. He died for you and me.”

One of them said, “So does that mean everyone just ends up in heaven then?”

I said, “NO, Not quite, something is required from us, we must first Believe and TRUST in Jesus death in our place for our sin, then we need to Confess (own up and accept we are sinners) and REPENT of our sinful ways of living, then we must RECEIVE Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.” I explained what happens when we do that and how Jesus gives us a NEW HEART and NEW LIFE and NEW DESIRES… i.e. The Commandments are not prohibitions any more “Don’t Do this or Don’t do that”, but they become for those who’ve trusted in Jesus, wonderful promises; “You shall not want to steal, kill, lie, cheat, argue, hate, lust or commit adultery any more”… God changes our desires.

One of them smiled again and said jokingly “So that means no more illegal downloads of music then?”

What followed was an explanation of what life is like from now on as a believer….

  • They wanted to know how I became a follower of Jesus,
  • They wanted to know more about church,
  • They wanted to wait until they were ready,
  • They wanted an excuse to remain in sin,
  • They still had lots of questions they wanted to ask,

It was an amazing conversation, but it ended with me saying, “Look I know you’ve got lots more questions, but do you have a Bible at home?” They both had Bibles at home they had never read…   I said, “Go home and open your own Bible in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and read about Jesus life and His message. Check out if what I’m saying to you is TRUE from what the Bible says. Then remember what I’ve said, “You must turn from your sin to trust in Jesus and receive Him as your King”

Then if you want to, come and join us (I pointed to our Church) you’d be more than welcome any Sunday at 10.30am. It was so encouraging one of the young ladies said, “I’m going to come to your church”… I also encouraged them to come on our Alpha Course to ask all their questions.

But I gave them this final warning, “We don’t know how long we’ve got left on this earth” I told them about Anja who’d come because I’d met her in the street and shared about Jesus, and how her baby had died unexpectedly. We just don’t know how long we’ve got before we can come to God for forgiveness and cleansing to make us fit for heaven. I said the Bible encourages us to think like this, “Today is the Day of Salvation: Repent and Believe the Good News”…. Ladies, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and Repent today.

I finished by thanking them, gave them another of our little cards that reads, “Thank you for listening” it’s got a picture of a cute dog with big ears and a summary of the conversation we’d just had on the back.

We shook hands warmly and they thanked me as we parted company.

What is TRUE REPENTANCE? (SEE BELOW).

I was reading all about it this morning and came across an old Puritan teaching the outlines what ‘real’ repentance is like: Read it below and then ask yourself this question: “Have I ‘truly’ repented of my sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as my Lord?” Have an AWESOME Thursday with Jesus.

Please Pray: We had many conversations last night, I’ve only shared one of them, please will you pray for everyone who was encouraged, challenged and witnessed with last night? Pray that the Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, will continued to draw them to Himself and that they’ll find GRACE to repent and believe the Good News.

Challenge: Keep Witnessing: The Lord’s Followers will be strengthened and encouraged in many ways by taking the initiative to witness for Him with all their family, friends, neighbours and those they come in contact with regularly, those who know you are His followers. Be kind, generous, gentle, bold, passionate and compassionate. May the LORD fill you afresh with Holy Spirit anointing. Amen!

Don.

 

THE INGREDIENTS OF TRUE REPENTANCE:

Mark 6:12-13 (NIV)
12  They went out and preached that people should repent.
13  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

When we make a cake it needs the right ingredients to taste great. We follow recipes for successful and tasty cakes. To discover what true repentance looks, tastes and feels like, there are Biblical recipes to follow too.

These final two verses are from Mark’s account of Jesus sending out The TWELVE (Mark 6:7-13). The two verses summarize the specifics of the 12 Apostles’ mission. It mirrors what they had seen Jesus do. With His authority and enablement, they cast out many demons. They anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them (cf. Jas 5:14-16). They went out and preached repentance, the same message preached by both John the Baptist (Mark 1:4) and Jesus ( Mark 1:15). They were to go as servants. They were not to compromise their message even if it brought rejection and persecution. They had to have the courage to tell the truth about Jesus and the gospel.

If “repentance” was the first word out of the mouth of John the Baptist, The Lord Jesus Christ, and the 12 Apostles (Acts 2:38), then it must be an important component of the true gospel message today and it marks the starting point of the true Christian life.

Thomas Watson, and Old English Puritan (ca. 1620-1686), wrote a helpful treatise on repentance. He stated, “Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed” [Watson, Doctrine, 18]….

Watson identified six ingredients necessary for true repentance.

The first is sight of sin, whereby a person comes to themselves (Luke 15:17) and clearly views their lifestyle as sinful. If a disciple fails to see their sin, they are rarely motivated to repent…. (That’s why we take time to show people how they’ve sinned against God by using His Ten Commandments: How we’ve all offended a Holy and Righteous God).

The second ingredient for true repentance is sorrow for sin (Ps 38:18). We need to feel the nails of the cross in our soul as we sin. Repentance includes a godly grief, a holy agony (2 Cor 7:10) i.e. “It’s because of my sin those nails pierced the Saviour’s hands”. The fruits of repentance will be expressed in genuine, anguishing sorrow over the offense itself and not just its consequences. This sorrow for sin is more than just a “worldly grief”; it will be seen in the ongoing actions it produces (the fruit of repentance is a changed life).

