Day 14 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ If Jesus had saved Himself, YOU would not be saved.

Day 14 ~ When God Seems Distant.

 

You can adorn the cloak of righteousness because Jesus did not save himself.

 

In this chapter day 14 of “The Purpose Driven  Life” by Rick Warren he examines in detail how we should worship God when there is a seeming disconnect with God. The main source of his text is pre-Pentecost.

We are post-Pentecost and in the time of the Law of Christ, if you have thrown yourself on Jesus then you have received the Holy Spirit, and your aloofness from God cannot be as destitute as what it was for Job.

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.”” Acts 2:37-39 (BSB)

I have found that in times of trouble and destitution the answer lies in calling on Christ and the Holy Spirit. The fruit of your salvation is the ever present Holy Spirit. Further Christ himself left us this promise, if you are his disciple John 14 is His Truth for you.

The text that brings the truth of where we are today (post-Pentecost) has changed the way we  experience God. Read this and align yourself with Christ;

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit (John 14;15-28) {Highlight these verses in your Bible and read them until it is grafted into your soul}
(Read also; Joel 2:28-32; John 16:5-16; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and He will be in you.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.

All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.”   (John 14;15-26) (BSB)

Peace I Leave with You
(Read also; Romans 5:1-5)
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14;27-28) (BSB)

I denounce with every fibre of my body being shackled to the Mosaic Law and pronounce it a mere shadow of Christ in a dim and dark world. Jesus brought light. He is the gatekeeper of the Holy Spirit and if I am destitute or far from God it is only because I am not consulting with the Holy Spirit.

You have died to sin;
Romans 6:2-4
“By no means! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Or aren’t you aware that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.”

You have been freed from sin;
Romans 6:18
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Romans 6:22
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God,”

You have and are released from the Law;
Romans 7:6
“But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the Law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

You can and will walk in newness of life;
Romans 6:4
“We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.

Serve by the renewed Spirit;
Romans 7:6
“But now, having died to what bound us, we have been released from the Law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

“But now we are fully released from any further association with a life directed by the rule of the law, we are dead to that which once held us captive, free to be slaves to the newness of spirit-spontaneity rather than age-old religious rituals, imitating the mere face value of the written code.” (Mirror Bible)

Your victory over sin is tied to our union with Christ in His death and resurrection;
Romans 6:8-11
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

You are now released from the law. The Mosaic law no longer rules in your life because you are joined and co-inhabited by Christ Jesus and the Father;
Romans 7:4
“Therefore, my brothers, you also died to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.”

“The very same finality in principle is applicable to you, my brothers and sisters. In the body of Christ you died to the system of the law; your inclusion in his resurrection brought about a new union. Out of this marriage, (faith) now bears children unto God.” (Mirror Bible)

John 14:20
“In that day you will know that just as I am in my Father, you are in me and I am in you!” 

The book of Job would have been written completely differently if it had been written pos-Pentecost! At his time the Holy Spirit had not yet been released.

Do not revert to the old, you are post-Pentecost and your ever-present advocate is the Holy Spirit. Cry out to Him in your moments of destitution.

(Unless otherwise indicated the above quotes were taken from the (BSB))

More reading material ; http://purposedriven.com/day14/

 

Day 13 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Jesus claims His cross on Calvary

Day 13 ~ Jesus claims his cross on calvary.

 

The Purpose Driven Life ~ Revisited.

Worship That Pleases God

 

When you come to worship, who are you?

On this Day 13 of Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life” in his second paragraph Rick opens with “A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place, and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant. Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship.” In the beginning of the chapter Rick examines the story about Jesus’s conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well. John 4:7-26

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:7-26  (BSB)

This has always been one of my favourite passages in the Bible as it demonstrates such a wide-ranging number of issues surrounding the gospel of Jesus Christ. The passage Rick refers to is from John 4.

