Immanuel God With Us

Immanuel, Emmanuel, How to know that God is With Us.

Daily Spirit & Word: 814: The Meaning of Immanuel.

Good morning my friends, as I was just about to post my message today when I heard the tragic news about that terrible plane crash. It was carrying a Brazilian football team. (Link BBC NEWS)

I’m praying now for all those who’ve been affected by this disaster.

Immanuel:

It’s a word we hear every Christmas, but like a lot of religious words, we’ve lost its meaning somehow along the way. Or if we do know what it means, the impact of that meaning is not hitting home. Because of all the hustle and bustle and the haste to buy stuff, far too many Christians aren’t looking forward to Christmas, but we can re-capture the MAGICAL feelings we had as children, all the excitement, joy and wonder of Christmas. It happens as we experience IMMANUEL for ourselves.

What does Immanuel mean?

Immanuel means: “God with us”.

Let’s unpack IMMANUEL a bit…

Matthew 1:23 (NIV)  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

This is a quote from Isaiah the great Prophet of the LORD. Isaiah 7:14.

Immanuel means “God with us”…

When Jesus was born, he was a baby human being, he became one of us, but He was also still God, just wrapped in flesh.

Some people call this taking on human flesh, the INCARNATION:

Now when you dwell upon that fact, The CREATOR of the whole Universe and time itself, came to Earth. Out of all the billions of little planets, he chose EARTH to come and reveal Himself to His Creation. Awesome!

Of course He came for a reason, Jesus was coming on a rescue mission.

It’s a bit like the Government sending in the SAS to set free the prisoners held hostage by the Iranian Terrorists in the Iranian Embassy in London in the 1980’s. LINK in that BBC News coverage you’ll see them storming the burning building.

https://youtu.be/_p4DmuGyehc

Jesus, of course, didn’t come with guns blazing, smoke going off and bombs sounding, nor did He arrive with an army to win His battle, instead Jesus came and Heaven burst into song and God let the Shepherds experience Heaven for a moment. Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe gave His life upon the Cross for all mankind to be set free. However, his birth and death was even more dramatic than that SAS rescue. He was publically executed, with the crowds watching. Alongside at least two others that day Jesus public humiliation and death was a victory. Though the world at that time didn’t realise they’d just killed Immanuel: God with us.

However, we know that His death was not the end, because just three days later, Jesus, because He was always God, came back to life again. His mission was completed and His body is alive today in Heaven where He ascended over 2000 years ago. The next time anyone is going to see Jesus, apart from in visions and dreams, is when He returns in all the glory of Heaven.

YOUR IMMANUEL MOMENT

But before Jesus comes back, we’ve been given an opportunity to get to know Him. We can know Immanuel, God with us, personally right now. We can experience God and know God… Have you had your own Immanuel? Do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is with you?

Once you experience Immanuel for yourself, nothing will ever be able to take away that experience, it will transform you life forever. Because God becomes your Immanuel, Jesus promised this very thing for everyone who believes and trusts in Him.

John 14:23 (NIV) Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Once Jesus comes into your life, He comes in TRINITY: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Your own body becomes the TEMPLE of God, because wherever God is, that is His Temple. When He comes as promised, that is your Immanuel moment, but it lasts forever.

HERE IS HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’VE RECEIVED YOUR IMMANUEL:

You’ll know Him, if you LOVE Him.

You’ll know if you love Jesus Christ. When you hear his name, your heart skips a beat. It’s like He’s inside you witnessing within, that He’s here. Oh yes, you’ll know if you love Jesus.

Nobody needs to tell you when you are in love with another person, your heart, mind, will and strength are for that relationship. You’ll do whatever you can to be with your lover. When you are apart, you’ll always long to be together. I knew when I was in love with my soon to be wife Julie, because I was over 200 miles away, and all I longed for was the evenings when I could get to a telephone box (no mobile phones in those days), to call her at her house. We’d spend ages chatting about nothing on that phone, until my money ran out. When you are together, its like you are in the place that you’ve always belonged. All you want to do when you are in love is hold that person as close as possible, it’s like the two have become one. That’s real LOVE! That’s how you know you love Jesus, when you are ONE with Jesus.

You’ll know if He is your LORD:

When Jesus is your LORD, then you will be prepared to do whatever He tells you. It won’t be a burden to you to be obedient to Jesus, because you’ll be in love with serving Him. He’s your beloved King and you’d willing die in His service.

You’ll know if He is your Immanuel:

You’ll know if you’ve submitted your life to Him, because your desires will be changed and you’ll want to live in obedience to Jesus commands and teachings. That’s how you know if you’ve experienced Immanuel for yourself.

So HOW do we get our own IMMANUEL?

“Come, oh come Immanuel…” (The Christmas Carol).

Invite the LORD to come into your life right now.

Believe in the LORD Jesus Christ: It’s easy to say, “Oh yes, I believe in Jesus”, but that doesn’t mean that you are BELIEVING IN Jesus; i.e. trusting that He has died upon the cross for your sins and that you’ve received Him as your Lord and Saviour. In order to do that, you’ll first need to be CONVICTED by the Holy Spirit that you are indeed a guilty sinner.

Confess any known sin in your life. Confession means to own it, to acknowledge that it was you, that you are guilty of sin. It’s like a prisoner standing before a judge and he asks the person in the dock, “How do you plead?”, when you’re ready to confess your sins you’ll respond to the Judge of the Universe, “Guilty as charged your Honour”… If you are not convinced you are a sinner, then GOOGLE the Ten Commandment; you’ll soon see your guilty heart. They are like looking into a mirror, they reflect the condition of your heart. Those commandments of God, not suggestions, are still applicable today. God has not changed, His standards of Holiness will always be the same.

In our Baptism service, the candidate is asked, “Do you turn from sin?” and “Do you repent of your sins?” and “Do you renounce sin?” These questions reflect a willingness to let go of sins hold on your life. But please note, it doesn’t mean you have the ability in your own strength not to sin again, it’s just a willingness to let go of sin. You will get the POWER to say “No” to sin once you’ve received your Immanuel, God with you, He’ll come into your life in the power of the Holy Spirit and He’ll enable you to live righteously in holiness of life. Remember what Jesus promised the Holy Spirit will do;

John 16:8 (NIV) The Promise of Holy Spirit Conviction. “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:…”

The Holy Spirit will show you your guilt, that you are a sinner, that you are not righteous enough and that one day the LORD is going to judge you.

How will you plead today?

If you died right now, and appeared before God, what would you say when He asks you, “How do you plead, have you ever sinned? Have you ever broken one of My Commandments?”

Like the rest of us, like every sinful soul on earth, you’d have to say, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I’ve sinned”… However, if you have received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then all your sins will be washed away, you’ll be clean, your conscience will be clear and you’ll approach the Throne of Judgement with boldness, knowing that you are a forgiven sinner who’s been washed in the blood of God’s Holy Lamb. If you’ve believed, repented, renounced sin and received Jesus as Lord then you’ll already have been made into a Saint by Jesus Christ, the Bible calls that SANCTIFICATION (Being made into a saint, by trusting in Christ).

I’m writing all of this today, because I want every reader to know and experience their own Immanuel moment, that time when you purposefully turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

So I’m Praying:

  • I’m praying that everyone I know and love will come to Jesus and experience Immanuel for themselves.
  • I’m praying that Holy Spirit will give them a soft heart to be open to God.
  • I’m praying that He will convict them of their sinful condition.
  • I’m praying that He will show them there is a judgement to come.
  • I’m praying that He will reveal to them, the way of Salvation.
  • I’m praying that He will show them the life of Holiness is a joy filled life.
  • I’m praying that He will give them a desire for freedom.
  • I’m praying that He will give them a hunger that this world cannot satisfy.