The third ingredient is confession of sin. The humble sinner voluntarily passes judgment on themselves as they sincerely admit to the specific sins of their heart…. In the Scriptures, we find at least seven benefits to confession:

  • Confession of sin gives glory to God (Josh 7:19).
  • Confession of sin is a means to humble the soul (2 Chr 26:19).
  • Confession of sin gives release to a troubled heart (Ps 51:11-12).
  • Confession of sin purges out sin (Neh 3:13). Augustine called it “the expeller of vice.”
  • Confession of sin endears Christ to the soul that needs atoning (Rom 7:25).
  • Confession of sin makes way for forgiveness (2 Sam 12:13; 1 John 1:9).
  • Confession of sin makes way for mercy (Prov 28:13).

The fourth ingredient of true repentance is shame for sin: True Repentance causes a holy bashfulness or embarrassment, i.e. it is the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public. The Prophet Ezra prayed, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens” (Ezra 9:6). The repenting prodigal was so ashamed of his sin that he did not feel he deserved to be a son anymore (Luke 15:21). It’s like our Sin makes us feel shamefully naked and deformed in God’s eyes and puts Christ to shame, the one who took the scorn of the cross on himself. I’ve often feelt ashamed when I’ve been confronted by my sinfulness in the presence of God and when I’m will other believers who are walking closely with Jesus.

The fifth ingredient in true repentance is a sincere hatred of sin: We must hate our sin to the core. We hate sin more deeply when we love Jesus more fully.

Repentance begins with the love of God and ends with hatred of sin…. Tolerating sin is a willful leap toward committing it. True repentance loathes sin deeply.

Finally, the sixth progressive ingredient of true repentance is turning from sin and returning to the Lord “with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). This turning from sin implies a notable change in the ways we live, “performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20). Ezekiel records these words of God to the house of Israel: “Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations” (Ezek 14:6).

We are called to turn away from all our abominations—not just the obvious ones or the ones that create friction in others. The goal, end, destination or finish-line of true repentance is not to manufacture peace among others with perfunctory repentance, but rather to turn to God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Most importantly, though, this repentance is not just a turning away from sin; it is also a turning “of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21). [We should repent of our] doubt by believing in the goodness, greatness and graciousness of God, and [turning] in faith to trust in the freedom the Lord Jesus Christ offers to each one of us in the Gospel. Repentance is rooted in a hatred of sin and a joyful awareness of God’s loving-kindness, which leads to joy: “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” (Rom 2:4). We rejoice that Christ has done everything for us—all that we need to secure our salvation and our growth in holiness.

Christ’s Warning: Repent or Perish: “Unless you repent, you too will perish”

Luke 13:3 (NIV) “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

  • Why do ‘modern’ churches hate to teach on repentance?
  • What’s wrong with preaching repentance?

Answer: NOTHING: Because true repentance is one of the KEYS to unlock HEAVEN. (Only Satan would hate a Christian telling people to REPENT).

The man-pleasing, modern, self-indulgent church has bent God’s KEY out of shape. Let’s straighten it and do what Christ has commanded: Preach Repentance.

PRAYER: “Lord,  I am an adopted child, not a slave to sin. I was a sinner by now, by Your Grace and Mercy, I am a Saint. I know the TRUTH and in knowing the truth I have been set free. Thank You LORD Jesus Christ, because I am accepted because of Your sacrifice upon the Cross. Please Lord, help me never to forget how much You have demonstrated Your love for me or how loved, secure, rich and free I am when I put my trust in You, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

 

The Importance and The Cost of Discipleship

following Christ is costly, count the cost and follow Christ

Discipleship 2: The Importance and The Cost.

Good morning my friends, last night we began our Discipleship group again after the long summer break. Here’s the teaching; if you’d intended to come but couldn’t make it, don’t worry, we’ve only just started and need to go over it again.

A) Key Scriptures:

John 15:16: John 15:16 (NIV) “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Luke 14:26-35 (NIV)  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. 34  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV)  “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38  and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Luke 9:23 (NIV) “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

B) Why Discipleship?

i) The Lord Jesus Christ showed the importance of Discipleship by making the training of the twelve disciples a priority during the three and a half years of His public ministry on earth.

ii) Jesus Commissioned all His followers to train disciples becasue He intended fruit that lasts.

iii) Discipleship is the best method to reach our world for God. The impact that Jesus’ twelve disciples and Paul had on the world shows us the value of discipleship. A small number of committed disciples, who have been well trained, will achieve far more for God than large numbers of converts who lack spiritual depth. In fact, discipleship is God’s chosen strategy to reach the world. If one disciple led just one other person to Christ, and devoted a whole year to training her or him, and the followeing year both disciple and discipler each made one new disciple apiece, and the next year those four made four more (one each), then in about thirty-two years the whole world’s population would be saved – that’s according to plain mathematics, i.e. Multiplication instead of Addition.

iv) The end result is Spiritually mature Christians. Maturity does not come automatically with increase in age, knowledge or experience, but as a result of gradual Spiritual growth on the basis of obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His Word and by allowing Holy Spirit to transform us from within. The more open we are to His presence and power then the faster we’ll become a mature believer.  

v) Many people foolishly assume that just because a person has been a Christian for a few years that they’ll be ‘mature’ believers. However, experience will soon reveal and has shown me that just because a person is SAVED it doesn’t mean that they are growing towards maturity in Christ. Sadly, many, countless thousands upon thousands, never grow-up and remain mere babes in Christ, simply because they didn’t get discipled. They don’t develop the faith muscles necessary to grow, they remain babes in Christ all their saved-lives. That’s NOT what God wants, He wants and has revealed it clearly in many places in His Word that He desires, commands and expects every believer to press-on towards maturity in the faith. And He’s also given us who are saved and mature the responsibility to Disciple others.

