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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – WE HAVE IT ALL, TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE. Part 1.

God's mercy ... goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual. - Augustine of Hippo.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. - 1Cor 1:4-9. ESV

You're worried about permissiveness--about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it's okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God's forgiveness. . .

While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn't. He wasn't afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He's angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue--that music, dancing, and a fatted calf are, in effect , just so many permissions to break the law.

And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: "Cut that out! We're not playing good boys and bad boys any more. Your brother was dead and he's alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.” – Source Unknown.

By God’s grace we have everything we need to live a Godly life, yet in our day-to-day lives we find it so difficult to see it worked out. We are still burdened down with guilt from the past, unforgiveness towards other people, etc; etc; and that makes us say and do things we shouldn’t. How can we really live so that we receive the grace of God?

The most important thing to understand, in order to live a Godly life, is that in Christ Jesus we have received all we need to live a godly life…


We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. - 2Pet 1:3.

God's Grace Is Given To Us In Jesus

Although out of pure grace God does not impute our sins to us, He nonetheless did not want to do this until complete and ample satisfaction of His law and His righteousness had been made. Since this was impossible for us, God ordained for us, in our place, One who took upon Himself all the punishment we deserve.

He fulfilled the law for us. He averted the judgment of God from us and appeased God's wrath. Grace, therefore, costs us nothing, but is cost Another much to get it for us. Grace was purchased with an incalculable, infinite treasure, the Son of God Himself." - Martin Luther.

We have all done wrong and all of us have sinned… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, - Rom 3:23, but we are all are justified freely by His grace… and are justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. - Rom 3:24. Justified means ‘Just as if I’d never done it!” Wow!

And that means that grace is greater than our sin… The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:20-21.

Whether in the world, or in the heart of the individual, being discovered by this most pure and righteous law, grace did much more abound: not only pardon for all that is past is offered by the Gospel, so that all the transgressions for which the soul is condemned to death by the law, are freely and fully forgiven; but also the Holy Spirit, in the abundance of his gifts and graces, is communicated, so as to prepare the receiver for an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Thus the grace of the Gospel not only redeems from death, and restores to life, but brings the soul into such a relationship with God, and into such a participation of eternal glory, as we have no authority to believe ever would have been the portion even of Adam himself, had he even eternally retained his innocence. Thus, where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. – Adam Clarke’s Commentary.


Hallelujah! Praise the wonderful Name of Jesus. What a blessing, what a joy, what a God! God’s favour is bestowed upon us in Jesus! That makes for a good start in living the Godly life that He wants us to live! Hallelujah!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to freely receive your grace, that I may live a Godly life, just as you intended. In the wonderful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, February 27, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER. #8.

When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller's reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming." - Source Unknown.

That’s another weekend gone, and by the time most of you read this, you will be back at work for another great and exciting week! Keep in mind Friday is coming! And just to get your heart going for Jesus, I thought I would reprint this article from Charisma Magazine, a fantastic interview by J. Lee Grady, which really got my heart thumping. Enjoy!

A Blast From The Past
I imagined what it would be like, to interview a key leader in the Azusa Street Revival. It was an uncomfortable interview.

My staff at Charisma has been combing through 100-year-old articles, archival photographs and yellowed newspapers to prepare a special commemorative issue of the magazine that is focused on the Azusa Street Revival. We wanted to grasp what life was like in 1906 when that revival hit Los Angeles, but I found myself wishing that I could interview the actual people involved.

I especially would have liked to interview Frank Bartleman, the journalist-turned-preacher who wrote some of the most detailed, insightful accounts of this amazing movement of God. Since I couldn’t talk to him personally, I read his writings and recorded this imaginary conversation—as if he were able to travel to 2006 and visit my office.

Charisma: Now that you have spent a few days in the 21st century, what surprises you most about our culture?

Frank Bartleman: I am speechless. I can’t believe people talk on telephones while they drive cars. And I can’t believe people pay $3.99 for a cup of coffee. What is this place—Starbucks? Americans seem too busy. They don’t have time for prayer.

Charisma: Now that you have visited some of our megachurches and watched our Christian television programs, what do you think about the state of Christianity today?

Bartleman: (He says nothing. There is an awkward pause while he fidgets with his hat.)

Charisma: Well, we can come back to that question. Meanwhile, tell us what it was like to be in those prayer meetings at the Azusa Street Mission.

Bartleman: (He regains some composure.) The services ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be found under the power almost any hour of the night or day. The place was never closed or empty. The people came to meet God. He was always there.

The meeting did not depend on the human leader. In that old building, with its low rafters and bare floors, God broke strong men and women to pieces, and put them together again, for His glory. It was a tremendous overhauling process. Pride and self-assertion, self-importance and self-esteem could not survive there.

Charisma: That is quite a contrast with what we see in our churches today. Christians in 2006 seem to like their preachers to be celebrities.

Bartleman: (There is another long pause.) We did not even have a platform or pulpit in the beginning. All were on the same level. The ministers were servants, according to the true meaning of the word. We did not honor men for their advantage in means or education, but rather for their God-given gifts.

Charisma: American Christianity today is big. We like big. We are reaching millions with our television programs, Web sites and huge churches. Some of our churches today have more than 25,000 members. Doesn’t that excite you?

Bartleman: (He strokes his beard and fidgets with his hat again. No answer.)

Charisma: This is very awkward. I am not enjoying this interview.

Bartleman: At Azusa Street, the rich and educated were the same as the poor and ignorant, and found a much harder death to die. We only recognized God. All were equal.

Charisma: Why do you think God choose William Seymour to lead the Azusa Street Revival?

Bartleman: He was very plain, spiritual and humble. There was a general spirit of humility manifested in the meeting. Evidently the Lord had found the little company at last through whom He could have right of way. There was not a mission in the country where this could be done. All were in the hands of men.

That which man esteems had been passed by once more and the Spirit was born again in a humble stable. A body must be prepared, in repentance and humility, for every outpouring of the Spirit. They decided to wait on God in a 10-day special petitioning of God and in yielding themselves to Him. The time had come. God had found the right company at last.

Charisma: You wrote often of how much prayer proceeded the Azusa revival. Did travailing prayer trigger this movement?

