THE SOON AND COMING KING

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6

INGTRODUCTION

In a time of great darkness, God promised to send a light who would shine on everyone living in the shadow of death. He is both ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ and ‘Mighty God’. This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom. He came to deliver us from slavery of sin.

Great Expectations

Imagine that a message has come about the visit of a great King.  This king who is coming to visit your city is of impeccable pedigree – a line of ancestors known for their great leadership qualities.  This expected King has a reputation for fairness, justice, kindness, wisdom and generosity.  All over town people’s expectations are high.  The people know that the King will not just visit and go along His way without leaving them something that will make their lives better so each person in the village has made their own list of things that they will either directly or indirectly ask from the King.  The issue of not receiving what is asked for is totally out of the question.  The awaited King is not like that.  He not only keeps His word.  He is one who is compassionate and listens to His people and so wherever He goes He leaves a train of fulfilled dreams and hopes.

The Great King

In Isaiah 9:1-7, we read of the famous prophecy at the coronation of either Hezekiah or Josiah as King of Judah “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.  In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the  future he will honour Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.  For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” 

The prophecy speaks of the close of the chapter of doom, gloom and melancholy. In verses 2 & 3, Isaiah draws a contrast between the darkness of despair and the joyous salvation which will be ushered in by the coming king, who will be the long awaited Saviour.  This passage in Isaiah is quoted extensively at Christmas time because it is the prophecy concerning the coming of the King of kings and Saviour of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Later Isaiah gives us names which are descriptive of the nature, character and power of this coming King.  These names have a very special meaning to us because we know that Jesus has fulfilled every aspect of the prophecy.

Wonderful Counsellor

This coming king – Jesus, is exceptional because He is the Son of God and Son of man.  He gives the right advice because He is intimately acquainted with the counsels of God from eternity.  In fact John, one of His apostles describes Him as ‘one who was with God in the beginning’ – John 1:1-2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God He was with God in the beginning.”(NIV) This Wonderful Counsellor is the wisdom of God our Father who has made Him our wisdom.  We can rely on Him for wisdom to handle our everyday situations and solve seemingly intractable problems.  He is our wisdom because He enables us to move beyond our selfishness, greed, unholiness and self-will and submit to God’s direction without feeling that our peers would consider us foolish.

Mighty God

The coming King is a Divine Warrior because He has supernatural skill and strength in battle.  Because He is God Himself, Jesus is able to fight and overcome every scheme of the devil concerning the lives of His redeemed.  But even more, His divine skills in battle are transferred to us through the armour He has provided us which include the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit as we read in Ephesians 6:13-17. “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. – (NIV)  Through God’s might we are able to overcome one of our greatest enemies – the SELF; the I in us which insists on having its own way even if that way is against God and humanity.  The might of God, given us through the coming King, Jesus Christ, gives us power to resist the world’s seductive attractions.

Everlasting Father

This coming King is timeless; He is God our Father or better put Father for ever, meaning that the King will look after His people as a father looks after His children.  Jesus’ own promise to the disciples (and to us) is that no one can snatch us from His hands because we have been given to Him by His Father, God: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.    I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I am the Father are one”- John 10:27-30 (NIV).

Prince of Peace

As a King, He preserves commands and creates peace in His Kingdom.  He Himself is Peace and therefore brings prosperity and well-being to His people.  He does this by governing with justice, righteousness and equity.  In Isaiah 11:1-9 gives further detail about what constitutes the rule of the Prince of Peace as follows:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from the roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.  He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes or decide by what He hears with His ears, but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.  Righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waist.  The wolf will be with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra and the young child put his hand into the vipers nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” – (NIV)

Getting Ready for the King

During this period until soon after Christmas, let us all be meditating on the message of Christmas.  It is the message of God coming down to our level so that we will be raised to His level.  It is a message of salvation from sin, the breaking of the bonds of slavery to Satan.  It is a message of God lovingly binding broken hearts and healing diseases.  But most of all, it is a message of restoration – God restoring us to the original relationship He created us to have with Him. 

SING, WE THE KING WHO IS COMING TO REIGN – MHB 116 (verse 1& 5)

1 Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain,
Life and salvation his empire shall bring
Joy to the nations when Jesus is King.