C) Seven Signs Of Spiritual Maturity:

i) Fruitfulness in our service for God (Matthew 25:14-30).

ii) A humble attitude and a willingness to serve others (John 13:12-17).

iii) A standard of excellence in our lives in general (2 Corinthians 13:11).

iv) A close and growing relationship with Jesus (Galatians 2:20).

v) The fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

vi) A stable, consistent and holy walk before God and man (Ephesians 4:11-16).

vii) A solid knowledge of God’s Word and discernment as a result (Hebrews 5:13-6:2).

NOTE: All of this can be summed up as “Christ-likeness”: Because as we grow in our faith and walk with Jesus we will be transformend into the likeness of Christ. 1 John 2:6.

NOTE: What it is NOT: Maturity is not about knowledge of ‘church’ politics, church procedures, church etiquette, church building or planting etc… Maturity IS Christlikeness.

NOTE: The first followers were given the nickname (a term of abuse at the time) Christians, because they took note of how much like Jesus his followers had become.

D) The Need For Spiritual Maturity:

i) Growth into maturity in Christ is what the Bible suggests is expected for all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-16).

ii) Without maturity there can be no leadership, and leaders are necessary for the Church to grow because they are the under-shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).

iii) Only mature Christians will be able to effectively stand against the devil and his powers of darkness and this is what God wants us to do (Matthew 12:29).

iv) Only mature Christians have a lasting impact for God on our world today.

v) It is only the mature disciple who, through his loving example, is able to convey the character of Jesus to the world.

Yesterday I was reading Philippians 1, where Paul was discussing the advancement of the Gospel whilst he was in prison. He revealed an amazing secret and last night one of those on our Discipleship Course stated; “I’ve come to realise that no matter what circumstance I’m going through, God has planed it for good. He’s helped me to see that it’s so simple, we just need to trust Him in everything”… You’ll never know how much I’ve been praying and longing to hear that from the lips of someone I’ve been teaching. (Soak yourself in Philippians 1 and 2 for a while and you’ll see)

E) REMEMBER.

Winning converts adds to the numbers of born-again believers, but only discipleship makes disciples who are mature, will reproduce and will in turn multiply the numbers of born-again believers and disciples.

We don’t just want to go for Addition, that easy to do, but for Multiplication.

Another member of our Discipleship Group stated last night: “For many years I’ve been going from church to church to get a blessing, to be prayed for, to get the ‘Super Pastor’ the Anointed to pray over me. In all those years I never changed one little bit, but now that I’ve committed myself to deeper fellowship, things in my life and my walk are beginning to change and I’m seeing what’s been missing. Now, though I’m tempted sometimes to go and do the rounds again, I don’t, I just ask my brothers and sisters to pray for me, Even my own brother who’s been a minister for years. It’s amazing how God is moving in my life.” Discipleship rather than focusing on converts works. Discipleship rather than numbers works. 

F) The Cost of Being A True Disciple:

My friends, being a disciple or a follower of Jesus Christ is a very serious business. It is a costly thing, that’s how Jesus looked upon it. He didn’t start out by offering His followers a bed of roses. Jesus made it abundantly clear from the beginning what was involved. To be a disciple of Jesus we need to carry our own cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:27). We need to give our whole lives and everything we have to God, for Him to use us as He wants.

G) Too Many Settle For Far Less Than God Wants For Them.

Most Christians have settled for a form of Christianity that requires little or no discipleship, it bears scant resemblance to Biblical Christianity or what Jesus obviously expected His own disciples to reproduce. He said, “Teach them to obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you…” How much should those who are discipling others teach them? EVERYTHING.

The result of this lack of discipleship is that we don’t become what God wants us to be; we’re failing to be the witnesses He’s looking for. His Word and His Teaching are being constantly compromised either through fear or a desire to fit in with the world. No wonder the ‘church’ is regarded as weak, not because we’re not strong physically or politically, but morally. Where is the Christlikeness?

It’s easy to follow someone who doesn’t expect that much from us, but God wants us to achieve so much more than we do ourselves, to be stronger than we are, to be more powerful than we are, to be even more effective at winning others than we’ve ever been. Let’s imitate the LORD Jesus as instructed: (1 Corinthians 11:1 and Romans 8:29). Remember Jesus said that we’ll do even greater things than He’d been doing, one of the ways is the time that we’ve been given, it may be longer than the three years that Jesus had whilst He was upon the earth, so we should be making every single year count.

H) Counting The Cost:

High Costs: Giving up your life to follow Christ. Are you ready?

Jesus taught this many times and in different ways.

Luke 9:57-62; John 6:60-66; Mark 10:17-31.

In view of the high cost of discipleship which Jesus demanded and required of His followers, a dedication that was complete, it is not surprising that He only ended up with a few deeply committed followers. BUT those few were enough to change the whole world. It’s obvious that you’ll get some who’ll drop-out, be led astray, fall away, but if you are aiming at maturity instead of simply conversion, then those who remain will be steadfast and they will be multiplying over the years.

Next Week:

We’re going to continue looking at the COST:

I’m sure, like me, you are wondering if you are up to the task. I almost gave up being a follower of Jesus when I first came to understand the full impact of His teachings, but in His grace, mercy and love, He showed me from His Word that though He expects and even commands this massive high standard, He knows what we are like, how fickle we are and how much we need His help and power to live one moment as a Disciple. So Jesus, thankfully, gives us the Holy Spirit and fellowship of the Saints in Christ to help us on our way. Thank Him for your Pastor, the Teachers, the Evangelists, the Prophets and Apostles that He calls and appoints afresh in each and every generation to assist you in growing towards maturity. Thank Him for the gifted brothers and sisters and fellow saints to build you up in your faith walk with Him. Finally, thank Him for His presence with you every day. He is in you if you are Born Again by His Spirit.