Day 13 highlighted one of the things we often overlook.You are right now in the holiest place you can possibly worship. Up until the crucifixion God had ordained that worship was to be fulfilled in his designated temples. The old Testament continually and systematically declares that the main temple, which at first was in the Tabernacle and then later formed fixed buildings where worship was carried out. There was always an area which is called the holiest of holy with the trinkets and arc of the covenant were kept. Hebrews 9:2-4.

Only the designated priests anointed by divine direction from God could enter this area. When the priest entered this very holy of holy places to light incense and do various cleaning up they attached a rope to his leg so that if God struck him down they could drag him out without anybody else going in. It was where God was. There are many instances in the old Testament of happenings that happened in this holy of holy places.
Here are some Bible verses that refer to this holy of holy places ; Exodus 26:31, Exodus 26:33, Exodus 40:3 1 Kings 6:16, Hebrews 9:3.

Now in this passage, John 4, Jesus hints of a change that relinquishes the exclusivity of Jewish temple worship into the new covenant released by his crucifixion. When Jesus dies on the cross at Calvary the temple curtain which separated the normal temple area from the holy of holies split from the top down. We overlook the significance of this as the Bible simply mentions “At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. ” Matthew 27:51a. This curtain was made from seven layers of cloth and it weighed tons not kilograms.

Jesus Said to the Samaritan woman “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” And then “this time has now arrived when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship him. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24 (Para)

This is a clear indication of the changes which were going to come about in the new covenant after the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. God ended temporal rule. Having to travel to Jerusalem to make our offerings was coming to an end. The Gentiles and the rest of humanity were being invited into the covenant of Abraham.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;”

And most amazingly your body, your mind, and where you stand right now is the holiest of holy places that you could ever be to worship your God.

Then the conversation ends with the Samaritan woman with an emphatic Calvarian earthquake that will shake the world for centuries to come “I Am !”

Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He.”  John 4:26

Jesus claims His full inheritance of Messiahship as predicted and shadowed in the old Testament.

Martha Snell Nicholson wrote the poem “BECAUSE” reflecting on Jesus;

BECAUSE
Because He is God He can touch the throne,
Because He is man He can understand;
Because He is God He can succour me,
Because He is Man He can hold my hand.
Because He took the form of flesh,
He knoweth my frame that I am weak;
Because He is God He can give to me,
Abundantly more than I ask or think.

(Poetry by Martha Snell Nicholson)*

Enjoy Day 13 and define your place where God will strip you naked and cleanse you!

We can hide nothing from Him.

More reading material ; http://purposedriven.com/day13/

Andy Stanley has produced an inspirational series about the Brand New covenant which Jesus came to introduce. It reflects on how the Law of Christ brought a new way of worship to include the gentiles. This really is worh a watch and reflection; http://brandnewseries.org/letting-go

http://brandnewseries.org/letting-go
Brand New

http://brandnewseries.org/letting-go

Day 12 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Does your life display the Law of Christ written on your heart?

Day 12 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Developing Your Friendship with God.

Does your life display the Law of Christ written on your heart?

Where does our friendship with Christ start? It is never to be forgotten that he is God incarnate. Although by grace we can be friends with God our natural state is one of the subordinate being. The words of acclamation which we use to describe God are infinitely inadequate. No matter what superlatives we use they will fail to accurately reflect the full immensity of God. Despite this, as pointed out by Rick Warren, he wants to befriend us. But we must not forget that he is God.

As stated in one of my previous blogs there would be no greater acclamation that anyone can say about me than “He was a friend of God”. Note I do not think saying “He was God’s friend” would be correct. It is I going to God and me being his friend, God is my Father and although that implies friendship saying “He was God’s friend” is disrespectful.

Rick in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” in today’s reading Day 12 writes;

I must choose to obey God in faith. Every time you trust God’s wisdom and do whatever he says, even when you don’t understand it, you deepen your friendship with God. We don’t normally think of obedience as a characteristic of friendship; that’s reserved for relationships with a parent or the boss or a superior officer, not a friend. However, Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy with God. He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (PDL – Rick ©)

From John 15 Jesus gives us direction of how to measure our friendship with him;

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is My command to you: Love one another.” John 15:12-17 (BSB)

One of the first things that happen when we are born of the Spirit is the fact that the Bible becomes the absolute unrefutable truth of God. The Law of Christ and the Mosaic law are not merely guidelines but they are the litmus test of our lives. The application of the Mosaic law is distilled by the Law of Christ. Christ’s law is love your God above all else and love your neighbour as yourself. Christ elaborates on interpretations of the law when he delivers the sermon on the Mount. The bar of the application of the Mosaic law is lifted to a completely new level.