Father I’m praying all these prayers for those that You love and that I love in the Name of your Son, my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!

And I am full of faith, expectancy and sure and certain HOPE that You will answer my prayer Father, because I’m believing Jesus’ promises.

John 16:24 (NIV) “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Amen!

Have an awesome Tuesday my friends,

Join me in praying for all those who are grieving because of that plane crash in Brazil.

Stay close to Jesus and experience your own Immanuel,

Don.

18 Prayers to Pray For Unbelievers

LINK To Prayers

 

Only God Can SAVE You From The Judgement to come.

Good works or following religious rules and regulations can't save us from our sins. We can only be saved by God alone.

Daily Spirit & Word: 796: Being Saved Is Possible, but ONLY by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Only God Can SAVE You.

From the Judgement to Come.

Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By God.

Can A Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. In our gatherings in church, we’ve been going through Mark for almost a year now. The Journey has been amazing. We’re discovering what an amazing LORD Jesus really is, and how inspired Mark (the author) must have been by Holy Spirit. I don’t think it’s possible that a man could put this work together, without the help of God. For we’ve been experiencing progressive revelation and this portion of God’s Word has built for us a wonderful picture of Jesus nature and character, but in doing so He’s also opened up what true Discipleship is like, from each and every story, parable and incident He recorded.

What we’ve observed:

  • Jesus is more Godlike that we at first would imagine.
  • The Disciples are more human and unable to save themselves from the consequences of sin.
  • Jesus (God) needs less human and earthly resources to sustain His life.
  • The Disciples, followers of Jesus, need more and more Divine intervention and revelation.

What I’ve discovered afresh, as if I didn’t know, is that we all need to stay very close to Jesus, every day, just to keep going as His followers. Yes we have advantages over His own disciples; we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, the Word of God in full; so we know how to serve and we have Jesus’ promises to be with us always for the journey. However, we must be willing to maintain that connection with God.

Today we’re back with Mark 10:23-31. Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By An Act Of God.

  • Can a Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?
  • Can a Man Be SAVED by Good Works?

 

Mark 10:23-31 (NIV)
23  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
31  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Last week Robert preached, whilst I was away in Plymouth, about the Rich Young Ruler and how he thought he’d fulfilled and lived according to the requirements of the Old Testament Law (Summarised in the Ten Commandments)… When he said to Jesus, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” Jesus didn’t react by saying what He knew, “No, my friend you have not lived according to God’s Commandments”… Instead, Jesus looked at him and, as the Bible tells us, “He loved him”…

 

I wonder if Jesus look of love was one of pity; because the Rich Young Man was BLIND (He couldn’t see his Spiritual need and didn’t understand how much he was in need of God’s forgiveness). I do not think that WEALTH was his only problem. In fact I’ll go as far a declaring I KNOW it wasn’t. Because, when we look at the Ten Commandments properly and honestly we’ll soon see we’ve all FALLEN SHORT of every single one of them: None of us can say in front of God: “I’ve kept all of these since I was a child”…

 

However, Jesus did focus upon his WEALTH.

Jesus knows what a TRAP WEALTH IS for most people in this world.

It was back then and it is today.

That’s why He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God”.

 

The Disciples Knew It Too: “If A Camel CAN’T, Then We CAN’T either”

They knew that EVERYONE wanted to be RICH: Like the Rich Young Ruler…

 

Today, many people, all over the world, are clamouring for WEALTH, Health and Happiness:

People are risking life and limb in the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe, the Land of PROMISE.

They know, people in the West are Prosperous, Wealthy and Healthy: So, willing to risking everything in flimsy boats, that’s what they want for themselves. They launch themselves into the Mediterranean Ocean from all over Africa in their thousands ever month. Many of those boats are without even an engine, cram-packed with people; men, women and babies. How foolish to go to sea like that, without an engine in a flimsy rubber boat. That’s how desperate people in this world are for Wealth, Health and Happiness.

 

When they arrive, they head for the most prosperous, populous areas; Germany and the UK.

 

Oh my friends, if only they could see; Health, Wealth and Happiness can’t SAVE you; Only Jesus Christ can give you lasting peace and happiness upon this earth and the life to come.

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITY:

The Disciples KNEW it’s IMPOSSIBLE then, for ANYONE to enter the Kingdom of God.

So they asked that pertinent question; “Who Then Can Be SAVED?”

 

JESUS ANSWER: It’s Impossible for man to save himself: Therefore ONLY God can save.

The Disciples asked in Mark 10:26 and Jesus answered in Mark 10:27.
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
It’s IMPOSSIBLE: For anyone to SAVE themselves by human effort, by your own goodness or by your own righteousness.

The Rich Young Man: Good in his own eyes; couldn’t.

The Rest of Humanity: Good in their own eyes; can’t either.

However, Jesus revealed the IMPOSSIBILITY:

A Camel can’t ever FIT through the eye of a needle.

A Human being can’t ever FIT in the Kingdom of God.

 

NOTICE: The DISCIPLES: Were EVEN MORE AMAZED… i.e. They were amazed the Rich Young Man couldn’t be SAVED. Now they were EVEN MORE AMAZED, because they knew “NO ONE” could be saved. Unless God did something.

 

That “MORE AMAZED”: Reveals to me something about the Disciples.

Perhaps they we secretly thinking they were good enough themselves. After all they’d been with Jesus (they’d left EVERYTHING to follow Him).

Perhaps they’re just beginning to get Jesus message, that EVERYONE needs God’s intervention; if they ever hope to enter the Kingdom of God.

“Not with God, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God”.

 

It’s POSSIBLE: But ONLY with God.

A Camel Can’t go through the eye of a needle (Impossible).

A Man Can’t enter the Kingdom of God (Impossible).

 

Unless, God does something. (Mark has been revealing that Jesus is God, because only God can do the things Jesus did).

  • Only God could make a Camel fit through the eye of a needle.
  • Only God could turn water into wine.
  • Only God could walk on water.
  • Only God could calm a storm with a word.
  • Only God could command Demons.
  • Only God could open the eyes of a man born blind.
  • Only God could bring a dead girl back to life.
  • Only God could make you FIT Enough to enter into Heaven.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD.

ONLY GOD CAN SAVE YOU; YOU CAN’T SAVE YOURSELF.

Peter Reveals: (Why he was even more amazed) “We’ve left everything to follow You”… i.e. surely we’ll be saved by our human effort… “Look at the sacrifice we’ve made Jesus”… “Surely you can see how serious we are in following you”… My friends, no matter how hard you try, you’ll NEVER be good enough for Heaven. No matter what EFFORT you put into it yourself. You’ve got to STOP trying to SAVE yourself and let Jesus SAVE you. Why? Because no amount of effort to be good will wash away your sins that contaminate your soul.

Jesus answer, “No, Peter, because by leaving everything, you’ve gained much more”..

Mark 10:28-30.
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

If we let go of EVERYTHING: Then it’s possible to be SAVED: But only by God.

The great temptation is that most people think they can do enough good works to earn a place in Heaven. That’s why the Disciples asked Jesus that question, “Who then can be saved?”. Deep down inside all of us, is this desire to work for or earn Salvation for ourselves. It’s hard to let go and let God do the saving, but that’s exactly what we’ve got to do or we CAN’T be SAVED.

