The Chains Fell Off.

Peter's Chains Fell Off

Daily Spirit & Word 573: The Chains Fell Off.

When you are feeling under pressure, when you know things are looking bleak, there is ONE who can and will help you my friends; you too can sit back and watch those chains fall off:

Acts 12:1-18 
1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
2  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
3  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
4  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 
5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 
6  The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
7  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 
8  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.
9  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 
11  Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.” 
12  When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
13  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door.
14  When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 
15  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 
16  But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
17  Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the brothers about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. 
18  In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.

 

Herod was the horrible puppet king, but he didn’t even think that Peter and the new believers were trusting another KING. Their KING was no ordinary king though, because Jesus has something written upon his robe and thigh:

Revelation 19:16  “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His robe? “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His thigh? KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

My friends, even when you’ve been handed a death sentence, when the bills are piling up, when your enemies are out to get you, when your family and friends don’t treat you the way you want, when you loose your job and you have a mortgage; Oh my friends, get a handle upon this, because when Peter was facing certain death, he fell asleep peacefully. He was behind iron gates, between soldier guards and in chains, but he fell asleep.

He was heavily guarded: He slept.

He was in prison: He slept.

He was in chains: He slept.

Peter was able to SLEEP, but why? Because He’d already died, He was now living for Jesus.

My brother remineded me today about his baptism, on the day he was baptised with my sister and the JOY of the New LIFE. He heard the congregation singing this song, “Up from the grave he arose”… WOWzer! You are alive after death in baptism.

My friends, when you got baptised into the Lord Jesus, you died to your old life and are now resting in the LORD to live a NEW LIFE. So no matter what the circumstances may be: You are living for The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Every earthly king will one day bow before HIM.

Every knee will bow and tongue confess HIM as LORD.

TRUST HIM and watch what happens to those problems as the CHAINS FALL OFF.

No prison can hold you:

No gates can keep you locked in:

No guards can keep you:

No chains can bind you:

You are FREE in Christ Jesus: Let those chains fall off, the gates open and guards struck dumb, walk free in Jesus Christ today.

LIVE today for the LORD. No matter what: You too can be a peace and rest in the Lord.

“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” Amen!

Don.

 

Dare You To Be A Disciple

Following Jesus means self-sacrifice and a cross

Daily Spirit & Word: 543: Dare You To Be A Disciple.

The Kingdom Power To Deny Self.

“Lord I need Your fullness to help me to live like Jesus. Come Holy Spirit” Amen.

Good morning my friends, I’m feeling a lot stronger today and my back is well on the way to recovery. Praise the LORD! Last night, just before we went out to share the Gospel on the streets of West Norwood in London, some brothers and sisters were praying for me and my back felt much better afterwards. Then we had the most amazing time witnessing on the streets about the Lord Jesus. It was weird last night, because we bumped into more Christians than normal, but what struck me is what they said, “We also share our faith regularly”… Praise the LORD! More and more followers of Jesus are waking up to the fact that the UK IS a Mission Field and the Gospel needs to be proclaimed afresh in every generation until the Lord comes back again.

In the reading below I’m excited about the fact that some of those who were standing in the crowd would SEE the KINGDOM of God before they died. My friends, you too can and will experience the Kingdom with Jesus.

Luke 9:23-27 (NLT)
23  Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
24  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
25  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
26  If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
27  I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”

It’s like Jesus is daring us to be His disciples, “Go on, I dare you to be My follower, if you’re really serious then you must….”

When you do deny self and take up the cross, then you’ll see the Kingdom. If that was true for those that Jesus was talking with, He must have meant something other than His second return: He did 🙂 He meant they would see God’s Kingdom Power break into their lives after His crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension. The Kingdom of God came when the Holy Spirit brought NEW LIFE and POWER to EVERY BELIEVER on the day of Pentecost. He came and filled everyone who had trusted in Jesus Christ’s death upon the Cross: God’s Kingdom definitely did come upon that generation, and it can come into your life too.

YBH? (Yes, But HOW?).

How can you see the KINGDOM today?

There are certain things that will accompany true faith in Jesus Christ.
The Passage in Luke 9:23-27 Above Make Those Things Crystal Clear:

Firstly: A Believer Will Deny SELF: (verse 23)
Jesus said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower (Disciple), you must turn from your selfish ways (Deny Self)…” NLT
or as the Amplified version tells us; Luke 9:23 23  And He said to all, “If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself]

What does it mean to deny self? Do you remember when Peter denied Jesus three times? Peter said, “I don’t even know the man”. Well what Jesus is telling us to do here is the same as that kind of denial to our selfishness, it’s like saying to your FLESH; “I don’t know you”… It happens when we’re tempted and tried to do or think or say something that wouldn’t be good for a follower of Jesus. It’s like me saying when I’m tempted to do something immoral, “I don’t know you Donald” … We need to deny ourselves every single day for Jesus.

Self Sacrifice: It’s like saying “NO” to your passions and desires that are contrary to your walk with Jesus. It really is a daily battle, that is why we need to come and be with the LORD Daily (Yesterday’s Teaching).

Denying Self: Is to ignore the very existence of oneself. It is to treat the self within each of us as if it did not exist. The normal human experience is to treat ourselves, to look after self interests, to think of self as if our self was far and away the most important thing in the world. The reality check is this; “It’s NOT all about you” or we need to say to ourselves, “It’s NOT all about me”.

Adverts & The Media: That’s why advertising works so well: Every advert appeals to SELF… “You need this” or “You Deserve This Product” or “You’ll LOOK great wearing this” or “Everyone will LOVE YOU when you get this” or “If you’ve got one of these everyone else will wish they were you”…. they know that appealing to the SELF sells stuff. No wonder Christianity is so unpopular these days, because Jesus is telling us to do the complete opposite of the world: YOU need to DIE to SELF. You need to say “NO” to yourself.

Now Jesus is declaring if “ANYONE wants to follow ME” If you are desiring to follow Jesus Christ today then you must forget that self exists.

Not only must we forget and deny SELF, we must KILL SELF. (Put it to DEATH).

Secondly: TAKE UP YOUR CROSS: Luke 9:23 (NIV)

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

It is a DAILY dying to self (see yesterday’s teaching about DAILY).

But what does it mean; “take up his cross daily”?

Jesus knew all about Crucifixion long before He went to the Cross to suffer and die for the sins of the world. As a young boy growing up in Israel, when Jesus was about seven years old, there was a massive rebellion four miles away from where he lived with his mum Mary, dad Joseph and brothers and sisters. There was a man called Judas who led a rebellion against Roman rule and raided the Royal Armoury at Sepphoris. It would have left a deep impression on the young boy Jesus, because afterwards thousands of those rebels were crucified and they lined the roads with the bodies upon Crosses, everyone in Galilee would be in no doubt who was in charge, the Romans. Jesus said to people “You must deny yourself and take up your Cross and follow me” In other words, you must die to self.

