Sunday, 26 April 2015

Go Make Disciples

Proverbs 22:20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge.

      One of the last instructions that was given to the followers of Christ by the Lord Jesus before He was taken up into glory was that we, His followers, were to go and make disciples of all nations.
      The reason we could do this work with all confidence and assurance was that all power in heaven and earth had been given to Jesus, who has given it to us, for the task of bringing the Kingdom of God to all nations. Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 
Along with this instruction was what we were to disciple the nations. Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. There it is, the discipleship mandate: "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
      Anyone who has walked with the Lord for any significant amount of time can disciple any new Christian. If we have been walking in the obedience of the Lord then we have a lifetime of lessons we can teach the next generation who are desperate for mentors and guidance in the word of God. Yet, so many of the older Christians are waiting for some kind of a burning-bush experience to set them on their way to become a hand extended to help make disciples. 
      Why they are waiting is a mystery because the word of God has already said to go and do it. The Lord would not have told everyone to go and make disciples if it were not possible. I have asked some of the Christians who have walked for years in their faith why they were not taking up the mandate of discipling someone. Their lame and pathetic answer is normally "I do not know enough yet." 
      God is not asking you to teach them a theological thesis on the ark of the covenant and its many facets. He just wants you to help, guide, and pray with the people who are starting out their walk in Christ. He wants you to be an armor bearer for the new saints who are testing their new spiritual weapons they will have to work with throughout their lives. Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. All new Christians need help getting fitted with their new spiritual clothing and you can help them adjust so they can become victorious in Christ.
     In the Gospel of Mark, chapter five, we read the story of the demoniac of Gadara. This man was possessed with a legion of demons and he was in absolute torment. Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. He could not be controlled with shackles or irons because he would break them. 
      His life was a total hell all day long. He spots Jesus and comes running to Him and the Lord delivers him from the evil spirit. Mark 5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. After this miraculous deliverance, the man is in his right mind and clothed for the first time in a long time. 
      At this point, the man who had been possessed wants to follow Jesus but Jesus says something amazing. Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. 
      What? No instruction to go to bible college, countless amount of seminars or years sitting in church. Jesus said, "Go tell your friends what Lord has done for you in compassion." Go disciple with what you have and more will be given to you.
      We are a generation who has so much biblical information that many of us have forgotten more then the next generation will ever learn. That is an indictment against what Christ has freely done in our lives. Luke 12:48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
      I have been most fortunate throughout the years to always have someone I am mentoring in Christ. Young and old, I have been blessed to go and make disciples by showing them what the Lord has done for me and within my life. I meet with different people and in different languages for a few hours a week to help answer questions that new believers come up with. The interesting thing is the fruit and reward in my life has been magnificent. 
      God is always faithful to give the information needed in all situations. We just have to be willing to be a servant of the Lord and we need to jerk the slack out of our excuses and disobedience. Most of us can disciple, we just have to want to do it. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. May God give us the strength to step forward and be counted. Amen!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

When Helping Hurts

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

      Sometimes it seems that helping just does not work. We put ourselves out there for the good of the people and the blessing of the needy because God has asked us to do it and we get the love that was intended for the unloved thrown back in our face. 
      Have you ever come to the end of what was once a good idea of God's love extended, only to find out that it had turned into a rubbish heap? The entire work just came crashing down with no natural way of rescuing it. We stand there perplexed, wounded and scared wondering if we had ever heard from God in the first place. 
      Most certainly during those times our pride is festering and wanting some kind of salve to take away the pain of loss and failure. The word tells us not to get discouraged because the battle is won in the heavens and over a period of time. Gal. 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
      The key words in this verse is "If we faint not." The martyrs throughout history did not see the result of their hard work and their life-giving sacrifices, but they continued in the pursuit of what God had called them to do so that we could have the freedom to own and digest the written word of God.
      Sometimes it seems that we can't win and our efforts are just going to waste. David found himself in this predicament. He had been helping defend the land of King Achish and suddenly his efforts were disregarded by politics. 1 Sam. 29:3 Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? At this point, David and his men return home only to find out that their own families have been taken into slavery. 1 Sam. 30:3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 