  • Let go of Human Effort to be GOOD enough for Heaven.
  • Let Jesus come into your life and take away all your SINS.
  • Then His blood will cleanse you and make you FIT for Heaven.
  • It’s impossible with MEN: But it’s POSSIBLE with God.

How is it POSSIBLE?

Next Week: We’re going to be looking at “Why Jesus Came To Die?” Mark 10.

He came into this world to SAVE SINNERS.

Everyone has sinned, The Disciples knew, so they asked “Who then can be saved?”

My friends, you don’t want to wait until next week:

God’s Word tells us, “Today is the DAY of SALVATION”.

i.e. Get right with God today.

A) Confess your sins to God: How, like the Rich Young Ruler, you’ve not kept the Ten Commandments. You’ve lied, you’ve stolen, you’ve not put God first in all things, all the time. You’ve dishonoured you mum and dad. You’ve lusted and been unfaithful sometimes. You’ve coveted what your neighbour has. We’ve all done it. Everyone has broken God’s Commandments: Confess how you’ve done it to God.

B) Believe Jesus died on the Cross for all your sins:

His death was in your place. He died so that you can receive Heaven, once you Repent, Believe and Receive Him as Lord and Saviour.

C) Repent: Turn away from living a life of sin a rebellion and turn around and come to Jesus Christ to be cleansed and forgiven and renewed by Holy Spirit.

D) Receive: Receive Jesus Christ by an act of faith.

Just like you would board a plane to go on holiday. You trust the Captain knows how to get you to your destination. You RECEIVE Jesus as your Captain, He’ll take you all the way to Heaven.

More than that; you’ll receive the Holy Spirit Birth. New Life and Abundant LIFE right now.

E) Live: Become a Disciple of Jesus and live according to His teaching in fellowship with other followers. (Your Christian brothers and sisters in God’s family).

In order to do that, to live this Christian life, you’ll need: To gather regularly in worship, fellowship and receive Discipleship training from God’s Word. You’ll need to sort out your TIME and make time for daily prayer to connect with Jesus every day. You’ll need TIME: to Study and begin to practice God’s Word; daily.

You’ll get God’s HEART for others, that they might know Him too. You’ll be overflowing with a burning desire to lead others to Jesus Christ.

All of these things are indicators that you’ve really and truly been SAVED by Jesus.

You’ll also notice the Fruit of the Holy Spirit begining to ripen in your life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

NOTE: Passages by Way of Illustrating of these points in today’s message.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
4  But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3 shows us;

  • We can’t be saved by ‘the good things we have done’… i.e. no amount of human effort will suffice.
  • That God in His mercy saves us by REGENERATION (RENEWAL) NEW LIFE, NEW BIRTH by The Holy Spirit.
  • We are JUSTIFIED (Made right with God: Justified = Just as if I’d never sinned). How? By God’s Grace and Kindness.
  • What happens? We become heirs (inheritors) of Eternal Life (Through this faith and trust in Jesus, we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven).

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) We’re POWERLESS: i.e. we don’t possess the strength or ability to SAVE ourselves.
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.

Jesus died on the Cross for us, so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, set free from sin’s power, so that we can be made fit for God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) Before We Put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are DEAD in our Transgressions and Sins.
1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Those who break God’s Commandments; all people).
3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Conclusion:

We’ve seen today that the Disciples discovered the impossibility of anyone being able to SAVE themselves by human effort to get into God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

We can’t SAVE ourselves, it’s impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. It’s impossible for a human being to be cleansed from sin by doing good or being religious or following the Ten Commandments.

So, it is only through God’s kindness, mercy and Grace that anyone can ever be SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin.

If we were to die without coming to Jesus Christ, then we would carry our sins to the Judgement. If we come to Jesus, we’ll be set free from sin, forgiven and cleansed. We’ll be born of the Spirit and receive NEW LIFE in Christ Jesus. When God sees us coming, He’ll throw open the gates of Heaven and welcome us in. Why? Not because of the good we’ve done, but because of His Son; Lord Jesus, who washed our sins away.

My friends, God has demonstrated just how much He loves everyone by sending Jesus to die for us. He doesn’t want anyone to end up in Hell or be judged because of their sins. He’s giving us all this moment in time to reflect, to repent, to return to Him. Do it right now! Don’t waste another moment of time. Get right with God today: Confess, Repent, Believe, Receive and Live. Amen!

Let us PRAY:

Have and awesome week with the LORD.

Trust Him every day and come close to Him in praise, worship, adoration. Then go out and share the Good News so that many more can come to Know HIM.

He’s alive! He wants to give your family, friends, workmates, school friends, college comrades and neighbours that NEW LIFE too.

Be blessed,

Don.

 

God Knows Me Intimately

God's Knowledge of Us

Daily Spirit & Word: 761: God Knows Me

How Does God Know Us?

Psalm 139: Study 1. He Knows You Intimately.

WOWzer! Did anyone hear that THUNDER last night? I’ve not seen rain like this in years.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the thunder and lightning. It’s like God speaking to us in a very loud voice, but what is He saying?

Yesterday morning we had an awesome prayer gathering, during which we sang “What a mighty God we serve” I’m not kidding, HEAVEN came into our gathering. There was only a few of us, but WOWzer!

Today, I’m going to begin a short series looking at Psalm 139. It’s such a wonderful, amazing and enlightening Psalm, full of insight about how God knows us, the plans He has for us and His control of our situations, leading us to KNOW we can fully trust HIM.

Why Psalm 139?

We all make decisions every day, (Not just EU Referendum Day), but how we make them, that’s what counts. Because what we think about God and our relationship with Him determines what we think about everything else that makes up our busy little world. When we get God’s perspective right, then other people, the universe, God’s Word, God’s will, sin, faith, and obedience and our choices will lead us in the right direction. On the other hand, wrong ideas about God will ultimately lead to wrong ideas about who we are, where we should go and what we should do, and this leads us down a crooked path toward the wrong destiny. In other words, the right knowledge of God is essential to the abundant and fulfilled life the LORD wants you to have in this world, and getting you ready for life forever with Him.

King David gave us Psalm 139, his life was full of a deep knowledge and understanding of HOW the LORD directed his steps.

Psalm 139:1-6 (NIV) [For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.]
1  O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5  You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

God Knows Us Intimately (vv. 1-6)

The verb “searched” means “to examine with great pain and care.” The Jewish people used this word to describe digging deep into a mine, exploring a land, and investigating a legal case.

Your friends only see the outside, but the LORD God sees your heart, and you can’t deceive Him.

Some folks in the Bible tried to deceive God:

  • Adam and Eve tried it (Gen. 3:7-24),
  • Cain tried it (Gen. 4:1-15),
  • and even David tried it (2 Sam. 11-12),
  • Ananias and Sappheria tried it too (Acts 5:1-11).

What do we discover from them? What they all discovered, that God knew all about them. He knew what they’d done and even how they’d tried to cover it up. We cannot HIDE from God. He searches and sees the HEART. King David knew this from bitter experience and Divine Grace and forgiveness.

Understand” in verse 2 means “to distinguish and discern with insight”. My friends, God’s not just making notes about your life, He’s not keeping a dossier if you confess your sins and get cleaned up, but be assured of this, if you don’t get right with God, then He is going to bring out all the records of your life.

Verse 3: “You are familiar with all my ways” He knows our ways, where we go, when we go, how we go and why we go. The habits, the little things that can either help or hinder our walk with Him.  The fact that God knows us so intimately and completely is revealed in verses 1, 2, 4, 14, and 23.

