VIDEO Do You Walk In White?

No one experiences complete sanctification without going through a “white funeral” — the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crucial moment of change through death, sanctification will never be more than an elusive dream. There must be a “white funeral,” a death with only one resurrection— a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can defeat a life like this. It has oneness with God for only one purpose— to be a witness for Him.

Have you really come to your last days? You have often come to them in your mind, but have you really experienced them? You cannot die or go to your funeral in a mood of excitement. Death means you stop being. You must agree with God and stop being the intensely striving kind of Christian you have been. We avoid the cemetery and continually refuse our own death. It will not happen by striving, but by yielding to death. It is dying— being “baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3).

Have you had your “white funeral,” or are you piously deceiving your own soul? Has there been a point in your life which you now mark as your last day? Is there a place in your life to which you go back in memory with humility and overwhelming gratitude, so that you can honestly proclaim, “Yes, it was then, at my ‘white funeral,’ that I made an agreement with God.”

“This is the will of God, your sanctification…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Once you truly realize this is God’s will, you will enter into the process of sanctification as a natural response. Are you willing to experience that “white funeral” now? Will you agree with Him that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends on you.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Both nations and individuals have tried Christianity and abandoned it, because it has been found too difficult; but no man has ever gone through the crisis of deliberately making Jesus Lord and found Him to be a failure. The Love of God—The Making of a Christian, 680 R

Losing to Find

Losing to Find

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.

INSIGHT:When we choose to follow Christ, we won’t necessarily be popular. Our highest calling is not self-promotion or self-preservation. A hero jumps into deep water to save someone who is drowning, but that same person could well lose his or her life (to quote Jesus) in the process of seeking to save someone else. Jesus indicated that even family members (normally our closest natural connection) may be squared off against us. While others may become our obstinate opponents because of Christ, we are obligated to show unselfishness because of Him (Phil. 2:3–5). “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). It’s a profound paradox. To lose our life for Him means to find it. Has there been a time when the choice to follow Christ has cost you?

A Lesson in Church Building

Deuteronomy 1:20-31

Some time ago I preached a sermon comparing my church family’s situation to that of the Israelites on the edge of the Promised Land. We desperately needed a larger facility and, toward that end, acquired land a few miles from downtown Atlanta. We had little time to complete two overwhelming tasks: to raise the entire purchase price for a new building and to ensure that the church was ready for occupancy on the appointed date.

What I told my flock that day also applies to individuals. God has given His people a commission—to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). The Father gives different opportunities to each believer so we all can fulfill His command in unique ways. Since He doesn’t provide us with an open door unless He intends for us to go through it, stopping on the threshold is disobedience. Sometimes what little we can see on the other side looks frightening. But if the Lord is calling, then we need to do what He asks instead of hesitating in the doorway. He assumes full responsibility for properly equipping and guiding us to complete the task.

Which brings me back to my earlier story. You may already know how it ends: God provided every cent—no bank loan was necessary—and the building was completed on time. From that new home base, the ministry expanded in our city and across the globe.

Are you standing in a doorway, too scared to move on? Step forward in faith. God made the opportunity, and He is faithful to see you safely through it, regardless of the obstacles.

Abraham’s Separation Test

“Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.” (Genesis 21:10-11)

After Isaac had been weaned, Sarah noticed Ishmael mocking her and Isaac (Genesis 21:9). During the years since Hagar had given birth to Ishmael (at the insistence of Sarah), Abraham had grown to love Ishmael and had no doubt treated him and Hagar with respect. Now this sudden banishment was demanded under terms that were both harsh and apparently arbitrary.

Nonetheless, God approved because Hagar and Ishmael had become the specific illustration of a distinction between the “flesh” and the “heir” (Genesis 21:12). Although God would take care of Ishmael for Abraham’s sake, Abraham must separate himself and his family from that which would never become part of the Messianic line (Galatians 4:23-31).

The contrast of the two sons is a major teaching in Scripture. Galatians 3:16-29 provides most of the main biblical information. The promise was made to “the seed” (as singular), and the focus is on Christ, not Isaac. All people are under sin and are given the promise by faith. When we believe, we become children of God, in vivid contrast to the “son of the bondwoman.”

That faith is outside of physical relationships, and we become heirs according to the promise. That sacred relationship has been verified by God Himself (Hebrews 6:17-20), making us nothing less than joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17-21). Thus, all who are heirs can never be connected to the “bondwoman” (Galatians 4:30-31). HMM III

Yes, Return unto thy rest, O my soul

Genesis 8

Genesis 8:1

The Lord did not forget the saved ones. He thought on Noah first, and then on those with him, and even thus he remembers his dear Son, and us for his sake.

Genesis 8:2

How readily are all things ordered by the Lord’s providence. Winds and waters move at his bidding, as well for the deliverance of his people as for the destruction of his foes.

Genesis 8:7

This foul bird could light on carrion; just as wicked men find delight in sin.

Genesis 8:9

Even thus our weary souls when renewed by grace find no rest in polluted things, but return unto Jesus their rest; and he graciously draws us in to himself when we are too faint to come.

Genesis 8:12

In the new and renovated world the dove could live at liberty, as regenerated souls dwell amid holy things.