      I don't know about you but these events would have amounted to a very bad day for me and I would start wondering if I had heard from God concerning the call in my life. Of course the people want retribution and it is normally the leader that will get the blunt end of the anger. 1 Sam. 30:6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 
      David asks the Lord whether he is to go after his family and the families of his men and God says "Go!" 1 Sam. 30:8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. The word that David got from God is fulfilled and he gets all his family and goods back plus the goods of the invaders. 1 Sam. 30:17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
      
Did David go through a hard time and did it seem all was lost? Yes, just like the times we have suffered and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The Lord admonishes us to stay the course in faith, through Christ, and the result is that wisdom and understanding will come from the reverence we have for the God we serve. 
      We do not always get the answers to why certain things happen but if our hearts and eyes are on the Lord Jesus, we will get through all the situations that life throws at us. Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
      In most cases we will get hurt leaving our heart out there where people will sometimes trample all over it. We can be overlooked and never thanked for what we sacrifice in the name of our Lord, but God remembers every little thing we do in His name. Matt. 10:42  And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
      Our example is Christ the Lord. When Jesus hung on the cross for the sins of the entire world it seemed that the devil had won by provoking a deicide. To the apostles and the followers of Jesus, it looked like the salvation project Jesus had started was over and all was lost. However, God had a victorious plan that resurrected Jesus from the grave and destroyed the works of the devil while enforcing the salvation plan for all mankind. 

      What a turn around that was and still is. We have this same resurrection power within our hearts and souls and nothing is going to stop the plan of God in our lives if we keep going even when helping hurts. Rom. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Kenneth Copeland said, "Faithfulness grows out of saying yes to God." May saying yes to our God be on our lips when He calls. Blessings to us all.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

No Worries Mate

Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

       There is nothing like the peace of a good night sleep when you have gone to bed with a clean and clear conscience. No woes, sorrows, contentions, wounds or redness of eyes, just pure joy and peace. "Is that even possible," someone might ask? Yes, it is. The word of God says, Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. The best part about our peaceful sleep is that we do not have to worry because our Lord is awake, taking care of our lives and our dreams. Psalm 121:4 Behold, he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 
      How many times have you gone to bed with trouble on your heart and mind causing a restless night of tossing and turning? Was it because you went to bed with anger or unforgiveness in your heart? Eph. 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. Why would the devil want you to go to bed with woes, sorrows, contentions, babbling, wounds or redness of eyes? Because it means you have taken on the cares of the world and as it says in the Gospel of Mark these cares will choke the word right out of your life. Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
      We read in the book of Acts that Herod put Peter in prison, out of spite, to gain favor with the Jewish leaders. Now Peter is in jail on Herod's whim and he is sleeping so peacefully and soundly that the angel of the Lord has to tap him with light to wake him up. Acts 12:7 
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up! ” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8 “Get dressed,” the angel told him, “and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Wrap your cloak around you,” he told him, “and follow me.”  
      Peter is so at ease and in a deep sleep that he has to be told to tuck himself in and strap up his sandals. This is a man with no woes, sorrows, or contentions on his mind; only the faith in the risen Lord. How do you get that type of peace and rest? How apropos that Peter would write in his epistle 1 Pet. 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. Peter had the right idea by casting all his sorrow, grief, anxiety and suffering of the mind on the Lord because Peter knew Christ would do all those things for him.
      Paul writes in Rom. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Most of Paul's Epistles are written from prison and the peace and confidence that comes from him is awe-inspiring. 

      Was Paul in a position to have woes, sorrows, contentions? Yes, because we know he had wounds. 2 Cor. 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Did Paul have the occasion to complain? Yes, and yet he writes in 2 Cor. 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Excuse me. Light affliction! Where does that perspective of peace come from? Lord, forgive me for thinking the music was too loud during last Sunday service.
      If you find yourself full of woes, sorrows, contentions, wounds, babbling or redness of eyes then it might be time to let the Holy Spirit, your Comforter into your life for an attitude adjustment. Perhaps a chiropractic correction is needed to give us some spine in our walk with Christ. Less complaining and more praying so that we find our peace in Him who first loved us. As my Aussie pastor would say, "Come on mate, get up, and let's give it another go. There are no worries here, just victory when we find it." Thank you, Pastor Hannah, for what you sowed into my life.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Time To Dream Again

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.