These verses reveal God’s DEEP KNOWLEDGE about EVERYTHING in our lives:

  • He knows our actions,
  • He knows our locations,
  • He knows our thoughts and words,
  • He knows our ways, and our motives.

He knows more about you than your Mobile Phone does. You know they are able to keep track of where you’ve been down to  the inch, but God’s knowledge is even more, He not only knows where you’ve been, but what you’ve been thinking when you are there.

The Eyes of the LORD (2 Chronicles 16:9).

“All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13, nkjv).

But even more, He knows what is best for us and does all He can to guide us to go His way.

Psalm 139:5  “You hem me in: behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

He hems us in behind and before and puts His hand on us to give us peace, to show us His way and to direct our steps.

That’s an awesome thought, God wants us to allow Him to show us the way.

The word translated “beset” (kjv) or “enclosed” (nasb) means “to guard a valuable object,”

God’s Guarding YOU!

So my friends, God’s all knowing, all encompassing knowledge and guidance are for your protection.

How should we respond to that?

Like King David, we should TRUST Him completely with every aspect of our lives.

In the UK: We’re all going to VOTE today on the EU Referendum, no matter how you feel or how you VOTE, God is in ultimate control.

Don’t WORRY… PRAY (first) … TRUST… VOTE: Let the LORD guide you to the right decision today.

Be blessed today,

Don.

P.S. The other day Karamoko my grandson came back into the lounge from the garden to get a spade. He was hiding his hand behind his back. Karamoko is only 2 1/2 years old, but is already showing signs of being deceitful. I said, “What have you been doing in the garden?” He said, “Nothing” hiding his hand even more… It was so funny and a dead give-away. His hands were black from playing in the mud, he knew that he shouldn’t be playing in the mud because he’s been told not to touch it a few times. But Karamoko just loves digging in the dirt…

We cannot HIDE from God.

KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY

Psalm 139: Part 1: God Knows Me Intimately.

Psalm 139: Part 2: God Will NEVER Let Go of My Hand.

Psalm 139: Part 3: God Made Me Wonderfully

 

 

The Most Shocking News

Heaven or Hell, In or Out, EU Referendum, Debate,

Daily Spirit & Word: 760: The Most Shocking News

In or Out: The EU Referendum?

Good morning my friends, I awoke at 2.00am this morning with this phrase buzzing in my head, “Headed For Hell: The Most Shocking News”… I thought, “You can’t be serious Lord, I can’t have that as a title for my daily Bible share? It would put people off forever”….

However, the most sobering news anyone can ever hear is not: “We’re now IN the EU” or “We’re now OUT of the EU”. Both of these statements are a BIG issues for folks here in the UK right now, but what would be even more shocking than either of those results is: “You Are Headed For Hell”… Imagine being told that upon waking from a good night’s slumber? Shocking isn’t it?

However, it’s TRUE: Because without some things most people are going to end up in Hell. To me that’s the most shocking revelation I’ve ever had and it’s horrible to dwell upon that truth. It’s no wonder that I was startled wide-awake this morning. I just had to get up and pray and get into God’s Word.

So two questions arise from that true statement: “You Are Headed For Hell” the questions are;

  1.  What things will make me miss Heaven and end up in Hell?
  2.  How can I avoid going to Hell?

What are those things?

  • Without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour: You are headed for Hell.
  • Without Being Born Again of God’s Holy Spirit: You are headed for Hell.
  • If you’ve BROKEN just one of God’s Commandments: You are headed for Hell.
  • If you’ve not REPENTED of your sins: You are headed for Hell.

Now if I said that to people they’d be offended right? And quite rightly so, because they don’t believe they’ve done anything bad enough that would warrant being sent to Hell. They would quite rightly DEMAND PROOF, because it just doesn’t seem reasonable that most people will end up in Hell.

So let’s PROVE IT’S TRUE:

Because of His LOVE for human beings God sent His One and ONLY Son to die upon the Cross. Why did God do that? Because if Jesus hadn’t gone to the Cross, then every human being would die carrying the load of all their sins with them to the gates of Heaven hoping to be allowed in. Only to be greeted by the LORD with the Gates firmly shut in their faces. Why? Because SIN cuts you off from God. (See Isaiah 59:2 at bottom of page)  He cannot bear the sight of sin, He cannot tolerate it in His presence. Sinning just once in your lifetime contaminates your eternal soul with sin. No amount of good deeds will wash that sin away. There is nothing you can do to remove the stain of sin. It’s like a tattoo upon your soul. You know when you get a tattoo it’s with you for the rest of your life, unless you have it removed surgically with a laser gun. So it is with SIN, unless you have it removed by the one thing that can take your sin away, DEATH.

“The Soul that sins, it shall die”… “The wages of sin is DEATH”…

Perhaps it’s time to come back to the OLD FASHIONED PREACHING of our forefathers, for the truth is still just as true today.

What is SIN? Sin is Transgression of God’s Holy Law.

If you Google the question “What is Sin?” It will first give you the secular dictionary definitions of sin:

Noun: Sin.

  1. Estrangement from God.
  2. An act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will
  3. Ratio of the length of the side opposite the given angle to the length of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle
  4. The 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet
  5. Violent and excited activity

Verb: Sin (Sinning, Sinned).

  1. Commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law.
  2. Commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake.

That’s amazing, I’d never looked up SIN in a secular dictionary before, but there it is PROOF for everyone to read. SIN means ESTRANGEMENT FROM GOD. Why, because it’s an act that is a TRANSGRESSION of the will of God. WOWzer!

But there’s an even greater authority than a secular Dictionary; the Bible, God’s Word: What does the Bible say sin is?

Looking down the list of your Google Search: The third search result will be from www.gotquestions.org and they define sin from the Bible as:

Question: “What is the definition of sin?”

Answer: Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, probably the most beautiful and powerful of the angels. Not content with his position, he desired to be higher than God, and that was his downfall, the beginning of sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.” Genesis 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and against His command. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind and we, Adam’s descendants, have inherited sin from him. Romans 5:12 tells us that through Adam sin entered the world, and so death was passed on to all men because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

BORN INTO SLAVERY TO SIN:

Through Adam, the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him. We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This passed-on depravity is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

We’re not just born with a sin nature, we are also SLAVES to that sin nature, we cannot help but be obedient to our sinful nature.

John 8:31-36 (NIV)
31  To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever.
36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

When you trust in Jesus Christ and His death upon the Cross, when you Repent of your sins and receive His forgiveness, when you Receive Him as LORD and SAVIOUR: then you too can be SET FREE FROM SIN.

CLARIFYING GOD’S LAW:

Now that we’ve defined sin, and that we are born in sin and are slaves to sin, we need to clarify what God’s LAW is: or The Will of God that we’ve transgressed and rebelled against when we SIN.

What is God’s Law? God’s LAW is revealed in the first five books of the Bible and summarised in the Ten Commandments: If we’ve broken just ONE of those commandments then we’ve become a sinner. We’re guilty of breaking God’s Law.

The Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Question: Have you ever told a lie? Just one? If you have then it only takes one lie to make you a liar (it’s the same as murder, just one murder makes you a murderer for life). God Word tells us “No liar can enter the Kingdom of Heaven”… Can you see how we need to be cleansed of sin? It contaminates our soul forever until it is washed away.

Is there anyone who hasn’t sinned? Has someone ever been born without a sin nature?

