Archive for the ‘christian living’ Category

“Perfect love casts out fear”

May 27, 2017

We have heard this often when “fear” is mentioned or talked about. At first, this seems to be a “cure-all for fear”. Any time we fear anything, perfect love takes it all away, right? It also has been said that “perfect love is God’s love”. While this is a true statement, it leaves us questioning just what God’s love is, or more important, what is “perfect love?”. To understand what it is that casts out fear we must understand what exactly is perfect love. For when we see (understand) this, we are then on the road to overcoming fear. As always, we need to go no further than God’s word to understand it. He has given us His Spirit, and thereby together with His word, we understand.

The apostle John, who beneath Jesus, understood “love” like no other. And where better need we go then to his love letter to “little children” (the church, brother’s and sisters in Christ).

Our main text is found in 1st John 4:18.

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment.  He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

First, we need to get some word definitions in their original Greek language for “fear”, “love”, “perfect”, “casts”, and “torment”. Word study is key into getting understanding of a particular verse or passage.

Our first word is “fear”. Just what kind of fear was John talking about here? The word is “phobos” .  This is where we get the word “phobia” from, which is commonly known as an anxiety disorder. “Phobos” comes from the word “phebomal”, which means “to be put in fear”; alarm or fright – be afraid + exceedingly, fear, terror” . Here we see that this kind of fear is at the top of the chart, so to speak. It’s dreadful, frightening, and haunting. Can you see how this type of fear could work havoc in our lives? Talk about not having “peace”. Talk about something that would keep you bound up and keep you stifled. This would be it to the max. Yet how many live their lives this way? Also, for those of us that think it never comes knocking on our door, consider this. All worrying can be traced back to “fear”. And if we are honest, we all worry from time to time. It might be ever so small, yet it’s  still worry.

Our second word is the most often word used, liked, and talked about more than any other word. Ah yes…..”Love”. But just what kind of love is the apostle John referring to here? This is extremely important for us in this world of everything falling under “love”. Love everybody, love everything, be it right or wrong, just love, love, love, right? Well, this kind of love is way different. The word is “agape”, which means, “i.e affection, or benevolence (disposition to do good, an act of kindness, a generous gift)”. John further spells this out in his discourse on love by teaching us that God’s agape love is a sacrificial love that was exemplified by the giving of His Son for the sacrifice for our sins. Thus John went on to say that because of this kind of love for us, “we ought to love one another”. (see 1Jn.4:7-11)

Our third word is “perfect”. This word can take on a lot of definitions. However, it is important to be reminded that we are talking here about “perfect love”. The word, “perfect” is key here, because it is the type of love that is necessary to “cast out fear”. Not just love, but perfect love. This word “perfect”, in the Greek is “teleios“. It means “complete, completeness”. A further study into the word comes up with “i.e. (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively), consummate”. Also, “the conclusion”. Here we can safely say that “perfect agape love” is a love that is complete, i.e. final, and conclusive. Sounds like there is no greater love than this, bar none, right?

Our next word is “casts” (or casteth, in the KJV ). In our text, it says that “perfect love casts out fear”. This is key because this is what perfect love does. It “casts out”. This word is “ballo”.  It means “to throw”. It has to do with “violent, or intense”. Also, “strike, or “thrust”. This word is not used as a little soft way of dealing with fear. It is intense. It leaves no room for “timidity”. There must be some power involved here. Something beyond our fleshly, easy way of dealing with things.

Our fifth and final word is “torment”. This word is huge because it is what “fear has”. You might say this is what fear produces, or this is its outcome, or fruit. In the Greek, the word is “kolasis”. Its meaning might surprise you. It has to do with “infliction”. And that of “penal infliction”. Penal? Yes. And it involves “punishment, penalties, or punitive institutions”. Most of us have heard the word for a prison as a “penal institution”. Considering this, it is safe to say that “fear” locks you up as if you are in a “penal institution”. Inside here there is punishment and infliction to be had and penalties to be paid for. This is not a place you would want to live your life in for sure. Yet how many do, day in, and day out?