In the passage from John 15 I highlighted You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John15:14 because it can be easily misread. Doing the commands does not  befriend you to Jesus. You can systematically and religiously follow every single one of the commands, or at least try to, but if you do not love your God above all else it will get you nowhere. We are saved by grace and grace alone. The whole of Romans is an exposition of this. Paul in just about every chapter wrote, and made it very clear, to us that our righteousness is a gift of grace.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24  (BSB)

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (BSB)

Christianity is the only religion wherein there are no works required for your salvation.

Now at this point I don’t fully agree with Rick Warren’s statement that he had in his book as previously quoted above, I must choose to obey God in faith”  when you have experienced the rebirth keeping the laws of Christ becomes a completely natural phenomena for the individual concerned.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” Ephesians 2:10 (BSB)

By simple implication you are God’s workmanship. In you he has written his law on your heart  and keeping the law, Christ’s law, is a joy and requires no work from us if we abide in Him.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put My Laws in their hearts and inscribe them on their minds.” Hebrews 10:16 (BSB)

Which was predicted in Jeremiah 31:33b “I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (AMP)

the-law

You are heirs to this through your salvation by grace. You are covenanted to God. Therefore if your life does not display you keeping the commands of Christ how can you possibly call yourself Christian?

Now going back to John 15:14 “You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.” (NASB) the condition of this “if “ is not you doing the work to be Gods friend  but “if “ you do the work (bear the fruit of his work in you) you will be displaying that you are a friend of Jesus Christ. Jesus did the work so that you could become his friend.

Maybe asking some friends who know you would help you understand whether your life displays the Law of Christ? Dare to ask?

 

More reading material; http://purposedriven.com/day12/

Day 11 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ When is 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 and not 3 ?

Day 11 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~

When is 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 and not 3 ?

 

From Rick’s pen on this 11th day we get this union address; “Friendship with God is possible only because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. “All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends.” 4 The old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” but actually, God invites us to enjoy friendship and fellowship with all three persons of the Trinity: our Father, 5 the Son, 6 and the Holy Spirit.” (PDL – Rick ©)

This raises the question of the triune God.  This unity then becomes a foursome as you are included. Then 1+1+1+1=1 and not 4?

So, how does all this happen? Some years ago when I was still struggling with the concept of the triune God, namely God the Father, God the son and  the Holy Spirit formed the triune God. I had heard many explanations about this unity but they all fell short of forming a unity. Many people use the egg as an example of the unity. Namely the shell, the white, and the yoke together forming  the egg which is one egg.
This still represented to me a division and not a true unity.  So what will God do about this? He sent me somebody who needed this question answered. What? How is that an answer?  
On the first day that we met,  we naturally began speaking about Christianity. Her problem was that she was stuck with the same question  that I had, namely, how can three different entities be one. For purposes of the story I will refer to her as Gabriela.

Gabriela was in her fifth year at Oxford and doing her doctoral in mathematics. She was trying really hard at grasping the full concept of the triune God. Despite this, Gabriela accepted that some things were difficult to grasp,  and we often have to accept as Christians that there are going to be elements that we simply have to believe, having faith in the truth of the Book.

So I set about the process of teaching, and she set about the process of learning to drive.
In-between we discussed various matters about God that interested both of us. When she posed this question, about the workings of the Trinity, to me on the first day that we met, I simply said I needed some time to think about it. At the same time I seriously asked God for some help. He and I both knew that I was in trouble.

The course  which she was studying with me was to end some 12 days later. On the day before her test I asked Gabriela this question “When does 1+1+1=1”.