Through Adam (Adam and Eve), the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature. When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion against God, bringing to him spiritual and physical death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him. We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This passed-on sinful condition is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam. King David lamented this condition of fallen human nature in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” It’s true of all of us, we are sold into slavery to sin by Adam: We are in bondage to sin and Satan…

How can I avoid going to Hell?

Your Personal SIN: Personal sin is that which is committed every day by every human being. Because we have inherited a sin nature from Adam, we commit individual, personal sins, everything from seemingly innocent untruths and lies to hatred and murder. Those who have not placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ must pay the penalty for these personal sins, as well as inherited sin of Adam and Eve. However, believers who’ve trusted in Jesus for Salvation from SIN, have been SET FREE from the eternal penalty of sin: which is Hell and spiritual death, but now we also have the power to resist sinning. Now we can choose whether or not to commit personal sins because we have the power to resist sin through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, sanctifying and convicting us of our sins when we do commit them (Romans 8:9-11). Once we confess our personal sins to God and ask for His forgiveness for them, we are restored to perfect fellowship and communion with Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are condemned due to inherited sin from Adam and our personal sin breaking God’s Holy Commandments and Law. The only just penalty for this sin is death (Romans 6:23), not just physical death but eternal death (Revelation 20:11-15). Thankfully, inherited sin and personal sin have been crucified on the cross of Jesus, and now by an act of faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

The Most Shocking News:

Is not going to be we’re now in the EU or We’re now out of the EU: But it is “You Are Headed For Hell… Unless…”

Trust in Jesus my friends and this most shocking news will never be heard for you. Your place in Heaven is secured the moment you put your fiath and trust in Jesus Christ and His death upon the Cross for your sins.

Here’s Jesus Promise Again: FREEDOM:

John 8:34-36.
34  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever.
36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I’m Free at last.”

Have an Awesome week with Jesus.

Don.

 

NOTE: God’s Convicting Charge Against Human Beings:

Isaiah 59:1-20 (NIV)
1  Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
3  For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.
4  No-one calls for justice; no-one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
5  They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
6  Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.
7  Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.
8  The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no-one who walks in them will know peace.
9  So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10  Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead.
11  We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.
12  For our offences are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offences are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13  rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14  So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
15  Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
16  He saw that there was no-one, he was appalled that there was no-one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18  According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
19  From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.
20  “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.

My friends, the REDEEMER has come, the LORD Jesus Christ, to set you FREE from your sins today. Amen!

 

The LAW and The Promises of God.

Christians are set free from sin and the law through faith in Jesus.

Daily Spirit & Word: 756: The Law and The Promise.

The Law was our overseer, instructor and tutor, until FAITH came through Jesus Christ.

FREEDOM IN CHRIST JESUS.

Good morning my friends, today I’ve been reading in the Bible about an Tutor / Instructor / Schoolmaster, a person who’s been “put in charge” of children. Imagine being held captive by a stern guardian. Like being locked up in a School with a Schoolmaster: Telling you to do stuff that’s beyond your ability to do. For most people that would be hell. I’d hate being told to do something, and being shouted at, because I can’t do it. That’s what the LAW of God is like: A stern schoolmaster, shouting out Ten Commandments, that we just can’t keep, because we’re SLAVES to sin. Well, there’s good news. No, I’ll go even further, GREAT NEWS. There’s great news because we can be set free to live according to God’s Holy Standards through FAITH in Christ Jesus. HOW?

But, as we’ll see HOW today, The Schoolmaster the Bible is talking about is God’s LAW (Summarised in the Ten Commandments). The function / purpose of God’s Law was to look after us and show us God’s standard until Christ should come and give us something better to oversee us: Faith in Jesus opens us up to a much better guide than the written law; the indwelling Holy Spirit, who reveals God’s way, through our Conscience. Awesome!

Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Galatians 3:19-25 (NIV)
19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus Christ) to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator (Moses). 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge (Paidagogos: Tutor, Instructor, Schoolmaster) to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Once we get FAITH: To believe and put our trust in Jesus for our Salvation, we are SET FREE from the PRISON of the LAW: from the instruction / oversight of the Law of God. We are under a NEW Tutor: The Holy Spirit. He will guide us and show us God’s ways. He’ll never contradict God’s Law, but will impart the power to live according to it in FREEDOM.

 

Live in the Spirit.

What is the purpose of the Law?

Galatians 3:19-25 (NIV)
19  What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus Christ) to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
20  A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
21  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. (But it couldn’t impart life, nor did it have any power to make us righteous, it was only added because of transgressions / sin).
22  But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23  Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
24  So the law was put in charge (paidagogos: tutor / schoolmaster /instructor) to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
25  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

The Key Verse: Galatians 3:22 “But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin…”

What an amazing statement in the Bible: The WHOLE WORLD (Every single soul) is a PRISONER OF SIN, until they are SET FREE by faith in Jesus Christ.

So the reason God has given us the Law (10 Commandments) is so that we can KNOW (Be instructed by the Schoolmaster: the Law) and how we can be SET FREE through FAITH in Jesus Christ.

In Verse 24 “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.”

(We don’t have an equivalent English word for the term translated here, “Put in Charge”. The Greek word is “paidagogos” The KJV translates it as “Schoolmaster”, but the Greek word is referring to a Servant in a rich household who looked after and educated a child until the child was educated enough to go onto further education away from home at a school: Rather than “Put in Charge” NIV, I think “Schoolmaster” is a more accurate translation. In recent history in the UK the very rich had household Schoolmasters / Tutors who’d educate young children until they could attend school). So the LAW was only put in charge of us, until faith came along, that faith is in Christ Jesus, and once we’ve got that faith, we are no longer under the care, supervision and instruction of the Law.

Interestingly we have English words that a so similar to this Greek word:  paidagogos: Paediatrician, Paediatric: The care and treatment by a Specialist “Called a Paediatrician” for infants and children.

WOWzer! The LAW (Summarised in the Ten Commandments) was give because of Sin and Transgression.

Does the Bible tell us that in another place? It’s good to see if this teaching is consistent with the rest of Scripture.

Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20  Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

WOW: It does. In Romans 3:19 we see it again, “it says to those who are ‘under’ the law” (Under: Under the Paidagogos (care and supervision) of the Law).

  • We are under the law: Held prisoner by the law: Until FAITH comes to our hearts to set us free.
  • We cannot be SAVED by trying our best.
  • We cannot be SAVED by trying to live according to the Law or the Ten Commandments.
  • All that effort will show us is that we cannot be good enough for God. We can’t stop SINNING until we’re set FREE from the Slavery to sin. Sin is our master until we’re set free by Jesus Christ, through Faith in Jesus Christ.

A MIRROR: When you get up in the morning, you look at your face in the mirror, sometimes to remove any dirt or smears. Make sure you wash the toothpaste off 🙂 The Bible like the Mirror: We look into the Commandments of God and we see that we are dirty sinners, we’ve all broken God’s Holy Standard. However, the mirror can’t clean your face, it only shows you the dirt. The LAW cannot clean away your sins, it only shows you the condition of your heart. The Sin Within. Nothing you can do can remove those stains of sin. No amount of effort will wash your soul clean from sin. No amount of sorrow for sin (we should be sorry), but sorrow itself cannot remove sin. Some people say to me “I say sorry to God for my sin”. That’s good, you should be sorry, but being sorry will not remove your sin. Only DEATH will remove your sin. Jesus died so that you don’t have to.

1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” i.e. the righteous Jesus died for the unrighteous me / you. We were sinners and Jesus died in our place upon the Cross.

The LAW was given so that we could see our need for Jesus.