He’s not going to leave you alone. When you fail, and you will from time to time, get back down on your knees, seek His forgiveness, humble yourself before Him and He WILL LIFT you up again. (Because God humbles the proud, but gives grace to the humble). It’s awesome to be given room to fail and try and try and try again. Sometimes we get it wrong, but you are not really trying if you never fail. To be the best we possibly could be for Jesus, we’re going to have to come to terms with our own personality flaws, weaknesses and bad-habits that take time to break and to be moulded into the character that Christ wants to achieve in our lives. It’s always a JOY to know that He’s working in your heart, mind, soul and will. He’ll never stop until we reach glory or see Him when He returns in Glory.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Let that be your motto and let God’s Spirit mould you.

  • What traits in your life is Christ working upon right now?
  • What personality flaws are you aware of that need transforming?
  • What ways has He begun to develop within you a NEW HEART?
  • What ways has He changed you already?

Give Thanks: Praise Him: Worship The LORD with gladness.

Have an AWESOME Wednesday.

Don.

If you are in London tonight, why not come out with us to share the Good News of Jesus? We’re going into the streets to engage people in conversation, one heart at a time, the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. We’re meeting up first at St Luke’s Church for some training at 7.00pm, then going out at 7.30pm to win some souls for Jesus.

7.00pm Evangelism Training / Prayer / Preparation.

7.30pm Street Evangelism.

9.00pm Return to Church for prayer, praise and sharing.

9.30pm: Go home and put feet up and praise the Lord.

Street Evangelism:

 

The Bible IS the Word of God.

Trusting that the Bible is God's Word

Daily Spirit & Word 564: God’s Word.

God Planning & Timing IS Perfect.

Last night whilst out sharing the Lord Jesus with people in West Norwood, London, we met many different folks. Our first real conversation was with a man, who made little sense. He couldn’t trust the Bible to be the Word of God. He’d obviously read quite a lot of the Bible, was intelligent, but would not listen to a word we said. He was unreceptive to anything and only wanted to spout-out what he believed. It was hard to engage that man, and when someone is as unreceptive as that, I normally move on quite quickly, but, I don’t know why, we were with him for over twenty minutes. David, my buddy disciple for the evening, said, “You know Don, I know he was a ‘red-herring’ wasting time etc, but if we’d not stayed chatting to him, we would not have had the more fruitful conversations with the others we met. He was right, because we shared the whole Gospel with a shop owner, who’d just popped out of the shop for a cigarette, if we’d been there just two or three minutes before or after, he would not have been there. Then there were three people at a bus stop, whom we both managed to share the Gospel with, then a man who’d just pulled up on a motorbike. He was taking a tour of South London with his soon to be bride, they are getting married in a little church on Balmoral Estate in Scotland. If we’d been any earlier we would not have met any of them. Moral of the story: Some ‘Red-Herrings’ are God’s way of slowing us down a bit 🙂

THE BIBLE: It is the Word of God.

As you share the Good News with folks, you may come across people who just don’t believe the Bible to be the Word of God. It’s good for every Christian to know if it really is or not. From experience and study and trusting and putting into practice, I can tell you that it is, but you will not know that for yourselves, just because I tell you that. You’ll need to DISCOVER if it is for yourself.

You can trust the Bible: But we’re living in a day when very few Christians are actually reading God’s Word Daily (see article below).

It’s inspired by God, but written by men under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

How much of the Bible is God-breathed? ALL SCRIPTURE.

My friends, you CAN trust the whole Bible.

Here’s an amazingly simple way of getting into studying God’s Word.

SIMPLE BIBLE STUDY METHOD.

First, write out a copy the verse from one or more versions of the Bible.

Give it a heading: VERSE FOR STUDY: Put the Verse reference, e.g. 1 Timothy 3:16.

Second, under the heading MESSAGE, write out in your own words what the verse says – what it commands, teaches, warns of, or promises. e.g. “ALL SCRIPTURE” for 1 Tim 3:16. “Every word of the Bible comes from God”

Third, look at the verses immediately preceding and following the verse. These are known as the context of the verse. Under the heading CONTEXT, record first the thoughts added by the verses preceding your study verse. Then Record the thoughts added by the verses following your study verse. (Before and After).

Example: 1 Timothy 3: Is all about how people will abandon God in the last days before Christ comes back. He lists all the ways that men and women will abandon God’s standards. Then our verse; Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain steadfast and keep following God, remembering that ALL Scripture is God’s Word.

The verses after 2 Tim 3:16 are telling us the reason why God’s Word is useful for teaching etc… So that the follower of Jesus will be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Fourth, record the questions that the verse raises in your mind, or the problems you think it might pose for yourself or someone else. These can be recorded under the heading QUESTIONS.

Is the whole of the Bible God’s Word?

What does this mean for me?

How can I trust this verse? Are there any other verses in the Bible that support this thought?

etc etc…

Finally, APPLICATION: Describe one specific way you can change your attitudes or actions because of the teaching of this verse.

It’s awesome to get into studying the Bible for yourself. It doesn’t take very long and if you do a verse or two a week like this, on your own, you’ll soon begin to get to know God’s thoughts after Him. You’ll get to know yourself better as a disciple of Christ and you’ll know God’s will, plans and desires for your own life. But soon you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a book written by mere men. It’s Holy Spirit inspired!

