As director of a non-profit ministry sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to know when to tell people about needs and to ask for their financial help. I personally get tired of hearing people asking over and over again for financial help, so I certainly don't like being the one who becomes that burden to other people! Yet needs...
Viewing entries tagged
Incomprehensible, Great and Glorious God,I adore you and lower myself. I approach you mindful that I am less than nothing, a creature worse than nothing.
My thoughts are not screened from your gaze. My secret sins blaze in the light of your countenance.
Enable me to remember the blood of Christ that cleanses all sin, To believe in the grace that subdues all iniquities, To resign myself to that agency which can deliver me from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!
You O God have begun a good work in me, And can alone continue and complete it. Give me an increasing conviction of my tendency to err, and of my exposure to sin.
Help me feel more of the purifying, softening influence of pure religion, Its compassion, love, pity, courtesy, And employ me as your instrument in blessing others. This I know is my purpose here on earth.
Give me to distinguish Between the mere form of godliness and its power, Between living and the source of life in Jesus, Between deception and truth, Between hypocrisy and pure religion that pleases your eye.
If I am not right, set me right; And may I always come into your presence in peace and the joy of knowing you, my Lord.
Adapted from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. 'New Beginning'
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.(James 2:13 ESV)
God has gifted me as an evangelist. There is no greater joy I have in life than telling someone of my great Redeemer Jesus Christ and seeing them come to trust in him. About-Face Missions ministry is the Holy Spirit's result of my and Jim Balls passion to see the world come to Christ and fulfill our purposes in this life. While our primary goal is, and always will be, to get the good news of Jesus told to as many as possible before we die, as ones who have received so much mercy and grace from God in our lives, we are driven by Christ's love to help also in physical ways where we are able. In our travels around the world, we have encountered some of the poorest of the poor, and the mercy of God in us compels us to show them mercy likewise. This two pronged approach of preaching the Gospel and helping the needy, especially those of the house of God, will always be a balance we will struggle with. We need to spend time and money to get out the message of the Gospel, but we also need to spend time and money to help the poor and demonstrate the love and mercy of God in us and for them. This passage reminds me to not give up, turn back, or slow down. God's rewards are much more than what the wealth of this life can ever give. It reminds me also that we cannot preach the Gospel without meeting needs when we have the means. How hypocritical that would be!
The context of this Scripture from God in James above is in showing honor and loving kindness and help to the poor among us and not showing favoritism to the wealthy, the better off, those who may be more pleasing to us for some fleshly reason. We read these scriptures and think at times how evil of a person to give higher honor to the rich man who comes into our presence and likewise looking down our noses and treating the lowly, less attractive, and poor ones as somewhat less... but this carnal nature is alive and well in most everyone of us today. And as a follower of Christ, this fleshly desire must be put to death daily! We all have been guilty of this to some degree and it must stop. God's word is telling us to be merciful to the poor among us, for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Bride of Christ is primarily composed of these poor people in this life. Do you think God will be merciful to you it you treat his own Children with contempt? Think about how you live your life. Do you primarily show honor, mercy and kindness and to those who can "benefit" you in some way? Don't be so quick to say no. Most 'Christians' live like this unaware, even when they say they don't, and only give their crumbs to the poor. If God exposed your monthly budget and spending, would we all see a life of self sacrifice of giving to those who cannot give to you any return in some way? Even the American churches fall under the indictment of God's judgment in many ways like this. So much spent on self 'needs' and so little on the poor kingdom workers around the world. God sees it all my friends. Don't be deceived.
We must examine our lives, wake up to our selfishness, repent and start changing the way we live. Don't let your culture be your god. That is idolatry. You follow Jesus, even if few around you do. Love the 'naturally' unlovable, and those you don't even 'know'. Reach out of your comfort zones and find them. Don't you see how unlovable you were before God rescued you? He reached out and found you. Love is intentional, never lazy and complacent.