Will you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ today? Stop trying to be good enough in your own strength and trust in the goodness / righteousness of Jesus Christ. Once you believe the Gospel, the Good News, you will be SAVED. Put your faith and trust in Jesus alone for your own Salvation from Sin. Nothing else will ever remove the stain of sin, revealed by the Ten Commandments and your guilty conscience can be set free by Jesus. Awesome.

Repent and Believe the Good News.

The PROMISE: The promises of God are better than the Law of God: We are able to be righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, a righteousness that couldn’t ever be possible by trying to keep God’s law. Thank the LORD for His awesome promises. Thank the LORD for Jesus Christ who has set us FREE. Amen.

My friends, have you been set FREE?

Don.

#FantasticFriday #GoodNews #GreatNews #BreakingNews #Faith #Jesus #Christian #Teaching #Law #Commandments #Promise #LawandPromise

 

Getting God’s Direction In Life

How to get the LORD'S Direction in LIFE. Knowing God's Will.

Daily Spirit & Word: 749: How to GET The LORD’S Direction in Life.

How the LORD Directs Our Paths.

There are FOUR CONDITIONS (at least) that must be followed.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Good morning my friends, everybody loves Proverbs 3:5-6 don’t they? Especially if you’ve been a Christian and seen how true the LORD’S promises are. However, there’s so much more that most Christians are missing out on, if only we’d read these verses in CONTEXT.

For me the key verses in the first half of chapter 3 of Proverbs are verses 5-6, because this is a promise that the LORD’S people have often claimed as they have sought His direction for their lives. It’s one that I’ve used often and found it to be TRUE. And this promise has never failed me, but only I discovered that it’s only really true if all of the LORD’S conditions for success have been followed.

He sets out these conditions in the other 10 verses.  Because when we learn obedience to His precepts and commands we’ll see Him move with POWER in our lives. Not just once but all the time. It’s because our loving obedience in response to His LOVE prepares us to receive and enjoy all that He has planned and prepared for us.

Some people say “God’s LOVE is UN-CONDITIONAL” well that’s only partially true. It’s TRUE in one sense, because God is LOVE and He’s always loving, but it’s NOT true if we want to EXPERIENCE that love down here upon the Earth. To experience God’s LOVE then we’ve got to exercise FAITH, because without FAITH it is impossible to please God or experience His LOVE for us.

Let’s look at these FOUR Conditions (Proverbs 3:1-12).

1) Get God’s Guidance From His WORD:

The first condition for receiving God’s guidance is that we learn God’s truth (vv. 1-4).

Proverbs 3:1-4 (ESV)
1  My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
2  for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
3  Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
4  So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man.

Look at what we get when we don’t forget God’s Commandments: length of days, years of life, favour and good success. BUT the conditions are keeping them, loving them, being faithful to them and yielding to them.

The will of God is revealed in the Word of God (Col. 1:9-10), and the only way to know His will is to study His Word and obey it. By receiving the Word within our hearts, we experience growth in godly character so that mercy and truth (“love and faithfulness,” niv) become beautiful ornaments in our lives (Prov. 3:3; 1:9). It isn’t enough for believers to carry the Bible in their hands; they must let the Holy Spirit write it on their hearts (Proverbs 3:3; 7:3; 2 Cor. 3:1-3). Obedience to the Word of God can add years to your life and life to your years. Notice in verse 2: It tells us it can add LENGTH OF DAYS: Do you ever feel there are not enough hours in the day? I do, but when I’m living God’s way, there just seems to be so much more time available to us. It’s amazing this TRUTH, He’ll add hours to our day, we’ll HAVE more time.

I’m not boasting, but I get up extra early to be with the LORD in His Word, and the sacrifice of pillow-time, means I can add hours to my day. I do get tired half-way through the day, but I’ve always got tired half-way through the day 🙂 It’s not because I’m getting up to be in the Word with the LORD. Suddenly, you’ll find you can get so much more done with Jesus, when you spend time with Him. But you’ll only experience all these promises when you begin to be obedient to what He’s telling you as you read and study His Word. That leads me onto the second of God’s conditions for direction in life.

2) OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WILL:

Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

It’s so easy to miss out on God’s promises in verses 5 and 6 above, but we must remember the CONTEXT. Because a verse or two, taken out of context, become a pre-text or pretense. We’ll pretend the LORD is directing our path, we’ll fool ourselves that God is directing our path. But we must remember: Word First, TRUST second and Obedience third.

Learning NOT to DEPEND on your own understanding is so HARD. It goes against human logic, but yields much better results.

Turn AWAY from EVIL: It’s like saying NO to your flesh. We’re all tempted in many ways, but it’s when we finally say “NO” to our flesh that we’ll begin to see God’s POWER breaking through, but we can’t do it in our own strength. Turning away from EVIL is real repentance. Evil is anything that goes against God’s revealed will.

“He shall direct your paths” (v. 6, nkjv) is the promise, but the fulfillment of that promise is implied in our obedience to the Lord. We must trust Him with all our heart and obey Him in all our ways. That means total commitment to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). The word translated “trust” in verse 5 means “to lie helpless, face-down.” (i.e. to Prostrate oneself). It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general, or the way people often prostrated themselves before an visitation from an Angel from Heaven.

So we could say, “Lie face-down in the dirt before the LORD (Trust) and do not lean (depend) upon your own understanding.”

The danger, of course, is that we lean on our own understanding or experience and by doing so, we will miss God’s will and direction. I’ve done that so many times. We get PRESUMPTUOUS, because something has worked in the past we assume that it’s always going to work, but you can’t get God in a box, He’s not a genie that you rub a certain way, like Aladin’s Lamp, and He performs for you. No, God’s a real person, with feelings and desires. He’s revealed His strongest desire to us and that is that we LIVE in an ongoing relationship and dialogue with Himself.

What causes most problems in Marriage? Presumption, because we think we know what our partner wants. Instead of talking things through together we just assume that we know, but watch out, when you get it wrong, which I’ve done so many times in our 37 years of marriage and bear the scars. LOL. I’ve learned the hard way, both in marriage and with the LORD.

NOTE: We’re NOT ROBOTS: This warning doesn’t suggest the LORD’S chosen people turn off their brains or ignore their own inbuilt intelligence and common sense. It simply cautions us not to depend on our own worldly wisdom and experience or the wisdom and experience of others. God treats each one of us as individuals, what’s right for one person may not be right for everyone. God has a plan for you as an individual. Just because your friend jumped out of a plane, doesn’t mean God wants you to do it.  Abraham relied on his own wisdom and past experience when he went to Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) and so did Joshua when he attacked the little town of Ai (Josh. 7). When we become “wise in [our] own eyes” (Prov. 3:7), then we’re heading for trouble. We become presumptuous and run ahead of the LORD.

3) GIVING TO THE LORD

The third condition to getting God’s Direction (Prov 3:5-6) is that we Share God’s blessings (Prov 3:9-10)

Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)
9  Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

WOWzer! Look at these amazing promises: Barns filled with plenty; Vats bursting with wine… i.e. full bank accounts, more than enough to share with others.

Giving then, is the third condition we must meet if we want God to direct our paths.

You’ve heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as a FREE lunch”… Well it’s true in some ways with God. It’s going to be costly to see God’s direction, but be warned, you cannot PURCHASE God’s will or direction. It’s simply a loving and trusting response to God’s goodness towards you, but when you become like HIM: i.e. Generous! The floodgates of Heaven really are opened up to you.

In the Christian life, there’s no such thing as “spiritual” and “physical”, because we KNOW that everything comes from God and belongs to God.

