DISCIPLESHIP DISCIPLINE

One of the hardest things for Christians to maintain is DISCIPLESHIP…. Christians have a tendency to separate their lives into “time for God” and “time for me”…. even Christians who have made Jesus Lord over their lives stray away from such “Lordship” (sometimes without even realizing it) because the pull of the flesh and the “me” is so strong.

Lordship…. the Greek talks about “bond slaves” to Christ… implies no rights whatsoever….. it must ALL be about Christ and not about “me”…. you can have your plans and “serve” God in the machinery of the Church (or by personal witnessing) “when convenient” but that is NOT discipleship.

But you say that is incredible ! …. you mean to tell me, I must be serving day and night doing the work of God and nothing else ? ….. what about “work”, “family” and “recreation” ….. I have to work…. I have family responsibilities…. and I need recreation…. how unreasonable can God be ?

Aaah, my friend, therein lies the real challenge to the ‘self’…… don’t you not think that God knows you need these things ?…… even bond slaves have ‘off time’ to sleep rest and recover ? …… did not Christ call His disciples to come away and rest a while (Mark 6:31) ?

and yet…. and yet…  it is SOO easy …. after having a God sanctioned ‘rest period’ to PROLONG the fleshly indulgence….. a little MORE rest….. a little MORE recreation… a few MORE things that I want or need to do….. more…. money, work, family time, recreation time…. whatever….

Friends…. the ONLY way …. to keep the “living sacrifice” on the altar is to bind it with cords (Psalm 118:27, Romans 12:1)…. in real life this is achieved by the DISCIPLINE of prayer and Bible study (NOT reading a short passage and rattling of a few items of prayer)…. but by spending quality time with God ….. why is this ‘discipline’ ?…. I mean don’t you love God and want to spend time with Him ? ….. believe me, it’s discipline, when a packed schedule of ‘important’ activities awaits…..  as God blesses a Christian their schedule can easily become so ‘incredibly packed with stuff to do’ that whatever time they used to spend with God gets compromised….. and gradually all their ‘good resolutions’ to get deeper with God begin to fade….. the cords stretch and pop and the ‘living’ sacrifice is off the alter again and galloping off somewhere else.

A good test of our condition is this …. are we aware of God’s involvement at all times… in our business…. in our recreation…. in our ‘day to day’ activities…… are we listening for Him to tell us…. ‘enough now, I want you to do this or that’….. this may seem a bit ‘robotic’ to some….. but if God is sharing our day-to-day lives (a constant companion with whom we interact continually…. which is what it actually means , by ‘living in God’s presence’)… AND He is also our Lord and Master….. then we need to take the cue from Him….. and the problem with humans is that either they get a little too cozy with ‘friend’ concept or they get a little too cozy with the Master concept….. meaning they don’t recognize His cue to get back to work OR they don’t recognize His cue to stop working and relax respectively…

In the first case the sacrifice gallops off…. and in the second case the sacrifice dies (victim of self-imposed (rather than God ordained) asceticism…. but the fact is ruining your mental or physical health thinking you are doing ‘God’s will’ serves no beneficial purpose whatsoever unless God has specifically instructed you to do this and He will give you an extra portion of Grace if such is the case…… God NEVER tells people to do what He does not equip them for…..

So if you are dedicated to God …. be wary of being too ‘comfortable’ or of being ‘too overworked’ ….. how do you know if you are overworked ?….. here are the signs that God has NOT called you to ‘overwork’….. you are irritable and miserable…. you think that others don’t work hard enough and you have to do all the work….. you think that your hard work and self-sacrifice entitles you to something (you must be somebody special to God more than all “those happy, lazy Christians who do very little and are always enjoying themselves”)…..  check yourself …. these are clear signs that God has NOT told you to work so hard….. God may have “overworked” the Apostle Paul BUT He gave Him GRACE for it….. meaning, Paul’s spiritual character was not compromised but was enhanced….. Paul may have been stressed emotionally, physically and mentally but He had joy, peace, love and humility…… God gave Him all He needed for the task…. today there are so many examples of ‘stressed’ people who purport to be ‘fully dedicated to God and overworked in His service’….. and yet they have little tolerance for others who do not think like them…. little or no love for the ‘hardened sinners’ they are trying to ‘convert’….. it’s a sure sign that God is not the originator of that ‘overwork’….. they may think they are doing it for God….. they may even think that He ‘called’ them to do it…. but the evidence (personal spiritual character) suggests otherwise.