Ok. Now that we get some better understanding of these five important words, let us now break down each verse that contains the word, “perfect”, or “perfected” love. It appears five times in 1st John. That’s actually quite a bit. This will unlock “perfect love”, and “love perfected”. This will lead us into application, i.e. how we are to live out this kind of love to overcome or prevent fear from coming into our lives.

Let’s first back up in the book of first John, and go to the 2nd chapter, verse 5. In this verse he is teaching just how it is that the “love of God is perfected in us”. And remember that this kind of love throws out (casts out) fear.

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him.”                                                                                                                        

In context, the apostle John is referring to the keeping of the words of Christ. If we back up to the starting of this chapter, in verse 1, he is telling us that Jesus is our mediator. In verse 2, he states that Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins” and the whole world. Verse 3 is key into understanding that he is talking about the commandments of Christ because he says “by this (that Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins) we know Him. Verse 4 also states this as well. We will see more as we go that the commands of Christ are what we New Testament believers need to heed and follow.

So by keeping His commandments, His words, His doctrine, His teachings, the love of God is perfected in us. This brings up something that most Christians seemly have a hard time with. And what is that? “Obedience”. Somehow God’s grace takes away, or covers for our obedience? Well, if that’s the case, we mise well go upstairs and open the bedroom window and chuck the word of God out. Because His word is full of obedience that must be done by us if we are to be followers of Christ. A simple reading of the word will bring this to light. In fact, John later writes in 2nd John, verse 9, that if we do not abide (dwell) in Christ’s teachings, then we do not have God. Wow! That’s pretty heavy.

The words of Jesus speak for themselves……

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” (Jn.14:21)

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.                                                                       “He who does not love Me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (vs.23-24)

Here we see just how Jesus wants to be loved, and how God will love us, and how they will reveal themselves to us. This is often never taught or looked at. But it’s huge. This is Jesus commanding us here.

Now since we are looking here into just what is “perfect love”, and our text (1Jn.2:5) states that it has to do with keeping the words of Christ, it is necessary to hone in on a particular commandment in regards to this perfect love.

The apostle John makes this very clear when he speaks of God’s love being “perfected (completed) in us”“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1Jn.4:12). This verse is pretty self-explanatory. The key? “Love one another”. And this is the commandment that Christ taught from the beginning. “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, (1Jn.3:11). John here is referring to Jesus when he gave this commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. (Jn.13:34). He also, when teaching on “Love” and “Joy” being perfected, said this, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”. ( Jn.15:12). He goes on to say that there is no greater love than one giving their life for another. Loving one another through sacrificial love is “perfect love”, it is “agape love”.

Just how important is this commandment according to Jesus? Well, he addressed this question to one of the “Pharisees” as he asked, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus replied with, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment”. (Mt.22:36-38). Then Jesus goes on to say, “And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (vs.39). It is important to note the word here “like”. It means “similar”, and it comes from the Greek word “homos” which means “the same”. We can safely say that these two are to be combined, i.e. Love God, Love you neighbor. “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1Jn.4:20).

Jesus finishes answering the Pharisees question of “which is the great commandment in the law?” with “On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.” The word “hang” here is very important. It means “suspend, summed up”. So if we want to talk and debate over commandments, we best get these two down. We could literally spend the rest of our days “obeying” this commandment. I say “this” because they are combined.

Ok. Let’s move on in this quest for “perfect love”. We have looked at two (1Jn.2:5, 4:12) of the five verses that deal with “perfect love” or “love made complete”. Our next verse is 1Jn.4:17. “Herein is love made perfect in us,”. I purposely stopped here at the first part of this verse. Why? Because, to get a proper understanding of what John is saying here we must look at context and back up to see what “Herein” is. In the five verses leading up to this verse, we see the word “dwelleth” (dwell). It has the same meaning as “abideth” (abide), which means “to stay”. Ok. So where does abide fit into perfect love?