St Paul carries on with this same theme of self-denial in Romans:

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Someone has humorously said, “The problem with living-sacrifices is that they crawl off the altar”… Yes my friends, we do tend to shrink or crawl away from self-sacrifice, but that’s exactly what Jesus is talking about “Take UP your Cross” It really is a daily duty to follow Jesus and die to self.

Why would anyone in their right mind deny themselves like that? Why would you want to or be prepared to DIE for Jesus? Surely people who are prepared to die for a cause are FANATICS right? Look at the Jehadi Bombers who kill themselves, everybody thinks they are MAD.

Well, Jesus is not calling you to be a fanatical killer of others, but a killer of self’s passions and desires that lead you away from God. That’s why it is a daily battle, because the self is a living-sacrifice, it doesn’t die, it stays alive, so it must be killed and denied every single day.

Practical Application to LIFE:

Denying self: Means Saying “NO” to;

  • Bitching about others in the workplace.
  • Coveting what others have (Keeping up with the Smiths next door)
  • Greed: Having more than you need in life. Having more on your place. Having more money. Hoarding for self.
  • Rudeness: Saying not to being rude, telling rude stories, rude jokes. We all find some things funny, but it means taking no part in overt rudeness.
  • Drunkenness: We are permitted as Christians to drink, but we’re called by the LORD not to over-indulge in alcohol. You know how much is enough, so stop before you have too much. Say “No! I’ve had enough” Learn to stop.
  • Night Clubs: These are places that people flaunt themselves at one another. It’s OK to dance and sing and make merry, but we must be very careful how we conduct ourselves in the world.
  • Dress: How we dress oursleves as Christians is important too. Not to provoke anyone to sin in the way that we dress.. I’m not saying women or men should dress like Muslims, covering our whole bodies up, women even wearing a Burka to cover their faces. That’s just extreme! However, there are ways of dressing that can and will attract and arouse, making sexual overtones in the way we dress or look cannot be right for the follower of Jesus.
  • Movies, DVDs, Internet: Not watching movies that are Adult rated: They tend to have; Violence, Bad Language, Sexual Scenes. Any 18 rated movie or TV program will have these things in abundance today. Jesus doesn’t want you to use bad language and you should not be around or watch films that have it. Hollywood always has BLASPHEMY of the Lord Jesus in nearly every movie. How do you feel when you hear them saying “Jesus Christ” as a swear word? It makes me feel sick in the stomach. Notice Hollywood never says “Allah or Buddha or Ghandi etc” it’s always “Jesus Christ” that they blaspheme. Don’t give them your money my friends.
  • Money: Getting out of the habit of thinking that my money is my own for “My” life. “I’ve worked hard for it so I deserve to spend it on myself” NO! Everything you have is from God. He made the whole universe and He allows you to have a little in life. So a follower of Jesus will want to give generously to others and to God’s Kingdom work. Not keeping or hoarding what you have for yourself (Luke 9:24-25). If we try to keep our money, then we’re going to see it waste away, it’s rotting when it’s not working for the Kingdom.
  • WORK: We’re going to be working hard at our job, doing our best, but we’re not going to be climbing the ladder to success at the expense of others. A Christian will work and do their best, but they’ll be a pleasure to work with. You’ll be kind towards your colleagues and you’ll think how can I make this place a real success in the world. Christians will work to be an influence for good in the workplace.

Denying SELF is a REAL Sacrifice: But there is great reward awaiting, we’ll experience the KINGDOM today.

It’s like Jesus is daring us to be His followers; dare you to be a follower of Jesus Christ today 🙂

“DARE TO BE A DISCIPLE”

Let’s get our focus right today, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Trying to hang onto our independence will mean loosing out on the exciting and joyfilled experiencing His Kingdom today.

Denying SELF: Is jumping off the throne of your life and letting Jesus be the KING. It’s a decision every day to allow Jesus to rule your life as your King. Living your life every day for Jesus. To be able to DENY SELF and TAKE UP OUR CROSS every day, we’re going to need HELP. Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious and desires to enable us to LIVE like Him. He’s given you the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from death, He’s IN every born-again follower of Jesus.

Respond: Cry out to the Holy Spirit now and say; “Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, I can see that if I’m going to die to self and take up my cross every single day, then I need Your fullness to help me to live like Jesus, I invite you to come Holy Spirit, I’m open to what you want to do in my life today. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray” Amen.

Hope you all have an amazing and wonderful experience of the Lord as you LIVE for Jesus in the world today. Go on, Jesus is daring you to be a Disciple, a follower of Himself today.

Don.

Dare You To Be A Disciple.

 

Taste and SEE that the LORD IS Good

trusting Jesus instead of religion

Daily Spirit & Word, 534: Taste and See That The Lord Is Good.

Psalm 34:8 (NIV) “Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Have you ever been given something to drink and the person giving it says, “Go on taste it, you’ll see that it’s good”? If you are twenty or older then you’ll not take a person’s word for it, because you’ve heard that statement before, you’ve had bad experiences when someone’s told you “It tastes great” and you’ve tasted it and it’s been horrible, sometimes all you’ve wanted to do is spit it our of your mouth. However, like ‘real’ coffee, once you’ve tried it, you’ll never want to go back to instant coffee again. Or when someone gives you a cup of instant, you’ll say “Oh, thank you very much”, but all your instincts will be to spew it out of your mouth.

When the Bible encourages us to “Taste and See” it’s encouraging us to try the genuine article, the bee-knees of religions, because faith in the LORD is the only genuine faith on the Earth today. All other religions might taste ok for a while, but once you’ve TASTED the LORD, there’s no going back.

So many people have had bad or negative experiences of ‘Christianity’ or ‘religion’, so when we tell people; “Go on try Jesus” It’s no wonder they look at us sceptically. Because they’ve tried ‘religions’ before, they didn’t live up to expectations, they didn’t deliver, so why should this Jesus guy be any different?

Sceptical = Disbelieving, doubting, questioning, unbelieving.

“Why is Jesus different from ‘religion’?”

The Answer:

The answer is in the question; ‘they’ve tried ‘religion’, but Christianity is very different from every other faith on the planet, it’s not about ‘religion’ but about a person, the person of Jesus Christ. Once you’ve tasted the LORD there’s no going back. Why? Because Jesus is the only genuine faith. Following Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Submitting to Jesus as LORD (tasting) is the only way to discover that Christianity is TRUE to all it’s promises. It’s the only religion that cannot be tried before you buy. With Jesus it’s ALL of NOTHING.

You can try, as countless millions all over the world are doing right now, they’re trying the Christian ‘religion’ without coming to Jesus. Religion is empty, even the so called ‘Christian’ religion. That’s why it’s so difficult sometimes to bring people to the Saviour, they’ve tried being ‘religious’, those aspects of the Christian Faith: prayer, confession, belief, communion, baptism, church attendance and religious activities and found (as you rightly would) there’s nothing in it, it’s empty.

That’s because Jesus didn’t call us to a ‘religion’, He called us to Himself. He said, “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28-30).

