START A CHAIN REACTION…

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus (John 1:35-37).

When John opened his mouth about Jesus, two people who heard him speak followed the Lord.  We must open our mouths about the Lamb of God if we want people to follow Him.

Look what happens next in John 1:40-42,

One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.

We have a chain reaction happening here.  John says, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and two men follow Jesus.  One of the men, Andrew, goes straight to his brother and brings him to Jesus.  It is interesting to note that it says he “first” found his own brother—indicating that Simon was not the only one that Andrew found and brought to the Lord.

The remainder of this chapter in John tells us how Philip told Nathaniel about Jesus and was able to persuade him to meet the Lord with the words “come and see.”

These stories from the first chapter of John reveal to us what we should be doing once we meet Jesus.  We need to bring our friends and loved ones to the Lord.  We should be inviting them to “come and see.”

Take a moment right now and ask God to show you someone who you should talk to about Jesus.  Then get busy and do it.  You just may see a chain reaction of salvations.

DO NOT STORE UP TREASURE ON THIS EARTH..

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.  You have heaped up treasure in the last days.  Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (James 5:3-4).

These words are written to believers, to Christians who are hoarding up wealth rather than giving to support the spread of the gospel.

The reapers in verse 4 are those preaching and working out in the harvest fields of the world.  Notice it says that the Lord has heard their cry.  But if you read carefully, you will find that another cry has entered the Lord’s ears as well.

“The wages” of the laborers cry out to God as well!  The tithes and offerings that have been withheld cry out.  Monies that should have been sown into the cause of Christ are raising their voices in a mighty chorus to heaven!

Large amounts of undesignated and unused funds that sit in bank vaults cry out.  Funds God has graciously given to His people that have been withheld from their purpose—to bring a living Jesus to a dying world—cry out and cry out and cry out!

Are you sitting on a talking wallet today?  Is your purse crying out to God?  If you could hear their voice, what would they cry?  “China!  Europe!  Africa!  The Middle East!”??

Are you generously supporting the work of your own local church?  Do not let your money testify against you!  Give where, when, and how much God directs— consistently—into the work of His Kingdom.

If the precious fruit of the earth is going to be reaped, we have to support those who labor in the field.

THE HARVEST…

In Mark 16:15 Jesus said,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

In Matthew 13:38 He said,

 “The field is the world…”

We need to lift up our eyes upon the harvest field “of the world.”

It may sound crazy, but God is expecting us to do something about the salvation of the whole world!

In James chapter five, we are told that God is like a farmer waiting patiently for the precious fruit “of the earth.  The implication there is that the Lord is coming, but there is a great global harvest coming first.

Here are some things you can do to be a part of reaching the world for Christ: 

Pray – Matthew 9:37-38 says, Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Give – Generously support ministries that are reaching the lost.  Make the mission outreaches of your own church a priority.

Go – Jesus’ command to go is to all believers.  At the very least, take a short term missions trip to share the Good News with others.

Remember, the only things we will take to heaven with us are the precious souls we have brought to Christ. 

ASK THE FATHER…

1 Samuel 30:8 tells us what David did next as He sought to deal with the troubles that besieged him.  After grieving and strengthening himself in the Lord, here is what he did,

So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?”  And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

David inquired of the Lord.

There is a story in the book of Joshua that shows the importance of inquiring of God, of seeking His guidance, no matter how things may seem.

The nation of Israel had entered the Promised Land and they were gaining great victories.  One day a group of Gibeonites showed up.  They had bags full of old moldy bread, their sandals were worn out, their water skins were cracked and old, and their clothing was old and worn.

They told Joshua and the leaders that they had come from a country far, far away.  They went on to tell them they had heard about the great things God was doing through Israel, and they wanted to make sure they would not be attacked.  So they had traveled from afar to make a covenant so that when Israel eventually reached them in the future, they wouldn’t attack the Gibeonites. 

The Bible says specifically that Joshua and the men did not inquire of the Lord.  Rather, they looked at the people’s provisions…the moldy bread, the old sandals, the old water skins…and they made a covenant with them.

It turns out they were the next door neighbors and Israel had been deceived. And it caused huge problems in Israel’s future.

I am telling you, things are not always as they appear. It pays to inquire of the Lord when you are going through difficult times. He will lead you. 

ASK THE FATHER…

1 Samuel 30:8 tells us what David did next as He sought to deal with the troubles that besieged him.  After grieving and strengthening himself in the Lord, here is what he did,

So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?”  And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

David inquired of the Lord.

There is a story in the book of Joshua that shows the importance of inquiring of God, of seeking His guidance, no matter how things may seem.

The nation of Israel had entered the Promised Land and they were gaining great victories.  One day a group of Gibeonites showed up.  They had bags full of old moldy bread, their sandals were worn out, their water skins were cracked and old, and their clothing was old and worn.

They told Joshua and the leaders that they had come from a country far, far away.  They went on to tell them they had heard about the great things God was doing through Israel, and they wanted to make sure they would not be attacked.  So they had traveled from afar to make a covenant so that when Israel eventually reached them in the future, they wouldn’t attack the Gibeonites. 

The Bible says specifically that Joshua and the men did not inquire of the Lord.  Rather, they looked at the people’s provisions…the moldy bread, the old sandals, the old water skins…and they made a covenant with them.