Bartleman: I moved to Los Angeles in December 1904 with my wife and two daughters because I sensed that God was getting ready to do something wonderful there. I entered into an amazing season of deep intercession. Evan Roberts, leader of the 1904 Welsh Revival, encouraged me to pray for a mighty awakening in California.

Charisma: So are you saying that what we need today is more humility and prayer?

Bartleman: The prayer life is needed much more than even buildings or organizations. These are often a substitute for the other. Souls are born into the kingdom only through prayer.

J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma. Most of the words from Frank Bartleman in this article are taken from his writings, particularly How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to pray souls into the kingdom.In your wonderful Name I pray. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Link Link

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – HE WILL NEVER FORGET OUR WORK AND LOVE.

God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won't forget the love you have shown his people. - Hebrews 6:10. (CEV)

Wow! So much assurance in such a short verse! God is always fair, is that an understatement or what?

If He produced the atoning sacrifice for our sins, what will He deny us if we seek after him? He will not forget our work and love, an eternal record of the good we have done! When we help our brothers and sisters in Christ, we bless Him! We are HIS people!!

That's real encouragement and motivation to keep on maturing in Christ.

Loving Father, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. My words seem so inadequate, and cannot express my joy at hearing such a simple and profound statement, describing your virtues. I am so glad I am your child. In the wonderful Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Friday, February 24, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY - A JOYFUL HEART #15.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Pro 17:22.

Once again we are coming to the end of another working week, and the weekend is fast approaching! At last we can have some time to ourselves, and do something that we want to do, not because we have too. Time for family and friends, for a BBQ, or as my friends in the USA would say, a ‘Cookout!’

Whatever we call it sure is fun! Time to read a book, listen to some music uninterrupted! Time to visit friends and relatives, time to see brethren and sistern at Church on Sunday! Praise the wonderful Name of Jesus!

Chill out! Here is some stuff to make you have a fit of laughing...
ONE LINER’S

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

How does Teflon stick to the pan?
Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.
Genius does what it must, talent does what it can, and you had best do what you're told.
Chocolate: the OTHER major food group.

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand.
Energizer Bunny arrested and charged with battery.
Good judgment comes from bad experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
----------------------------

Flying Home For The Holidays.
A student was heading home for the holidays. When she got to the airline counter, she presented her ticket to Houston. And as she gave the agent her luggage, she made this remark, "I'd like you to send my green suitcase to Hawaii, and my red suitcase to London."


The confused agent said, "I'm sorry, we can't to that." "Really??? I am so relieved to hear you say that because... That's exactly what you did to my luggage last year!"

Blonde Golfers.
Two blondes were playing golf at a foggy par three, and could see the flag, but not the green. Each hit their ball anyway. When they walked to the green, they discovered one about three feet from the cup, while the other somehow had gone directly in.


They tried to figure out which ball belonged to who, since they were both using Titleist number threes. Unable to decide, they returned to the Club House and asked the golf pro for a ruling.

After hearing their story and congratulating them both on their superb shots under such adverse conditions he asked, "OK, so who was playing the yellow ball ?"

STATISTICS AND STUFF.
The "Coronary and Ulcer Club" lists the following rules for members...

1. Your job comes first. Forget everything else.

2. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are fine times to be working at the office. There will be nobody else there to bother you.
3. Always have your briefcase with you when not at your desk. This provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and worries of the day.
4. Never say "no" to a request. Always say "yes."
5. Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees, etc.
6. All forms of recreation are a waste of time.
7. Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the entire load yourself.
8. If your work calls for traveling, work all day and travel at night to keep that appointment you made for eight the next morning.
9. No matter how many jobs you already are doing, remember you always can take on more. - Bits & Pieces.

PUNS OF THE WEEK FOR MY FRIEND, BLOGOTIONAL, BECAUSE HE NEEDS HIS WEEKLY FIX!

1."Is that pure rump roast?" - "Nothing butt."
2. A patient came running to my psychiatry office screaming "I'm a teepee! I'm a wigwam!" I told him "Relax, you're two tents".
3. Yesterday a cow saved my life - it was bovine intervention.
4. The incontinent Scotsman had a wee accident.
5. Make like mustard and catch up!
6. A boy told his parents he wanted to raise goats for a living, but he was only kidding.
7. If a horse could predict the weather, it would probably say that the weather is stable.
8. A family went to watch a 007 movie at the theatre, it was a bonding experience.
9. The soundtrack for the killer whale movie was orcastrated. 10. If actions speak louder than words then why can't you hear mime artists?
11. Those changing baby diapers sometimes act rashly.
12. He got a chemistry set with a promise not to hurt himself. That was the acid test.


SO ONCE AGAIN LET US REMIND OURSELVES, THAT BEING CHEERFUL KEEPS YOU HEALTHY. IT IS SLOW DEATH TO BE GLOOMY ALL THE TIME!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remind myself that Jesus died to set me free, help me Lord to live that life, and be determined in Him to have a joyful heart, in Jesus wonderful name I pray, amen!

HAVE A GREAT AND GODLY WEEKEND!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Thursday, February 23, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – COMING BACK FROM FAILURE. The Conclusion.

Those who have failed miserably are often the first to see God's formula for success. – Edwin Lutzer.

As we continue our series on ‘Coming Back From Failure’ from John 21:1-25, we studied in Part 3, how failure must be faced for forgiveness and restoration. Today we conclude with the understanding that...

FAILURE NEED NOT BE FATAL OR FINAL

One of the greatest truths that we can glean from Peter’s dilemma, is that failure is not necessarily fatal, or final. Peter, having faced up to his failure, was given the opportunity to put matters right with the Master, and now that this was accomplished, he was forgiven and restored back to his rightful position as a child of God, a disciple and an apostle; he had risen from the depths of his anguish and had come back from failure!

A few years ago, an angry man rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous painting "Nightwatch." Then he took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before he could be stopped. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo's beautiful sculpture The Pieta.

Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. But what did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures.