Let’s read it. In verse 12, John says that If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. Then he says, “by this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us,”. By this? By what? By loving one another. It’s the out working of loving one another that His love is perfected in us. And through this we abide, or stay. He goes on to say that “because He (God) has given us His Spirit”Remembering that “it’s the Spirit that bears witness” (1Jn.5:6) to us to confirm everything that God has given. In the verse leading up to 1Jn.4:17, we see some more regarding “abiding” that leads to us understanding “perfect love”. John says that we have known and believed the love that God has for us, God is love,”. And what love is he referring to here? “that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” (1Jn. 4:10). Do you see the tie here? Loving because of what God did for us? “Herein is love!”The apostle John then finishes verse 16 with, “he who dwells (stays in) in love dwells in God, and God in him”. Bing! I think it’s safe to say that “perfect love” is loving because He first loved us, and thus, we love our neighbor as ourselves.

Now, we certainly can’t leave off here without finishing the last part of this verse 17. “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so we are in the world”Here in the middle of the Apostle John’s discourse on love, he drops the word “boldness”. We must ask why? How is boldness tied into “love?”.

First, let’s look into this word. It is “parrhesia”, which by implication means “assurance”. It is also the same word as “confidence”. So we can say that by “abiding/dwelling” in Christ, i.e. abiding in his commandments, which namely is loving God through loving others, we will have assurance/confidence at His return. Yet, most importantly for the now, we can have this as we live out through love. And to add to this “boldness”, it also means, and has to do with, “speak”. Another definition is “all out-spokenness”. So when we our walking in His perfect love, i.e. living it out, we have out right boldness to “speak the truth in love”. Who by the way, was the perfect example of this bold love? You got it! The Christ! “because as He is, so are we in this world”.

Now, just after this look into “boldness”, guess what comes next? What would be one good word that would be the total opposite of boldness? Any suggestions? Our next and main verse has this word in it……

“FEAR”

Remember our main text for this study?

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

The apostle John starts off with a blanket statement here. He says that “there is no fear in love”. Remember that we are not just talking about any kind of love here. And what we mentioned at the beginning of this study, it’s not “worldly love”, or “fleshly love”. This is “agape love”. Through the studying of this kind of love, the teacher, i.e. the Holy Spirit, gave us this definition, “affectionate benevolence through sacrificial giving”. When this is in you, and you are living it out, fear will not be present. It cannot abide in the house where this perfect love takes up residence. So there is absolutely no need to even think on fear. It doesn’t even exist in this agape love. Period!

This agape love not only has “no fear” in it, but it “casts” it out. We must ask why did John put this here? If there is no fear in love, then why would it need to be cast out? Well, are you ready for this? Can your ultra spirituality take this on?

Fear does not abide in us if perfect love abides, right? However, we are all in this flesh. And we all get tempted with “fear”. It is just like the unlimited temptations that come upon us all the time. If you don’t think this is so, then take inventory of the last time you worried about something or someone. It’s a fact that worry can be traced back to fear. So this is why John brought up this “casting out”. If it wasn’t needful then he wouldn’t have brought it up. It absolutely needs to be addressed.

In simplicity, we can say that if we are abiding in Christ, and His words are abiding in us, and we are living them out through perfect love, then all temptations of fear will be casted out. “Perfect love casts out fear”. There is no fear in perfect love.

This verse 18 ends with, “But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”. Here we see that it is possible and needful to be made perfect in love. Another way to say this would be that it is possible and needful to be “completed” in love. Even though this agape love is to be a process for us to be lived out, it is, and has, already been completed in us through Christ in us. We have within us everything that is needed for life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). It is just up to us to use, so to speak, everything that we have been given, i.e. His perfect (completed) love within us. But we must walk it out, i.e. apply it to our everyday living through “loving one another”.

We end our study with verse 19 of 1st John. It is obvious that we are creatures that need to be reminded continually. In reality, isn’t the Holy scriptures a book written for our remembrance? And this being so, the apostle John states, “We love because He first loved us”. This is our continual reminder. This is why we love in the first place. This puts it all back into perspective. Do you remember what John said was love? “In this is love, …. He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”(4:10). And, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” (Jn.3:16). And if this was so…… Then…..