McDonald’s Without A Burger:

It’s a bit like going to a McDonald’s Drive Through, and after ordering and paying for your burger, you drive to a nice viewpoint to enjoy your Happy Meal, only to discover that when you sink your teeth into your bun, the burger is missing. Everything else is there; the lettuce, the tomato, the gherkin, the mayo and the tomato sauce, but where’s the burger? My friends, that’s exactly what any ‘religion’ is like without the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s empty, it doesn’t taste good, it tastes horrible, it just doesn’t deliver. So no wonder people are twice as hard-hearted when we try and tell them about the Lord Jesus. They’ve tried the so called ‘christian’ religion before, what’s going to be different this time?

LOOK at the results of truly TASTING:

Our verse today contains two promises for those who come and taste the SAVIOUR: The LORD.

The First Promise: “Taste and SEE”. 

When we TASTE Jesus Christ our SIGHT is altered. We’ll actually SEE or KNOW.

What do you SEE? When you taste the LORD: Again go back to our verse and you’ll see that the LORD is “Good“.

He actually delivers upon this promise my friends. God really is GOOD and when we come to Jesus Christ first, before being religious or instead of being religious, then the Christian religion will begin make more sense. You’ll see if you taste the Lord Jesus first.

Until you come to Jesus Christ: You will be blind, you will not see, you will be in total spiritual darkness.  Jesus Christ is the LORD this passage is talking about. He’s the only one who can open your blind eyes and let you see.

Look at this passage from John’s Gospel below, and you’ll begin to see, but you will not see FULLY until you actually come; to trust the WORD, to receive and trust the LIGHT of the world the LORD Jesus:

John 1:1-5
 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was with God in the beginning.
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

What can we ‘SEE’ from the passage above? Jesus Christ is;

  • The WORD of God. (verse 1).
  • He is God (Verse 1)
  • He Created ALL THINGS (The Universe). (Verses 2&3).
  • He is the LIGHT of ALL LIFE. He gives ‘life’ to every creature (created thing). (Verse 4)
  • He wants to give NEW LIFE to mankind, but mankind is in DARKNESS (When you are in darkness you cannot see).

“OK, BUT How do we begin to SEE?”

Just read on a few verses in John and you’ll SEE my friends, our eyes are opened once we obey this next step of faith:

John 1:10-13 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.
11  He came to that which was his own (the Jewish people), but his own did not receive him.
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Are you beginning to see? The Promise of being able to SEE comes true when we taste (receive) the LORD Jesus Christ.

The Second Promise: “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him”. 

You’ll be so blessed by tasting and seeing that the LORD is good.

Blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

Many people will now be asking, OK what’s the difference between ‘religious’ activity or practice and this tasting? Being religious without first coming to Jesus really is like a McDonald’s without a burger in the bun.

  • It’s like having a fire in the winter and not lighting the fuel.
  • It’s like having a rocket without the rocket fuel.
  • It’s like getting an empty burger from McDonald’s.

So my friends, how do you taste the Lord? How do you see? How do you get blessed?

It’s the way we come to the Lord. Instead of being ‘religious’ following the practices of the Christian ‘religion’, we must come to the LORD Jesus Christ Himself first, then we’ll see, then we’ll know, then we’ll be blessed.

What did the first followers see when they trusted, followed and received Jesus Christ?

John 1:14 14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

My friends, you’ll see the GLORY (The Goodness) of the Lord.

Again this is Jesus’ own promise to you.

John 17:24-26 24  “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25  “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
26  I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Once you receive Jesus (John 1:12) then John 17:26 comes to fulfillment “that I myself may be in them”… Jesus is IN you forever, you’ll SEE, you’ll KNOW and you’ll BE blessed. Why? Because you’ll see the glory (goodness) of the LORD. John 1:14, John 17:24.

If you have tried ‘religion’ and found it empty.

If you have tried the Christian ‘religion’ and found it empty.

Then, It’s no wonder, because no ‘religion’ can ever enable you to see and know and be. You must come to Jesus Christ first and receive Him as the LORD of your life, then you see, then you’ll know the goodness of the LORD.

Can I encourage you today to come in repentance and receive Jesus Christ by faith today?

Once you do, you’ll SEE and KNOW and BE blessed.

Psalm 34:8 (NIV) “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

The Christian ‘religion’ is ALL about Jesus.

If you are ready to give up religion and trust Jesus instead click HERE for the Good NEWS.

You may also need to be Filled with the Holy Spirit, then you can click HERE. to discover the Spirit Filled Life.

Don.

 

You Are Called To Go On A Mission

Spreading the Gospel to All Nations

Daily Spirit & Word, 516: You Are Called To Go On A Mission.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 32. Matthew 28:19.

Good morning my friends. I’m back in my study with a lovely warm mug of coffee. You know or did I tell you yesterday that I love Sundays 😎  I felt so up-lifted by yesterday’s gathering. I shared with the fellowship my pains during the week and how I believe the Lord uses pain to sometimes enable us to pray for others more fervently. Well, as I encouraged people to come and share what Jesus was doing in their lives, they did; you know my friends, God is amazing! He’ll show up in our lives in the most unexpected ways. This meeting with Jesus, when He gives the Disciples the GREAT COMMISSION, was an amazing encounter too. Jesus gave them their marching orders, but they were to await the empowerment.

It’s like the General conveying to His troops the battle plan, but before they embark upon their mission, they’re going to require the BIG GUNS. Jesus didn’t send His Disciples out into the Battle without state or the art weapons or protective armour, to defeat the enemy and to protect ourselves in the fight. We’re coming to that later, but today we’re thinking about the Battle Plan.

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Israelites were God’s chosen people, they were just one Nation on the Earth, called by the LORD to come and worship Him. They were called to be a light to the Nations. However, when Jesus had fulfilled His Mission from the Father, the call was changed from being a one Nation family into a Universal call to all the peoples of the world. I’m reminded of Jesus’ Command almost every day, because there’s a church just up the road from where I live called; “The Church of the Nations”, and that truly is what every Christian is a member of, we’re a world-wide family, with a world-wide Mission. There’s another church further up the road called, “The World Wide Mission Fellowship”. We’re so blessed in London, there are literally hundreds or thousands of churches, gatherings of Christians of all flavours. Our own church is quite unique amongst over 30 Churches within a half-mile radius of St Luke’s West Norwood in London. Because, though they claim or call themselves ‘Church of the Nations and World-Wide Mission Fellowship or South American Fellowship’ they all predominantly appeal to Christians from the Nation of origin of the Lead Pastor: Brazillian, Nigerian, West Indian, etc. However, St Luke’s Church, though it doesn’t state it in the name, is made up of peoples from over 30 Nations around the world. On our Preaching and Leadership Team, we’ve got people from; West Indian, Nigerian, Chech Republic, English and Scottish (me). When we go out into the streets for Evangelism, we’re the same. London is a mix of people’s from every Nation in the world, they’ve come to work and settle here, so we truly do have a heart for the Lord’s call to this World Wide Mission.

