Until The Whole World Hears

Psalms 2:8
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

As we reach the end of ourselves and cry out in desperation to God, prayer is the place where we express our greatest desires. We have found ourselves on our knees pleading with God for direction, the healing of a loved one, or to fix a mess we have created through our own foolishness. I wonder though, when is the last time we pleaded with God for those who don’t yet know Him.

The great promise of the Gospel is that it knows no borders. Every man, woman and child can have their sins forgiven, and enter into a personal relationship with God, through Christ. We can participate in that through the ministry of prayer.

Take a moment to make a list of a few people that don’t yet know the Lord and begin to pray for them daily. Add to that list an area in the world where your church is involved in ministry, and pray for the furtherance of the Gospel there. Perhaps the Lord may even send you, some day, to assist in the work.

Pastor Jim

 

What’s In It For Me? 

Job 21:15
“Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?”

images.pngJob raises an interesting question, worthy of our time and attention. If he asked it today, his question might be posed like this, “Why should a person be willing to trust in, follow after, and serve Christ? What are the benefits?” I know many people who have decided to devote their lives to Christ. I have friends and acquaintances who have moved to foreign countries, giving up their personal comforts, in order to serve the Lord. Are they wasting their lives by living for eternal things or are there benefits to following Jesus? Allow me to share a personal experience.

Years ago my wife and I began praying about leaving the comforts of our life in Southern California and heading out on our own venture of faith. We were informed about a group of Christians in Vero Beach, Florida, who were looking for a pastor. We began to pray, and soon after booked a flight to check it out. After a few months of praying, we determined to move our family across the country in order to serve the Lord. Almost immediately, after making the decision, we were plagued with self doubt. Is this the right decision? What will happen to our four children growing up in an unfamiliar place, without the support of family and friends. While we struggled through these and many other questions, I was reminded of a promise Jesus gave His disciples,

Mark 10:29-30 “So Jesus answered and said, ‘ Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.'”

Essentially, Jesus was reminding us there are benefits to serving Him. These benefits fall into two categories. The first would be eternal reward. Elsewhere, Jesus instructed the disciples to store up treasures in heaven that cannot be lost or destroyed (Matthew 6:19-21). In God’s economy, nothing we do for eternity will be forgotten. There is a day coming, for every child of God, when we will be lavishly rewarded for a life lived for the kingdom. There is another category of benefits, those we do not have to wait until eternity to receive. Jesus spoke of receiving reward in this life. He promises blessing will flow from obedience.

As I look back over the years, I am amazed how God has blessed us for our willingness to follow Him. It has not always been the easiest journey. We have had our share of painful experiences and times where our faith has been greatly stretched. But I can attest, the benefits of following Christ far outweigh the difficulties we have had to endure.

Pastor Jim

 

The Spoils

Psalm 68:12b
“…and she who remains at home divides the spoil.”

The physical battles Israel faced illustrates the spiritual battles the Christian faces.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

He also reminded the Corinthians that, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Our battle is not for land to be occupied, but for souls to be won. Our weapons are not the sword, spear, or slingshot; they are prayer, the Gospel message, and a righteous life. David, who knew battle as well as any man, gives insight into a spiritual principle of warfare. He reminds us that, “she who remains at home divides the spoil.

At least two spiritual principles are tucked away in this little phrase. First, the battle belongs to the Lord. It is wrong to glory in victory, or to shy away in fear, because the battle truly is the Lord’s. We do not win others to Christ, He does. We are but the messengers declaring the truth of God; which has the inherent ability to convert the hearer. Second, in Israel, the spoils of war were shared equally among those who went to battle, and those who remained home. In God’s economy, faithfulness is rewarded more than accomplishment. Those who are being called out to the mission field, and those who are called to make their community a mission field, have equal reward in the kingdom of Heaven.

If you are heading out to make a new address your home in service of the Lord, remember the battle belongs to the Lord. Trust not in your own strength, but in His. Cling to Him and His Word, as the weapons of your warfare. If you are called to remain, join those who are sent by covering them in prayer. No force in heaven, or on earth, can resist the power of God. “. . .she who remains at home divides the spoil.”
Pastor Jim

 

That’s Not Fair

1 Samuel 30:24-25
“’…But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.’ So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.”

As David and his men pursued the Amalekites, some of them grew weary. It is not difficult to understand why. Not only were they pursuing at a rapid pace, but they were doing so with broken hearts. Amelek had plundered their goods and kidnapped their families. For days, these men had been grieving, many, perhaps, unable to eat, due to the deep sorrow they were feeling. As a result, two hundred men were unable to press on, and the company split into two groups. Two hundred men stayed behind, and four hundred went to battle.

After a decisive victory, David’s men returned with all their goods, their families and the spoils of wars. As the two groups came together, the men who went to battle thought they should receive a larger portion than those who stayed behind. This seems to be reasonable, after all they were the ones who risked their lives to do the work and defeat the enemy. David, however, intervened and declared that equal portions would be given to those who go to battle and to those who remain behind. Obviously, David saw things differently. All they could see was the hard work they had put in, David saw that the victory was the Lord’s.

Whenever we are involved in ministry, of any kind, we must realize we have been chosen, equipped, strengthened, and will be directed by the Lord. When the ministry has been accomplished, it is because of the work of God. We no more lead someone to Christ, than David’s men won the battle. It is the Lord who does the work, and we are involved in the process so we can grow in Christ. It is folly to exalt ourselves above another, because of the way God has chosen to use us.

Whether you are called to go to the mission field, serve in children’s ministry, lead a home fellowship, be on the prayer team, invite friends to church, or serve in any other capacity, it is critical we realize, the rewards are the same. There is no greater reward for teaching than there is for inviting. The key is, understanding we are rewarded for faithfulness.

Whatever God has called you to, do it heartily as unto the Lord. If you are struggling to determine how God wants to use you, keep a few things in mind. First, He loves souls, so invite friends to Christ, or to church where they can hear about Him. Second, He wants to make disciples, so invest in the lives of others to help them grow in Christ.

Pastor Jim