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another”(1Jn.4:11).

We could go on in this study. There is much more to be found in the word of God regarding this “perfect love”. Actually, there is a whole lot more regarding “obedience” that ties right into this love. Jesus himself taught just how important obedience to His teaching was. A good study on this would be found in the gospel of John, chapters 14-15.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this study. We spent five weeks, hours upon hours, hammer and chisel in hand with the Word and Spirit. I hope and pray that you were blessed into understanding more of just what is “perfect love” and how it does “cast out fear”. Hopefully the next time that you are tempted to fear, you will apply perfect love into the situation and thus there will be no room for fear. Remember…… fear cannot abide in perfect love! God bless you!

 

 

 

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Disqualified in the race?

November 12, 2013

download         As a kid growing up with “stock car racing” in the family, I remember the “Black Flag”. If you were racing on the track and the official waived that flag as you went by, you were disqualified and you had to pull off the track and go to the pits immediately.

After the Apostle Paul had just finished writing about how he “became all things to all men that he might save some” and “for the gospel’s sake”, he then likens it to a “Race”.

If we have been born again, we are put into this race. We should look at this race as if “one is going to receive the prize”. We should thus run as one who is going to run in such a way that we will “obtain”, or “win the prize”.

In this race to win, there is no indication of sitting back folding the arms and enjoying the ride. If that were the case, then of course, one would not even be in the race in the first place. Sitting on the sidelines watching and doing nothing would be the case.

The Apostle Paul then lists the key to “obtaining the prize”. And what might that be?

TEMPERANCE. Basically, self-control. It is one of the “fruits of the Spirit”. He said that everyone who “competes for the prize”, or actually is in the race, is temperate in ALL THINGS. What! All things? Whoa!

And what might this “prize” be that he is referring to? It is an “imperishable crown”. Nothing of this world. This is not a literal crown. This is “THE CROWN OF LIFE”. It’s the crown that Jesus refers to that will be given to all those that will be “faithful unto death”. (Rev.2:10)

Paul goes on to say, that because of this, he runs “not with uncertainty”. There is NO not knowing where one is going. No haphazardly living involved here. One is to be “striving to win”. He likens it to a “fight”. It’s a battle. And if we are not in the race, there is NO battle, NO striving.

Fighting to win the crown of life. Not “effortless” living, but spiritual fighting, spiritual living.

He then closes his discourse with the main subject that he is referring to. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection”. There is NO winning without discipline. Any coach will tell us that. And here, the Apostle Paul is coaching us. Not only here, but throughout God’s word we find almost unlimited references to spiritual discipline. We find how very important it is to keep our fleshly appetites at bay. Why? Because the Spirit wars against them. One is going to win. The question is, which one?

The bottom line is this. There can be NO winning the crown without discipline/temperance. NONE.

He sums up the reason why this is so important. Because all of us are “preaching” to other’s. We might not be up on the podium at church, or on the street corner preaching, but our lives are preaching to other’s everyday. They are watching and listening.

Would we want to become “disqualified” in this race?

(see 1Cor.9:19-27)

Hearing and obeying

August 22, 2012

“But this is what I commanded them, saying, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.” (Jer. 7:23)

Can you see the personal call in this verse?

“and I will be  your God”. Yes, than it says, “and you shall be my people”. Many “yours” make up the “my people”, right?

Then it says, “and walk in all that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.”

Now of course, in this verse, the Lord of hosts (vs.21) is speaking about the children of Israel. He said, “But this is what I commanded them.”

But, for a collective people, or a body of people to be obedient to God, they must first have the individuals that are obedient individually before God, right? Collective obedience is made up of individual obedience.