So, Jesus commissioned the Disciples and every Christian to take the Gospel to everyone in every part of the world; for the vast majority of Christians that will mean sharing the Good News where you live; with your neighbours, family, friends, work-colleagues, School and College friends and any clubs or societies that you might belong to.

But HOW? How are we to obey His call to Mission.

Thankfully the Lord has shown us; First He said, “Go”, then once we’re off we’re told to “Make Disciples” then to “Baptize”  those who become disciples, then we’re to “Teach those new Disciples Obedience to the Commands of Jesus”.

  • Going: to All Nations.
  • Discipling: Everyone. (Making Disciples = Sharing the Good News of Jesus with a Demonstration of the Spirit’s Power to enable people to put their faith and trust in Christ alone).
  • Baptizing: In God’s Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Teaching Obedience: To the Commands / Teachings of Jesus (The Gospels and Epistles).
  • Presence of the Lord: God is with us for this Mission.

That tells is the Plan, what we are to do, but it doesn’t really tell us HOW to do it. Thankfully, the LORD has seen fit to inspire more than one Gospel writer and we get the HOW from others like Mark, John, the Book of Acts and the Epsitles or the New Testament.

The Other GREAT Commission: Mark 16:14-20.

Mark 16:14-20 14  Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Once we’ve been obedient to Jesus Command to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News” We’re NOT left to our own devices. Jesus will CONFIRM His Word with SINGS AND WONDERS.

We pick up from Paul, the Apostle, that this is exactly what happened. It’s the NORMAL experience of Christians (or is should be) that signs will accompany the proclamation of the Good News. Here’s what Paul said;

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
5  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

There we have it my friends, the HOW: Notice what Paul (The Holy Spirit) declared that it isn’t: NOT with WISE or PERSUASIVE word. We’re not to use the techniques of the world: Manipulation or Persuasion. We, those who’re being obedient to the LORD’S Commands to Go, are to depend upon something else: “A DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT’S POWER”.

The Bible tells us, that FAITH comes by Hearing the Word of God: Romans 10:10-17.  Faith comes alive when we proclaim God’s Word. That’s the FIRST DEMONSTRATION OF THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT: Bringing Faith Alive in those who Hear the Good News.

The FIRST DEMONSTRATION OF THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT: Bringing Faith Alive in those who Hear the Good News. 

You’ll have noticed if you’re reading Dave Smith’s little book, that I’ve deviated from what He’s teaching on Day 32 here, not because I disagree with his words, but to emphasise something different, something that I believe to be an even more important aspect. His booklet tends to dwell (IMHO) too much upon the HUMAN aspects; what we’re to do, but I want us to know and to dwell upon the facts that we’re NOT ALONE, we’re not just being obedient, it’s not just down to us my friends, Jesus is WITH US when we go, because most people are like Paul and all the GREAT MEN OF FAITH in the Bible: they’re feeling; WEAK, FEAR-FILLED and MUCH TREMBLING when they go out. I do too, but each time the LORD emboldens when we finally get out there and do it. When you go out in obedience in weakness, fear and much-trembling, you are in GREAT Company: Think about Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, Elijah: none of them thought they could do it and that is how we should be feeling too, because in our own strength, we can’t even win a single convert. If we did, they’d be depending upon us and not the LORD (As Paul revealed above). No my friends, when we go, we’re not to depend upon ourselves, our language, our technique, our training, our skills or our anything else; we’re to be totally dependent as Paul and the other apostles were in the book of acts, upon the Holy Spirit’s POWER. If we depend too much upon anything else, we’re not going to depend upon the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Himself is the MODEL of HOW to do it: Filled with the Spirit He performed miracles. The rest of the New Testament is an illustration of HOW to do it. The NORMAL Christian experience of fulfilling God’s Great Commission.

Yes we may need a little training, that’s for sure, but it should be training to DEPEND upon the SPIRIT, not theology, not bible knowledge (but we should be studying God’s Word) we’re to depend solely upon God’s Spirit who comes with us when we go out in obedience to Jesus commands. He accompanies and works with us to bring others to faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the HOW my friends. Read your Bible from Acts to Revelations and you’ll see that this is the NORMAL Christian method of fulfilling your call to Christ’s Mission to ALL NATIONS.

What is the Message we are called to deliver? The Good News! We’ll come onto what the Gospel is later 🙂

Today, think about the HOW: You are called to go on a mission: However, you are not called to depend or rely upon yourself, otherwise only a few would ever go, but you are called to be Depending upon God’s Spirit as you go.

Read through the book of ACTS in one sitting. It might take you a couple of hours. But I can guarantee that it will be better than sitting watching a film on the TV or going to the Cinema. I know we live in a generation that hates the discipline of reading, but it’s going to take commitment to be a follower of Jesus. We need more Christians who’re totally devoted to the LORD Jesus and His Mission rather than being entertained with worldly pleasures. To be honest, I find spending TIME in God’s word far more enjoyable than a good film anyway. You will too my friends. Get to it and get your head down into God’s Good BOOK: God’s Word, The Bible, Holy Scripture and read the book of Acts and you’ll see that it’s a DEMONSTRATION of the SPIRIT’S POWER from start to finish, this is to be the NORMAL Christian experience.

As you are obedient, you’ll discover too, that it’s no ordinary Mission that you are being sent on. These things that we read in the book of Acts of the Holy Spirit are happening today; I encourage you to read what happened to Rosa, they are happening every day all over the world as Christians follow Jesus. But do try and take Jesus at His WORD and share the Gospel as best you know how. He’ll be with you and in you as you do.

God bless for another GREAT week with Jesus,

Don.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

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Note: Tomorrow we’re going to dwell upon Baptism. But this ‘Making Disciple’ ‘Taking the Good News Out’ is not finished with yet: The 40 Days With Jesus Series doesn’t quite focus enough on “What is the Gospel Message” we’re to deliver for Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 32: You Are Called To A Mission.

 

 

 

 

Two Types of Faith

Daily Spirit & Word, 505: Two Types of Faith.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 21: Two Types of Faith. John 20:26-29.

Good morning my friends, we saw yesterday how Thomas had sincere doubts about Jesus being resurrected from the dead and how he made the declaration, “Unless I see the nail-marks, I refuse to believe” However, Thomas was granted his desire just a week later. You’ll notice that there are generally two types of faith: one that needs to see or know before it will believe. This is almost like Scientific Proof Type of Faith. Even today people will say to us as we share Jesus on the streets, “Show me God and then I’ll believe”… Another way this type of faith is expressed is, “When God grants me all my wishes, then I’ll believe in Him”… I can’t tell you how many people have said that to me.

What they’re really saying is, “If I can’t see it, I won’t believe it” or “I won’t believe until I see”. 

Then there is the Biblical Type of Faith: That believes God without being able to see any evidence. However, even Biblical Faith is not merely Blind Faith. We believe because of something. There is a reason we choose to take the step of faith and put our trust in God and His faithfulness.

When we look at faith it’s almost as if it’s something we have to muster up within ourselves, but it’s not, because faith is a gift that needs to be received. God gives faith and once we’ve receive the gift of faith, it’s then that it needs to be put to use or exercised. Let’s read and see how Thomas used the gift of faith that the LORD gave to Him.