I had no idea where the question had come from. I did not have an answer for this and it was clearly something that God had prompted me to ask. If she was stumped for an answer I was completely out of my depth.

I literally felt the fear of God at  that moment. Gabriela retorted “That’s really a stupid question you know that equals three and not one.”

Now what? But totally flustered in my spirit I heard myself answer quite calmly “No you are wrong.”

Gabriella remained silent for a while, I could see the cogs of her brain kicking in. Then suddenly the light went on in her eyes. A smile crept across her face and she answered, “Of course there is a situation where 1+1+1=3”.

And I’m thinking “Really?”. With a big question mark. Gabriella fills me in “It’s when the same thing exists in three different dimensions.”

When Gabriella got this answer out to both of us the truth of the triune God struck both of us simultaneously.

At that very moment, I knew that we had been given a revelation about how God is across different dimensions.

Namely;
His eternal presence outside of time is God the Father;
His presence in time on this earth and still represented to us in our time dimension is Jesus Christ;
and His ever presence with us is the Holy Spirit which we have been granted as his children.

It is all the same God represented in three different dimensions.

Now we know that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, if we are born of the Spirit;

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”  John 14:18-21 (BSB)

So on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is released to all his disciples, to this very day. So now we are all ONE.

God the Father, Christ the Son, the Holy Spirit and You as disciple of Christ.

4 entities all occupying different dimensions in space and time.

“that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 
I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one — I in them and You in Me — that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me.” John 17:21-23 (BSB)

Cloak yourself in Christ and move in his strength.

“I want you to be fully convinced about this, anyone whose belief concludes in who I am will also do the works I do. And because of my going to my Father the works that the believer will do will be of greater proportion and of global influence; the Father is as present in you as he is in me because of my going to do what I am about to do.”  John 14:12 (Mirror Bible)

When you befriend Christ there will be consequences!

Read the chapter marked Day 11 – The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren. (PDL – Rick ©)

More reading material; http://purposedriven.com/day11/

References:
4 ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18a (TEV)

Day 10 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Vissibly transformed to the likeness of Christ.

Day 10 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Revisited ~ The Heart of Worship

“..place yourself in readiness to God, like someone resurrected from the dead and present your whole person as a weapon of righteousness.” Romans 6:13b  (Mirror Bible)

Rick uses the quote from the TEV “Give yourselves to God…. Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Romans 6:13.

Our salvation starts with an alignment of our inner being with that of Christ. The question as to when and how this happens is a mystery. We are given by God free will. It is the action of enacting that free will for God that brings us closer to Him. It is also a recognised fact that the rebirth cannot and will not happen without the intercessory actions of Christ. No man can bring this about. We have to have a heart for God, submit to His will, what and how that it is defined in reality is questionable at best. God only knows.

Herein lies the greatest miracle of all time.

soul-leaving

Where does that all start? Jesus enlightens us with the following words;

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:39-40 (BSB)

Those whom the Father has given to Jesus will be saved?

“The end of an era has arrived – the future is here! Whatever prophetic values were expressed in external devotional forms and rituals are now eclipsed in true spirit worship from within – face to face with the Father – acknowledging our genesis in him – this is his delight! The Father’s desire is the worshiper more than the worship!” commentary by Francis du Toit on John 6:39 (Mirror Bible)

Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?”

Jesus answered “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  John 3:3-8  (BSB)

 Now at the spiritual rebirth moment culminates with a new heightened spiritual life John 3:36.

You are complete and every word in the text of John 1:12-14 realises its truth in your rebirth. What eternal joy.

“Suddenly the invisible, eternal Word takes on visible form – the Incarnation on display in a flesh and blood person as in a mirror! In him, and now confirmed in us! The most accurate tangible display of God’s eternal thought finds expression in human life! The Word became a human being; we are his address; he resides in us! He captivates our gaze! The glory we see there is not a religious replica; he is the authentic begotten son. The glory (that we lost in Adam) returns in fullness! Only grace can communicate truth in such complete context!” John 1:14 (Mirror Bible)

Your submission to Christ and the acceptance of the Holy Spirit infuses Christ in your inner being and you become the authentic reflection of Christ.