“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” (vs. 24)

The word “obey” here in the Hebrew means, “to hear intelligently”. Hearing and being able to understand what one is hearing is the first step to being obedient. Without either, one cannot fulfill the command to be obedient. This call of obedience to God is for the believer who has been born of the Spirit. Without the first step of the new birth, one cannot “hear intelligently” to be obedient.

For the believer, the “hearing” is a practiced discipline. Jesus over and over said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. He certainly wasn’t talking about physical ears. He was referring to spiritual hearing. With all the distractions in the world today, it’s not easy to hear. But, hearing we must have if we are to be obedient. If Satan can get us to not “Hear”, than he knows that we will not obey. He is satisfied with no obedience. Why? Then he knows that God’s will, will not be carried out in the earth, individually and collectively.

After hearing, and hearing clearly, which involves getting quiet and alone with God, comes the understanding. And once we understand, we are obligated to fulfill the command of which we understand. By hearing and understanding, then doing (or the acting out) that which we hear and know, then it produces the will of God in our lives.

Doing the word which we hear and understand produces obedience which lends itself to the blessings of God.

Not only doers of the written word, but to be reminded that the Holy Spirit speaks from within, to those who have been born of His Spirit which resides in our hearts. So we should be continually hearing and developing an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as individuals. Of course, it will never contradict the written word.

So in closing, personal obedience to God through his Spirit, produces a “going forward” in living out the will of God in our lives. If each one who has been born of His Spirit, would make this a top priority as individuals before God, then when we come together as a body, the power of the Holy Spirit would fall on all those present.

“to obey is better than sacrifice,”

I want to obey Him, right? There should be no “have to” involved.

Can we say that we want to please our Father?

Recipe for a starvation diet

January 29, 2012

Basically, eating once a week on Sunday morning with a few snacks in between.

If that was the only time we ate physically, would we be starving ourselves? Certainly we would. Would we be in poor physical shape? Would we be more prone to sickness? Would we be weak? You got it. As believers, never having quiet alone time with God is a sure recipe for spiritual starvation. In all actually, it is impossible to have real spiritual growth unless we make time to be alone.

Now, I will be the first to say that this is not easy. Especially depending on your own personal situation, you might be working long hours, maybe two jobs, raising a family etc. With all this, I can relate. Having raised a family of six kids and running a business for 16 years, I can relate. But, in all our responsibilities, we must deliberately cut out a time each day for this “quiet alone time”. For many, the only time that there  would be, would be at lunch time at work. But you say, ” I only get a half-hour lunch”. Is there any possibility of asking for an hour? If not, can you make your lunch at home so that you would have more time during that half-hour? Most of the time, “if there is a will, there is a way”.

Many mistake this alone time to be “church”, “group Bible study”, “listening to Christian music” etc. While these are good and certainly beneficial, they are not to be confused with alone time. Personal growth requires this time. In a day and age where busyness is the norm, and one feels deeply out-of-place or awkward if he or she has some quiet time alone, this still must be a practiced discipline. After making it a necessity in one’s life, after a while it becomes the norm. This is a good desire, and didn’t God say that he would give us the desires of our heart? What better desire! To be alone with Him? Does it sound like a selfish desire?

When personal growth is taking place through alone time with God and his word, one also finds themselves ready and able to share from this alone time. The Holy Spirit who is “the Teacher” gives us what we need personally and also gives us food to share with our neighbors. It’s not “regurgitated” food. It is straight from God himself through the Holy Spirit. We might say that it’s a “straight shot”.

So, in the end, if you desire that time, He will make a way. Like anything else in life, there must first be a “desire”.

Christ has borne it all

December 23, 2011

Some of the “all” that Christ has borne for us is found through the Prophet Isaiah.

One such example is found in the 53rd chapter, verse 4a. It reads, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;”. Let us take a look at the word, “griefs”. The Hebrew meaning is “malady, anxiety, calamity, disease, grief, sick (ness). If you are like me, I saw the word “malady” and said, “what’s that?” According to Webster, it means, “sick, bad condition, an unwholesome condition”. Now, when I consider “an unwholesome condition”, it brings a lot with it, does it not? When you talk about this kind of condition, the sky is pretty much the limit, isn’t it?

