Wait a bit…

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John 4:34-38 NIV
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

If we are the people of Christ Jesus, then His motives and purposes are for us also. Jesus came to do what His father told Him to do. Jesus was the sin-bearer and Saviour of the world, and came into the world to finish the work of God. (His work) The three persons of God had planned this work before the ages of human history began. Before the Universe had space and time, God purposes an innumerable fellowship of people, that would be rescued from spiritual death. Throughout history, the three persons of the trinity have been working this out in human history and calling these people to faith. When they are all gathered into the kingdom, then God will wind up human events. Jesus will be the ultimate judge and justice and mercy will prevail. Jesus came into time and space to finish the work of salvation for His people, once and for all. He finished it all so that sinful people could be redeemed from the slavery of sin, and be set free from death and judgment.

So it’s all done. Finished. Accomplished. The way to life stands open and the offer of salvation stands available for all. The fields of people who need a Saviour could not be more ready. They are white with the fruit of the work of God in human hearts. They are white with opportunity to bring in an amazing harvest. But the saying goes in the affairs of people – “wait a bit, we have plenty of time to do God’s work. There is plenty of opportunities coming up and we don’t need to rush or stress ourselves too much. God will work it all out – it’s His work. Be still and pray and wait. Don’t put yourself under pressure…” This is our default position.

Jesus the Saviour calls us to open our eyes. Waken up to what is going on around you and get your self ready for work, work in the harvest field of your own community. The people in your street, block, town, workplace are ready for the harvest. If you gather the harvest you will get your wages if eternal life both for yourself as those you bring to faith. This is every Christian, not just a chosen few with certain credentials. All you need is love for Christ and love for souls. If you don’t have these, then your faith is suspect.

Let us live in faith. The one who tells out the message and the one who brings the people to faith will rejoice together. There is no craven competition, or trying to get people into our church/ club. All is for the kingdom of God and for the rescue of souls, not for our little empire we think we own.

There are Christians who God calls to labour and work for seeming little results. They sow the seed in faith and they don’t stop, even though it is backbreaking and heartbreaking. Many true hearts have never seen the good of what they did, but one day when the kingdom of Christ is reigning, they will see what they did. There are others who salvage many people for God because of the sacrifices of the ones who sowed the seeds. They seem more fruitful on the surface, but they are just enjoying the privileges of those gone before.

This is for every Christian. It is a way of life. It is a way of thinking. The days are evil and short before the Lord will return. We must reap now and every day and never stop telling the good news about forgiveness and the way to God. Every opportunity you get, take it. Maybe you are a sower of the seed of the message, or maybe a harvester. The only thing that matters, is that you are fulfilling your task to go everywhere and speak the power of God in salvation.

The nourishment of life for Jesus Christ, was to do the will of the Father who sent Him this work to do. It is the same for us. It is our spiritual sustenance and our reward and our complete joy. There is no secondary service or part time or passive contributions. All is for Christ and for all those who are and will be His people.

His schemes

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“Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”   2 Corinthians 2:10-11 WEB

Satan is a most miserable creature. His skills are telling lies at all times and blaming people for every ill. He makes those who listen to him as miserable as he is.

The Christian has been forgiven and continues to be forgiven by God. Satan will tell all sorts of twisted truths to loosen our hold on Christ and the finished work of salvation, which He accomplished for His people. We must learn to distinguish his lies and gross exaggerations. He loves to blame.

Satan is smarter than any human. He can operate a ring of deceit and accusation with impunity and undermine the faith of the believer. We need to know how he operates and the subtleties of his schemes. The Word of God will tell you all you need to know and the experience of life will teach us how to resist him.

The one single attitude we must watch for, is the growth of an unforgiving spirit. It happens really easily, and grows virulently. We are to forgive each other and forgive others who sisters and brothers have forgiven as well. There is no forgiveness for the person who does not forgive.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 WEB

The main offensive seems defensive. We must keep our lives free from sin and keep short accounts with God. We must forgive and make forgiveness a way of life, so that no bitterness or rancour grows in our hearts.