GET INTO GOD’S WORD

Here are some awesome verses that you can do the same kind of Bible study with;

Suggested verses to study:
Matthew 4:19 (18-20) – Follow Christ
Matthew 5:6 (5-7) – Hunger for Righteousness
Matthew 5:11 (10-12) – Persecution
Matthew 5:44 (43-45) – Love your enemies
Matthew 6:6 (5-7) – Prayer
Matthew 9:37 (36-38) – Laborers
Matthew 23:11 (10-12) – Spiritual coldness
Matthew 28:19 (18-20) – Make disciples
Romans 1:16 (15-17) – Not ashamed of the Gospel
Romans 1:22 (21-23) – Becoming fools
Romans 6:13 (12-14) – Offer your bodies to God
Romans 8:34 (33-35) – We are not under condemnation
Romans 12:15 (14-16) – Empathy
Romans 15:2 (1-3) – Build others up
Galatians 4:2 (1-3) – Humility
Galatians 4:30 (29-31) – Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
Galatians 6:2 (1-3) – Carry each others burdens
Galatians 6:8 (7-9) – What you sow, you reap

Have an awesome day, trusting that God’s Word (ALL of it) is the WORD OF GOD.

Don’t be put off from sharing God’s Good News with folks, even the ones that will not listen, those ‘red-herrings’ can be God sent, because God’s planning and timing is PERFECT.

Don.

P.S. We go out every week to share the Gospel (Good News of Jesus) with people on the Streets and Door-to-Door in West Norwood, London. If you’d like training in personal evangelism or just to sharpen up a bit, then why not join us? We’d love to help many other Christian to learn to share the good news the way that Jesus did. Just drop us a line: dondavisuk@gmail.com or contact us through St Luke’s Church Facebook Page: or Don’s Facebook Page.

Looking forward to hearing what you think about these messages.

Don.

Premier Christian News:

Half of Christian teenagers don’t read Bible more than once a month

Wed 22 Jul 2015

By Marcus Jones

Fifty per cent of young people who identify as Christians don’t read their Bible more than once a month.

New research published by Premier Youthwork Magazine has found just one in three read it a couple of times a week or more.

What was also revealed was that teenagers pray far more regularly than they read the Bible.

Writing in this month’s edition, London youth worker Mark Walley looked at other stats which show young people overwhelming see having a regular experience of God an important part of their faith.

He wrote: “When held together with the fact that young people expressed a strong desire to experience God in their churches, something seems amiss.

“Because the thing is, there is a link between the discipline of Bible reading and the experience of God. One of the main day to day ways you experience God is through reading the Bible.”

Premier Bible Reading.

 

An Anchor For Your Soul

Daily Spirit & Word, 459: An Anchor for Your Soul.

Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.

Benefit #5 God’s Word in your heart is like an anchor for your soul.

You know the old Hymn: “Will Your Anchor Hold”?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

That Question: Will your anchor hold? Will you remain steadfast following the Lord through all the storms and waves and temptations of this life?

 An good, heavy anchor can hold a mighty ship when the storms come.

Fastened to the Rock: The rock that the Hymn is talking about is Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals that He was the ‘rock in the wilderness’ that Moses struck to get water for the people of Israel in the desert, He was also the rock that Moses was placed in a crevice by the LORD as He passed Moses by. Jesus is the rock that makes men stumble, He’s the Cornerstone of the building. Is Jesus YOUR Rock today. Are you holding onto Him as a ship’s anchor does to the rocks at the bottom of the sea. A ship depended upon the anchor getting a good grip upon the rocks.

John W. Crawford wrote in Discipleship Journal;

“When I was in the Navy, one of the games played aboard ship was the anchor pool. Each participating sailor would put in his money and guess what time we would drop anchor as we came into port. The exact time was always recorded in the ship’s log, and the closest guesser would win the pool.

It seemed innocent enough at the time, and my shipmates would encourage me to join in–”Ah, Crawford, be a sport.” I realized later that they couldn’t care less about me being a sport; they wanted my money. But I decided I would not get involved, and I memorized some passages to strengthen my conviction.

One was Proverbs 13:11–”Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”

Another was Proverbs 23:5–”Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle toward heaven.” Not only was it wrong to win money by gambling, but I wouldn’t be able to keep it anyway.”  “An Anchor for Your Heart.” by John W. Crawford Discipleship Journal Issue #9 May/June 1982.

THE GREAT HABIT OF EMBEDDING GOD’S WORD:

My friends, when we get into the GREAT HABIT of Embedding God’s Word in our hearts the way John Crawford did, we’ll be fast-tracking our way to Christian Spiritual Maturity.

Robert Morgan said, “The practice of memorizing and meditating on the Bible is the primary way to accelerate spiritual growth in your life. It speeds up the transformation process and leads to holier habits. After all, spiritual maturity is simply thinking more as God thinks; so as we implant His thoughts into our minds, using Scripture memory, and as we use the process of meditation to convert those verses into regular thought patterns, we’re developing the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), yielding mature thoughts, pure habits, and holier lives. The psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11 NKJV).” From; “100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.” by Robert J Morgan.

So we’ll become more like Jesus the more we know and think like Him. Spending precious time in His presence and in His Word will produce spiritual growth. I’ve seen this in many people over the years since I’ve been following the Lord Jesus. So many of my friends have fallen back into the world, given into sin, self and the world’s ways of living. Having talked, counselled and challenged many of them, I’ve become convinced of this; It’s because they left off personal time with Jesus, they didn’t get into God’s Word and they didn’t get God’s Word into their hearts or heads.

There have been times when I’ve stopped my daily time with Jesus, either through work of pressures in life, each time I have, I’ve felt the tendency and temptation to fall away increase. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t leave me alone too long and by His Holy Spirit, He brings conviction and reveals what’s happened and leads me back into the narrow way.