And still this rebirth is the greatest miracle and it still continues and is freely available to those who submit and trust in Christ.

Day 10 ~ The heart of Worship;

 

More reading material; http://purposedriven.com/day10/

How do we know?

The answer of how do you know is evidenced by the transformed life as in John 14:21

“Whoever resonates and treasures the completeness of my prophetic purpose cannot but fall in love with me and also find themselves to be fully participating in my Father’s love and I will love this one and make myself distinctly known and real to each one individually. In this embrace of inseparable union love rules!” (Mirror Bible)

Following the commands and will of Christ and his law becomes a joy and not a slog.

 

Day 9 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Make God smile and suffer the consequences

Day 9 ~ The Purpose Driven Life – Revisited ~ Make God smile and suffer the consequences.

“In Noah’s day, the entire world had become morally bankrupt. Everyone lived for their own pleasure, not God’s. God couldn’t find anyone on earth interested in pleasing him, so he was grieved and regretted making man. God became so disgusted with the human race that he considered wiping it out. But there was one man who made God smile. The Bible says, “Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.” (PDL – Rick ©)

When I read the above passage from Rick Warrens pen it struck me that we are not far off the truth of this today. The other night the street pastor team, I was on duty with, were sitting around a round table, after having been out doing our street pastoring, we were having a quick toast and tea. One of my colleagues mentioned that it is estimated that only some 950,000 people attend church on a Sunday or are practicing Christians in the United Kingdom.

graph

The graph above is taken from the faith survey website.;https://faithsurvey.co.uk/uk-christianity.html

The figures on this website indicate that the number of people registered with churches is approximately 10% for the British population. This equates to 5.5 million to 6 million people. If one works on the principle of normal statistics, i.e. the 80% 20% principle, in this case around 20% of the people who attend churches would also be those who serve the churches. It would mean that approximately 1 million people would represent active luvacta.

The figure of 950,000 converted, dedicated disciples would be about right. There are numerous people who attend churches purely for religious reasons. It is sad how many actually do not reflect the love of Christ in their day-to-day lives. The law of Christ is very simple we must love above all else our God and the multitude of neighbours that we have.

If we do not  find the joy of serving God we end up doing Christianity for religious  reasons. There just has to be joy.

When we are continually working at being religious, having to do the daily grind of reading the Bible and all the other trappings that go with religion, eventually the joy will fade away.

I discovered Christ at a very early age and during my mid years, to a large extent had flare-ups of joy along the way but never fully understood what it was all about. During those years I repeatedly saw miraculous prayer answered situations. And I can fully understand when Jesus says that you did miracles in my name, drove out demons in my name, but I do not know you. Somehow I think we can reach the power of God and use it because of the abundant Godly grace that exists. Despite this, we may not be having the full relationship that we could, and are entitled to, because of our own inability to truly partner with God.

As Paul Washer puts it so fervently we must seek the presence of God through insistent prayer. It is that continual prayer that brings the biggest joy and where on countless occasions it breaks us into tears. Tears of joy and remorse mixed in absolute peace that can only come from the existence of His presence.

Abiding in Christ is a continual joy. Now, reading the numerous different versions of the Bible that I have, studying his Word, and learning all about him often gets me in trouble because of the amount of time I want to spend with Christ. My greatest pleasure is to slip away and be with Him.

Insistently seek the joy of being in the presence of God. As you reach that point of doing His will this becomes true joy. Rick puts it that every time you do his will, God smiles and you will be filled with His joy.

Seek Christ -> Find joy -> God smiles -> Seek more of God’s Joy -> Find Christ -> etc……

What makes God smile?

Rick in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” – the chapter on day 9 – highlights the points which make God smile. He says;
“God smiles when we trust him completely,
God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly,
God smiles when we praise and thank him continually,
God smiles when we use our abilities.”