By His sovereign grace, God can bring good out of our failures, and even out of our sins. J. Stuart Holden tells of an old Scottish mansion close to where he had his little summer home. The walls of one room were filled with sketches made by distinguished artists. The practice began after a pitcher of soda water was accidentally spilled on a freshly decorated wall and left an unsightly stain. At the time, a noted artist, Lord Landseer, was a guest in the house.

One day when the family went out to the moors, he stayed behind. With a few masterful strokes of a piece of charcoal, that ugly spot became the outline of a beautiful waterfall, bordered by trees and wildlife. He turned that disfigured wall into one of his most successful depictions of Highland life. – Charles Swindoll.


Now Peter was ready to face his future...

I tell you for certain that when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands. Then others will wrap your belt around you and lead you where you don't want to go." Jesus said this to tell how Peter would die and bring honor to God. Then he said to Peter, "Follow me!" - John 21:18-19.

What joy Peter must have felt when he heard those words… “Follow me!” Jesus informs Peter what lay ahead for him, previous to being called by the Lord, Peter was the master of his own destiny, but now he was to fulfill God’s plan for his future, he would be taken against his own will and executed, through this he would glorify God by his death.

Tradition records that Peter was crucified in Rome under Nero around 67/68 AD, and that by his own request was crucified upside down, because he considered himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege.

Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life--these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself for us. - David Livingstone.

Many of us would be so happy to fulfill God’s plans for our lives, after coming back from failure. It is so good to understand, that failure is never fatal or final, once forgiven and restored, our future in Him, will result in the glorifying of our Lord and Saviour.

The future is as bright as the promises of God. – William Carey.

There is a memorial in Israel of where Peter went fishing, but there is no monument to his failure! We can come back from our failure and have our future serving the Lord with wholeness!!!

Loving Father, Thank you for your word, and the revelation of knowing that coming back from my failure need not be fatal or final, but that you have everything under control. I thank you that you have my destiny in your hands. In the wonderful name Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – COMING BACK FROM FAILURE. Part 3.

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. "Don't you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," came Barton's reply, "I distinctly remember forgetting it." - Luis Palau.

As we continue our series on ‘Coming Back From Failure’ from John 21:1-25, we studied in Part 2, the fact that failure has a tendency to make us search for the familiar, seeking solace in other areas of our lives. And how we can take the first step in overcoming failure by confessing our sins, and allowing Jesus to forgive and restore us, as He forgives and restores Peter.

General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, "I never forgive and I never forget." To which Wesley replied, "Then, Sir, I hope you never sin." - Unknown.

Today we look at how...

FAILURE MUST BE FACED FOR FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION
In order for us to come back from failure, we need to comprehend that unless we face our failure, we can’t get back on the road to recovery. Peter had felt a failure because he had denied Jesus three times in …

John 18:25-27 While Simon Peter was standing there warming himself, someone asked him, "Aren't you one of Jesus' followers?" Again Peter denied it and said, "No, I am not!" One of the high priest's servants was there. He was a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off, and he asked, "Didn't I see you in the garden with that man?" Once more Peter denied it, and right then a rooster crowed.

Peter was taking his first step to receiving forgiveness and restoration, by jumping overboard and swimming to Jesus. We know by His word that Father loves to forgive...

But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away. If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn't in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. 1 John 1:7-9.

Jesus standing on the shore calls to His disciples... "Bring some of the fish you just caught." Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were one hundred fifty-three large fish, but still the net did not rip. Jesus said, "Come and eat!" But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. - John 21:10-12.

As Peter walked towards Jesus, he could smell the charcoal from the fire that Jesus had made, and he possibly had a flashback to the time he had denied Jesus by the fire in the high priest’s courtyard, but he was determined to go on, and come back from his failure.

We begin to see a pattern emerging here… this was the 3rd time Jesus had appeared to His disciples since his death, Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, Jesus questioned Peter 3 times and Peter had replied 3 times, and 3 times Jesus committed the care of His flock to Peter. I don’t know the significance of all of this, only to say that when God does something He does it to perfection… Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matt 5:48.

All of this indicated, that Peter was being forgiven and restored as a child of God, to his calling as a disciple of God, to his correct position as an apostle of God, and from this time on, the smell of charcoal would not be the smell of failure!

Chuck Swindoll reports that a seminary student in Chicago faced a forgiveness test. Although he preferred to work in some kind of ministry, the only job he could find was driving a bus on Chicago's south side. One day a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare.

After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus, and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty.

But as soon as the jail sentence was given, the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them. The gang members and the judge were dumbfounded. "It's because I forgive you," he explained. His request was denied, but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ. - Chuck Swindoll.

BY FACING UP TO HIS FAILURE, PETER WAS FORGIVEN AND RESTORED, AND SO CAN WE IF WE DO LIKEWISE!

Loving Father, I praise you for your word that helps me to understand, that I need to face my failure in order to be forgiven and restored. I praise you lord, for you are the God of the impossible, that makes all things possible. Thank you for my forgiveness and restoration as a child of God, as a follower of Jesus, and for making my calling secure. In Jesus wonderful Name I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – COMING BACK FROM FAILURE. Part 2.

Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, "I have failed three times," and what happens when he says, "I am a failure." - S.I. Hayakawa.

As we continue our series on ‘Coming Back From Failure’ from John 21:1-25, we saw in Part 1, how Peter arrived at the point of failure, and what he was thinking at that particular time. Today we look at how...

FAILURE HAS A TENDENCY TO MAKE US TO SEARCH FOR THE FAMILIAR


Failure usually comes when we attempt something out of the norm… i.e., a new relationship, a new business or job, moving to a new place etc., generally something that involves taking a risk. When we meet difficulties and it doesn’t turn out the way we hoped, we tend to go back to what we did before. Peter’s dilemma caused him to return to fishing, he would seek comfort in this.

Douglas Maurer, 15, of Creve Coeur, Missouri, had been feeling bad for several days. His temperature was ranging between 103 and 105 degrees, and he was suffering from severe flu-like symptoms. Finally, his mother took him to the hospital in St. Louis. Douglas Maurer was diagnosed as having leukemia.

The doctors told him in frank terms about his disease. They said that for the next three years, he would have to undergo chemotherapy. They didn't sugarcoat the side effects. They told Douglas he would go bald and that his body would most likely bloat. Upon learning this, he went into a deep depression. His aunt called a floral shop to send Douglas an arrangement of flowers. She told the clerk that it was for her teenage nephew who has leukemia.