John 20:26-29 26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
27  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We simply don’t know if Thomas reached out and touched Jesus crucifixion wounds, personally I don’t think that he did, because of what Jesus said to Thomas after his declaration “My Lord and my God”. One of the best and clearest claims that Christians have for the Divinity of Jesus Christ, Jesus is God. What did Jesus say to Thomas? “Because you have seen me, you have believed” Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Because you touched My wounds, you have believed.” That’s why I think Thomas didn’t actually need to touch those wounds.

We’ve probably all made a Thomas kind of declaration, only to eat humble pie later. However, as I said, Thomas made one of the strongest declarations of faith in the whole Bible; Upon seeing Jesus, Thomas knew Jesus was both LORD and God. WOWzer! That’s the revelation that every single person needs to get as well. Jesus said it like this, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Yes my friends, that you and me. We can’t see Jesus but we believe (if you believe). We don’t believe becuase we’ve seen Jesus, we believe because we’ve become convinced and convicted of our sins.

Personally, I knew Jesus was alive, I believed in Jesus for a few weeks before I eventually put my trust in Him as my Lord and my Saviour. But my knowledge that Jesus was real, was alive and was God came because I was attending church. I’d heard sermons and it was the evidence of the people of God, how their lives were different from mine. It was quite a long, slow process of my journey to eventual trust in Jesus, almost three months, but by the end of that time I KNEW who it was and why it was that I was turning to Him in faith and repentance.

That’s why one of my favourite verses in the Bible is  Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

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

Faith come by HEARING: So many times Jesus used the phrase, “Let him who has ears to hear”  i.e. “Let him who’s been given the gift of faith, exercise that gift and put their trust in God”. Why? Because FAITH comes by HEARING.

He also said, that there would be many who’d be constantly HEARING, but never perceiving… We’ve got Churches full of people who hear God’s Word, who hear the Gospel many, many times, but for some reason don’t come to the point where they put their FAITH AND TRUST in the Lord. I don’t know why that is. It’s one of the greatest frustrations of those who’ve actually seen the light, heard the good news and responded. We’re dumbfounded sometimes why other can’t see it. Just the other day a lady said to me, “Why can’t they see? Why are they coming to church and settling for a mere form of Christianity without the power”. I said there are many reasons for it; first we must remember that faith is a gift that God gives. It comes in response to His call. He calls us by His Word. That’s what happened to Abraham when he exercised Biblical Faith. He trusted God’s Word and it was credited to him as righteousness.

So my friends, when we hear God’s Word, Faith comes to us, but it’s when we exercise that faith or use it to trust in God that it becomes effectual.

There are people who’ve been given this gift and don’t use it. It’s like believing that a chair can hold your weight, but instead of sitting on the chair you choose to sit on the floor instead. That like having Faith in Jesus, but not putting your trust in Him for your Salvation” So saying “Oh yes I’ve got faith” is not enough, we must use the gift of faith the Lord has given to us, we must turn in repentance and actually use it to TRUST IN JESUS. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved”

Romans 13:11-14 11  And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
12  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.
13  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
14  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

How do we put our faith to work? How do we use the gift of faith to trust in Jesus? We do it by RECEIVING Jesus as Lord and Saviour. John 1:12.

John 1:12 (NIV) “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God …”

Once you’ve exercised that Kind of faith, the Biblical type of faith, then you will be SAVED.

Once Thomas had seen Jesus, at that moment his doubts vanished and he expressed the strongest faith, “My LORD, My God” Have you gotten to the point in your life where you don’t just believe it, but you KNOW it, that Jesus is YOUR LORD and YOUR GOD?

Conclusion: There are two types of faith: One is the physical proof type of faith, i.e. I need to see it first before I’ll believe. And there’s Biblical faith; Which is believing faith exercised by trusting in Jesus and His promises. Christian life is a walk of that kind of faith, constantly putting our trust in God’s promises, but once we do, we’re given amazing revelations and great joy.

Points to Ponder:

  • Think about it and ask yourself, “Were Thomas’ doubts justified?” and “Are any doubts justified?”
  • If someone asked you today, “How can you believe in a God you cannot see?” What would your response be? How do you know that you know Jesus?
  • Are you filled with the “Inexpressible and glorious joy” because you’ve trusted in Jesus? If not can I encourage you, don’t stop at saying “I believe in Jesus, I have faith”, but go the whole hog, go the whole distance and put that fiath to work and TRUST in Jesus by receiving Him as Lord. It’s an act of faith that will save you my friends, not a simple belief. Remember, the Demons believe, but they tremble. Everyone who’s not trusted in Jesus will also tremble before Him, if they’ve not trust in Him before the Judgement day comes.
  • Is there any was today that you need to hear Jesus words that He spoke to Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe”?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you so much for the gift of faith that You have given to me, and the fact that You helped me to use it to receive You as my Lord and Saviour; by turning from my sin in repentance, putting my faith in your death upon the cross for me and receiving You as my Lord and Saviour. Help me today to reach out to those who may know about You, but have yet to take that step of faith, those who’ve not yet received you as Lord. Fill me with Your LOVE and Compassion for them. Amen.

What a wonderful evening of prayer we had last night in church. We were dancing and proclaiming the Lord as KING of Kings and LORD of Lord’s as we prayed for the upcoming election. We prayed that the Lord would bless every future Member of Parliament with the gift of FAITH. Now I’m praying today, they won’t just have the gift of faith, but that they’ll use the gift of faith that God gives to them and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their King. Amen!

Have an amazing day with Jesus my friends. 

Don.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

Two Types of Faith: Seeing Faith and Believing Faith.
Two Types of Faith: Seeing Faith and Believing Faith.

Day 21: Two Types of Faith.

Love One Another

Love Like Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 484: Love One Another.

It’s our LOVE for one another that is one of the tests we can use to discover if we’ve passed from death to life. In other words, to know if we’ve been born of God’s Holy Spirit and are true followers of Jesus Christ, if we’re living in obedience to His commands to LOVE Him first and LOVE one another.

Good morning my friends. Don’t you just LOVE Sundays? I do because I can gather with brothers and sisters in my eternal family and we can worship our Lord Jesus Christ together.

Yesterday I took my grandchildren Aminata and Leila to Bockett’s Farm Park in Surrey, what a great day out it was. They had fun on the tractors, fed the little lambs and the sheep and goats and petted the rabbits and horses. There was pig racing and castles to explore. Then they enjoyed the awesome children’s play areas and we all sat down for some sandwiches that my wife had prepared for us.

When I paid for entrance to Bockett’s Farm they gave us a yellow wrist-band, this shows that we’re paid up and allowed on all the rides and can enjoy the whole of Bockett’s Farm. WOWzer! What a gift of a sermon Illustration: Imagine if God gave every single one of us an Yellow Bracelet to show that we’re Paid Up Members of His Kingdom Family? And we can have access to all the rights of the Children of God in the Kingdom? It would be easy for anyone to recognise that we belong to the LORD.