Refrain:
Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
Jesus our King, Jesus our King;
This is our song, who to Jesus belong:
Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

5 Kingdom of Christ, for thy coming we pray,
Hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
When this new song thy creation shall sing,
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.

Stay blessed!

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THE HOPE OF ADVENT

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!” – Acts 2:1-8

INTRODUCTION

Advent,” says Pope Francis, “is a journey toward the horizon of hope. Does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God”. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!”

During Advent, we are invited to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord – to wait in joyful hope for His return in glory at the end of time and to prepare for the annual celebration of His birth.

REFLECT

The Holy Spirit’s arrival was a fulfilment of Jesus’ promise and also John the Baptist’s words about the Holy Spirit’s baptizing with fire (Luke 3:16 – John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But One who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.), and of the prophet Joel’s words about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29 – And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.).

Tongues of fire were the sign of His arrival.

Why tongues of fire? Tongues symbolize speech and the communication of the gospel. Fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others. On Mount Sinai, God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament law with fire from heaven (Exodus 19:16-18). At Pentecost, God confirmed the validity of the Holy Spirit’s ministry by sending fire. At Mount Sinai, fire had come down on one place; at Pentecost, fire came down on many believers, symbolizing that God’s presence is now available to all who believe in Him.

RESPOND

God made His presence known to this group of believers in a spectacular way—violent wind, fire, and His Holy Spirit. Would you like God to reveal Himself to you in such recognizable ways? He may do so, but be wary of forcing your expectations on God. In 1 Kings 19:10-13, Elijah also needed a message from God. There was a great wind, then an earthquake, and finally a fire. But God’s message came in a “gentle whisper.” God may use dramatic methods to work in your life—or He may speak in a gentle whisper. Wait patiently and always listen.

A PRAYER FOR HOPE

Heavenly Father,

Advent is a time for remembering and reflecting on the birth of Your Son and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Father, I pray that You will turn our hearts toward You as Christmas approaches.  Let us not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season this year and miss the chance to celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, love, that You sent to us on that first Christmas day!

Father God, every word in scripture points to the gift of hope that we have because of Christ Jesus.  The Christmas story wasn’t the beginning of that message of hope because the old testament is full of glimpses of Your plan to redeem Your people and restore them into a relationship with You, but we are able to truly begin to see and understand just how great Your love for us is when we read the story of Jesus’ birth in Scripture.

You showed us a glimmer of that hope as You chose to send Your Son into this earth through a family tree that was a little bent and scarred.  We glanced it again as You chose a tribe that was small and a city that was lowly. We are grateful that You didn’t send Your Son to be birthed in a fancy palace among the wealthy and the elite, but our King of kings and Lord of lords was born among common shepherds and livestock in a barn.

The family wasn’t ideal.  The surroundings weren’t grand.  The situation wasn’t without its’ difficulties, however, You came in the midst of all of that.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  God in the messy.  God in the dirty.  God in the difficult and the troubled. 

Your plan to redeem and restore mankind was to dwell among us, fully God and fully man.  You chose to come to earth enrobed in the fragile soft skin of a newborn baby and set aside all of the glory of heaven for one purpose.  You came to be with us.  You came to love us.  You came to die for us, so that we might live.

Help us to see that You are with us.  Nothing is too difficult, too messy, or too dirty for you.  Jesus came to give us the gift of eternal life through the salvation that only you, our Heavenly Father, can give when we believe in Your Son, repent of our sins, and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

That first Christmas, You gave us the gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.  Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable gift.

We are bold to pray like this because of this precious name of Your Son and our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. With thanksgiving Amen.

MHB 150 – THOU DIDST LEAVE THY THRONE

1 Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,

When Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room

For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

2 Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,

Proclaiming Thy royal degree;

But of lowly birth cams’t Thou come to earth,

And in great humility.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliot, 1836-1897

Remain Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

DAYS WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

“To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?” – Genesis 32:17

Life must have purpose and significance if you are to live meaningfully. One of the great truths of the Christian life is that it changes your attitude. Previously you lived without hope or expectation, but Christ now plants new hope in your heart.

When you truly start living in Christ, you look at life with new understanding. You will never again have to ask, “Is life worthwhile?” When the thoughts of Christ fill you and the Holy Spirit saturates your spirit, you realize the rich quality of your faith, and your life takes on new and exciting dimensions.