Having served in the Royal Navy on Ships and Submarines, I love the Bible’s naval terminology, I love the old hymns that speak of anchors, storms of life, waves, billows, etc… They speak to me because I’ve experienced them and they do help to keep me on the Lord’s narrow pathway that leads to eternal life.

 Part ll of “Will Your Anchor Hold? on Monday.

Have an awesome Saturday with your family, friends, fellowship and the Lord.

Sunday is the Lord’s Day: Don’t neglect the gathering of the Saints as some are in the habit of doing and have shipwrecked their faith.

Every blessing in Jesus name,

Don.

Hope and Peace in Times of Despair

Daily Spirit & Word, 457: Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.

 

Benefit #3: Bible Memory Training: God Gives Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ: True Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

 

The Blackest Night of My Life:

As I write this morning, I’m reminded of the blackest night of my life, the day whilst at Theological College we were about to attend the Leavers Ball. Someone came running to me and said, “There’s an urgent telephone call for you”. It was the day’s before the advent of Mobile Phones. We, Julie and I, took the call in the little phone booth that students used. My wife had left our children (five of them) in the care of friends in Plymouth, two of them with our Minister and his wife. The call was from his wife, she relayed the devastating news as only a Christian could, “You daughter is OK, but she’s been assaulted” When someone says that about your most precious daughter your mind goes into a whirl. I had to ask her again and again for the details, even then not fully comprehending. She was reluctant to tell us too much, fearing that we’d have an accident as we drove back from London to Plymouth. All I remember asking was; “What happened?”.

The next thing I can recall as clear as light was hugging my sobbing wife, she was inconsolable, but I just hugged her. Then just before we were about to dash off home an brother in the Lord who’d become a great friend over the years of college said, “Let’s kneel down and pray to the Lord”. It was the last thing that I wanted to do at that moment, I wanted to get into the car and head-off as fast as we could. But I knew Charity was right, so we got on our knees before the Lord Jesus and through tears we both prayed. Charity was a strong-tower and declared Jesus peace over Julie and I.

It was on the way home, in the darkness and driving rain that it happened. We were passing a little hillock in Dorset and on the top of the hill I saw a bright light giving of strange beams, like a searchlight, it was hard to make out, but it was there, then it pointed up into the sky; Julie was driving at almost 100 miles per hour. No amount of my telling her, “slow-down” made the slightest bit of a difference. As I looked out of the rain’s tears on my car’s window, I saw that light pointing up into Heaven; then all of a sudden the Lord’s PEACE flooded my soul. In that DARKEST NIGHT of my life, PEACE and CALM like I’d never know before. The light pointing to heaven reminded me of my prayer and Charity’s prayer for peace. It was a miracle.

I knew we were heading home to the tragic news that my precious ten-year-old daughter had been raped at knife-point with many terrible things done to her in that attack. Her childhood stolen and destroyed by a viscous, evil and callous act. That one horrible night led to years of deep heartache and slowly getting back to ‘normal’, but when that PEACE came in the driving rain it stayed with me throughout those years and I was the only one in the family to turn to the Lord and receive His peace, hope, joy and comfort. The Lord was preparing me to be a source of strength for everybody else in my family. My wife blamed hereself and for years couldn’t make decisions, my daughter had night terrors for years, screaming in the night. But the PEACE, it came from above and would not go away.

I remember a few months afterwards reading Psalm 23 with my daugher who’d been attacked, and she said, “That was me wasn’t it? I walked through the valley of the shadow of death” I said, “You most certainly did”. Then she asked me, “Why didn’t Jesus rescue me?” I said, “He did, you are here today to tell the horrible story and one day you’ll be able to give strength to many more people who are going through hard times”.

There was a verse that I’d learned on the day we got that horrible telephone call; when we received the tragic news, you know how a verse sticks out sometimes when your reading God’s Word. Well I committed it to memory quickly, not knowing why the Spirit had illuminated it, it came flooding back into my mind after seeing the beam of light on the hill: Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” You know my friends, I can testify to the truth of that verse from God’s Word. He DID keep me in His PEACE. Though there were times when I could easily have turned the other way, Jesus was always there for me and keeping me in His perfect peace.

 Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

The full meaning of that verse became apparent about a year later when I shared my testimony in Northern Ireland. At the end of a week of Evangelistic mission activity in the small town of Warren Point. In the Town Hall on the last night I shared my story and what had happened to my daughter, but I kept the focus upon how the LORD had given His peace and hope in my heart. In Northern Ireland during the mission, it was the height of ‘The Troubles’, but whilst the mission was going, we only saw one riot in Downpatrick. The Town Hall was full, and so many people were crying that night and when we gave an invitation for people to receive the Lord Jesus, I think everybody in the hall came forward to be prayed with. It was awesome. Even a Minister, who’d been ordained for years, who I’d become friends with during the mission, but through the conversations we’d had, I knew that He’d never trusted in Jesus for Salvation, because Ministry was a job for him a vocation of choice to serve the community. He came forward and through tears made his confession and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The PEACE has been with me in many troubled times since, but I’ve also been reminded, I need to turn and trust in the Lord always.

My friends, tragedy may come into your life, but whenever the Lord gives you a text from His Word, you’ll be wise to commit it to your memory banks. He’ll use it again and again and again and again, to bring strength and comfort and deep knowledge that He’s faithful to all his promises in his word. He KEEP you in Perfect Peace when you fix you mind upon Him.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Psalm 77:17  “The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.”

Psalm 77:17 (Amp).