Well, we do have a kind of wrist-band and He’s revealing it today: It’s Called LOVE.

1 John 3:11-24
11  This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13  Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
19  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20  whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22  and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

The Steps to Faith and Trust In Jesus:

When you come to faith in Jesus Christ: It involves definite steps: Those steps can sometimes be instant and for others a much longer journey.

The Steps to Faith and Trust in Jesus Are:

1) An awareness of our NEED of a SAVIOUR: The Holy Spirit draws us to God the Father and Faith in Jesus Christ, by first producing a hunger for Righteousness: The NEED to be right with God.

2) The Holy Spirit makes us aware that we’re NOT Righteous in ourselves, because of our Sin. He convicts the world of guilt… That’s one of His functions as God The Holy Spirit. It’s His task from Jesus and the Father. (This is the process that can either be instant or can take some time, because people confuse Religious Activity with Righteousness. They get involved with ‘church’ and begin to do the things that real believers do, thinking they are saved because of it.)

3) The Gospel Shows us God’s Solution for Righteousness: That He sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross in our place to make us right with God: Righteousness Satisfied: We’re RIGHTEOUS when we’re in Christ.

4) We’re convicted and moved to REPENT of our sins and put our faith and trust in God’s revealed solution to our righteousness problem. We then comply with the Spirit’s call and respond to Jesus invitation to RECEIVE Him as both LORD and Saviour.

5) We’re SAVED: We begin a New Life in Jesus Christ: He gives us New Life by sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts and bringing about the New Birth: We’re born again, Regenerated, Renewed by the Holy Spirit. (The Washing of Rebirth)

6) When the Holy Spirit comes into our life: Some things happens to us:

  1. a) We no longer view the Commandmentsas a threat: i.e. “You must do this” “You must not do that”, but as promises; “You will not want to tell lies, steal or lust” “You will want to Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and Love your neighbour as yourself”.
  2. b) Those changes come as we’re filled with God’s LOVE by the Spirit He gives us. (Verse 24).
  3. c) The Holy Spirit Begins to Transform Us: Sanctification: Into the Likeness of Christ: Producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. That’s what Jesus was like and is like today. That’s what we’re being transformed into: The Likeness of Christ.
  4. d) The Holy Spirit Gifts: Tongues, Word’s of Knowledge, Healing, Discernment, Administration, Prophesy, Service, Hospitality, LOVE. The Greatest Gift Being LOVE.

Death To LIFE: Verse 14.

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

So we can know today if we’ve passed from death to life (Verse 14) if we LOVE our brothers. i.e. Our neighbours, our fellow Christians, our workmates, our own family members. If we’ve got hatred in our hearts instead of LOVE, then we’ve NOT been born again by God’s Holy Spirit (Verse 24). Though we may want or even demand to be viewed as Christians because of everything else we’ve done; our religious devotion, our church activity, our charitable acts, etc, etc, but if we don’t LOVE others all these things are like a Clanging (Very Loud: Cymball). 1 Corinthians 13.

Cain Vs Christ.

Cain and Jesus are examples of the extremes between hating and loving.

Let’s Compare and Contrast: Cain and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cain: 1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.

Jesus: 1 John 3:16 16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Cain TOOK LIFE:
Jesus GIVES LIFE.

What was their MOTIVATION?

Cain: Angry and Jealous and Bitter: Because God accepted Able’s offering.

Jesus: Love: Love motivated Jesus to offer His life. 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16.

How Can we KNOW if we are LOVING our Brothers and Sisters or NOT?

Well, our reading gives some indication: 1 John 3:16-18. (This is HOW we KNOW).
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (Are we laying down our lives for others? Self-Sacrifice: Greed = wanting the biggest slice, more money than others, better houses than others. Avarice, The need to have so much that you can dominate others. The need to win arguments???)
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (How can the LOVE of God be in us if we don’t respond to need? Some people ask us when we’re out sharing Jesus, “How can there be a God of Love when He allows so much suffering of innocent people; perhaps God allows this suffering to show his love through the Saints He’s called into His family: I.e. God has no hands but our hands, He has no feet but our feet, He has no mouth but the Christian’s mouth in this world…)
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (God wants us to DEMONSTRATE that we’re actually LIVING IN OBEDIENCE to the Commandments of Jesus Christ).

Let’s look at that great chapter on LOVE:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(WOWzer! You’d think that a person who did all these things was really good, loving and kind, wouldn’t you? But the Bible tells us that even though we are doing these things, we can do them in a LOVELESS WAY.).
Now let’s continue in Corinthians 13:
4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Respond: 

My friends, what can you do this week to show that you have passed from DEATH to LIFE?

How can you love each other more?

Examples: How can you help the homeless? How can you help the widow, the single parent, the refugee, the alien and stranger, the lonely, the depressed, those who are suffering, the poor, the weak, the strong, the rich, the proud, etc… How will you help?

  • First: Don’t be overwhelmed: That’s what stops a lot of Christians from doing what they know they should do.
  • Second: Don’t be afraid: Fear can cripple our LOVE. It’s actions speak louder than words.
  • ThirdTrust: Trust again in Jesus and receive His LOVE into your own heart. Know that He really loves you and then be filled afresh with His LOVE. Ask for His Divine Help and Power to do what you know you should.

Be FULL of LOVE and Act in LOVE towards EVERYONE.

Conclusion: 

My friends, The WHOLE of God’s WORD is filled with this awesome message: God IS LOVE. John 3:16, Romans 13:8, John 13:34-35, 1 John 3.

Those who say they LOVE God will PROVE their love for Him by how they act towards others in the world.

We won’t just SAY we love others, but we’ll actually feel it, we’ll want to lay down our lives for others, that’s the fullness of LOVE, that’s why God has said it in so many different ways in His Word.

The Greatest Gift of the Holy Spirit, the Greatest Gift that God can and will give us is LOVE.

This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH to LIFE.

We’ll show it by our ACTIONS  and ATTITUDES towards one another.  We’ll actively LOVE One Another.

My friends, is there a want of love in your heart today? This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH (God’s curse upon a sinful person is Death for sin) to LIFE (New Life comes when we REPENT and TRUST God’s SAVIOUR: Jesus Christ).

Then you can know if you’re truly Born of God’s Spirit.

If you have got the Spirit of God and you are less loving than you should be; REPENT and receive and be filled with His Holy Spirit afresh today.

May the LORD bless this reading and insight into His Word Today. Amen!

I’m praying for everyone who says they really love Jesus today, and those who truly want to follow Him every single day, that we’ll know the wrist-band of LOVE. We’ll wear it with pride and we’ll get more love into our hearts when we become aware that we’re not being as loving as we should be. Let us LOVE One Another. Amen!

 

 

At The Cross, At The Cross

At The Cross, At The Cross of Jesus Christ.

Daily Spirit & Word, 475: At The Cross, At The CROSS.

Now, I AM Happy, All The Day. Every Day.