It is very wise to heed and to read  Matthew 20:10 – 13 ….. and contemplate this parable in the light of your own feelings about other people…. about God…. about other churches… etc.

Beware of ‘exclusivity’ and ‘narrow Biblical interpretations’ ….. God’s free gift of salvation to the human race through Jesus Christ ….. is not limited to particular ‘doctrines’ and ‘viewpoints’……  God is far from satisfied with people who may have the ‘correct’ doctrine but do not manifest ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22 – 23) in their interaction with others of different ideas….

If you have totally surrendered to Jesus Christ may this document guide you as you seek to work in the Lord’s harvest.

 

CERTAIN CHOICE

This is a choice that no human can escape….. a choice that cannot be deferred indefinitely…. and a choice that cannot be avoided…. failure to make the choice simply condemns you to the ‘default option’ which is not in your favor.

but you say to me, “where is the ‘free will’ in that ?”

well my friend, you actually exercised your free will already…. because you CHOSE not to make the choice.

But free will does not absolve people from CONSEQUENCES….. everyday on planet earth you see the consequences of people using their fee will to make wrong choices and suffering for having chosen unwisely.

The most important life choice that you are confronted with is JESUS….

If you accept His claims, then you MUST act upon them to benefit from them.

If you reject His claims then your doom is certain.
If you ignore Him altogether, then your doom is still certain….. it’s the default….. and you have to actively do something to change your destiny.

Jesus was either God or He was a very wicked deceiver….. that is fact….. and the people who heard Him understood this.

John 10:33 tells us, the Jews responded, “for a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, because thou being a man makest thyself God”.

The fact that Jesus was able to walk away from that PROVED He was God …… but you say, “perhaps he was a very evil being with superpowers” …… that wont fly either, because NOTHING He ever did could be classified as evil….. He went about doing GOOD and HEALING people.

Sure there had been prophets before who had done miracles but NONE of them ever dared to claim to be God….. in this regard, Jesus is UNIQUE.

Finally, I hate to hear people say “just because you are not a Christian does not mean you are condemned…. WHAT about all those people born into other religions who have never heard of Christ….. are you telling me they are all condemned ?”

IRRELEVANT….. if YOU are reading this ….. if YOU have been told the Good News about Christ and NOT repented and responded then you are doomed …… plain and simple…… whether the Hordes who have never Heard will suffer the same fate or not maybe unknown to you…… the point is YOUR fate is certain.

Jesus told Peter in John 21:22…… in response to Peter’s inquiry about somebody else….. “If I will that he tarry until I come, what is that to thee ?….FOLLOW THOU ME”

No, my friend…. pointing at other people wont work….. if you do not respond appropriately to Jesus Christ then your fate is sealed.

Make the best decision of your life ….. and respond to Jesus TODAY.

covenant

Every covenant that God has made with men… they have broken…. maybe I did not realize this at the time… but…

I made a covenant with God when I was younger, and then went “my own way” later… feeling “upset” I had made it, I told God that there was no way I could keep it and I would just have to suffer the consequences of hell, like other humans.

Amazingly (to me), God respected my choice and the “terrible” consequences I was expecting never came…. years later I was “happy and contented” living a worldly life… and being driven by demons, I was actively doing the devil’s work (on the internet)without even realizing it.

The story of my deliverance from demonic control….. and my personal “prodigal son” experience with God…. the spiritual battles that followed…. and my subsequent cleansing and anointing for his service are documented in several previous postings on this blog.

Now I want everybody to understand:

1. Nobody can keep a covenant with God in their FLESH…. no matter how well meaning and determined they may be, they will ultimately FAIL.