Genesis 8:15-18

He did not come forth till he was bidden to do so by the same voice which called him into the ark. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.

Genesis 8:20

Before he built a house he built an altar. God must be first worshipped in all things.

Genesis 8:21-22

Thus Noah’s sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord and the ground of a new covenant; and so the offering of the Lord Jesus is evermore a sweet savour, and for his sake the covenant of grace is made with all the saved ones. Have all of us an interest in it?

 

O Jesus, Saviour of the lost,

Our ark and hiding place,

By storms of sin and sorrow toss’d,

We seek thy sheltering grace.

 

Forgive our wandering and our sin,

We wish no more to roam;

Open the ark and take us in,

Our soul’s eternal home.

 

It’s Time To Get Creative In ‘Doing the Word’

James 1:22

Let’s talk about what James meant when he said, “But be ye doers of the word….” The word “doers” is taken from the Greek word poietes, the same Greek word used for a poet. This word carries with it the idea of creativity, such as a poet whose personality includes a creative flair. James is telling us that if we can’t easily think of a way to do what has been preached to us, we must get creative! We must find ways to do the Word.

Ephesians 2:10 is another place where a form of this word poietes is used. Paul writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works….” The word “workmanship” is the Greek word poiema, which comes from the same root word as poietes.

This tells us that when we were saved, God put forth all His best efforts and creative powers to marvelously fashion and create us in Jesus Christ. Because the word poiema is used in Ephesians 2:10, it unmistakably means that God wielded His fullest, greatest, and most creative powers when we were born again. We weren’t just mildly saved; rather, God took us into His hands and marvelously made us new in Jesus Christ as He released His most powerful creative forces and made us a workmanship that would be worthy to bear His name.

Whether the word poietes is used to depict a poet, as mentioned above, or (in another form) to describe God’s creative power, as in Ephesians 2:10, it always depicts someone putting forth his fullest creative abilities to achieve something. Now James uses this word poietes in James 1:22 to tell us that we must put forth our fullest efforts and most creative abilities in doing what we have heard preached! We cannot passively hope that the Word becomes a part of our lives; we have to get creative and find ways to make the Word a practical part of our lives.

 

Thus, you could translate these words in James 1:22 to mean:

“If you can’t easily think of ways to do what you’ve heard preached, it’s time for you to get creative! Put all your heart and soul into finding a way to act on what you’ve heard….”

 

You could also translate it to read:

“It’s time for you to get creative in the ways you do the Word of God….”

It could be that you’re thinking, But I don’t know how to do what has been preached to me!

Don’t worry—the Lord isn’t short on creativity! If you will listen, the Holy Spirit will say, “Here’s an opportunity to apply what you’ve been hearing. Do it!” If you have a heart to truly act on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will show you ways to do it.

Seek the Lord and allow Him to show you how:

  • To pray for the sick.
  • To share Jesus with your lost friends.
  • To bake a cake and take it to the lady next door.
  • To help your neighbor repair his car.

Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by the number of meetings you’ve attended, how many speakers you’ve heard, how many books you’ve read, or how many tapes you’ve listened to in the past year. You have to take that Word you’ve heard and find a way to make it work in your life. God is looking for people who actually do what they’ve heard preached!

So if you can’t seem to think of practical ways to apply the Word to your life, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Here’s one thing you can be sure of: The Holy Spirit is never short on ideas about how you can become a “doer” of the Word!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to help me think of new ways to do the Word of God. You have all the fresh ideas I’ll ever need, so I am looking to You to show me how to put the Word into practice in my life. You are full of creative power and fresh ideas, so please open my eyes and show me how I can serve, how I can bless someone else, or any other way I can become obedient to do the Word that has been revealed so powerfully to my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I declare that I never run short of ideas on how to walk out the Word that has been preached to me. I do what I’ve heard; I obey what I’ve read; and I get better and better every day at finding ways to put into operation the Word that God has so graciously brought into my life.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you asked the Holy Spirit to show you creative ideas for applying the Word to your life?
  2. Can you think of specific people you could be serving and sharing the love of Jesus with? For instance, could you share Jesus with your lost friends, bake a cake for the lady next door, or help your neighbor repair his car?
  3. What other ways can you become a “doer” of the Word that has been preached to you?

 

Ever Feel Like Your Are Struggling With Your Ministry?

Here are a some thoughts that may relieve the pressure and put the whole “ministry” thing in perspective:

1. It is God in His mercy who gives us the “ministry.” It is nothing we can drum up:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the “ministry” the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of Gods grace.” (Acts 20:24)

Therefore, since through Gods mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. (or give up) (2 Corinthians 4:1)

So… be sure the “ministry” in which you are engaged is the same as the one God intends for you. It is all too easy to contrive a ministry born out of guilt, pride, obligation, or even opportunity.

2. The people to whom you are to minister are a gift from God: Even the men Jesus worked with were given to Him by His Heavenly Father:

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” (John 17:6)

3. The chances are that if you are operating within your gifts ministry-wise, you will be doing something:

  • You are good at
  • You enjoy, and that
  • God blesses.

So, relax, walk intimately with Christ and see what He chooses to do through you. As one believer put it:

Well Lord, I wonder what you are planning today. Do you mind if I tag along and watch? Perhaps youll even let me participate in a small part of it… ”

 

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