When the flowers arrived at the hospital, they were beautiful. Douglas read the card from his aunt. Then he saw a second card. It said: "Douglas, I took your order. I work at Brix florist. I had leukemia when I was 7 years old. I'm 22 years old now. Good luck. My heart goes out to you. Sincerely, Laura Bradley." His face lit up. He said, "Oh!"

It's funny: Douglas Maurer was in a hospital filled with millions of dollars of the most sophisticated medical equipment. He was being treated by expert doctors and nurses with medical training totaling in the hundreds of years. But it was a salesclerk in a flower shop, a woman making $170 a week, who, by taking the time to care, and by being willing to go with what her heart told her to do, gave Douglas hope and the will to carry on. - Bob Greene.

Sometimes we seek solace for our failures in other areas of our lives… alcohol, drugs or other secret addictions that we had never dealt with in our lives, prior to our predicaments, but there is a way out…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9.

The first step in overcoming failure is to confess our sins and Jesus will restore us, as He forgave and restored Peter.

In the 14th century, Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, "We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place." Bruce replied, "It's all right."

Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master's steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce.

The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan, can be like those baying dogs but a stream flows, red with the blood of God's own Son. By grace through faith we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ. "The purpose of the cross," someone observed, "is to repair the irreparable." - E. Lutzer.

John recognises the voice of Jesus in John21:7… Jesus' favorite disciple told Peter, "It's the Lord!" When Simon heard that it was the Lord, he put on the clothes that he had taken off while he was working. Then he jumped into the water.

When Peter jumped into the water and swam to Jesus, he was making his first step to receiving forgiveness and restoration. Jesus receives him and provides breakfast for him, in the miraculous provision of fish and bread. And He will provide for us, when our relationship with Him is repaired…

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. - Rev 3:20-21.

Life is a leaf of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two,
and then comes night.

Greatly begin! though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime
Not failure, but low aim, is crime. -- James Russell Lowell.

As we continue to look this week at these events in John 21, will let us see how they can help us return from our failures.

Loving Father, I thank you for your word that helps me to understand myself, and helps me to put my life back into perspective, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive me Lord, for going back to the things that I was familiar with, wash me and cleanse me. I thank you that you are a God of forgiveness and restoration. In Jesus wonderful Name I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, February 20, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER. #7.

Failure is an event, never a person. - William Brown.

COMING BACK FROM FAILURE #1

This is a series of posts that I did last year at this time, based on John 21:1-25, but have changed some things to bring it up to date. I have become wiser in a year, and I am sure that this series will bless some new readers, as well as encouraging those who read this blog regularly.

General Mark Clark was one of the great heroes of WWII. He led the Salerno invasion that Winston Churchill said was "the most daring amphibious operation we have launched, or which, I think, has ever been launched on a similar scale in war." At the time Clark was promoted to Lt. General, he was the youngest man of that rank in the U.S. Army. He graduated from West Point in 1917.

At the top of his class? Nope. He was 111th from the top in a class of 139! Even if you never earned a college degree, don't worry, you're in good company. Irving Berlin, for instance, only had two years of formal schooling. He never learned how to read music. When he composed his songs, he would hum the melody and a musical secretary would write down the notes. He became one of the greatest songwriters the country has ever known. - Bits & Pieces.

Someone once said... “We grow more through PAIN than through SUCCESS!” This is something that I have found to be true in my own life, and if I dare say, probably most of you! I am constantly encouraged when I read of Peter’s struggle in John 21, where he had failed so badly, yet Jesus was able to encourage him to come back from his failure, and get going again. And that is what Jesus can do for us when we fail. Praise His wonderful Name!

"One of the reasons why mature people stop growing and learning," says John Gardner, "is that they become less and less willing to risk failure." - Tim Hansel.

How did Peter get to the point of failure?

He had left all including home, wife and kids, boat and business, to follow Jesus. Peter had decided to become the best disciple... a born leader! The issue here is not whether Peter can be forgiven... but can he be restored? Can we ever arise from the ashes of failure? Can we ever get back to the point of starting again? If you are called to follow Christ, you will never be happy doing anything else, we know this from the many testimonies of people who have stumbled in their walk with Jesus.

As Peter went fishing.

Was he thinking of all the good times he had when walking with the Master, was he looking around at the places where Jesus had fed the 5000, where the blind man was healed, where his mother-in-law was healed, where the possessed man was set free in the synagogue, was he thinking of how he had failed Jesus? And then, as he heard the voice calling, it must have been déjà vu experience…

Jesus shouted, "Friends, have you caught anything?" "No!" they answered. So he told them, "Let your net down on the right side of your boat, and you will catch some fish." They did, and the net was so full of fish that they could not drag it up into the boat. - John 21:5-6.

The great inventor Charles Kettering suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said, "Once you've failed analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try." Here are three suggestions for turning failure into success:

1. honestly face defeat; never fake success. 2. Exploit the failure; don't waste it. Learn all you can from it; every bitter experience can teach us something. 3. Never use failure as an excuse for not trying again.

You may not be able to reclaim the loss, undo the damage, or reverse the consequences, but you can make a new start--wiser, more sensitive, renewed by the Holy spirit, and more determined to do right. - Charles Kettering.


A closer look this week at these events in John 21, will let us see how they can help us return from our failures.

Loving Father, I thank you for your word that can bring healing to me. As I read what has happened to other Christians, I am so amazed by your love and mercy. Grant me the revelation through the power of the Holy Spirit. to know that even when I fail, you are there to help me start again. In the wonderful Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be Encouraged!
GBYAY

Sunday, February 19, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – WHAT’S YOUR PRINCIPLE FOR GREATNESS?

Jesus must become more important, while I become less important. - John 3:30. (CEV)

For John the Baptist, this ultimate principle for greatness did not take many words. What's your principle?

Paul told the Galatians that a similar principle was needed for them...
My children, I am in terrible pain until Christ may be seen living in you. -Galatians 4:19.