Jesus knew the Cross was getting nearer, and as it weighed upon His precious soul, so His message of the Kingdom grew more intense. The heart’s desire of the Lord of life is that, not just the Nation of Israel be turned in repentance back to their God, but the whole world come to know the offer of Salvation. The Nations will put their hope in Jesus.

 Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 12:18-21  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19  He will not quarrel or cry out; no-one will hear his voice in the streets. 20  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21  In his name the nations will put their hope.”

These two passages above show us a definite full-stop, a switch in the message Jesus is giving. Up to this point the Lord Jesus and all God’s messengers had been teaching; “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Having presented His CV as the Messiah and been rejected by the majority of religious leadership of the Nation. These cities which have been mentioned in chapter 11 of Matthew, turned their backs on Him, and so had Jerusalem. Now the Lord turns His back upon the nation of Israel, no longer presenting to them the Kingdom. He is on His way to the cross, and His invitation is to the individual and to the whole world. Listen to Jesus crying out:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

This language is in stark contrast to what Jesus had been proclaiming in the rest of this chapter. And from that point on Jesus is headed for the Cross and instead of focusing upon the Nation, he’s revealing the Kingdom of God to the individual and to the world.

My friends, it’s really windy out this morning, I love it, but I had to hang onto my hat it’s just so strong. When we come into the warm from such a blustery storm, it’s amazing how warm the house seems, how calm when you can’t hear the raging of the wind.

The change in Jesus message is just like that; It is like coming out of a winter blizzard into the warmth of a spring day. Just like passing from a raging storm into a sea of calm. It’s like going from the darkness of night, into brightness of daylight. This is the same message from Jesus, but presented in a radical new way; He’d switched from a National perspective to a new message for the Individual. He changes from speaking to everyone in the Nation of Israel to EVERYONE in the WORLD. It is no longer the national announcement about a Messianic Kingdom but a personal invitation for everybody to find the much needed “rest” of Salvation.

When Jesus speaks of being “heavy laden,” He is referring to the individual being burdened with sin. “I will give you rest” Jesus is the one who will enable you to find rest from your struggle to be good.

This same idea and focus is used by Isaiah and the Psalmist:

Isaiah 1:4 (NLT) “Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.”

Look back at chapter 11 of Matthew and you’ll see Jesus crying out to those Cities where He’d performed Miracles and they’d not REPENTED,  they’d not received the Message of the Kingdom.

Psalm 38:4 (NLT) “My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.”

So when Jesus is crying out to everyone, come to ME ALL you who are weary of carrying your load of sin and I will give you rest from your struggle to try and be good, I will lift your heavy burden of sin.

My friends, sin is way too heavy a burden for you to keep carrying all your life. When you try and lift things that are too heavy for you, you can give yourself a hernia, and trying to live righteously without coming first to Jesus Christ to have the burden lifted is the exact same, you’ll really get a spiritual hernia if you try to carry your load of sin yourself.

The only place in this world to put that heavy unbearable burden of sin is at the Cross of Jesus Christ. When He died there, He bore your sin and took it away from you onto Himself. Now He invites you individually and the whole world to come individually  bringing your burdens of sin to Him. Jesus can forgive you because on the cross He bore the burden of sin for you and for everyone else in the world.

 But we must respond to Jesus Invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” This is referring to the Salvation of the sinner through Jesus Christ. But the next phrase of Jesus, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” is referring to the practical sanctification of the believer.

Oh WOWzer! I’ve just come back into the study after a short break from writing this, and I’ve seen the LIGHT. What a glorious sunrise, great colours in the sky and clouds. The storm is still raging, but the sky is full of light. The LORD spoke to me, “That’s what it’s like for those who follow me, there is a storm still raging, but there’s more light than they can imagine for their souls”.

Jesus REST

There is a REST that Jesus gives, and it is the rest of Redemption and Salvation from the heavy burden of sin.

There is also a REST which the Believer Experiences, and it comes through; conversion, commitment and consecration of our lives to Jesus Christ. You don’t have to struggle to be Holy any more, because Jesus, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, will enable you, but your part is to stay close to the vine, remain in Christ, to remain committed to living for Jesus, to be willing to submit to His burden of obedience to His commands. Remember what Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light”.  Yes you will probably fall from time to time, but Jesus transforms your heart’s desires. Once He’s lifted your heavy load of sin from your shoulders and carried them to the Cross for you, you will not have to struggle ever again when you are in Him and He is in you.

 The VAST Majority Are NOT burdened with sin:

We go out every week and share the Gospel with people on the streets, the vast majority are NOT burdened by their sins, they don’t care, they love sin and don’t want to hear about it. They’re happy to be without church, Jesus or religion. They’ll happily declare and some quite loudly, “I’m NOT religious”, what they’re saying is, “I don’t need someone telling me how to live.” and “I don’t want a God in the sky, who’s trying to control my life”… That’s why they need to hear the LAW of God before we share the GRACE of the Cross of Christ.

 It’s Un-regenerate believers in Jesus who are burdened with sin:

It’s my experience that those who are burdened with sin are those who believe in Jesus, but have not yet been converted, regenerated or born again of God’s Holy Spirit.

Yes they believe all the tenets of the Christian faith, they’ll willingly ascent to the creeds, but it’s all head knowledge, because they’ve not got to the point of letting go of their burden of sin and receiving Jesus as their Lord. It’s a simple transaction, but so many have not taken that step of faith.

How have they come so far and a yet so far away?

Because they may have responded to a ‘false’ gospel. One that says “Simply Believe in Jesus and you are a Christian.” Without REPENTANCE and without RECEIVING Jesus Christ as LORD, we’re still in our sins no matter how much we believe in Him.

They’ll come in with their burden of sin, they’ll say confession in church, recite the creed and even receive Holy Communion, then they’ll walk out with their burden of sin still on their back. They are still trying with all their own strength to be good enough. It’s those un-regenerate believers in Jesus who’ve not been converted my friends, they are the ones who feel the burden of sin. They are like the Nation of Israel who had ‘religion’, but who didn’t know the Saviour and rejected the Messiah.

We must preach, preach and preach again CONVERSION: IT’S the GOSPEL that leads sinners to repent of their sins and trust the Saviour. It’s the Holy Spirit who works on their hearts to enable them to feel the heavy load of sin, and it’s the law that leads people to an awareness of their need of a Saviour. However, until they come to Jesus and finally put their trust in Him for their Salvation, turning away from sin in repentance and from their own efforts to be good enough, realising that they can’t do a thing to shift the heavy load, they’ll finally dump their burden of sin at the cross. At the Cross, At THE CROSS.

I love that old hymn: At the Cross, at the Cross… but we often miss out the most powerful first verse these days and just begin with the chorus, we’re happy to think of the cross, but not the conversion from sin that’s needed. Isaac Watts who wrote the hymn, knew what he needed to do to have the burden of sin lifted by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Alas! and did my Savior bleed

And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Refrain:
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do.

Refrain;

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Author: Isaac Watts (The Scientist and Inventor of the Steam Engine).