I believe that we could also include “demon possession” into this “unwholesome condition”. Let us turn to the book of Matthew. Here we will see one of the many cases where Jesus healed. But, there is something to notice here besides just the physical healing.

Let us start with verse 14. “Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.” Here we see the physical healing of the fever. But, what is next? Starting with verse 16, we read, “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,”

Here we see that “many” were brought to Him who were “demon-possessed”. He casts out the “spirits” of demons that were in them, and He healed the sick. Together He did them both. He didn’t say, “tonight we are going to heal the sick, then tomorrow we are going to cast out the demon spirits. No, they were done the same day. We won’t take the time to read the many other accounts were Christ healed and casted out demons at the same time. Physical healing and the casting out of demons run hand in hand.

Now, check this out. Why was this done this way? Verse 17 explains. “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Here he was speaking about Isaiah 53:4. Even though the quote is worded a little different here in Matthew, it’s meaning is still the same. The word, “infirmities” here in the Greek means, “feebleness (as in body or mind)”. By implication it means, “malady”. Bingo! Where did we see that meaning before? Right. The same as the Hebrew word, “griefs” found in Isaiah. The definition goes on for “infirmities” with, “frailty, disease, sickness, weakness”.

In the end, we can safely say the Christ bore everything that was “sick, bad or any unwholesome condition.” This includes “Demon-possession”. Christ also bore this in his humanity for us. Isn’t this awesome! Nothing is left out! CHRIST HAS BORNE IT ALL FOR US!

Now, I can’t leave without asking the question, have you personally believed that Christ has borne it all for you? Whatever you have carried in your life to this point, be it “abuse”, be it “self-hatred”, be it “anger”, be it “unforgiveness”, be it “addictions” of any kind, Christ has borne it all. But, we must give it ALL to him, personally. He has already carried it, but you have to give it up. You can’t hold back and keep some, or part of it. All must go for Him to bare it all.

Overcoming all fear

October 27, 2011

By keeping (obeying) the words/commands of Christ, the love of God can be made perfect in us. (see 1Jn.2:5). When the “love of God is perfected in us” all fear is cast out. We then have confidence/boldness in this world. (see 1Jn.4:17-18). By abiding in the commands of Christ, we abide in His love. (see Jn.15:9-17).

Being Refined

September 16, 2011
Purify
my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me
be as gold, pure gold
Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be
holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my
Master
Ready to do Your will
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from
within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep
within

Song: Refiners Fire by Brian Doerksen

Making the Devil somewhat happy

June 8, 2011

He is somewhat happy if all you do is “whistle and skip” yourself around in God’s kingdom. Oh sure, he is not completely happy and content, cause he still wants and tries to get your soul for eternity. But if you try to take someone else along for eternity, look out, all “hell” breaks loose.

If all you do is, surround yourself with other Christians, go to church, meetings and conferences etc., but never get outside of your circle and share Christ with a lost person, then the Devil is somewhat satisfied. If you life consists of keeping to yourself, your family and saved friends, you are missing out on what God’s heart is, and that is, saving the lost. It has always been about souls. It all comes down to it. God wants our soul for eternity, and so does the devil. A wasted life is one that has no effect upon the lost. God has saved us and has us on this earth for one main purpose, to be the light to those in darkness. To help snatch those who the devil has his grip on, and yells “they are mine for eternity!”

Our lives must have an effect on the lost in some way. We must be actively engaged in some fashion in reaching the lost. Each of us has a different “calling”, but it will involve  reaching out to the lost in some way, to those who have yet to be saved.

We must check our lives. Take inventory. If need be, pray and ask God to awake you to the lost around you, and to those outside of your own world.

Give me your heart that will cause my eyes to see. Then give me your ability to use my whole being to reach out to those in need

Who’s to say?

May 1, 2011

Barring in mind that God is about eternity, which has to do with people, would He cause or allow certain things to happen in our lives so that we would affect people for Him and his kingdom?