Lord Jesus, You came so that we may have abundant life. Help me to remember to come to You when days are dark, so that my life may be infused with significance and meaning once again. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace from Each Moment.

A REASON TO LIVE

“Because I live, you also will live” – John 14:19

Despite how gloomy the future seems sometimes, it is important to remember that your life and future are in the hands of God. The Christian’s fate is not ruled by blind fate; God is in control of every situation in which you find yourself. He knows your needs and is always able to provide for you.

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus not only gave you life but also a reason to live. Through His Holy Spirit, He provides you with the skills to cope with life. Choose life and live it in the abundance of Jesus Christ, giving Him the glory.

Faithful Lord, in the midst of change and corruption that occurs daily, I know that Jesus lives and that He has made it worthwhile for me to be alive too. Amen.

SPONTANEOUS THANKSGIVING

“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples.” – Psalm 77:13-14

We serve a wonderful God and King! Unfortunately we sometimes lose sight of, His greatness and end up leading petty, unfulfilled lives. Instead of growing into the fullness of His stature by focusing on Him, we try to reduce Him to our level.

God is great and Scripture resounds with His invitation for us to share in His greatness. Surrendering to His presence transforms dwarves into spiritual giants.

When you are aware of God living in you, your attitude to life changes and your heart will overflow with gratitude for the glory and beauty that God imparts to your daily life.

Wondrous God, because You dwell in me through Jesus Christ I can overcome all the negative things in life and be filled with all the goodness of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace from Each Moment.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

“Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth.” – Isaiah 65:16

To the optimist, the simple things in life are a constant source of joy – spontaneous laughter, the bright rays of the sun, and the sounds of the birds in the trees.

People who count their blessings are extremely happy. Even in their darkest moments they maintain a spirit of hope and optimism, because they know things will work out well.

The more you count your blessings, the more it will seem as if God pours them out upon your life. Your heart will overflow with gratitude for God’s amazing love. When life becomes a burden and it seems ominously dark around you, recalling your blessings is a sure way to keep a healthy perspective.

Father, how will I ever be able to express my gratitude in words? You bless me with so many things that were I to start listing them one by one, I would need eternity to thank You. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace from Each Moment.

GODLY INSTRUCTION

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. – Proverbs 23:12

Introduction
According to the Baker Illustrated Bible, the biblical book that bills itself as the instruction manual is Proverbs, which is presented in the form of parental instruction to a child. God offers everyone knowledge to guide how one should live, but if spurned, the offer may be withdrawn.

The people most likely to gain knowledge are those who are willing to listen. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to pay attention to what others have to say. People who are eager to listen continue to learn and grow throughout their lives. If we refuse to become set in our ways, we can always expand the limits of our knowledge.

1. Pay attention! This is not a boring proverb. Get your heart and ears into it. The desire for instruction and the willingness to hear correction are marks of greatness and virtue. Very few apply themselves to learn knowledge and wisdom. They are more interested in entertainment and fun. Study sounds far too much like work.

2. There are great differences among men. Some are winners; some are losers. Some are wise; some are foolish. Men make choices that either cost them wisdom or gain them wisdom. A noble and virtuous man will sacrifice other things in life in order to pursue wisdom, but a fool would rather hear himself talk. “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” – Proverbs 15:14; “Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” – Proverbs 17:24.

3. The man who seeks wisdom will have a happy and successful life, for he rightly understands the world, makes profitable decisions, and avoids pain and trouble. But the fool or scorner, arrogant in his own ignorance, goes on and is punished by his confused thinking and horrible decision-making. “Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.” – Proverbs 11:29; “A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.” – Proverbs 13:15.

4. There are 1,440 minutes in every day. How many do you seek wisdom? How many do you pursue instruction? The average Ghanaian watches television 3-4 hours, or about 210 minutes, every day – and not a single minute of it teaches wisdom.

But television is not the only culprit in a pleasure-mad generation (II Tim 3:1-4). What about idle posting on social media, texting, tweeting, movies, magazines, music, sports, hobbies, lawn care, concerts, video games, and Internet surfing, among many more? When a person chooses to exalt these activities, he forfeits the advice given by Solomon in this proverb, for the 1,440 minutes in a day quickly rush down the drain and are lost.