      “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” Martin Luther King Jr.
      What have we put on hold because we were struck down with some life event that was out of our control? What have we stopped dreaming about that used to make us so happy when we mused on the thought of its possibilities? Have you stopped dreaming? 
      God has put dreams within us that are only ours because they came from God in the first place. He created us with the ability to dream and know we could be part of their creation and realization. God's dreams within us is a language from the Holy. God is right there beside us, dreaming along with us and hoping we put our trust in Him to bring it to pass. Heb. 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 
      Our dreams in God are possible when we move with the Holy Spirit to accomplish them. I like what Jesse Duplantis says, "Believe the unbelievable and receive the impossible." Why should we start dreaming again? If we don't, we will fade out. Prov. 29:18a Where there is no vision, the people perish.
      Dreaming keeps us alive and looking forward for the miracle in our lives. Dreaming keeps our hearts coming to God for answers for the accomplishments of our goals. Dreaming gives us new life and brings forth new ideas that keep us moving toward an expected result. Prov. 23:18 For surely there is a result, and thine expectation shall not be cut off. Oh yeah. Dreaming is free; it costs nothing.
      Solomon was dreaming, envisioning and thinking of having the ability to take care of a nation and interestingly God comes to him in a dream. Go figure! 1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. Solomon comes right out and says what he wants and what he requires to fulfill what he has been dreaming about. 1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. We know that Solomon got what he asked for as the wisdom of Solomon is established from that day on.
      We are so fortunate to live in the dispensation of the new testament because dreams, visions and dreaming is a promise of the Holy Spirit for those of us who are in Christ. Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
      Since this Scripture belongs to us, then we should go for it and dream away. Let's put our thoughts of the heart out there where God can see them and help us tweak them so they become part of the building of the kingdom of God. Share your heart with the Lord and show Him the deep desires that you have. The Lord is a gentleman and will not mock your dreaming. He might even show you how to make them come to pass.
      You may have been dreaming the same thing for years and there does not seem to be a way to get there. Maybe you have been struck with a terminal illness and your dreams have been put on hold. You might have suffered a great financial bankruptcy and your dreams seem so far out of reach. Perhaps the one's you once dreamed with have passed away and you do not know how to go on with the dream that was once a joy but now has turned to sadness. 
      God had a dream for us all and He made sure it came to pass for us through the work of the cross and the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus. Surely if God went to that extent to show us His perfect love, will He not come alongside our heart's desires and dreams to accomplish that which He created for us and in us? Yes, Saints, it is time to dream again and with a voice of victory declare the promises of God in our dreams. Call upon the name of the Lord, because He will answer us. Jer. 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou know not. Sweet dreams Saints.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Then, I Would Be Happy

Proverbs 16:20 He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the LORD, happy is he.

      How elusive is the concept of happiness that lingers just outside our grasp? The idea of happiness we create in our minds can be so unattainable. How often have we heard someone say or even heard ourselves say, "If I could just have that, then I would be happy." The word of God indicates that true happiness comes when God is involved with our choices and directions we take in life. Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. 
      In another place it says. Psalm 146:5 Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God. It seems that happiness is not something we chase but rather something we possess within ourselves because God is filling us with His presence and therefore happiness comes forth out of our being. Psalm 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
      The Apostle Paul writes in Phil. 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. A few meanings of the word content is happy, at ease, fulfilled and gratified. As contentment is an acquired skill or learned as Paul expressed, so is happiness an attribute that is learned and applied to our everyday lives. We choose to have a happy heart as we grow in the favor of our God. 