Any tolerated weakness of the flesh is a chink in our armour. We must face our enemy with all the armour of God and our breastplate of righteousness utterly clean. Our salvation must be our crowning glory and our minds ready against Satan’s wiles. Know your Bible. You will get no victory without it. Trust the power of the Word of God and the Spirit within. Work and witness for the Master and the message of peace you share will fortify your own soul.

God will protect you from the lies and blame. The devices of the devil, that you don’t understand, God will keep you in His grace.

So let us be brave and holy and devoted. The victory is the Lord’s and all His redeemed people.

It’s very straightforward…

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“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves….”

“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell….”

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven….”

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it…”

“Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”  Matthew 10:16,27-28,32-33,37-39,41-42

This is the Lord Jesus speaking plainly. He does not use parables or ambiguous words. He speaks in a way that every generation of Christian is going to understand first time.

We are to ditch the cynical, and look at life honestly and treat people in mercy and wisdom. Being fooled and being foolish is not the way of God. 

The message of repentance and faith must be spoken clearly and to everyone. Don’t be afraid of people, but of God. Obedience to Him and a holy fear of falling away is our motivation. If we are true to our Saviour Christ, He will raise us up in the eternal kingdom. 

No one takes the place in our hearts, of our friend and Redeemer, Jesus. The Lord Jesus comes first and we loose our lives in serving Him. Whatever burdens we are asked to bear, we do so, as He Himself did for us. We might try to save ourselves from trouble and heartache, but we remember that loosing everything to Christ is eternal blessing. 

To support and welcome a prophet or a godly person in the name of Jesus Christ, will secure the same reward as they do. We turn no one away, but meet the needs of the least and lowest. A cup of cold water given to a child of God in need, will receive the reward of Christ. 

It’s nice to read and the words go so well, but will we practice this every day? 

Jesus says, if we try to sidestep the issue and save ourselves from social shame or rejection, we will loose everything. To find your life, you must loose it all and put Christ as number one… it’s very straightforward… 

Small

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“It’s a day of small things…”

I hate that phrase. Some worthy has come up with it to explain the lack of meaningful growth in the “church.”

We look around and churches have closed and others are failing. Other “churches” seem to be growing, even though they preach error and exhibit bad behaviour. We should be worried about the state we are in. Western Christianity has become decidedly murky and often, has no different a message than the self-help gurus.

The phrase is used to cover over the cracks and give an excuse for the breakdown of godliness in the church of Christ.

Why is God not showing Himself and calling many people into the Kingdom of Christ.?

Why is our society and the moral outlook of these rich nations in the West, so dark?

Are we in a kind of dark ages, where the truth about God is veiled and misunderstood.?

There have been times of blessing in places, but there seems to be a general coldness and lack of earnestness in the minds and hearts of people in the West. The rampant materialism has dampened our need for God.

The Prophets are full of the messages we need to hear. Repent, turn, revolutionise your thinking, change your mind, and seek the Lord. These are the people of God who are being addressed. They have embraced life in the world and have loosened their grip on faith and sacrifice. We do not believe that God requires holiness and a turning from all sin. And so we seek a softer way, a way that will calm the conscience but is not complete surrender to God. And so the deterioration starts. Our hearts beat a bit slower and no one challenges us about it. We get involved in “committed doing” and the busyness covers over our emptiness towards God.

The steps away from loving God with all our “heart soul strength and mind,”are all too sure. We end up just going through the motions and “church” fills a religious gap in our lives. Eventually we don’t invite people to church, nor are we able to speak to them personally, and so we are right into irrelevant.

The message of those prophets of old is massively relevant today. When we obey God and trust Him fully, He forgives us and He will lift us up to serve Him. God is not the problem in this situation – so our action and reaction is crucial. It is personal.

Do I want God?

Do I seek His will and ways every day.?