5. Only a few great men and women will apply themselves to the pursuit of wisdom and reap the wonderful results. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14.

  • Can you focus on the goal and put forth the effort to learn true wisdom each day? Do you read your Bible daily?
  • Do you attend a Bible-preaching church as often as possible?
  • Do you seek advice from wise and sober counselors before making major decisions? “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” – Proverbs 11:14. Pay attention to this proverb!

6. Solomon described a man committed to wisdom. He applies himself in various ways to the goal, and he achieves his objective. But the fool’s mind is always wandering all over the place in its imaginations, even though wisdom is right before him. “Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.” – Proverbs 18:2. So Solomon emphasized the necessity of applying yourself to obtain wisdom. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.” – Proverbs 5:1-2; “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path” – Proverbs 23:19,23.

End Note
How attentive are your heart and ears after hearing the instruction and knowledge of this proverb? What changes will you make today? Have you read God’s word for it to instruct you and increase your knowledge? Have you asked your parents’ for advice in a matter bothering you? Can you remember what was preached last Sunday? Instruction and knowledge are precious gifts; make good use of them, for life without them is painful.

I Want A Principle Within – MHB 626
1 I want a principle within
Of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin,
A pain to feel it near

2 I want the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.

3 That I from Thee no more may part
No more Thy goodness grieve,
The filial awe, the fleshly heart,
The tender conscience give.

4 Quick as the apple of an eye
O God, my conscience make;
Awake my soul when sin is nigh,
And keep it still awake.

5 O may the least omission pain
My well instructed soul,
And drive me to the blood again
Which makes the wounded whole.
Charles Wesley, 1707 – 1788.

Stay blessed!
Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

 

THE SEVEN C’S OF SOUL WINNING

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15

INTRODUCTION
I found this on the net and thought it very relevant for our time because the article talks about the number one business of the Church: the business of winning souls. It is what I call “The Seven Cs of Soul Winning.”

1. Commission
God wants us to take the Gospel to Others. We need to get out into the world! Jesus was not crucified between two candles on a church altar. He was crucified out in the byways and highways of humanity, and that is where we must take the message.

Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” That is a promise. But you know what? You have to get to the water if you are going to catch fish. You have to get out of the four church walls, out to where hurting humanity is, and engage them with the gospel.

No one could catch a fish sitting in camp. A lot of Christians just hang around the camp. They form fishing clubs and talk about how important it is to fish. But they don’t fish. God wants us to go fish!

2. Compassion for the Lost
In Mark 16:16 Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

This means eternally separated from God with no opportunity of rescue or retrieval. Forever lost. Think about it! Do you recall the story Jesus told of the rich man who died? It ought to send a shudder through the heart of even the most brazen sinner. Jesus tells us that the rich man died and was in torment, in flame.

Jesus goes on to say that the rich man lifted up his eyes, and begged for mercy. But no mercy came, even as it says in Revelation 14:11, “The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.” I know it is not a popular subject in the Church to talk about hell, but Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven. It is a very real place.

If we would consider just for a moment the end of the man or woman who rejects Christ, it ought to cause our hearts to be stirred with compassion. Our compassion for the lost ought to move us to do all we can to share Christ with them!

3. Common Ground
We need to endeavour to find common ground with people. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-24, Paul says, For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

In this passage, Paul is talking about the way he ran—the method he used—to reach people for Christ. Verse 22 in The Living Bible puts it this way: “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.” Paul didn’t run aimlessly. And like Paul, we have to find a point to relate to people so that you can build a bridge over which the gospel can come.
I encourage you today to find a common area of interest, a common ground, to relate to people in order to share Christ with them.

4. Character Counts
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, particularly verse 27, tells us the importance of character in witnessing to others, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Paul said he was temperate in all things, that he disciplined his body. He would bring it into subjection, meaning he had problems keeping his body in subjection, just like you and I do.

Every one of us has a propensity toward certain sins. It is important, though, that we rein in our flesh and that we are temperate in all things because our lifestyle affects our message.
If your character is out of whack, people are going to have a hard time hearing what you have to say. Character counts!