He told the Colossians, that this is why he expended every ounce of his energy, to have happen in the lives of Christians... We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ's followers will grow and become mature. That's why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me. - Colossians 1:28-29.

He told the Corinthians that this was what the Spirit was doing in their lives... So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord's Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord. - 2 Corinthians 3:18.

So, don't you think that maybe this is the real principle for your life?

Loving Father, in my heart and in my life, may Jesus become more important, and I become less important. In the wonderful Name of Jesus I ask this. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Friday, February 17, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY - A JOYFUL HEART. #14.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Pro 17:22.

It is so good to be back after a great time away with Jean, but since we have been back, things have been hectic to say the least, so we are looking forward to the weekend for a rest! :) I thank the Lord for Jean’s healing, it is so good to see her teaching Religious Education again at the local school, and she told me she ran up three flights of stairs! Praise the wonderful Name of Jesus!

Enough about us, let’s get on with cheering you up over the weekend...

ONE LINER’S
To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.

Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes.
Warning: Dates in calendar are closer than they appear.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?
We were born naked, wet and hungry. Then things got worse. Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
What is a free gift? Aren't all gifts free?
What's the speed of dark?
When there's a will, I want to be in it.
When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk? Who stopped payment on my reality check?
Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
Why is abbreviation such a long word?
Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.
You are depriving some poor village of its idiot.
You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you!
Your gene pool could use a little chlorine.
Your kid may be an honors student, but you're still an idiot.
-----------------------------
A RETIRED PIRATE (For BB at Chez Kneel.)

After many years at sea a pirate decided it was time to retire. Since he had suffered injuries on the job he thought that he could also collect disability insurance. He had a wooden leg, a hook where his right hand should be and a patch over his right eye.

The agency assured him that he would be compensated if the injuries were work related. "How did you get the wooden leg?"

In a booming voice the pirate replied: "WELL MATEY, YOU SEE IT WAS LIKE THIS: ME AND ME MATES WERE ON THE HIGH SEAS WHEN THE BOOM SHE SWANG 'ROUND AND KNOCKED ME INTO THE SEA WHERE A SHARK BIT OFF ME LEG."

"Well that is certainly work related. How did you lose your hand.

In a booming voice the pirate replied: "WELL MATEY, YOU SEE IT WAS LIKE THIS: ME AND ME MATES WERE ON THE HIGH SEAS WHEN THE BOOM SHE SWANG 'ROUND AND KNOCKED ME INTO THE SEA WHERE A SHARK BIT OFF ME HAND."

"Well that is certainly work related. How did you lose your eye.

In a booming voice the pirate replied: "WELL MATEY, YOU SEE IT WAS LIKE THIS: I WAS LAYING ON THE DECK ONE BALMY DAY CATCHING SOME RAYS WHEN THIS SEAGULL FLEW BY AND DROPPED HIS DUTY RIGHT IN ME EYE!"

"Well yes, but what does that have to do with the loss of your eye?"

"IT WERE THE FIRST DAY WITH ME HOOK!"
-----------------------
BAR COWBOY
A cowboy rode into town and stopped at a saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on strangers, which he was. When he finished his drink, he found his horse had been stolen.


He goes back into the bar, handily flips his gun into the air, catches it above his head without even looking and fires a shot into the ceiling. "WHICH ONE OF YOU SIDEWINDERS STOLE MY HOSS?" he yelled with surprising forcefulness. No one answered.

"ALRIGHT, I'M GONNA HAVE ANOTHA BEER, AND IF MY HOSS AIN'T BACK OUTSIDE BY THE TIME I FINNISH, I'M GONNA DO WHAT I DUN IN TEXAS! AND I DON'T LIKE TO HAVE TO DO WHAT I DUN IN TEXAS!" Some of the locals shifted restlessly.

He had another beer, walked outside, and his horse is back! He saddles-up and starts to ride out of town. The bartender wanders out of the bar and asks, "Say partner, before you go... what happened in Texas?"

The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home."
------------------------
ACCOMPLISHMENT
The concert impresario, Sol Hurok, liked to say that Marian Anderson hadn't simply grown great, she'd grown great simply. He says: "A few years ago a reporter interviewed Marian and asked her to name the greatest moment in her life. I was in her dressing room at the time and was curious to hear the answer. I knew she had many big moments to choose from.

There was the night Toscanini told her that hers was the finest voice of the century. There was the private concert she gave at the White House for the Roosevelts and the King and Queen of England. She had received the $10,000 Bok Award as the person who had done the most for her home town, Philadelphia. To top it all, there was that Easter Sunday in Washington when she stood beneath the Lincoln statue and sang for a crowd of 75,000, which included Cabinet members, Supreme Court Justices, and most members of Congress.

Which of those big moments did she choose? "None of them," said Hurok. "Miss Anderson told the reporter that the greatest moment of her life was the day she went home and told her mother she wouldn't have to take in washing anymore." - Alan Loy McGinnis.

PUNS OF THE WEEK FOR MY FRIEND – BLOGOTIONAL, BECAUSE HE MISSED THEM.
1. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
2. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
3. Show me someone in denial and I'll show you a person in Egypt up to their ankles.
4. Italian building inspectors in Pisa are leanient.
5. The Irish should be rich because their capital is always Dublin.
6. Goats in France are musical because they have french horns.
7. England doesn't have a kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool
8. Visitors to Cuba are usually Havana good time.
9. I like European food so I decided to Russia over there because I was Hungary. After Czech'ing the menu I ordered Turkey. When I was Finnished I told the waiter 'Spain good but there is Norway I could eat another bite'.
10. In a Scandinavian race the last Lapp crossed the Finnish line.
11. If you said you were from South America, I would not Bolivia.
12. Britain is a wet place since the queen has had a long reign.
13. Before the revolution, Russia was in a Tsary state.
14. Did you know that donuts were first made in Greece?
15. There is some Confucion about the oldest religion in China.
16. Things made in Australia are high koala-ty.
17. The pharaohs of Egypt worked out the first pyramid scheme.
18. While in Mexico, the chinese diplomat got a ticket for going the Wong way on the Juan Way street.
19. If you Russia round and Ukraine your neck don't Crimea river.
20. People have a happy time vacationing in Ireland because they are walking on Eire.


