There is a very dangerous idea that has been spread for many years by what is called the “New Age” movement. They tell people to “open their minds to possibilities” or “empty your mind” through mindless meditation. In other words, let anything in without discerning what it is; good or bad. This is just the opposite to biblical teaching.
As Jesus was making His final comments to the disciples just before He ascended into heaven, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). That understanding is what we call revelation that comes alone from God.
Moses said, ““The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). WE CANNOT DO THE WILL OF GOD WITHOUT HIM REVEALING TRUTH TO US.
It is those who have child-like faith that receive revelation from God. “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25).
Do not let your mind be the container of Satan’s trash! Will you ask God to fill it with His glory? You will then have a life full of joy through understanding His will and purpose.
As we think of many missionaries and servants of the Lord who continue working in very difficult circumstances, even when death could be their next event, we must not forget them in prayer. Even some current situations around the world make us fear and doubt what the future may be. I am reminded of Hudson Taylor’s words:
“Soon we shall be in the midst of the battle [he wrote from the China Sea], but the Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty — so we will trust and not be afraid. “He will save.” He will save all the time and in everything.” (Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Moody Publishers, 2009, page 225).
“So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day be day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Is that your perspective? “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (4:17). The best way to endure difficult times is to have eternal vision. Then the things of this earth will become very temporary and small in comparison to eternal glory.
We have just heard that a dear brother has gone home to be with the Lord. He was well respected in his community and worked for many years with us providing opportunities to train pastors and church planters in Cambodia and Laos. He will be missed
As I reflected on the occasions I was with him, I began thinking of Stephen in Acts 6 to 8. He is first brought to our attention when the Early Church needed “seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3) who could be appointed to make sure widows were taken care of. Stephen was among their number. Luke makes another comment about Stephen and says he was “full of grace and power, and was doing great wonders and signs among the people” (6:8).
If no one read the verses that followed, we might think the need was met; end of story. No! The immediate result was that “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (6:7). The influence of these godly men advanced God’s work.
No one told Stephen he had to preach also. The circumstances provided the opportunity and Stephen was ready. Through his familiarity with the Scriptures, Stephen preached a very powerful and convicting message that resulted in his death because it stirred up opposition. Was this a waste of a good man? Absolutely not! If nothing else, his preaching that ended in his death also forced a much-needed expansion of the gospel beyond Jerusalem, even into Ethiopia.
There are times when our loss becomes the catalyst for growth and movement of God into new territory. Let us be looking for what God will do next, not just the end of a life.
Is there a connection between “disciple-making” and “equipping the saints”? The passages of
Scripture I refer to here are familiar to anyone in any Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. But, do we think of these subjects as separate themes or a continuation from one to the other?
We often quoted Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” How is that done? As Jesus left the eleven disciples, they “went out and preached everywhere” (Mark 16:20). Paul refers to the central reason for God calling him; “though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). In the next chapter, Paul provides the reason for Christ giving certain gifts in the body of Christ; “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (4:12).
My point in this blog is that there is no stage of a Christian’s life where you have nothing to do. Disciple-making and equipping others is a continuum that never stops as long as we are here on earth. The work is not finished until Jesus returns for His Church and Bride. The challenge for all of us is getting involved in the work. If you are not involved in some way, either making disciples or equipping them to make other disciples, then you are not fulfilling your role.
The reward of being involved is only received and enjoyed as you are in the work. Those who are idle miss the Master’s commendation; “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a little…Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21, 23). DON’T MISS THE BEST!
While God has not given “us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control [sound judgment or sensibility]” (2 Timothy 1:7), there are times when we need extra wisdom from God in difficult situations. James reminds us that “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (1:5).
We are at one of the junctures as one of our team arrived yesterday in S. E. Asia to visit areas of Myanmar for training and encouraging disciples there. He had to go through Seoul, South Korea to get there, which has become an area where the Corona Virus has infected many. We need God’s wisdom for our brother Jonathan. Will you pray with us?
Even as many saints from the beginning of time have suffered, we also are not immune from sickness and disease in the world. So, why do we ask for prayer? There is a deep passion in our hearts to equip indigenous believers to spread the gospel “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God has been moving in unique ways in Myanmar and many are catching the vision of reaching the very last unreached people group. In one sense, this prayer request is not about us, but about God providing a highway for the gospel as Jonathan goes there. At the same time, does he need to come home? That is the reason we ask for prayer.