God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners... unclean, ugly, dirty, defiled, rebels fighting against God... Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
Now, if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, let's get more radical in how we live for Jesus. "Fear not", God says, "For I am with you"! (Isa 41:10)
Today I make this Puritan prayer my prayer. As many of our devoted Christ followers of years gone by have written, mused and meditated on God and his Word and sought to walk by faith in the founding years of our nation, so too we can learn from them and return to pur spiritual heritage that so many have blindly forgot. This prayer is one from the book called "The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers", entitled True Religion. LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, I ask not to be enrolled amongst the earthly great and rich, but to be numbered with the spiritually blessed.
Make it my present, supreme, persevering concern to obtain those blessings which are spiritual in their nature, eternal in their continuance, satisfying in their possession.
Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or a part of my character; May I pay regard to my principles as well as my conduct, my motives as well as my actions.
Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions for the renewing of the Holy Spirit, never to judge my religion by occasional impressions and impulses, but by my constant and prevailing disposition.
May my heart be right with thee, and my life as becometh the gospel. May I maintain a supreme regard to another and better world, and feel and confess myself a stranger and a pilgrim here.
Afford me all the direction, defence, support, and consolation my journey hence requires, and grant me a mind stayed upon thee.
Give me large abundance of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus, that I may be prepared for every duty, love thee in all my mercies, submit to thee in every trial, trust thee when walking in darkness, have peace in thee amidst life's changes.
Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief and uncertainties.
Amen. May it be so in my life this day. May all who read this also come before the throne of God in likewise heart and passion.
Lord God Almighty, I ask not to be enrolled among the earthly great and rich, but to be numbered with the spiritually blessed. Make it my present, supreme, preserving concern to obtain those blessing which are spiritual in nature, eternal in their continuance, satisfying in their possession. Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or part of my character; May I pay attention to my principles as well as my conduct, my motives as well as my actions. Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions for the renewing of your Holy Spirit, never to judge my faith by occasional impressions and impulses, But by my constant and prevailing disposition.
May my heart be right with you, and my life be about the Gospel. May I maintain a supreme regard heavenward, our better world, and feel and confess myself a stranger and a pilgrim here. Afford me all the direction, defense, support, and consolation my journey now requires, and grant me a mind focused upon you. Give me a large abundance and supply of the Spirit of Jesus, That I might be prepared for every duty, Love you in all my mercies, Submit to you in every trial, Trust you when walking in darkness, Have peace in you amidst life's changes. Lord, I believe. Help me through my weaknesses of my unbelief and uncertainties.
My life is yours dear Jesus, to you O God, I give my heart's trust. May I live for you this day. Amen.
( My personal adaptation of 'True Religion' from 'The Valley of Vision, A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.')
But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. -James 2:8
This sums up the commands of God for us toward our fellow man. This is easy to do to those who love us, or when it doesn't demand any real sacrifice on our part. But real life doesn't always go that way. Sometimes your life is busy or demanding, or financially stressed with more needs than resources. Then someone you love dearly has a crisis, and you have immediate ability to meet that need, but it will put your wisely planned out resources and budget to get blown up and leave you in need, or unable to stay in a secure place. What do you do? Worse yet, someone you are not emotionally or lovingly close to has a need and you see it and can meet all or part of the immediate need, what do you do? Do we pass them by, because it may put us in debt and force us to work harder and longer to recover than we desire or planned? Do we pass over the need because it may impact our ability to fund our immediate or long term plans or retirement "properly"? Do we walk on by like the Jews of the good Samaritan story not helping the person in need because we don't want to be inconvenienced; or we want a nicer car and can't afford a new car payment and sending an extra 10, 50, 100 or 300 dollars a month to help fund an orphanage or feed hungry and hurting Pastors, or feed the poor people who need to see the love of Jesus in action before they can see his offer of Salvation? What do we do? Needs abound, so do we just pass them by, or do we dig deeper, cut back more on self, and invest more in others and less in personal pursuits? What does loving you neighbor as yourself look like for you? Is it a life of giving mercy to others that takes from your own resource pool of mercy and provision?