If this is true, and we would see life more this way, would life take on a whole new perspective? Could we look for the good more out of the unfortunate situations?

What if :

Your car breaks down on your way to work? Now the first response would be, “Oh no, I can’t miss work”. Or, “Great, how am I going to get to work now”. Or, “What about my car?”. While these are natural responses, and yes, they need to be addressed, but we must look to God as to why.

Ok, if I believe that God is about eternity and people (souls), what is going to be my response now? Is somebody going to stop on this roadway that I am on and offer assistance? Is this going to be a person? A soul bound for eternity? If so, am I ready for the encounter? Or, am I all wrapped up in my problem to be of no use to God or his kingdom?

How about the tow truck driver? Is he or she a person? A person that God loves and gave his Son for? Or do we not see that? Is all we see is that “How long will it take to get here?”

What if :

A storm comes in the night and blows your fence down? Do you stop and consider who are the people who are going to be involved in this accident? What about the insurance agent? What about the guys that they send out to repair the fence? What about the neighbor that you have never met? Would this be a opportunity to share Jesus? Do we believe that unbelievers are not going to make it into the Kingdom? If so, does it move us? Are we concerned?

In my outings as a street minister, I have to be reminded also.

My part-time work at a local retailer posts its schedules online. Two weeks ago, I noticed that I was not scheduled for this weekend. A week ago, I noticed that I was not scheduled for next weekend. So, by the grace of God, I prayed and sought him out regarding this. I called my supervisor and he informed me that there was no available hours in my department. He suggested that I talk to another person in another department. So, long story short, I was unable to get a hold of the supervisor Saturday morning. So, by faith I got ready to head out the door for downtown. I knew that there would be some brothers out ministering in a certain area, so I took off.

I get to the light rail train, and there waiting for the next train, I hear this yelling going on. I walk over to see what is going on. Two men were arguing about Jesus. It sounded like they were arguing about what skin color he was. One man was a caucasian man, the other was a Afro-American. I think it had something to do with it. Soon, the train came and myself and three others got on. One of the guys was the Afro-American man who was involved in the yelling.

So, as it turns out, the three of us all have opportunity to share on the train. Jesus was lifted up, to God be the glory. The other man who was arguing with this man on the train, never got on. He took off walking, so I never had a oppertunity to meet him.

So the day started off well. When I got to town, I did one prayer walk. After, I called my supervisor, in hopes that she would be in. She never answered the phone. Oh well, here we are and there is people everywhere. It’s a beautiful day and with the outdoor market staring me in the face as I look down upon it from the bridge above, I continue my prayer walk.

Soon, the brothers are sharing and I am across from them handing out Jesus tracts. I go to a couple of different areas and follow what the Spirit is leading me to do. He leads me to a very busy area where they cross the street. He shows me to do something a little different then I have done in the past. Stand there and smile, hold out one in each hand. This came from a vision He gave me when I was standing off to the side waiting for the next move.

So, the response was very good with some stopping by to share. Towards the mid-afternoon, I was led to hop on the train and head back home. I also sensed that I was to go into work and personally see the supervisor to see if I was to work tomorrow.

So, I get on the train, and as I always try to do, I look around at my surroundings. I noticed this young guy on my right, up a stair or two. I was impressed to say hello and give him a tract. He graciously took it and said thanks. Soon he stepped down in front of me and started to read it, word for word as the train moved down the tracks. When he finished and raised his head, I asked him what he thought. And for the next 15 minutes, we had an awesome dialog, sharing together.

He said that he was raised in a believing home, but they didn’t go to church much. I had a opportunity to encourage him that he needs to have other believers that he meets with on a regular basis. He agreed. I asked him to pray that God would send them. I also invited him to our fellowship. He seemed to be really blessed that he had this “God encounter”. (Remembering, that God is Spirit, and that he is everywhere, and that he is all about people). I also reassured him about Jesus, as being the only way.