Since that Blackest Night of My Life: I’ve had countless scriptures the Lord has given me to remember forever, they come either just before or during the times of despair and need. Psalm 77 (Easy to remember) 7/7 you know the shops that are open 24/7 seven days a week? Well, I remember that Heaven is OPEN 7/7. 24 Hours a Day Every Day. Though we may not be able to sleep sometimes for fretting, when we turn to the LORD, He’ll give us His PEACE and HOPE even in Despair. In the Darkest Nights of your life, He’s with you and is available. Call to Him for He is near.

Also Psalm 40 The whole psalm, but especially Psalm 40:9-10 was given just before the Mission to Northern Ireland, it really did come true in the Town Hall in Warren Point.

Psalm 40:9-10 “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

Also Romans 12:28-39 (NIV)

Today, I proclaim AND declare to everybody who’s reading this message; “God’s PEACE be upon you today. May you KNOW and Experience His PERFECT PEACE. AMEN!”

Jesus is ALWAYS faithful.

Have an awesome day with Jesus, be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit.

Don.

 

Psalm 77:1-20 (NIV)

  1.  [For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.] I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
  2.  When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
  3.  I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah
  4.  You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
  5.  I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
  6.  I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit enquired:
  7.  “Will the Lord reject for ever? Will he never show his favour again?
  8.  Has his unfailing love vanished for ever? Has his promise failed for all time?
  9. Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah
  10.  Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
  11.  I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
  12.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
  13.  Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
  14.  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
  15.  With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
  16.  The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
  17.  The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
  18.  Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
  19.  Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
  20. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 40 (NIV).

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Bible Memory Training: Benefit #3 Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

 

The Helmet & The Sword

God’s Word The Sword of The Spirit

Daily Spirit & Word, 456: The Helmet & The Sword

Seven Benefits of Memorising God’s Word.

Benefit #2: Knowing God’s Word; The Sword of The Spirit.

 Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Good morning my friends, today I want to highlight one of the practical aspects of Bible Memorisation, but also pointing out one of the dangers too.

First the Danger: There is a tendency within the human heart, some think it noble, right and good, and there are some aspects of it that are great in the workplace and world; they are INDEPENDENCE of spirit, STRENGTH, DETERMINATION and ABILITY. When we see these evident in our children we praise and honour them. However, the danger of being able to memorise the Bible is that we could mistake that for our relationship with the Lord Jesus and the need of being dependent upon the Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture and give us the strength to live the Christian life. Without the Holy Spirit, simply using our own human faculties, we’ll never truly understand or be able to apply the Word of God to our lives, because the things of the Spirit are foolishness to the world (or the man without the Spirit cannot understand the things of God). So we must get that relationship with Jesus Christ right first, then maintain it and then being led by the Spirit memorise / internalise God’s Word. There are some people in the world who could / can memorise the whole Bible and mesmerise others with the talents, but still not become a dependent believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why the Helmet of Salvation comes before the Sword of the Spirit in the list of the Gospel Armour in Ephesians. When we put it on daily, we’ll be remembering that we’re saved by God’s Grace through our Faith and Trust in The Lord Jesus Christ and not by mere Human effort or ability.

Bible Memory: The Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God.

The Spirit Enables You to Wield the Sword (God’s Word) When Required.

Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Internalized Scripture keeps our minds in good working order and when required we’ll be able to recall the right scriptures for whatever situations we face in life.

John Ruskin, the brilliant British social critic whose views about art and architecture were influential during the Victorian and Edwardian periods of English history, testifies to this. Ruskin was an author, poet, and creative thinker; and today Ruskin College in Oxford is named for him. Leo Tolstoy described him as “one of those rare men who think with their heart.”

When he was young, Ruskin’s mother insisted that he memorize seventeen different chapters of the Bible, word perfect, six of them from the Old Testament. She also assigned an additional eight psalms.

When he was fifty-five, Ruskin said that memorizing these chapters had “established my soul in life.” He said that though afterward he learned many things from many teachers, the “installation” of the Bible into his brain became “the most precious and on the whole the one essential part of all my education. For the chapters became indeed strictly conclusive and productive to me in all modes of thought.”

My friends, All truth is God’s truth, it can be found in Creation itself, the mathematics of the Universe for example, but Scripture is His revealed truth and provides the intellectual foundations for all the rest. God’s written WORD provides the historical, philosophical, theological, and psychological scaffolding within which all other facts become united. It reveals the wisdom of God regarding everything from daily life to eternal life. Without the engraving of Scripture in our minds, we’re left with a brain filled with the rantings and ravings of a confused human intellect, which is in fact foolishness to God.

Jesus Modeled How to Use God’s Word (The Sword of the Spirit).

At the beginning of His ministry, when Jesus faced Satanic temptation in the wilderness, He used verses for the Old Testament. Of course Jesus knew God’s Word completely: He is the Word (John 1) He’d knew the full meaning of the Old Testament and often explained what it meant from a Divine perspective. Throughout His ministry Jesus often quoted verses, in the last, most stress-filled, anguished and painful moments of His life, Jesus again quoted Old Testament Scriptures, such as: “Into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46 NKJV) and “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 KJV). These are direct quotes from Psalm 31 and Psalm 22. Our Lord was quoting Scripture as He was dying upon the cross, that’s how internalised God’s Word was in our Saviour. He really was the living Word.

If Jesus embodied God’s Word and demonstrated to us how to think clearly during those six torturous hours upon the cross, just think how much they can help us through the stress and strain of each day in our lives. When we recall Bible verse, when we bring them to mind, sometimes the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance, they become like fountains of life-giving water for the thirsty wanderer in a dusty dry desert.

Today we’ve seen that we need both; The Helmet & The Sword.