Am I concerned about those who are lost to God.?

The only change that matters is when we become people of deep humility before God. That will happen when we pray. Prayer is the power house, so may we go to that place of mercy and find the help we need in these cold days. Maybe God in His mercy will pour out His Spirit on us and it will become a day of great and glorious things, where God is magnified and the Lord Jesus is loved and adored. At that point in our lives, all will be well, and we will no longer be “small”

Mainstream

The most popular aspect or viewpoint must be right. Mainstream is true and safe. The things learned at school, college, or University are the trustworthy authorities in our societies. The education they propogate are true, because our society is thriving and becoming richer. Everyone is seeking what these institutions are offering. As Christian people we strive to get our children through education and get a status in society. We do not actually know what our youngsters are being taught, but we trust that our systems are right and proper. We tend to be focused on content, rather than attitude, philosophy and belief systems. 

How do you respond to the above statements.?

Jesus is not mainstream. He is “outside the camp.” The Christian person is not the popular person. The claims and demands of Christ cause the redeemed soul to realise they are going to be outsiders too. It will be very difficult, maybe impossible, to fit comfortably into secular systems. There will be prices to pay and sacrifices to be made for the witness of Christ and the message of salvation through faith by grace alone. Everything the Christian is and is about is not regarded. If your children do not fit neatly into the pressures of school, they will have quite large difficulties. 

How do we respond to this situation?

Why do Christians have to be the sidelined and misunderstood? Is this necessary?

The short answer is that Jesus walked this road and suffered these injustices and prejudiced long before us. We should not expect fair treatment and the easy road to heaven. The road our Saviour took was lonely and led Him to Calvary. If we are following close, this will be our experience too.

The longer answer, but not comprehensive since we all walk our own path, means learning the Scriptures, prayer and a daily close walk with God in the power of the Spirit. There are no organisations that will protect you or bolster your faith- only Christ. This is the power of the individual Christian. This is the strength we have to walk with God and know His presence in our lives every day in every way. 

Faith is the only strength we have and it is the ultimate strength. Faith will bring you through and as you pray for your family and friends, they will experience it too, as God allows. 

God answers the prayers of the righteous – those who follow close and believe with all their hearts. They believe enough to obey everything God says and they listen to His voice in the revelation of God – the holy Scriptures. Everything else will fail, because we cannot please God apart from faith. 

We must teach strength and resilience in our children. We must master the ability to reason, discuss, debate and ask searching questions of all things we hear. Children tend to pick up what their parents think and believe, and we should teach them to question us also. We teach them that only God is truth and to know Him personally is to know truth and follow in the way of Christ. 

Our arguments must be based in reason and the revealed Word of God. The skills of compliance and the ability to acquiesce, are not healthy. Those who believe follow Christ alone and obedience to Him. As we do this we find life in all its fullness. His way is the living way and leads to eternal life and peace. Others will see and perhaps ask questions themselves of the belief system they follow. 

God teaches His children to fight and resist the temptations to give way to fear. Because we do not follow the mainstream, we must not fall victim to the pressures to give things up for peace. Peace comes from God when we repent and submit to Him. That means we do not submit to others or the falsehoods fed to us by a corrupt world system. Those who really seek God, give up the desire to be accepted and are satisfied with Him only. This is peace. 

Leave the mainstream to the ordinary and those who blindly follow the edicts of human society. Christians focus on being extraordinary. Christ is God and we are His people and strive to be like Him. Let the bonds of popularity go and walk the path of freedom. 

“If the Son makes you free you will be free indeed.”   John 8:36 WEB

Station

The station symbolizes this present life that we all pass through. People enter the station; buy tickets; check timetables; wait around and then when the train arrives on the platform, they board and leave. They are all there for such a short time, so transient and fleeting, yet they are unaware of its significance. God’s people linger in the concourse, watching and waiting for any who turn aside to talk and think and consider God…

Are you on the lookout?