When you come to Jesus EVERYTHING comes under His Kingdom reign.

In the Old Covenant Jews brought the Lord the firstlings of their flocks (Ex. 13:1-2) and the firstfruits of their fields (Lev. 23:9-14), and in this way they acknowledged His goodness, provision, grace and mercy and His Sovereignty. The New Testament parallel is seen in Matthew 6:33.

Read it in CONTEXT though;

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Be assured of this my friends, if we don’t faithfully give to the Lord, then we don’t really trust in the Lord. It took me years before I finally SAW THIS TRUTH in God’s Word. I was definitely one of the most sceptical givers in God’s Kingdom Family 🙂 I hated the thought of parting with my hard-earned cash and just giving it away. After all, I could easily spend it on family things or make my own life better. However, the LORD has shown me over many years of walking with Him, that it’s MUCH, MUCH better to be like He is: Generous and FREE with all that He’s given to me. The more I give, the more I receive. Not just in monetary return, but in blessings from Heaven.

If we don’t give to the LORD, then we’re NOT really TRUSTING in Him

Of course, our tithes and offerings aren’t “payment” for His blessings; rather, they’re evidence of our love, faith, obedience and trust in Him. He’s been prompting all of us to become like Himself since we started following Jesus. To be open-handed and generous, just like Jesus. To be open-hearted and kind, just like Jesus.

Christian industrialist R. G. LeTourneau used to say, “If you give because it pays, it won’t pay.”

So Christians don’t give to the LORD to get things out of Him, we give because it’s what He’s like. The closer we come to Jesus, the more like Jesus we become.

Giving is just a way of preparing our hearts for what God wants to say to us and do for us. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

4) God Disciplines The ONES He LOVES.

Our fourth responsibility is to submit to God’s Discipline (Prov. 3:11-12).

Responsibility = Response and Ability: He’ll give the ability once we decide in our hearts to respond.

God’s Discipline of His Chosen People is just a part of God’s plan to help His sons and daughters grow to be mature and godly (like Himself) in character (Heb. 12:1-11). God disciplines us, not as a judge punishes a criminal, but as a parent disciplines a child. Be assured that when the LORD disciplines you, He’s doing it because He LOVES YOU! He acts in love and His purpose is that we might become “partakers of His holiness” (Heb. 12:10). Sometimes He disciplines because we have rebelled and need to repent; other times He disciplines us to keep us from sinning and to prepare us for His special blessing. No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always disciplines us in love (Deut. 8:2-5).

One of my most bitter regrets as a parent are the times I’ve shouted at my kids in anger. I’ve not disciplined them as I should have done, I left it too long before telling them, then got too angry and lashed out with my tongue. Instead, I could have directed them with loving, gentle and kind discipline, like the LORD has done with me countless times. Even though we love our children, God loves all His chosen children even more than we do; so He disciplines those He loves. (read John 15: He is the Gardener who prunes).

We learn from our mistakes don’t we, I hope we do, because I know the LORD has changed my character so much from what it used to be. Some would say, “That’s just the mellowing of age”… I don’t think so, because, it’s when we REASON together with the LORD, He gently shows us our weaknesses and give us the grace and power to overcome them. He really does discipline the ones He loves.

Conclusion:

If you want to go God’s way, take Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart, but always bear in mind the context in which the verses come from and you’ll never go wrong in life. Fulfill all of God’s conditions for His direction;

1) Get into God’s Word: Know it and do it.

2) Obey God’s Word: Trust and Obey. There’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to TRUST and OBEY.

3) GIVE LIKE JESUS: Being generous and obedient in your giving. Not just 10%, it’s ALL His.

4) LOVE God’s Discipline: He’s just loving you like a good parent would. He’s your loving Heavenly Father.

When we do all that, then we can be completely assured that God will direct our paths. He’ll show or reveal the SECRETS of the KINGDOM.

Prayer: Lord, I can see so clearly now from Your Word that there are clear and simple conditions for blessings and success in Your Kingdom Family. Today I pray that you’ll help me to listen to Your Word, Obey what I know and submit to Your direction. Give me the will to obey and the Heart to become more like You. Amen.

Be blessed in following, loving and serving Jesus today,

Don.

 

Go in PEACE to LOVE and Serve The LORD

don't give in to FEAR, LOVE the Egyptian people, travel with Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 748: Egypt Air Crash.

Go in PEACE to LOVE and SERVE The LORD.

Trust IN the LORD.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Good morning my friends, the day after tragedy strikes is never really a good one, because we can all feel something for those who’ve lost loved ones. We try and put ourselves in their shoes, to think how we’d be feeling right now if someone precious to us was aboard that plane. When you see on the News mothers, husbands and wives waiting anxiously for any sign of hope, then all hopes are dashed. It’s a horrific tragedy. Today I’m asking the LORD to bring comfort, strength and hope into their hearts.

Asked if he could rule out terrorist involvement, the Egyptian premier told reporters: “We cannot exclude anything at this time or confirm anything. All the search operations must be concluded so we can know the cause.”

French President Francois Hollande also said the cause was unknown. “No hypothesis can be ruled out, nor can any be favoured over another.”

At this moment in time, we just don’t know what happened to the plane. Pray for miracles for those who anxiously await news.

One commentator has said, “It’s the end of Egypt’s Tourism industry”… I don’t think so. Egypt is such a special place in the hearts of millions of people all over the world, and no matter what the News says, there are countless millions of nice, ordinary, decent, loving, gentle and humble families living in Egypt. They’ll give you are warm welcome and extend the hand of friendship.

Pessimism is a general disposition to look on the dark side and to expect the worst in all things. It’s a kind of despair, disposition or temperament and our News reporters tend to dwell too much on this dark side.

Yes our heads might tell us, “It’s dangerous to go to Egypt”, but don’t listen to your head, listen to your heart. Someone said once, “A good rule for going through life is to keep the heart a little softer than the head. ” Be kind-hearted and true; LOVE covers over a multitude of sin.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

My son, Richard, travels to many places in the world, places most ordinary folks would never go; Jordan, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, Mekong River, Belize Jungles, etc… He loves it, he meets the ordinary folks, learns about their cuisine, brings back recipes and shares with his friends his experience of those peoples. We all know there are horrible people who want to do terrible things, but let us be the ones who’ll not be governed by FEAR.

I know from my own travels in the Royal Navy and holidays, that there are always kind-hearted folks in every culture, in fact they are the majority. In Northern Ireland at the height of the ‘troubles’, I went on an evangelistic mission. During that mission we met people from both the Catholic and Protestant communities, they were warm, welcoming, kind, generous and friendly.  So don’t be Pessimistic, don’t give into fear, trust in the LORD, let Him direct your paths and travel with His Heavenly Security.

Let’s pray for those who’ve suffered tragedy and lost loved ones, let’s pray for Egypt and for the PEACE and JUSTICE in that land, but let’s also determine in our hearts that we’ll never cut them off from our friendship and love. Egypt has been and always will be of historical interest to the world, it’s people are just like you and me, most of them, ordinary hard-working, decent folks.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

It’s my hope and prayer that you will all have an AWESOME weekend. Stay close to the Lord Jesus and let His peace rule in your hearts today. Amen.

Don.

 

After Pentecost What’s Next?

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

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

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

IMG_1488 IMG_1490 IMG_1491 IMG_1494

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

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

Jesus died upon the Cross for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Promise of the Holy Spirit is FOR ALL:

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

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

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

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

So What’s NEXT?

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

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

Who’s ON Your OIKOS List?

