“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:14-17).”
JESUS Christ bids us, “Follow me.” That is His call to us as we desire to become His disciples, and, that is the call He wants us to make known in the great Commission to go and make disciples.
“Follow Me…” That call needs a response from us, from our hearts: “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, yes, Lord I will go wherever You want me to go.”
“In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent, and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
“In that day sing to her, ‘A vineyard of red wine!
“’I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment, lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.
“’Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle?
“’I would go through them, I would burn them together.
“’Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me;
And he shall make peace with Me.’
“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit (Isaiah 27:1-6).”
WE do, sadly, live in particularly dark and depraved times, but one of the most heart-wrenching aspects is what children, toddlers and even babies are being subjected to. Yes, we have the murder of abortion, but there are also countless children who make it through the time in the womb, are born into the world, only to be abused, violated and battered by people who are vessels and instruments of darkness and destruction.
WILL I ever forget that initial excitement when I got “born again?” Not likely! Avidly I started reading the Bible. I couldn’t get enough videos, tapes, fellowship, church services or sermons. I was going to convert the world in two weeks. It was the greatest news ever. Jesus Christ is Lord! He is coming back again!
But I was pretty soon facing reality. Most others were not nearly as excited -- and I am even talking about church people. Some shook their heads. Others made disparaging remarks like “lock him up for six months!” or “you’re chasing people away” or “hopefully he will mature one day.” That was the viewpoint of some.
EVERYBODY wants revival! The Church is so obsessed it’s even trying to manufacture it, with hype replacing the Holy Spirit! Some define revival as signs, wonders, hallelujahs and goose bumps but in many ways I think this type of expectation produces what I call “anti-Christ conditioning,” because it’s preparing us to be impressed by satan’s miraculous deceptions in the end times!
THE Christian walk is not about a continuous flow of mountain-top experiences! In the main, it is about the valleys -- with the storms and hassles of life constantly reminding us that the great challenge is how we face and deal with them!
There are probably four categories of “storms!” First and foremost, sin reaps its consequences and godlessness brings its setbacks. Secondly, satan does oppose believers!
WHILE we all know that the power of mammon constantly contends with God, there is another influence that should also be recognised as a hugely under-rated deception. It is the power of emotion!
Hollywood recognises its great magnetism; the media are becoming increasingly aware of its benefits and the politicians absolutely thrive on it. To be able to control and manipulate emotion does bring much influence and, of course, much wealth. No small wonder that the god of this age is desperately keen to lay his hands upon the channels that can wield maximum influence and response from this emotional resource.
ONE of the most challenging incidents in the early church occurred when Ananias and Sapphira chose to lie to the Holy Spirit.
They had sold some property, but then elected to keep back some of the proceeds. Only a “certain part” was brought and laid at the feet of the apostles. They were fully-fledged members of a Holy Ghost Apostolic church; the gifts and the ministries abounded; signs and wonders were commonplace and everyone was sold out for Jesus, both literally and figuratively. This was the church operating in all its glory!
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matthew 16:4).”
THE book of Jonah certainly does present interesting dimensions! I recall once being challenged by a church adherent about whether I believed in the story of Adam and Eve; the Great deluge with Noah and his ark and, inevitably, Jonah and his episode with the whale!