This creates a self-fulfilling circle. If we cannot find the joy that there is in being Christ driven and Christ centred then we are just doing religion. We have to seek God, in finding God we will have joy, our joy will bring joy to God and glory to God and when that happens a living breathing Christendom erupts in us.

This 9th day of The Purpose Driven Life deserves a thorough read and reflection.

More reading material ; http://purposedriven.com/day9/

Day 8 ~ The purpose Driven Life ~ God created you for his good pleasure.

Day 8 ~ The purpose Driven Life ~ You were planted as oaks of righteousness.

In this days passage by Rick Warren he refers to Isaiah 61:3 and highlights “For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”  ISAIAH 61: 3 (LB)

When Jesus returns from his temptations of 40 days by the devil he starts his ministry. He goes to Galilee and starts preaching.

Read Luke 4 verses 1 to 15. It tells us how he was tempted by the devil and where he started preaching. You can find it here ; http://biblehub.com/bsb/luke/4.htm

Luke 4 verse 16 to 21.

Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. And when He stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,

because He has anointed Me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then He rolled up the scroll, returned it to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him, and He began by saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (BSB)

Jesus affirms what had been written in detail about Him (Jesus) and his ministry by Isaiah some 800 years before his birth.

Note also of importance is that Jesus did not ask for the scroll of Isaiah but by the providence of God was handed the scroll of Isaiah with this amazing predeterminate prediction in it.

This revelation by Isaiah, both considering the date at which it is done and the accuracy of what is seen by Isaiah is astounding.

This passage sums up what Christ and His disciples will be about; Isaiah 61 verse 1 to 7. Read it once or twice just to get the content and I will unpack it below. (Isaiah 61 read verse 1 to 7 here). The text below of Isaiah 61:1-7 comes from the ESV.

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

This first verse is an exact summary of Jesus’s ministry. It is really interesting that the first part of Luke 4 affirms that the Spirit of the Lord God was upon Jesus.

It is commonly understood  that the law of Moses (the 10 Commandments) are regarded by Paul as an imprisonment and shackle. Jesus came to set us free from that. Therefore the last part of this verse has an amazing reflection on how we are set free from the law of Moses by Christ through his saving grace and dying for us on the cross. That is how he opened the prison to those who are bound. Read Romans 8 verse 1 to 4.

Isa 61:2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

Jesus’s death is our favor. And you will surely face the day of vengeance if you do not wash yourself in the blood of Christ. And he did and will comfort those who mourn for him. When I look at this passage I reflect on the workings of the cross, there was great mourning by his disciples  and followers when he was crucified. His resurrection is and was a true comfort to the early disciples and probably above all for the whole of mankind thereafter.

Isa 61:3  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

Every possible prediction about what Christ would do for his disciples and his followers is captured in this passage. The disciples are locked behind closed doors in Jerusalem. Acts 2 verse 2 to 4 {Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw tongues like flames of a fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.… (BSB) }  Could you imagine the sheer joy that overwhelms and bursts forth when the Holy Spirit drenches you. Today, we are still heirs to the promise of Isaiah  61:3. Through the ministry that they, the disciples, subsequently carried out God was glorified. How many more Saints have not followed in their footsteps and still walk glorifying the Lord God.

If we look in detail at the words “that they may be called oaks of righteousness” how true would this be firstly of the disciples and secondly about all those people who follow Christ with a true passion for his law. This possibly even applies to you.

Isa 61:4  They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Israel had gone through years and years of devastation starting with the time of Daniel when it had been conquered by the Babylonians. It was almost as if there had been a drought and God had turned his back on them. Yet, when Christ came, the predicted Messiah, it was the birth of the new era in the building of new cities in Christendom. In true fashion the devastation of many generations was given new light by Christ. Today, as then the Disciples of Christ build new cities and churches the world over.

Isa 61:5  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;

In the time of Isaiah it was predominantly, if not exclusively, Israel  that had the favour of God. Christ came to include the whole of the human race. Therefore this verse makes perfect sense in that the whole world will be called to tend the sheep of Christ. The symbolism used here, i.e.  flocks of sheep, ploughmen-the parable of the seeds, and abiding in the vine are very clearly reflected in the new Testament and directly referred to by Christ in his ministry.