My heart’s plea and the LORD’S today, is that you, you who are reading this, you who may believe in Jesus, but are still burdened with sin, will come and be converted, changed, transformed and translated from darkness into the glorious light. Your burden will be lifted once you trust the Saviour and take Him as your Lord.

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I shared on Saturday at the Wedding in St Luke’s how people believe that Jesus died for them, but the vast majority of those who believe this, have NEVER been born of God’s Spirit, because they’ve NOT Repented, Trusted and Recieved The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. All the right belief in the world will count for nothing when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ and He says, “Depart from me, I never knew you”…

Matthew 7:21-23 21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

My friends, do you know Christ? Does Christ know you? Do you know Him as your LORD? Is Jesus Christ your Saviour? Come to the Cross of Christ and let Jesus remove your burden of sin, of guilt and of shame, then you’ll be able to enjoy the Son’s Light and “BE HAPPY ALL THE DAY”.

AT THE CROSS, AT THE CROSS.

You believe that Jesus died for you, good and so you should, but Satan also knows this, but he’s not turned in repentance, he’s still a rebel against the cause of Christ. You must believe and repent and trust and take Jesus as your Saviour. Believe, Repent, Receive.

Stay blessed and keep close to Jesus today.

Don.

 

A Simple Prayer:

  • Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you died upon the Cross for my sins.
  • I know that I’ve broken your Holy Law revealed in the Commandments, that you died there so that my heavy burden of sin could be lifted from me and transferred onto You.
  • I turn now from all sin in my life and trust in Your amazing grace and ask for Your forgiveness.
  • I receive You, Lord Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
  • I believe that You will send the Holy Spirit and give me new birth, new life and everlasting life.
  • Please help me now Lord Jesus to live from now on for You and I want to serve in Your Kingdom.
  • Help me to find fellowship with other Christians.
  • I’m going to read and feed upon Your Word every day. Please open up the pages of the Bible by Your Spirit Lord, so that I can understand and apply them to my own life.
  • In your most blessed and Holy Name I pray, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer, let us know by leaving a message here or on our Facebook Page, we’d love to be praying for you. It’s good that Christians or those who think they are Christians, re-visit this kind of prayer regularly, to remind ourselves of our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and His commitment to us. Read John’s Gospel today.

At The Cross, At The Cross.

 

Day 6: Saying Thank You.

Day 6: Saying Thank You.

Day 6 of 40 Acts of Generosity. 40 Acts Together.

 

It was wonderful saying goodbye to my grandchildren this morning, they took the time to come and find me and say, “Thank you Papa for the lovely breakfast.” Little Leila also said, “Thank you Jesus for the Boiled Eggs”… She’s only four and puts a smile on my heart.

There’s nothing quite like a heartfelt and sincere “Thank You”. We all get those warm-fuzzies when people appreciate what we’ve done for them.

My friends, Don’t forget to say thank you today to everyone who does something for you. My wife travels to work by bus and every time she gets off she shouts out to the driver, “Thank you Driver”. One day it was pouring down with rain and she was quite a distance away from the Bus Stop, but the Driver recognised her and stopped the bus. That’s unheard of in London, they don’t normally stop the bus between stops to let people on. Julie was so thankful and showed her appreciation, she could have been soaked and would have had to wait ages for another bus to come along.

Being thankful brings God’s blessings into your life.

Be Generous, even if those around you don’t appreciated it. SAY “Thank you” as often as you can.

Have an awesome day and thank you for taking time to read this.

Don.

More Ways to SAY “Thank YOU!” today.

Back to Beginning of our Lent Focus. 40 Acts Together: 40 Acts of Generosity.

Do Lent Generously Surprise
Do Lent Generously
Surprise

 

 

 

 

 

431: True Faith Manifests Itself in Obedience and Trust.

431 True Faith in Action

 

 

Daily Spirit & Word, 431: What is TRUE faith?

True Faith is Made Manifest Through Your Actions and Trust in the LORD.

Good morning everyone. What a night of Street Evangelism we had yesterday; so many different conversations with people who don’t yet know the Lord Jesus. Some of them knew about Jesus, but we didn’t meet anyone who’d trusted in Him as Saviour. We met a Philosopher who’d reached the point of total cynicism and was amazed by the lack of cynicism in others. He viewed cynicism as the only credible viewpoint. It was amazing we engaged in gentle banter and debate, but when my friends Dave began to open up God’s Law with the man, it was amazing to watch his mouth stop protesting. We observed the promise of the Lord at work and it was wonderful. Romans 3:19  “Now we know that whatever the law (God’s Commandments) says, it says to those who are under the law (Everyone who’s yet to submit to Christ as Lord), so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” When we share God’s Law, the Conscience reveals the truth, it’s awakened and begins to close the mouth of self-justification, of pride in the face of the LORD. That happened as we spoke with the Philosopher last night. And that was just one of our conversations. My friends, if you want to see that your God is real, alive and powerful, then just go out and share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know Christ as LORD.
In today’s reading in Daniel Chapter 3, we see that a Proud and Powerful King’s boasting, viewing himself as a god, will be moved to rage and anger.
Daniel 3:13-18 13  Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king,
14  and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?
15  Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
17  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
18  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the three young Jewish men could have compromised with King and defended their disobedience to the LORD God’s Commands by arguing, “Everybody else is doing it, so why shouldn’t we?” or “Our Position of Privilege and access to the King demands that we obey his decrees,” That was the same excuse some of the German Guards of the Concentration camps during world war two gave; “We were only doing our duty.” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could have argued, “We’ll bow our knees but we won’t bow our hearts.” They might have said, “We can do our people even more good by being respected in the king’s service, than by being ashes in the king’s furnace.” But true faith in the LORD doesn’t look for ways out of trouble; it simply trusts and obeys God and knows that He will do what is best for us no matter what the outcome may be. True Faith rests on obedience to God’s commands and faithful hope in His eternal promises, not on arguments, ways of avoiding responsibility to obey and self-righteous explanations of why we didn’t do it.
The Great King Nebuchadnezzar, who’d conquered nations and built up the Great Empire Babylon, became furious. Why? Well my friends, it was because he couldn’t subdue or conquer the faith of these three young Jewish men whom he held captive for over three years, tried to indoctrinate them and turn them to Babylonian ways of thinking and behaving, but their faith and trust in their own God, the LORD God Almighty, was still well and truly alive and kicking, even in the face of imminent death in a fiery furnace.
The King’s Threat: “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
The Jewish Men’s response.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Did you notice that, “Even if He does not”. They were prepared to serve God no matter what the outcome might be.
Are we ready to serve the Lord Jesus Christ like that? He’s given us so many commands and He said “If you love me, you will obey my commands”… “My commands are not burdensome” “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”…
WOWzer! Let’s determine before we go out today, that we’re going to serve our own KING and live in trust and obedience to His commands and hope in His promises. When we do, we’ll see and know God’s working with us as we obey Him, because ALL His promises are true. The words of His WORD are reliable and trustworthy. He loves everyone who comes into His family and is with you wherever you may end up, even in a fiery furnace.
Don.

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