      Waiting for happiness to fall on us like rain is a mug's game. The enemy of our soul will have us running and spending all our time and resources chasing things that will bring a temporary and watered-down version of happiness. However, within a short time after the things have been bought, charged and sometimes purloined, the novelty, shine and sparkle fade away like a dying flower. 
      If we look around the world, we can easily see that the devil has become effective at that part of his pathetic job. Satan tries to get people to focus on what they don't have so that they are continually in a state of unhappiness and discontentment. We need to cut the strings of that puppet scam-artist and link our hearts to the God of our salvation who is pure joy, peace and happiness. Eph. 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
      My favorite happy verse is Rom. 4:7 Happy they whose lawless acts were forgiven, and whose sins were covered. Yes, this is true happiness. Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven, happy is that man. Well, I am that happy man. The joy, peace, and happiness that comes from a clean and clear conscience cannot be bought, purchased or charged on a credit card. It can only be realized by a heart-transforming relationship with grace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Wow! How good is that? The mighty God who created us has made happiness a part of our inheritance when we are in a relationship with Him. No wonder the devil is hard at work in trying to distort happiness. God's form of happiness and contentment will bring peace and calm to our souls and we will be able to walk in the power and authority of God's kingdom.
      If we are going to strive, then let it be for a relationship with our God who will be to us a pure contentment. If we are going to want, then let us want the fullness of the finished work of the cross in our hearts. If we are going to covet, then let us covet the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may be the children of our God. 1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. If we are moved to loving something to the point of saying, "I just have to have that." then let it be the love of God within our hearts that can change the joy, peace and happiness of the whole world. Aah! Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven, happy is that man. Amen and amen!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Blessed Words Give Life

Proverbs 25:23 As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!

      John Osteen said, "Keep your words sweet because you might have to eat them one day."
      As sure as the laws of nature work all around us each and every day, so does the laws of the spoken word that proceeds from our hearts then out of our mouths. Matt. 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Someone might say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I did not mean to say that in anger." Yes, you did, because it came from within your heart. That anger was there in your heart and that is what came out of your mouth. This is a law of life. Most assuredly, apologize, but remember it was there. 

      What is the root of that anger? That should be the question foremost in our minds so that we can get rid of the root problem of bitterness. If the angry words of backbiting could have been curtailed in that moment of uncontrolled verbal abuse, there would not have been the damage to a soul or a relationship that blew up in a hurtful result. 
      How often have people wished they could have taken back the angry words that had been spoken? How often has a piece of gossip slipped through our lips to cause irreparable damage? Someone said, "Gossip is as vicious as murder; the difference is we are killing a soul rather than a body." This is why God admonishes us to speak words of blessing and honor to nurture and bring healing to relationships and set the souls of those who are hurting free from the shackles of wounding words. Prov. 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
      We see the reaction of Michal when she sees King David dancing as the ark of God was brought back into the city of David. 2 Sam. 6:16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. The words that come from Michal's mouth are a result of what was in her heart. She could not disguise the anger and hatred that came forth. 2 Sam. 6:20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself! 

      It is not recorded in the description of this story in scripture, but the amount of gossip that went on in the palace over this event must have been perpetually whispered about because the result in Michal's life was barrenness. There seems to be a precedent set in her lifetime from the day of that event. She was stuck in a hurt and now would be the subject of a gossip mill. 2 Sam. 6:23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. 
      Michal could have repented of her anger and malicious thoughts toward David because there was grace in the covenant for that. Yet, she was bound by the words that came out in the heated argument until her death. Had the continual gossip taken on a life of its own, thus keeping Michal bound by her own anger. Was the hurt a tool of the enemy to keep Michal justifying her anger and thus creating a self-barrenness? I'm not sure, but it is a sad story like so many other sad stories that never get resolved because of anger and the gossip that keeps it going.
      Words give life or death. The way we use them can bring healing or destruction. We have been given the power of words by our Creator to create an Eden or a Hades for ourselves and everyone we meet. Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. May it be said of us who follow Christ that we took our tongues and did not lend them to gossip but used them to bring about the blessing of the Kingdom of God. 

      Our tongues were bought along with the rest of us at the Cross of the Lord Jesus. As my friend Jami Rogers says, "I'm not for sale, I have already been bought and paid for in full by the Lord Jesus." Our lives and everything about our lives belong to the Lord and that includes our words that proceed out of our mouths.
      Interesting that the Proverb indicates that anger is one of the results of gossip. Prov. 25:23 As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger! If we were to cut down on gossip, would that cut down on the anger that is in this world? The only way we are going to find out is to stop the fine art of gossiping that has wormed its way into our everyday conversations. Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. May the Lord help us all overcome this sin. Amen!