It turns out they were the next door neighbors and Israel had been deceived. And it caused huge problems in Israel’s future.

I am telling you, things are not always as they appear. It pays to inquire of the Lord when you are going through difficult times. He will lead you. 

WE NEED STRENGTH

 I would like you to read 1 Samuel 30:6 again as it contains another truth I want you to see,

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.  But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Notice that this verse begins by saying, David was greatly distressedbut it ends this way,  But David strengthened himself in the Lord.

It is all right to weep, but when you are done, you need to strengthen yourself.  It is all right to grieve, it is all right to express those emotions, but when you are done, you need to strengthen yourself in the Lord.

You need to connect with God in whatever way you find is best for you.  If it is lifting your hands and worshiping Him, then that is what you should do.

If it is getting into His Word (which I would suggest for everyone) and spending time feeding your spirit, then do that.  If it is reminding yourself about how God has helped you in the past, you need to do that.

Personally I believe that is what David was doing when the Bible says he “strengthened himself in the Lord.”  I think David was reminding himself about:

·        How God delivered him from the lion and the bear;

·        How God delivered Goliath into his hands; and

·        How God delivered him when Saul tried to kill him.

I am confident David was thinking, “You know, God hasn’t delivered me so miraculously in my past to get to this point and to let go of my hand and abandon me.  I know He is going to help me now.” 

David was strengthening himself in the Lord, and you need to learn to do the same thing.

INTIMACY WITH MY MASTER…

Paul, in Philippians 3:10-12, gives us the other principle for discovering your purpose,

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 

Paul said, “I am pursuing my purpose,” but it was a purpose based on knowing God.  Look at what he said in verse 10,  That I may know Him.

The understanding of his purpose came out of that primary desire and pursuit of knowing God Himself and living in intimacy with Him.

Perhaps the most important thing you could do in your life right now is to just lock yourself away, grab your Bible, and go sit at the beach.  Find that place of communion with God.  As you get to know Him, you will also discover your own heart and the dreams and desires that God put within you.

They are there. They may be covered with debris, they may be covered with dust, but they are there.  You can find out what they are if you will develop that intimate relationship with God.

It is in closeness with God that His breath blows the dust off of undiscerned and unrecognized purposes and dreams. 

YOU CAN NOT EARN IT…

2 Corinthians 3:5-6

“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.”
NLT

What you put your confidence in tells a lot about you. Do you put confidence in your money? Maybe you are confident in the government or your job. Whatever it may be, the truth is that unless we are confident in God alone, we will always continue to struggle. This is especially true in the area of salvation.

As Christians, we can be quick to say, “Yes I trust Jesus alone for my salvation,” but then turn and begin acting like our works dictate God’s love. Friend, let me assure you that God’s love and grace towards you is not based on your ability to please Him, but they are completely based on the work Jesus did on the cross. Remember, we do not work to gain salvation, but we work because we are grateful for salvation. Today, thank God for His grace and then allow that thankfulness to work itself out in love for God and others. I promise that your life will never be the same.

Life Lesson: We should trust God for our salvation and for the results of any ministry we ever attempt.

Dear God,
Thank You for the free gift of salvation. I am sorry for those times I begin thinking that I can earn more love or grace from You. Help me to rely more on Your grace and less on myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

PURSUE YOUR PURPOSE…

In Genesis 12:1-3 we read,

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Notice how God says to Abram, “Abram, I’m going to bless you, and you will be a blessing.”  But here is what I want you to see:  Abram’s being a blessing was tied to being in God’s purpose.  He could only become a great blessing if he followed God’s calling.

You will never be the blessing God intends for you to be if you are not flowing in your purpose.

Was there risk involved for Abram?  You bet!  He had to leave everything that was familiar to him, all of his security, everything that was comfortable and familiar.

He left Ur of the Chaldeans, which history tells us was one of the most highly developed cities of the ancient world.  They had cobblestone streets, an underground sewage system, and it was a place of world trade.

Abram left all of that and went out on an adventure by faith, pursuing the purpose that God had for his life.  And in pursuing that purpose, God blessed him, and he became a blessing.

But think about this. What if he had stayed back? What if he had said, “I’m secure here; I have it made; I have a nice house and everything I need.  I think I will stay put.”  We would not even know his name.

Pursue your purpose. That is the place of God’s blessing. 

WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE…

Today I want to speak to you about your destiny and purpose. First, read Ephesians 2:10,

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The word beforehand refers to before the foundation of the world. What the apostle Paul is saying in this verse is that before we were ever born, God prepared good works for us to walk in them.  God decided that we would be doing certain things.

Listen to that same verse from the Knox Translation, We are His design. God has created us in Christ Jesus, pledged to such good actions as He has prepared beforehand to be the employment of our lives. I like that.

Paraphrased, “You were designed with a unique purpose, and that is what you should be doing with your life.”

In Philippians 3:12, Paul also states,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

The phrase “I press on” literally means “I pursue.” What is it that Paul states he is pursuing? He is pursuing his purpose.

On that Damascus road, Jesus laid hold of Saul of Tarsus, and He did it for a reason. There was a purpose involved. From the day that Jesus Christ laid hold of him, Paul’s life became a progressive search to lay hold of the answer to the question, “God, why have You laid hold of me?  What is my purpose?”

My point? You have a God-designed purpose in life! There is something that you are wired up to do as the employment of your life.