SO ONCE AGAIN LET US REMIND OURSELVES, THAT BEING CHEERFUL KEEPS YOU HEALTHY. IT IS SLOW DEATH TO BE GLOOMY ALL THE TIME!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remind myself that Jesus died to set me free, help me Lord to live that life, and be determined in Him to have a joyful heart, in Jesus wonderful name I pray, amen!

HAVE A GREAT AND GODLY WEEKEND!

Be encouraged!

GBYAY

Thursday, February 16, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – THE SPIRITUAL MIND.

Let the mind of the master be the master of your mind. - Source Unknown.

If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won't correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can't make up your mind, and you surely can't be trusted. So don't expect the Lord to give you anything at all. - James 1:5-7. (CEV)

Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. - J.I. Packer.

There are 7 things we need to know about the mind:

1. The devil attacks us in our minds.
2. We are not to have a worrying mind.
3. We are not to have a carnal mind.
4. We are to love God with our mind.
5. We are to renew our mind.
6. We are to have a ready to receive mind.
7. We are to have the mind of Christ

The wisdom God gives us, to deal with the above, is the capacity to apply spiritual truth to daily decisions. “Faith” here suggests a willingness to respond and act on God's guidance. The doubtful person, who hesitates to respond obediently, will be unable to receive what the Lord is eager to give.

G. Campbell Morgan had already enjoyed some success as a preacher by the time he was 19 years old. But then he was attacked by doubts about the Bible. The writings of various scientists and agnostics disturbed him (e.g., Charles Darwin, John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer).

As he read their books and listened to debates, Morgan became more and more perplexed. What did he do? He cancelled all preaching engagements, put all the books in a cupboard and locked the door, and went to the bookstore and bought a new Bible. He said to himself, "I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be--the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself."

The result? "That Bible found me!" said Morgan. The new assurance in 1883 gave him the motivation for his preaching and teaching ministry. He devoted himself to the study and preaching of God's Word. - Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, -2 Cor 10:4-5. (ESV)

When we try to work things out through our imagination, and by crossing bridges before we get to them, by figuring the outcome based on our knowledge, we have exalted our knowledge above the knowledge of God.

Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs.

Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk.

There is a lesson here for us, spiritual battles await us, and Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now, before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they're needed. - Craig Brian Larson.

The wisdom of God's Word will give us faith to receive the abundance of God's gifts and the knowledge to obey His will. We cannot walk with God and do our own thing (double-mindedness), and expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to ask for wisdom in all situations and circumstances, that I may know your mind, and have victory over the enemy. In the wonderful name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – SEIZE THE MOMENT.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. - Rom 13:11.

If people would have been asked in 1968 which nation would dominate the world in watch making during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century the answer would have been uniform: Switzerland. Why? Because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch making for the previous sixty years.

The Swiss made the best watches in the world and were committed to constant refinement of their expertise. It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, hearings, and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and self-winding models.

By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits.By 1980, however, they had laid off thousands of watch-makers and controlled less than 10 percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent. Between 1979 and 1981, fifty thousand of the sixty-two thou-sand Swiss watchmakers lost their jobs.

Why? The Swiss had refused to consider a new development—the—the Quartz movement—ironically, invented by a Swiss. Because it had no main-spring or knob, it was rejected. It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. Seiko, on the other hand, accepted it and, along with a few other companies, became the leader in the watch industry.

The lesson of the Swiss watchmakers is profound. A past that was so secure, so profitable, so dominant was destroyed by an unwillingness to consider the future. It was more than not being able to make predictions—it was an inability to re-think how they did business.

Past success had blinded them to the importance of seeing the implications of the changing world and to admit that past accomplishment was no guarantee of future success. - James Enery White.

Now is the time to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, now is the day of Salvation, seize the moment.

Loving Heavenly Father, I repent of all the things I have done wrong, my sins, I ask for forgiveness and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.

With my confession, your Word tells me that I have a New Birth, I am “Born Again”. Thank you that Jesus is now my Lord and my Saviour. In His Name I Pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – THE FORGIVENESS FACTOR.

Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, "What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me." - John Stott.

Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?" Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! - Mat 18:21-22. (CEV)

Since I have come back from holiday and catching up on my Blog reading, I have been disappointed in some bloggers who are continually criticising others who don’t see it their way. I have a simple message for you, and for those who want to criticise others in the future... forgive or forfeit forgiveness!

In his book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."

It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life. - Michael Williams.


The message from God's Word is simple, do it or you lose out! Many years ago I knew a Pastor, who had held unforgiveness against other Pastors, and his ministry and family life suffered terribly, I have met others who have been crippled in their walk with Jesus, because of unforgiveness. We must respond to what Jesus says in our text above, and forgive the people who have wronged us, it is a command from Christ, not an option. Let’s study the...

THE MODEL OF FORGIVENESS
Father forgives completely, whatever the crime! The human response is... “This time you've gone too far!” Father forgives unreservedly; the price has already been paid by Jesus! The human response is... “I'll forgive you if you...” Father forgives forever, never to be remembered again! The human response is... “Remember what you did...” Father forgives generously, He gladly forgives! The human response is... “I guess I'll forgive you!”

THE MANDATE FOR FORGIVENESS
Father demands the Heart of Forgiveness! Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. - Eph 4:31-32.

Father derides the Hypocrisy of Unforgiveness! Don't you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?" The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don't forgive each of my followers with all your heart. - Mat 18:33-35.

THE MIRACLE OF FORGIVENESS
True forgiveness releases the bonds of bitterness! Bitter, critical, unpleasant believers are often bound by unforgiveness! True forgiveness re-opens the channel of blessings! When we forgive it removes the barrier between you and the Lord!

Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That's why he doesn't answer your prayers or let you see his face. - Isa. 59:2.

True forgiveness releases love to the unbeliever! Forgiveness displays the miraculous love of Christ to the lost!

True forgiveness restores unity among believers! Powerful unity is restored when believers forgive each other!