Isa 61:6  but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast.

As Christendom spread across the world, the oaks of righteousness are ministers of our God. The balance of this passage rings true across the nations and we can boast about the glory of God.

Isa 61:7  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

If the Messiah had not come to do his work for the Father you and I would have been in dishonour. The Mosaic law would have condemned us. We would not have been able to call ourselves heirs of Abraham. So now in our land, wherever you are, we truly possess a double portion, firstly we possess the richness and the heritage of the old Testament, and secondly we possess the salvation of Christ, thereby the indwelling spirit and we can find our true identity in the new Testament. This equates to everlasting joy as we are given the rebirth of the Spirit.

And the Lord God passed before me! Wow, what an immeasurable pleasure and joy. To Him be all the glory for His abundance.

Day 8 ~ The Lord takes pleasure in His people! Read your book the “The Purpose Driven Life” Chapter “Day 8” and remember “there are no unspiritual abilities, just misused ones. Start using your abilities for God’s pleasure.”(PDL – Rick ©)

Further reading ; Day 8 ~ http://purposedriven.com/day8/

Day 7 ~ The purpose Driven Life ~ Live the word for God’s Glory.

Day 7 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Revisited ~ The Reason for Everything.

Glory to God ~ authored by Anthony Yeulett

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. ( John 15: 5, 7-8 NKJV)

grapes

I have always loved the lyrics of Shine, Jesus, Shine, arguably Graham Kendrick’s single most iconic song. They’re all good but if I had to pick out one verse above all it’d be:

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story
Shine on me shine on me

It’s a thoroughly scriptural song about God’s glory but in these lines Moses’ encounter with God and the report of it in 2 Corinthians 3 is clearly referenced, culminating, as it does in v18:

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV)

In today’s reading, Rick reminds us that we cannot create any light of our own (and, as he has intimated previously, the attempt would be futile) but like mirrors when positioned towards the light, we cannot help but reflect the light of his glory. But indeed, Paul goes further and observes that in doing so we even become increasingly like Him in whose image we have been recreated. And he continues into Chapter 4 where he says that earthen vessels though we are, we contain and display his treasure within us and as we maintain this perspective and look to His purposes our ordinary temporal concerns begin to dissolve like a drop in eternity’s ocean:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ( 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV)

Whenever anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God, Rick says before adding that we can bring Him glory by:

  • Worshipping Him – let it be in Spirit and in truth
  • Loving others – in the family of God and beyond
  • Becoming like Christ – by seeking Him, drawing near, listening to His voice through prayer, the Word and fellowship with His Spirit
  • Serving others out of the giftings He has placed within us &
  • Telling others about Jesus

 

Rick reminds us that to live this way is not always easy but that for all this we can rely on our Creator for strength and grace to be the people He created us to be: His children; new creations in Christ Jesus: made anew in His image and able to do all of these things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us (Php 4:13)

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure (Php 2:13)

What a privilege and a calling we have to live our lives to the glory of God.

The above was authored by Anthony Anthony Yeulett. Thankyou for your contribution Anthony.

Apart from reading this chapter on the 7th day from “The Purpose Driven Life” from Rick Warren (PDL – Rick ©) here is some more material below;

Day 7 ; http://purposedriven.com/day7/

 

Day 6 ~ Purpose Driven Life ~ Revisited ~ Earth is not your final Home.

Day 6 ~ “Earth is not your final home; you were created for something much better.”

Sometimes the truth is really difficult to face. Having lived some 65 years now Rick captures a lot of truth in his day 6 chapter  of “The Purpose Driven life”.

Life is fleeting – it seems to get more fleeting as the years go by. It really is short lived.

We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear. Job14:2 (NLT)
My legacy – it can only be captured in your children. They will be your legacy. May they fly straight and true as arrows from your bow.