The Helmet: Knowing Jesus as Lord and Saviour: Daily knowing and remembering that we’re saved by God’s Grace, through Faith and Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sword of The Spirit: Is our only offensive weapon in Christian warfare against spiritual forces of evil in this life, so what better use of the time the Lord has given could we have than being employed in retaining His Word for life.

Bible Memory Course:

If you’d like to know how to get God’s Word into your Memory Banks (Stored for Life), we’ll be running an Online Bible Memory Training Course / Alongside a Group / Class in Church. Let me know if you are interested.

Have an Awesome Wednesday with Jesus.

Don.

Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.

Benefit #2 God’s Word: The Sword of The Spirit.

God’s Word The Sword of the Spirit.

 

 

How Important is Knowing God’s Word?

How Important is Knowing God’s Word?
I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Ps 119:11
I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Ps 119:11

Daily Spirit & Word, 448: How Important is Knowing God’s Word?

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You”

Good morning my friends, I’ve been reading a little book about getting God’s Word into our memory banks, the importance of knowing God’s Word. Today, I’ve copied a little story for you, it’s powerful and will encourage you in your walk with Jesus. The story will move you to tears and strengthen your resolve to get to know God’s Word better.
Psalm 40:8 “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
Taken from 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know: “One night several years ago I sat up into the wee hours, engrossed in a book I’d picked up at a yard sale. ‘In the Presence of Mine Enemies’, it was the memoir of Vietnam POW Howard Rutledge, who was shot down over North Vietnam on November 28, 1965. When his plane was hit, Howard bailed out, but he descended into thick mud near a large village and was soon surrounded by a crowd welding knives, machetes, and sticks. Forming a ring around him, the townspeople blocked his escape and descended on him, pounding him with blows, stripping off his clothing, and dragging him into their little jail, half dead. Shortly thereafter, he was transported to the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was brutally interrogated and tortured.
Howard described how, in an initial set of tortures, his legs were forced into rough shackles, with his arms hog-tied in an excruciating position. He was deprived of clothing, food, and sleep and forced to lie on a cold slab in a mucky cell. The walls, floors, and ceilings were caked with filth, and a large rat shared his space.
Until his incarceration Howard had felt little concern for spiritual things; but now he desperately tried to recall snatches of Bible verses, hymns, or sermons he had heard in his childhood. Fortunately as a youngster he had attended a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a Sunday school that had stressed the importance of Scripture memory. There in the POW camp, he racked his brain for every single verse he could recall. During the rare moments when he could communicate with other POWs, he found them seeking to do the same.
“Everyone knew the Lord’s Prayer and the Twenty-third Psalm,” he said, “but the camp favorite verse that everyone recalled first and quoted most often is found in the Book of John, third chapter, sixteenth verse: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
With a friend’s help, Howard even managed to reconstruct verses 17 and 18.
Howard wrote, “How I struggled to recall those Scriptures and hymns! I had spent my first eighteen years in a Southern Baptist Sunday School, and I was amazed at how much I could recall; regrettably, I had not seen the importance of memorizing verses from the Bible…. Now, when I needed them, it was too late. I never dreamed that I would spend almost seven years (five of them in solitary confinement) in a prison in North Vietnam or that thinking about one memorized verse could have made a whole day bearable. One portion of a verse I did remember was, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart.’ How often I wished I had really worked to hide God’s Word in my heart. I put my mind to work.”
In his memoirs Howard described days and nights of tortures that made my skin crawl as I read about them; but he also testified of being able, as time progressed, to recall more and more Bible verses from the recesses of his mind. His recollection wasn’t word perfect, but he was amazed at how many phrases and sentences from the Bible lay buried deep in his memory, waiting to be discovered.
Those Bible verses literally kept Howard Rutledge from losing his mind. The memorized snippets of Scripture in his brain were potent. They faced down death, rallied his spirits, steeled his nerves, and tapped into the deepest strength known in the universe. They beat back the torture, stifled the despair, subdued the terrors he felt, and maintained his sanity even when he was immobilized for days in a stifling hut, chained to a metal frame, lying in his own waste, and covered with ants, flies, and biting insects.
Those verses, long ago learned by heart, proved more restorative than any tonic. They dispensed strength and were sufficient to the pain; and they bolstered his mind and his mood with the strongest thoughts of an omniscient God in the midst of humanity’s most sadistic ravings. They were the reason he came home alive.
“That first New Year’s Eve in Heartbreak Hotel,” he wrote, “I had resolved never to be without a Bible again. Those verses of God’s Word that I had memorized or that I had scrounged from other prisoners’ memories had been a living source of strength in my life.”
Most of us will never be POWs in a concentration camp, but all of us occasionally find ourselves at Heartbreak Hotel. Life is hard, full of anguishing moments and dangerous temptations. We need strong minds – brains that think clearly, emotions that remain calm and steady.
Bible verses, committed to memory and applied by the Holy Spirit, are the most powerful medications in the whole world. They’re a balm for sore hearts, an elixir for low spirits, an immunization for bad habits, a booster shot of high spirits, a pick-me-up for dreary days, and a stimulant for positive nerves.
How many Bible verses could you reconstruct from your memory banks if push came to shove?
Here’s the little verse again, hopefully the importance of knowing God’s Word will sink down deep today and you’ll begin to hide God’s Word within your head and heart, then with the Holy Spirit’s help, they’ll surface just when you need them.
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
God bless and have an awesome week.
Don.
P.S. We’ll be sending out links to a brand NEW Bible Memory Course coming very soon. If you want to know more, please let me know and I’ll add you to the list of those who want to learn; “HOW to Hide God’s Word in your Heart”.
Can also be read on St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.