"The man I ate dinner with tonight killed my brother." The words, spoken by a stylish woman at a PF banquet in Seattle, amazed me. She told how John H. had murdered her brother during a robbery, served 18 years at Walla Walla, then settled into life on a dairy farm, where she had met him in 1983, 20 years after his crime. Compelled by Christ's command to forgive, Ruth Youngsman had gone to her enemy and pronounced forgiveness. Then she had taken him to her father's deathbed, prompting reconciliation.

Some wouldn't call this a success story: John didn't dedicate his life to Christ. But at that PF banquet last fall, his voice cracked as he said, "Christians are the only people I know that you can kill their son, and they'll make you a part of their family. I don't know the Man Upstairs, but He sure is hounding me."

John's story is unfinished; he hasn't yet accepted Christ. But just as Christ died for us regardless of our actions or acceptance, so Ruth forgave him without qualification. Even more so, she became his friend. - Albert H. Quie.

LET’S STOP DOING SATANS WORK FOR HIM, AND BE OBEDIENT TO JESUS INSTEAD! BRING IN THE FORGIVENESS FACTOR IN EVERY SITUATION!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to release any unforgiveness in my life, by forgiving those who have wronged me. Bless my enemies Father, and let your love be revealed to them in everything I say and do, towards them. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, February 13, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER. #6.

Jesus was God spelling himself out in language humanity could understand. - S. D. Gordon.

Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. - Act 4:12. (CEV)

While I was on holiday with Jean, I had the opportunity to listen to Ravi Zacherias on my iPod. He was sharing about the exclusiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it really made me realise that a lot of preachers have tried to water down the Gospel, and make it acceptable to many, but that is impossible as most of us well know. Ravi said that it was exclusive by its definition, and by its proposition!

A.B. Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel "Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone. - M. Cocoris.

There is only one foundation, on which the Church and the Christian life can be built, and that foundation is Jesus Christ...

And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. It is just as God says in the Scriptures, "Look! I am placing in Zion a choice and precious cornerstone. No one who has faith in that one will be disappointed." You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn't precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all. - 1Pe 2:5-7.

He is the one whom God sent to save us... God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! - John 3:16-17.
He is the “way, the truth, and the life,” the only way to God...

"I am the way, the truth, and the life!" Jesus answered. "Without me, no one can go to the Father. - John 14:6.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the name above all names, the name at which every knee will bow...

Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, "Jesus Christ is Lord!"
- Philippians 2:6-11.

When the 1960s ended, San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district reverted to high rent, and many hippies moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. They had children and got married, too, though in no particular sequence. But they didn't name their children Melissa or Brett. People in the mountains around Santa Cruz grew accustomed to their children playing Frisbee with little Time Warp or Spring Fever. And eventually Moonbeam, Earth, Love and Precious Promise all ended up in public school.

That's when the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand. Every fall, according to tradition, parents bravely apply name tags to their children, kiss them good-bye and send them off to school on the bus. So it was for Fruit Stand. The teachers thought the boy's name was odd, but they tried to make the best of it.


"Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?" they offered. And later, "Fruit Stand, how about a snack?" He accepted hesitantly. By the end of the day, his name didn't seem much odder than Heather's or Sun Ray's.

At dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. "Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?"

He didn't answer. That wasn't strange. He hadn't answered them all day. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn't matter. The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children's bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. The teacher simply turned over the tag. There, neatly printed, was the word "Anthony." - Luanne Oleas.

Ravi was right, it is an exclusive Gospel, and by way of definition and proposition, there is no other Way, there is no other Life, there is no other truth, and there is no other Name. His Name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. Let's take the time today, to specifically honour Jesus as Lord and Saviour, with our hearts, our words, and our actions.

Loving Father, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for Jesus, your only begotten son, and the fact that His Name is above every other name that has ever been named. Lord Jesus, your glory extends back beyond creation, and will endure after the light from every sun has been extinguished, your sacrificial love that saved me is awesome and beyond comparison. I ask you to receive my heartfelt adoration and praise. To you belong all glory, majesty, power, and grace, for what you have done to save me, and what you will one day do to bring me home to you! In your wonderful Name I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

I FORGOT!

I must apologise to all my readers for not telling them I was on Holiday… I forgot! Duh! Please forgive me, it must have something to do with turning 60, I am sure it is! Thank you for your prayers and your concerns, it was truly appreciated!

Anyhow, for the final part of Jean’s recuperation from her illness, someone in our congregation paid for us to go away and spend some time here…







and here...













We had a wonderful time of relaxation, so beautiful and tranquil, it was absolutely fabulous! Jean is fully recovered, as I am now broke! Seriously, she is looking fantastic, and to look at her, you would never believe that she was ill for six months, during which time she spent five weeks in hospital, and had four operations on her foot.

Now we are both fully refreshed, we are ready for anything; Tally Ho! Let’s get to it!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Thursday, February 02, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – Retired Farmer Turns Energies to Soul-winning.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. - Prov 11:30. (KJV)

I will let this wonderful story speak for itself...

Over the past six and a half years, Walt Durant has led 629 people to the Lord. Durant is not flashy, tall or handsome. He is more comfortable wearing blue jeans and a cowboy hat than a suit and tie. He doesn't have a seminary degree; in fact, he never completed high school. Oh, and one other thing: He's 73 years old.

Durant retired in 1992 and moved to Rogers, Ark., from his farm, where he had raised beef cattle. He said he had been involved with the visitation program at his previous church, but it consisted of "visiting people who had been members there for 40 years." In all his years of visiting, he had only led one person to Christ.

In Rogers, he joined Immanuel Baptist Church. When Pastor Thomas Hatley preached on soul-winning, Durant felt convicted and went forward, committing his life to evangelism. Shortly thereafter, Durant attended a class on soul-winning, and "I've been running ever since."

Durant started going out with Immanuel’s “Highways and Hedges" visitation program in 1994 and led 40 people to Christ the first year. The next year he led 60, followed by 60 in 1996, 95 in 1997 and 80 in 1998. In 1998, Hatley heard about LifeWay Christian Resources' FAITH evangelism program, and that summer he took the entire Immanuel staff, and Durant, to a clinic at Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

"[Durant] and Tom Johnson, our senior adults minister, aced their tests, because they studied every night," Hatley recalled. After the clinic, Immanuel started with five FAITH teams. After four semesters of FAITH, Hatley said he is sold on the program. He said it works because it focuses on soul-winning and is tied to the Sunday school. Those two things make FAITH unique," the Pastor said.