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

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

Don.

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

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

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

 

 

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 Atheist’s Nightmare

Atheist's Nightmare, Muslim Nightmare,

Daily Spirit & Word: 723: The Atheists’ Nightmare.

Is a Believer and Follower of Jesus, who knows the Truth and believes it enough to begin to share it.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

Last Wednesday evening we met an Atheist, he was one of the most intelligent and polite men I’ve met in a very long time. We have a little intelligence test, David went through all our trick questions and the Atheist got them ALL correct. There was no way we were going to fool this man. But it brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart. He loved debating.

On Sunday evening we attended a little session on putting on the Gospel Armour: You know the song, “Each Piece Put ON With Prayer”… i.e. we’re not to mechanically or ritualistically put the armour on. Ephesians 6:10-20.

We were reminded that our greatest BATTLE is not against flesh and blood: look what our battle is against: Whenever you open your mouth for Jesus there the battle rages. Once you decide in you heart “I’m going to share Jesus with this person, in this situation, right now” Then the missiles of the enemy begin to fly… but why? It’s because,  Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This DARK WORLD: the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world: These are the people empowered by SATAN: The battle is not against those people, but the SPIRIT and EVIL that’s empowering them. They don’t even know it, they are unaware of it, they are DARKENED in their understanding. Ephesians 4:18 and BLIND to their condition, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

AND: The Spiritual Forces of EVIL in the HEAVENLY REALMS:  i.e. Satan and all his demonic army.

We can have ‘nice’ debates with people, we could get into logical arguments, but in the end it’s the LIGHT of Jesus Christ they need, not to be won over by argument. I keep repeating this little phrase to myself when engaged in debate, “Win an argument and you loose a friend”… We’ve just taken time to build friendship with that man or woman (be it only for a few minutes), so why ruin that hard won friendship by winning an argument? Let him win, let her win, then move onto the Gospel. I’d much rather loose a debate and win a soul for Jesus Christ. WHY? Because they’ve been blinded by Satan. They’re darkened in their understanding (they just don’t KNOW they are in the darkness, they a also Blindly Unaware) so just give them some awesome, bright, shining light. Let them see again, we can SOFTEN any heart with Jesus POWER. And we can bring LIGHT of understanding to any soul.

Take them by the hand and lead them out of their dreadful darkness, guide them into the light, usher them into the presence of Jesus Christ. 

YBH: “Yes, but HOW?” There is POWER in Gospel Words.

How does an Ardent Atheist get faith? The same way anybody else gets faith: Faith comes by hearing God’s Word…

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

The message is heard through the WORD OF CHRIST. (THE WORD OF GOD).

AND: FAITH comes by hearing that message.

Sometimes it is almost physically observable when I see a person getting the LIGHT: When sharing the good news every week, we’ll observe the moment when the LIGHT goes on in a person’s soul. Suddenly they get it! I’ve been watching the physical reactions when we go through God’s LAW: A man suddenly puts his hand over his mouth. It’s like he’s got to stop trying to justify himself. A woman’s eyes well up with tears and she just goes silent for a few moments, then declares, “So we’re all sinners, we’re all doomed”… It’s such a wonderful moment when someone is brought into the light of understanding and knowing.

SEPARATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD.

They are not just DARKENED and BLINDED, they are SEPARATED from the life of God.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

They are also SEPARATED because of the ignorance in them, due to the hardening of their hearts.

So what does a HARDENED HEART need? It needs to be SOFTENED…

  • We got some dried mushrooms the other day, to be able to use them, we had to soak them for hours in water. It’s amazing watching those mushrooms go from dried up crisps and return to the fattened shape and form again.

A hardened heart must be marinated in the WATER of The Word of God: It takes time to allow the WORD to penetrate a hard heart. Sometimes as long as five minutes 🙂

I’ve heard some people say “My husband’s heart must be like granite (Granite has unyielding firmness, it’s impervious to water)” Granite can’t be penetrated by water that’s why so many people choose granite for worktops in their kitchens. However, no human heart is so hard that it cannot be penetrated with the WORD of God. It goes past the outer surface and penetrates right to the core of the soul.

My friends, it’s not that they have hearts that are too tough or hard, but it’s US (Believers and Followers of Jesus) who don’t have enough faith in the POWER of God’s Word to do it’s WORK. Just believe in the power of God’s Word. Accept that when you are sharing Jesus, He’s already beginning to draw that soul from darkness into His marvellous light. We are never working alone, the POWER of Jesus is working right with you the moment you open your mouth to share the Good News with someone, Jesus is beginning to work on their hearts.

KNOW THE TRUTH (Jesus) AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

It’s not just the Darkened, Blinded and Separated sinner who needs to know the TRUTH, but we Christians also need to BELIEVE and TRUST the TRUTH (Jesus). He’s with you! Do you believe and trust in that? I mean really believe it and trust it. If you begin to accept this truth, then I’m certain you are going to see many more of your friends, family, neighbours and workmates come to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s an Atheist’s nightmare when an Believer not only KNOWS the TRUTH, but BELIEVES him enough to share it.

Why is it a NIGHTMARE for them?

Because an Ardent Honest Atheist believes he knows there is NO GOD… He’s looked at all the available evidence and can’t find God. It’s not surprising to someone who knows God though, because we know they can’t see or know God for the simple reason they a BLIND and a blinded person cannot see. They are DARKENED in their understanding, because of their HARD HEARTS, so they cannot understand either. They are separated from the LIFE of God, so they are DEAD in their transgressions and sins.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Oh my friends, if Christians can grasp this TRUTH, they’re going to see so many souls SAVED by Jesus. Those Dehydrated Souls Need The Living Water of God’s Word.

So don’t get alarmed when you encounter an Atheist, get the compassion of Jesus and lead them into the light, let Jesus open their blinded eyes and soften their hardened hearts with the gentle word of the Saviour of the World. Like my dried mushrooms, plunge them into the WORD of God. Soak them in it and watch their understanding be expanded, watch the LIFE of God beginning to take shape and form in their WORD enlightened and softened souls. Amen!

NOTE: I was given this message by the LORD today. I believe there are many Christians who need to know the power that is in them.
So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ need the assurance and confidence to share Jesus. This world’s powers, infected by the Evil forces in the Heavenly realms, don’t want you to be sharing Jesus today. They hate it of course, that’s why a man, training to be a Social Worker, was thrown out of University because of his Christian beliefs, it seems you can’t be a Christian in Public office today in the UK. You can’t share your faith with a Muslim colleague either, a Nurse lost her job because she gave a booklet to a Muslim colleague and invited her to church. Oh my friends, the BATTLE is most definitely on, but don’t be SILENCED or feel threatened. Jesus will give you the words you need when you are dragged before the Magistrates. He will be with you encouraging you and strengthening you in the BATTLE. The souls of those in the darkness are too precious to worry about the personal consequences of leading them into the light. That’s why Jesus said, “Take up your Cross Daily and follow me”… We are to die to self and live for Him.

The Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the King”

In verse 2: I believe that worship song is prophetic of our Nation today.

“There’s a great darkness over this land
A deep darkness on the people
But a light is shining
That the dark can’t understand
The Light of the world King Jesus
Do you know do you know
Do you know do you know”

All they need is JUST ONE, just one touch from the KING, then they’ll KNOW too.
They’ll be set free from the deep darkness, blindness, separation from the life of God.
Just ONE TOUCH FROM THE KING: The Lord Jesus Christ.
His POWER is in YOU!

Be fully blessed today,
Don.
Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the KING”.