We can choose to avoid seeing or acknowledging needs, turn a blind eye like those who passed the beaten and robbed man on the road way to Jerusalem, or we can stop and render what aid we can. We can all do something. It's better to do all you can to save a few, than nothing, and keep on walking. God has blessed you. What will you do?
God has blessed me more than I deserve. I really believe this, so I choose to prove it by giving more and more back to those in need, even when it hurts to do so. Not just talking about it, but doing it. This is why I invest much of my time and money in the poor and for the Gospel message of Christ, and have partnered with Jim Ball to make it easier for others to join us in doing exactly this. Loving our neighbors who are in the greatest of need around the world. Join me at http://www.aboutfacemissions.com or on our Facebook page and help us help more and reach more for Jesus. https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions . Even as hard as the road may be at times dealing with the troubles and problems of others as well as your own, the resulting rewards and new life friendships and bonds of love that form from your efforts will last forever. Joy unspeakable will come though Christ to you, and have you saying, "why did I ever even hesitate?". I know this, I struggle daily with these questions and find stepping out in faith for Jesus always has immense rewards beyond my human reason.
Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. -James 1:22-25 NCV The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is this law that even Moses passed down, because the old law foreshadowed and illustrated the need to be washed by the blood, to be saved and made right with God. As Christ said it has not been changed, but fulfilled in him. Indeed God's moral law and principles by which they are underpinned are the source of all good law and instruction among men. So if we want to live blessed and content in this life, obey God and follow the prompting of his Spirit.
But be careful to not follow false spirits of your flesh or the deceitful "angels of light" sent by Satan to fool so many. Do you know how to test the spirits? Do you test them? Or do you just follow what you have "peace" with? Did you know some demonic spirits bring "feelings" of comfort and peace as impostors of God? Not every Spirit is from God, and I'd say when you are prone to follow your feeling then most spirits you hear are not from God. Lets not idly wait on peace over decisions we make, looking for fortune cookie signs. God has provided us all the principles we need by which to live and make godly decisions. His Spirit will always lead in accordance with his Word. The Bible is God's only authoritative and inspired means by which you divide the Spirits. So examine the Scriptures to confirm truth and good godly life decisions..not your culture, or your church culture, or even your own pastor. Not that they cannot help steer you in the right direction, they can and should. But if you have Christ in you, God is your teacher. So go to Him, hear through His direct speaking to you in his word and obey. Properly divide the Word or truth, so learn how to properly interpret, and don't take things out of context to make improper meanings. Do this and live well and blessed.
Tell the nations of his glory; tell all peoples the miracles he does,
because the LORD is great -Ps 96:3,4
It should only make sense that because of the great things God has done for us...for me, that I should go and bring this great love of Christ to everyone who will listen, no matter where in the earth they may be. Some have asked me why go to Africa when there are so many lost people here in America. I simply tell them that God has moved me to go to places like Peru, Ecuador and Africa, and.... because they will listen and respond unlike most Americans, where hearts are hard.
Where the hearts are ripe and tender we should go to harvest for the Lord.
Matt 9:37-38 Jesus said, "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Someone's gotta go, why not me...why not you? I like pastor John Pipers recent messages on this. There are 3 types of Christians, the "Senders", the "Go-ers" or the "Disobedient". The mission field begins at home and our city and state and country, but it must not stop there. It must be global according to the command of Christ. I want to be like the prophet Isaiah who said in Isa 6:8 "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." Lastly, for anyone who truly loves Christ and wants to see God face to face, knowing that they have done well in serving him shouldn't we be working on making his return expedited by reaching the last unreached people of the World? When will Jesus Christ return in glory? He told us. Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Nations here in the Greek means people groups. So let's be about our Fathers work, going or sending, and making this our priority!