 

crop-arrow

As the generations pass by on this world, the memory of you fades, and at best you become words carved on a gravestone and in present times electronic data stacked in the cobwebs of some hard disk drive. At least therein lies some immortality.
If you cannot remember, or know your great-grandfather and the whole of that generation who in the world is going to remember you?
It does not matter who you are, what is captured in words on paper is already a lie about you.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children… Psalm 127:3-4 (NASB)

I have truly travelled the world, there is not a continent that I have not visited in my business travels. I negotiated contracts for the company that I worked for across the globe. I have met people and talked with thousands. And the one thing I know for sure is that in three generations time only those specifically searching my name will know of me but not who I am.

Would I have it any other way? No! If the only thing they say about me is that “he was God’s friend.” That would be amazing.

Knowledge and brilliance is fleeting and short-lived. During my lifetime I made some patented discoveries which were sold at very high levels. Even now only some 30 years later they are old hat. And if someone doesn’t go and look up the actual original patents no one will know. As most of you know patents only have 20 year lifespan and then they expire. At least I have outlived my patents.

So in this chapter Rick Warren is absolutely correct. This life is fleeting and is temporary. In terms of time existed it is irrelevant but in terms of a future investment for our wellbeing it is critical.

So much for my reminiscence. The purpose of this lead-in is to highlight the fact that there is little value in placing value on living a good life now.

There is really only value in living a God life now.

Read your book Day 6 of “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren , and think carefully it is important. Above all pray and pray some more. (PDL – Rick ©)

There are more resources here; http://purposedriven.com/day6/

Day 5 ~ Purpose Driven Life ~ Revisited ~ God wants to give you His greatest Gift?

Day 5 ~ Purpose Driven Life ~ Seeing Life from God’s view.

“Seeing Life from God’s view” I don’t think so. Sorry but the title of today’s read sounds arrogant. I beg to differ. We have absolutely no hope of seeing anything from God’s view. This title should have read “Knowing the will of our Father.” Jesus was the son of the almighty God and he continually sought the will of his Father.

Think of the creation. What a creation? Every now and then man gets arrogant and thinks he knows better than the Bible and then man’s science discovers that the accuracy of the Bible proves man wrong again.

Educated man was still stuck on a flat earth in the time of Job yet Job 26:7 “He spreads the skies over unformed space, hangs the earth out in empty space.” (MSG) The earth is suspended in empty space. The heavens are being stretched out!  What we have now 3,500 years later only started to grasp the truth of this passage.

Many places in the Bible it talks about the heavens being spread out and stretched. Science is only now starting to discover that the universe is expanding, low and behold the consensus is that the earth forms the centre of the Lord’s stretching out  the heavens. Now, what is that all about?

“Who commands the sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars;
Who alone stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea;” Job9:7-8 (NASB)

Evolution is dead as the Dodo. It was and is only a man theory. I would love to go into this as there are many examples in nature which could not have evolved. The sheer complexity of our human genome screams creation. (Article to read ; http://www.icr.org/article/evolution-biologically-impossible/ ) There is a brilliant book by Lee Strobel “The case for a Creator” which is well worth a read.

exploding-beatle

Bombardier beetles – Read about the Beetle that can throw explosives at you?

Study the science of this astounding creation we have been given by God to look after. Its intricate harmony and balance and then try to believe you will have the mental faculty to see anything through the eyes of God? Today’s science is tomorrow’s fallacy. All science does is continually discover more about God’s creation disproving what we thought was truth yesterday.

Some time back we were studying the gifts of the spirit. And the question came up as to what would be the one true gift you would value above everything else. What would be the gift that you would pray for if you could only have one gift?

The gift that surpasses everything else, is knowing the absolute will of God. Imagine how perfect a life you would live if you knew always what the will of God was.

Therefore, get to know God. Seek his will by understanding his Son. Study his creation. Follow  the law of Christ.

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:2 (GNT)

More resources for Day 5 in “The Purpose Driven Life” ; http://purposedriven.com/day5/

If you believe that amoeba, sitting on your left, next to you climbed out of some primordial soup you would not treat him like the person sitting on the other side of you who was created with love by the Lord God.