Thank you for having the same concern as we do for God’s work. Paul expressed the same concern; “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). In this way, God will be glorified no matter what the circumstances may be!
How does the believer faithfully carry out their responsibilities and ministry in a world so opposed to our Savior and Lord? When a missionary receives the call to spread the gospel to a dangerous area of the world, how do they go in the face of unknown risk? Just remember, every Christian is a missionary; some in their home country and some at the four corners of the earth,
When Jesus sent out the seventy-two ahead of Him, He warned them; “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3, also Matthew 10:16). Jesus knew from experience that the world was not a friendly place for Himself or those who represent Him. As our Master, we should not expect any different treatment than what He received.
There are two sides to being His representatives. “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). Persecution we receive will be no different from how Jesus was treated. If persons accepted the teaching of Jesus, they will hear the same message in what we say. Our obligation is to make sure the message is His message
Since this is true, we can understand why Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). His sending was not just the promise of suffering and persecution, but with the promise of divine power and guidance. With those promises, we can work for our Savior in a dangerous world and know the end result will bring God the glory.
In the last book of the Old Testament, God reveals the difference between how He established the priesthood with Levi and what was currently happening in Israel at the time of Malachi. In his day, the priests had despised the name of the Lord, profaned the Lord’s table by offering polluted offerings, and brought lame animals for the sacrifices. In short, their worship was so far from the original purpose of worship, they were robbing God, rather than giving Him glory.
Read the original design: “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity” (Malachi 2:5–6).
The more you and I live in “awe” of His name and glory, the more our words will reflect that glory! The manifestation of that glory will be seen by others through the way we speak of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior!
There is a big difference between telling others what you know and speaking what you have learned from God and practiced through personal application. When Paul was dealing with some very tough issues in the Corinthian church, he said, ““knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1). In contrast to the pride of those in Corinth, Paul said of the Thessalonians that they “became an example to all the believers” (1 Thessalonians 1:7).
How does this work? God told the prophet Ezekiel that because the house of Israel was rebellious, God told him to “open your mouth and eat what I give you. And when I looked…and behold a scroll of a book…then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 2:8-9; 3:3).
If we only speak what we know as “head knowledge,” we will communicate mere information. If we speak to others what we have taken from the Word of God and put into practice, they will carry with it spiritual authenticity. Put another way, God is wanting our words to be genuine because the have taken His Word into our hearts and worked them out through our lives. Eat His Words!
Many times I complained to my mother that I did not like the food she was offering. She would respond with a question; “have you tried it?” In most cases, I had not.
Jeremiah lived and prophesied during the reign of king Josiah and his son, Jehoiakim, until the destruction of Jerusalem. Josiah brought great reforms to Israel because “Hilkiah the high priest…found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:8). When it was read in the hearing of Josiah, it began an open repentance with the king. The key to this repentance was that they had “forsaken [the Lord] and have made offerings to other gods” (22:17).
Josiah made a covenant before the Lord “to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments …with all his heart and all his soul. And all the people join in the covenant” (23:3). The question for us is whether our return to the authority of Scripture is affecting those around us.
During this time, Jeremiah is also impacted with the discovery of God’s Word. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). Have you eaten the Word?
What will make our ‘rediscovery’ of God’s Word attractive to others is when we take it into our hearts, (eat it) and make it “a joy and the delight of my heart” to obey it! Josiah’s repentance was not private. He wanted the whole nation to enter into what He had found. How wide do you want your influence to be?
““Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it” (Amos 8:11–12).
For those of us who have a Bible or several Bibles, treasure reading it and speaking its truth to others, it is very hard to imagine having a famine like this. Because of Israel’s long history of rejecting God’s Word and going their own way, this famine is occurring now. But a time will come when they will want someone to speak “the words of the Lord” and there will be no one.
Do you realize what a privilege it is for us who have Bibles, to read them, and hear the Word of the Lord spoken to us? Please do not take this for granted! Do not harden your heart. The writer of Hebrews warns us twice; “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart as in the rebellion” (3:15; 4:7). The danger of not hearing now is that we may get to a point when we cannot hear even if we wanted to. Quickly repent so your ears are open to hear the Word.
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