The first year Durant used the FAITH program, the retiree almost tripled the number of people he led to the Lord, with 234 coming to know Christ in 1999. In the first three months of 2000, the rate is slightly higher, with 60 professions so far. Durant spoke highly of the FAITH program of evangelism.” I love it," the layman said. "It presents the gospel in such a way that all the bases are covered."

For all its success, though, the FAITH program is not easy; in fact, it takes a lot of work. Durant practices his presentation twice a day. Each week he goes out on Monday night, Thursday night, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon; he also sets up appointments for other days. He visits an average of 65 homes weekly. Of those 65, he is able to present the gospel five to eight times, and an average of five accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

"It's a powerful presentation," Durant said. "If they'll listen, chances are I will lead them tothe Lord. But, I had 111 say no last year, and 20 have said no so far this year." Even when people say no, though, Durant said they are visibly affected by the gospel. "They can't hear the gospel without it affecting them," he noted.

The secret to his success, Durant said, is simply a willing heart. "You have to really want to do it," he said. "I believe that if there are any Christians who want to be soul-winners, they can do it by dedicating their lives to soul-winning, by praying real hard and by going.”God does the soul-winning," Durant continued. "The only thing we can do is go. I thank God that I don't have to worry about getting professions out of people."

Durant said he is the perfect example of the fact that God uses imperfect people. “I don't have a good education; I didn't even finish high school," he said. "I am bowlegged, bald and old. I thank God I'm not perfect. The Bible says God uses the base, and I am about as base as you can get."

After leading 629 people to Christ, Durant said he rejoices over every soul won. "I'll never get over that feeling," he said. "It is the greatest privilege any man could ever have. I pray every day that the Lord will allow me to do this until the day I die. I hope to be witnessing at someone's door when the Lord calls me home."

Durant spoke at a Pastor's conference at Immanuel in February. Since then, he has had a number of requests to speak, but he keeps turning them down. He said he doesn't want speaking engagements to interfere with his primary responsibility, winning people to the Lord.

Hatley said it is a privilege to have Durant and other active soul-winners in his church. "He ought to be an encouragement to anyone who's retired," the pastor said of Durant. "God can continue using you even after you retire." Hatley said others could emulate Durant's success, if they would only work at it. "Probably the missing element most folks have is the desire to work," Hatley said. "He's not afraid to work.”I have a feeling that if a lot of Christians visited 15 hours a week, they would have a lot of success, too." By Dave Parker

Loving Father, Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, grant me a willing heart like Walt Durant, to win souls for you In His wonderful Name, I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CALL JESUS “Lord?” The Conclusion.

When the wife of missionary Adoniram Judson told him that a newspaper article likened him to some of the apostles, Judson replied, "I do not want to be like a Paul...or any mere man. I want to be like Christ...I want to follow Him only, copy His teachings, drink in His Spirit, and place my feet in His footprints...Oh, to be more like Christ!" - Source Unknown.

Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? - Luke 6:46. (CEV)

"It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience... Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these as trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?" - Andrew Bonar.

Yesterday in Part 1, we discussed that if Jesus is to be called Lord, then “Lord” must take on a new meaning for us. We saw in Malachi, that the servants of God did not respect the fact that He was the Lord Almighty, and by doing so insulted Him. Jesus said that anybody who merely acknowledges His authority, or who takes for granted His divine nature, or who is self righteous, or who is doing things in His Name, by their own power, shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Greek word for lord is indeed used in scripture in the sense of master, and as a mere honorary title as in the English Sir. But, on the other hand, it is the translation of Adonai, supreme Lord, an incommunicable name of God, and the substitute for Jehovah, a name the Jews would not pronounce.

It is in this sense that Christ is 'the Lord, the Lord of Lords, the Lord God'; Lord in that sense in which God alone can be Lord--having a dominion of which divine perfection is the only adequate or possible foundation. This is the reason why no one can call him Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. It is a confession which implies the apprehension of the glory of God as it shines in Him.

It is an acknowledgement that He is God manifested in the flesh. Blessed are all who make this acknowledgement with sincerity; for flesh and blood cannot reveal the truth therein confessed, but only the Father who is in heaven. - Charles Hodge.


We need to realise, that to make Jesus “Lord of all,” in our lives, we have to appreciate that obedience is central to calling Him Lord. Lordship involves obedience, and Jesus asked why we do not obey? Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? - Luke 6:46. In saying all of this…

HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT TO OBEY?

First of all, the Bible must be our guide... I treasure your word above all else; it keeps me from sinning against you. - Ps 119:11. The word of God should dwell richly in our hearts, this will enable us to speak out against anything that is not of God. If we just read God’s word, and leave it in the Bible, then we will be opening ourselves up to all kinds of evil.

Secondly, obeying the word gives us a firm foundation... Obey God's message! Don't fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don't obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. - Jas 1:22-24.

Finally, ongoing obedience of the word is essential... Jesus told the people who had faith in him, "If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31-32.

It is not enough to receive God’s truth; we must put into practice what it says. It is only when we accept the truth, love it, keep it, and walk in it. And this will confirm that we are indeed, the indisputable Disciples of Christ.

Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace. - Thomas a` Kempis.

To hear and act on what we hear is to build a solid foundation for life, to hear and not obey is to leave our lives founded on the shifting sands of the world's philosophies. Jesus' rebuke to those around Him applies today more than then, and we know more revelation, and have more to work with, than they did. Why do we call Him “Lord” and yet do not do what He commands?

Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me Light and see me not,
Ye call Me way and follow me not
Ye call Me Life and desire me not,
Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
Ye call Me fair and love me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust me not,
Ye call Me Noble and serve me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor me not,
Ye call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not.
- Resource.

JESUS MUST BE THE LORD OF OUR LIVES, OR WE WILL PAY THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS.

Loving Father, Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to make Jesus Lord of my life. I confess to anything in my life that will hinder this, and I ask you to forgive me, wash me and cleanse me in the precious blood of Jesus, that I may serve Him, and make Him Lord and Saviour of my life. In His wonderful Name, I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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