Are the people around you just random bodies?

Do you see people as souls that live forever?

If you are a Christians you have the answer to problems and you know the only person who can save and change lives to God. We loose sight of this fact so easily. People become commuters and with little value to us. We see people for a few second and then never again. They pass by and on into their own lives.

How many Christians will they meet who will tell them the truth about Jesus?

How many times will they have the opportunity to think about their standing with God?

How many will come to a living faith?

Our job in this station of life, could not be more pressing, yet we let the chances slip by, because we have no time and no inclination to speak up.

This is why we fail with God. Our words say we love Him, and yet we don’t even love the people around us that we see every day. Maybe people miss out on heaven because of us. Maybe we are the stumbling block to life and peace for other people.

Waken us up, Lord. Let us see the reality around us, and the true state of people we know. Search me Lord, and let me see my failure, so I can bring it to you to forgive me. Give me a heart of flesh and not the stony one I seem to have today…

 

 

Psalm 133: Unity

“See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, That ran down on the beard, Even Aaron’s beard; That came down on the edge of his robes; Like the dew of Hermon, That comes down on the hills of Zion: For there the Lord gives the blessing, Even life forevermore.”    Psalm 133:1-3 WEB

When we are at peace with sisters and brothers in Christ, it is such blessing. It is even more so when it is the wider family that we are born into. How sweet to fellowship, laugh and share with sisters and brothers in both natural and spiritual senses. How good to know that dear children belong to Christ and are walking with Him. These things cannot be taken for granted. 

How good to be able to fellowship with a group of believers who love Christ and are willing to be honest and true in relationships. The spiritual health of knowing each others faults and being able to forgive. To have the power to not judge others who are different from ourselves and choose different things to us. The diversity in the Church of Christ is so important. Cliques and factions cannot prevail. Those who build empires around themselves in the name of God, will have difficulty explaining why that was so.

The small fellowship where people are valued and the work of God is His work and under His sovereign intention, is a pleasure to be among. The bonds of friendship and the web of prayer that holds us fast, is truly the work of the Spirit of God. There may seem like there is less people to do the work, but sacrifice is the way to blessing, not great organisation. It is easy and inevitable to get lost in the big church. 

Money can never replace the beauty of the poured oil on the heads to the truly redeemed. This oil that signifies the setting apart for God and the blessed peace of the Holy Spirit. The oil that gives a fragrant atmosphere to the society where the Christian belongs, and to the godless world that we now still inhabit. The poured out blessing is a gift from God, not worked up by human efforts. It is the early morning dew that refreshes. It is poured out over the head, who is Christ, and runs down even to the collar of the robe. The blessing of Christ reaches to us, who belong to Him and are identified with Him.

Unity can be manufactured. In these corporate times, unity appears as a group of leaders,  who give an agreeable outlook from the front of gatherings with back slapping and hugs all round. People who have come together for political expediency and are seeking a unity of purpose to do something that will bind various groups together for a common end. It is not for spiritual warfare, but to present the organisation as a feasible force in the secular world. Anyone can join this “unity.”

The unity of the people of God is quite different. This body of souls are people from all kinds of persuasions, cultural groups, families, and abilities. These people are joined in love for Christ the Lord and the Word of God. The inclusion criteria is faith- a saving faith in Jesus the Saviour and a faith that will keep them until that last great day. 

Each believing person sees Christ in the other. A sacrificial love and lifestyle that serves saint and sinner. A purpose to speak Christ and live out His life in our lives. This is the unity of the people of God. The precious oil runs down from Christ to us and our lives become a fragrant offering to Him. Often it is a quiet blessedness, that pervades the life of the Christian believer and expresses itself in quiet service and unseen labour to the glory of God. 

The blessedness we seek is eternal life. A life forever serving and pouring oil on sisters and brothers, to the glory of Christ and the peace of God. The blessing of Zion, will in that triumphant day, be a constant felt experience for every redeemed person. 

Women who glorify God