Now, just as an example, who’s to say that my work schedule was all mixed up for one reason? Was it for the above guy on the train? Was it for the guys at the beginning of the trip? How about the 30-40 tracts that were passed out? Was there maybe one that God had specially prepared for the day? How about the guy that I gave  two quarters to, on the corner that I was sharing? He was blessed with the quarters, yes. But what about hearing the Gospel one more time in his life? Was that worth having a day off with no pay? What did it matter in the eyes of eternity?

So, may we all, by God’s grace, began to look more at each day from God’s perspective, which is “Eternity and souls”. God bless you all!

Spitting bullets

April 16, 2011

To me she looked like your average lady in her mid-sixties. She was kind of small in stature. A little on the heavier side. Her hair was covered with a scarf. I was presuming that it was because of the rain. To me, your everyday women.

That morning, before going out, I was led to some scriptures regarding those who would not make it into the kingdom of heaven. His word does list some certain types of people who will not enter.

So, as usual, I wrote down a few scriptures that I was given that morning, and headed out the door. When I arrived into the city, I had no clear direction as to where to go. This is not unusual for me, in fact it is probably the norm. It usually takes some prayer walking before I can hear, or sence where to go, or where to stop, or stay.

After about an hour or so, I ended up on a corner that I had only been to maybe three or four times at the most. I just stood there holding out a tract, with an occasional word or two. Very little response in the 30 or 40 minutes that I was there. So, I sensed that it was time to head over to the “square”. This is the “popular” place for evangelism of any type. But, for me, I want to only go there if I sence a leading to go there. I did, so off I went. It was one of the typical rainy days we get here. I went to a place that you might say, is my favorite spot. It also has a covering in which to stand, if it’s raining.

So, I stood there holding out a tract. At this place, people are waiting for the next light rail train that heads west. Little by little the crowd builds. Then, the Spirit prompted me to open the word and began sharing. I sensed that this was the time and opportunity to share what He gave me that morning, so I did……..

It started like this…. “God’s word tells us about those who will not make it into the kingdom of God. Those who will not inherit the kingdom. Fornicator’s, those who have sex…” AND THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, A LADY THAT WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME, ON MY RIGHT SIDE, SHOUTED AND “WENT INTO ONE” for the next 10 minutes.

She said things like, “who do you think you are?”. “What right do you have to tell all these people this?”. “How dare you, talk like this!”  She went on and on, yelling the whole time.

Now, one thing I have learned, when it comes to “preaching” and that is, when one tries to stop the word and the Spirit, don’t give in. ( only by the Holy Spirit, of course. Only His power). So, all the time she was carrying on, the Spirit was still delivering. I must admit, that this lady was just like a “pack of wolves” in the spirit. She was ferocious and very furious. For just a second or two, I was temped to stop and address her. But, the Spirit said, “keep going”. As usual, there were several that were watching this as it was going on. Many times, it is for those who are on the sidelines. This has bore witness, more than once. In fact, just last week, for that matter.

This was awesome. A younger girl appeared just a minute into this lady’s rampage. She stepped in and said to the lady, “this man is doing nothing wrong. He’s not yelling. He is just speaking. He has every right too”. Well, this made her all the more mad. By now she was “spitting bullets”. I thank God for his armour! The fiery darts just reflected off the shield of faith, bless the Lord!

She asked me, “where are you getting this?” This was the only time I answered her. I said, “from the word of God”. She said, “oh, how do you know that’s God’s word?” As I attempted to answer her, she took her hand and hit my bible. I was so glad that I had a firm grip on it. Her hand just bounced off the cover. There was a lot of water in front of me, so that would not have been good, had it fallen to the ground.

I quickly remained in the Spirit and went on sharing what the Spirit was giving me. She never stopped, neither did I. Soon, she went off yelling and boarding the train, for who knows where.

Well, just another outing on the streets. We will continue to pray for that lady, and many others out there who need God so desperately.

Oh, for those who are interested, we were sharing from 1Cor.6:9-10. And Gal.5:19-21.