Enslaved are not set free by ambivalence, but by loving intervention. True love purposes to rescue those in need. If you are aware of some injustice or hurting person, or someone trapped in some horrible or dangerous situation, and you have the means to help them, even at some risk to yourself, would not human compassion within you move you to intervene on their behalf?Sure it would, you would at least try to help if there is even an ounce of goodness in you. Something more horrifying than a person in distress is someone who sees them and passes them by without rendering aid, either out of selfish ambivalence, hateful pride, or unwillingness to get their hands dirty, or fear, even when they had means to render aid. God hates cowardliness in people. That is one of the most despicable things I see and often hear about in humanity, and yet it happens all the time. It's abuse or murder by neglect. We live by what we really believe, not by what we say. Our character is determined by our actions not our words. So we must honestly examine our actions. We need to ask ourselves, "Do I really care about my fellow man, or is life all about me and my comfort?". Yet even the most vile of humans will do nice things for those who will do nice things in return, or good things when it's convenient. But true goodness will force you to leave your comfort zone and go confront people who even otherwise think they are in no danger. If a dam broke upstream and you saw a home full of people who you knew were in the floods path, a decent person would do what they could to warn and help that family. An evil person would do nothing. Do you ever warn people of God's impending justice if they don't turn from sin and to Christ?
Jesus Christ sent us out to warn people of God's impending judgment and that his wrath is about to be poured out and could happen any moment on anyone. Do you remember some of his first words of his preaching? "Repent and Believe for the kingdom of God is at hand." The tower of Siloam in ancient Jerusalem fell on many people and killed them, and Jesus was asked if those people were being punished for their sins against God because they were greater sinners than them, do you remember his reply? (Luke 13:4-5) He said, "unless you repent, you too shall likewise perish". You see, he was telling us that every man is in danger of hell fire and deserves to die. As Scripture says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after that judgment". (Heb 9:27) We who are saved by Grace are so enamored by God's love we forget at times that the lost do not live under God's favor and Grace, but under his condemnation and wrath. Yes all humanity experiences some of God's providence for a time, but they are still enemies of God, given just opportunity to seek him. Jesus did not come to earth the first time to condemn us, we already were in condemnation, but he came to save. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost is everyone separated from God's divine Spirit because of imperfections of sin and on path to eternal destruction. That includes everyone born since Adam. For all have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. (Romans 3:23). Our standard to meet is perfection; God is our standard. We must not just speak of Gods love as though it is a take it or leave it thing with no consequences of rejecting it, because Jesus will return again not as Savior, but Judge and conquering Lord to all who live in rebellion to God. Revelation 19:13-16 gives us a glimpse of his awesome return. "He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." This King Jesus will come and call his people to his side but for prideful, it will be a dark day. Do you really believe this? If so let your actions prove it.
But are we people who really believe what the Bible reveals about God and our crimes and unholiness before him? Jesus came as a Rescuer, he is the God who Saves. This is the meaning of the Hebrew name Yeshua, Jesus in Greek. His time of human intervention was a great sacrifice on his part. He came as God, humbled in the limited form of a man, he faced ridicule and shame to help us relate to God and identify with us becoming intimate with our sufferings, and most importantly to rescue some of us who would take his saving hand by faith, trusting his offer of salvation as God among man; our Emmanuel. Jesus being perfect God and perfect man, took upon himself willingly God's wrath over our sins and shed his blood becoming cursed for us hanging on a wooden cross. He being God rose from the grave proving his power over life and death, leading the way for humanity to see how imperishable life with God will one day be for all who trust in him. Today Christ Jesus offers life to all who are under Gods curse, by freely applying his blood payment for their sins and rescuing them from death and the enslavement of Satan and certain hell fire. All we must do is repent from sin and turn to him to save us. That is it. For it is by God's grace we are saved through faith, that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, so no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9) ....But while many of us have made claim to this salvation and claim we are Christian, which means a Christ follower, our actions say otherwise. Many people seem to "buy into" Christ as some life insurance add-on. They do this by trying to say a sinners prayer or go through certain motions to have "salvation" but don't really turn to Jesus as king of their life, nor forsake and fight sin. They sort of want to follow Jesus, but not really. They lack saving faith that cries out from their heart "Jesus Son of David, Save Me!" You know a Christ follower by their follow through. Saving faith radically changes you from the inside out as the Holy Spirit births God's life in your once dead spirit. To enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said it clearly, "you must be born again". So if you do love God and you follow Jesus you will have also a love for your neighbors and you will lovingly share truth and warn them of their danger before God apart from Christ as Lord. You will work hard and smart to rescue the perishing. In Luke 10:1-12 Jesus gives us the model of how to reach those perishing apart from God. He sent 72 disciples out into the villages to share the Gospel of peace and for us to intentionally invade their world with God's love, doing acts of kindness, and healing and blessing people showing God's amnesty offer, looking for the ones whom the Holy Spirit is drawing to Jesus. Then once finding them stay and disciple them and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. Yet also he prepares us for the certain rejection that also will happen. Take back your blessings and leave them in the hands of God warning them that God came near and they rejected him. So as to leave them with clear knowledge of the severity of their disbelief. Truly Jesus said later in Rev 21, the unbelieving and cowardly are the first mentioned that are destined to be cast into the Lake of Fire where the pain never ends.