2.But if the covenant is made in honest sincerity, God is able to ultimately triumph in that person’s life.

“For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phillipians 2:13)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)

How many Christians are still serving God in the FLESH today ? …. fooling themselves in thinking that THEY have some inherrent “goodness”….  that THEY can do the things to please God.

IF YOU HAVE FAILED GOD….. if you were a Christian as a child, He wants you back ….. if you have never been a Christian but are fed-up with your sinful life…..read Isaiah 55:7, Ezekiel 18:21 – 23

As long as you are alive on this earth their is hope….. however, BEWARE postponement….. if God is calling you today, ACT NOW…. because the opportunity may not occur again… (Hebrews3:13, Proverbs 29:1)

It is a fact that as we grow older… it gets harder to change…. if you resist the calling of God now… the time will come when you cannot “sincerely repent” because your heart will have been “hardened” by sin and demons…. postponement can be FATAL…. so please do not roll dice with your eternal soul as the stake.

service

After salvation, some sort of Christian service should follow….. but it is here that much mis-understanding exists.

Ideally, whatever Christian service a believer involves in should be directed by the Lord Himself…. but many do not seek God that intimately (to be sure what He wants them to do), so instead, they may allow some organisation to “direct their path” (and there is no lack of “works oriented” organisations to choose from)…. so with varying degrees of dedication, they join this or that team, committee or group… and off they go, evangelizing, singing or helping some good humanitarian cause…. (possibly) perceiving every “hindrance” as “satan’s attack” and every success as “proving that they are doing the work of God”… one thing is certain, if they are dedicated and perceived to be doing a “good job” they will get the “praise of men” and their work load will increase (until either they burn out or walk away)… I know all this sounds a little cynical but it IS the “way of the world” and it HAS found it’s way into churches and “other organisations of Christian service”.

But how does God view “all this bustle and activity going on in His name”…. I think the Bible makes it plain that our service should flow from our communion with Him (John 15: 4 – 5)….. it matters not whether we “think” that we have accomplished “a great deal” or not… or whether anybody else agrees with us or not about this.

IF we ABIDE in the vine… we WILL bear fruit (John 15:7)…. the “quantity of fruit” is left to God (Matthew 13:8)…. He knows us better than we know ourselves and we are all INDIVIDUALS (some with more and some with less “natural” talents)….. we CANNOT bear SPIRITUAL fruit on our own (whatever fruit we seem to bear through our own efforts is unacceptable and useless…. so why have some “burnt themselves out” trying to do what God never intended them to do… these will be most disappointed later on (their “reward” may not be what they expect at all for all THEIR effort (Matthew 20:12))….. and that is where the problem lies, THEIR effort is NOT acceptable to God…. it is SUPPOSED to be “GOD bearing (whatever quantity) of fruit THRU us….. and at the end of the day, our attitude SHOULD be, what have we done anyway ?  … we dont deserve anything but have merely done that “which was our DUTY” (Luke 17:10) (namely to be a CONDUIT to bring GLORY TO GOD)… this is a very sobering thought and is NOT POPULAR with people…. because we DESPERATELY WANT to be “PROUD” of OUR achievements…. we are accustomed to both giving and receiving the “praise of men”… this is the way we are raised from childhood…. every “function” or every “ceremony” (giving and receiving the PRAISE OF MEN)…. only by drawing REALLY close to GOD can we begin seeing things from His viewpoint (and the result of this is that we will be “out of step” with the REST OF THE POPULATION)….. but take heart…. JESUS (as well as all the prophets) experienced this feeling…. IF you are serious about getting ready for ETERNITY, isn’t it better to be friends with GOD rather than the “rest of the world” ?…. you decide.

Prayer for Today:

Loving Heavenly Father, as we consider your GREATNESS…. everything to do with this planet and mankind becomes so insignificant an issue…. help us to move on earth only for YOU…. guide us each moment of every day… and THANK YOU so much for being our friend and companion in this life… and forever. Amen