5. The Comforter
Many times when Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit, He referred to Him as the Comforter. In Acts 1:4-5, after the resurrection, Jesus said something to the disciples that was very intriguing, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

He had already told them to go into all the world, but then He said, “Hey, you need to wait for something. There’s some equipment you need before you go. Don’t go start a Bible study, don’t go pass out a tract, don’t do anything. You need something first. You need to be baptized with the Spirit.” Then look at what He said in verse 8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit gives us power to be a witness. There is something beyond even living a life of integrity. There is a supernatural, captivating element when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit that makes the witness of the gospel even more inescapable. Jesus was so strong on it He said, “Look, don’t leave Jerusalem without it.” God has given us His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to empower us to reach our generation for Christ.

6. Convicting and Convincing
John 16:7-9 helps us understand Jesus’ role clearly. Here Jesus is talking to the disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me.”

Jesus is not telling us that we need to pray, “Holy Spirit, go convict this person.” Rather, the foundation from which He is speaking is found in John 14. In that passage He says, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will no longer just be with you, but He will be in you.” In the following verses, He then talks about all the things the Holy Spirit does within us. And here, when He talks about the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin, He does that work when we engage them with the gospel.
When we talk to people about Christ, the Holy Spirit then goes to work.

7. Wise Counsel
It’s important we learn to share the Word with people. Our testimony is powerful and should be shared. But even though that may move people and influence people, they need to know they are anchoring their trust in the promises of God. Not just in a feeling they have gotten, not just because they feel influenced and moved—even if that is by the Holy Spirit.

Why? Because feelings change. Our feelings can go up and down like a rollercoaster. God’s Word makes it clear that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. When a person is saved, they need to be anchoring their faith on the promises of God, not on their feelings.

Promises like Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
So when we witness to people, we need to give them the counsel, the promises of the Word of God.

8. The Coming Reward
Daniel 12:3, which says, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

There is a coming reward for those who turn people to righteousness. The dearest thing to God’s heart is winning humanity and bringing them into His family. Nothing is more important to God. He bankrupted heaven and gave His only begotten Son to save humanity. The Bible teaches us that there will be a reward, my friend: authority in heaven, a place in heaven, honor in heaven.

In addition to that, I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Someday there is going to be a joy and a fullness in heaven, but there are some who will not experience that level of joy.
I think there is going to be something about being in heaven and seeing your fingerprints on people who are there because you shared, because you gave, and because you prayed. I believe there is going to be a greater joy for some because they did more for heaven while on earth than others.

Source: Answers with Bayless Conley.
Stay Blessed!

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BE ENTHUSIASTIC

‘I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the Lord. – Psalm 116:17

To really appreciate life, you need to keep your enthusiasm constantly alive. The gift of life must never be taken for granted or it becomes common and boring and you loose your sense of anticipation and vision for the future. Take time to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of life.

What are you taking for granted? Your daily existence can so easily degenerate into mindless drudgery. If you practice the art of appreciation, however, you can change your life into a beautiful and exciting adventure.

Father, I appreciate all the beauty and wonder that fills my life day by day. Through praise, You keep my heart sensitive to the needs of others. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace from Each Moment.

THE SPIRIT OF CALEB

‘My servant Caleb has a different spirit.’  – Numbers 14:24 NIV

Ever read the story of Caleb in the Bible? If he was alive today there’s a good chance he’d qualify for ‘Person of the Year’, someone who has done the most to influence circumstances for the better. Here’s his story in his own words: ‘I was forty years old when Moses…sent me…to explore the land…I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed…God wholeheartedly…that day Moses swore to me, “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance”…So here I am today, eighty-five years old…as strong…as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me…Then Joshua blessed Caleb… and gave him Hebron as his inheritance…because he followed the Lord…wholeheartedly’ (Joshua 14:7-14 NIV).

We can learn a lot of valuable lessons from Caleb. He had ‘a different spirit’ from those around him.
He was a positive, optimistic kind of person.
He believed that with God’s help every giant that stands in our way can be conquered, even when others say they can’t.
He had a vision that he stuck to, even when he grew older and had to face tough circumstances.
He was willing to wait and work for it even though it took 45 years to fulfil. He remained totally committed to God.
So let’s ask God to give us the spirit of Caleb.
What Now?

Spend some time reading about Caleb (take a look at Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14). Then ask God to give you the spirit of

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from United Christian Broadcasters.