So, as you go about your days, is your life consumed with your work, fun and entertainment or one of many other earthly pursuits? Or does your love for Jesus drive you to think and act daily about how to help more lost people find life in Christ? Do you pray for hearts to be softened for Christ, and do you work to tell others about God's holiness, sin, hell, heaven and salvation in Jesus . You can and should be doing this personally to those you are able, and also helping his people, his Church, to corporately do this kind of mission work around you and all over the world. You were created, saved and left here on earth to be missional in intervening in peoples lives and waking them up to the truth. No matter how happy they may seem in their life or the risk of upsetting them and them not liking you. No, I'll tell you what, what a shameful day it will be for you and me when they walk off the cliff of life into hell and we didn't say anything before it was too late.
This is your mission and mine. Let's do more intentionally today. Don't wait for them to come to you asking how to be saved, that rarely happens. Go to them. Rock their world. Some will hear and be saved. God has put this responsibility in your and my hands. If you think I'm nuts. Listen to what God says in Ezk 3:18
"If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths."
Rick Warren in his recent teachings about missions just wrote "God made us to long for adventure" in his design for us to follow the Holy Spirit into the most unusual of places seeking to share the gospel. I know what he means! Yet these adventures do not come at no cost or not without pain and suffering. The costs are enormous, sacrificing all my vacation days every year, all the income most people use to buy nicer homes or nicer cars or nicer "vacation excursions"... The literal costs are high indeed. I have been on a few trips in my recent years and I have come back mauled from bugs and infections...nearly killed by being run over by a boat load of 13 Oxen that badly bruised my shoulder and nearly broke shoulder but filled full of pain. Other times had my expensive phone broken and shattered along with other belongings lost, damaged or destroyed, endured many hours of cramped and painful long trips wedged in tight cars, buses, taxis and way too long of air flights and jetlag, boat rides, and huge heavy Amazon loaded canoes loaded down that run out of fuel and go adrift on the river forcing us to paddle with sticks for hours on end...haha. Times of enduring of extremely hot and scorching sun and humidity carrying cargo and supplies to help the hurting and care for our teams, preaching and teaching in remote places not much fun to get to, putting my health and life on the line with potential sickness and disease eating things that are "very" questionable back home....on and on and on it goes.....yet... God empowers me each and every time for these great Adventures for him. Somehow HE always pulls me through and people get saved and the Church gets built up and people encouraged! Yes following the Holy Spirit can be a bit scarey for those unwilling to fully trust God, because He will take you places you otherwise would have never ever gone, and you will learn what dying to self entails, but in process you will reach people who never would have been reached, had you not gone. This is our calling. Yes it is an adventure, not a burden, but a love thing for Jesus Christ, and a work of the passion of God in us. But if we were to look at it all through man's eyes, some see it as a vacation adventure, which it "aint"! Yes there is some fun we make of it along the way... haha! But it's a lot of sacrifice! It's a lot of work and planning and difficulty. It is not easy following Christ!! But it is much better than staying in 5 star hotels or visiting the nicest safaris or seeing the most attractive and amazing tourists sites, or living in luxury. While staying in dumpy motels or living in mud homes with no power or running water or going poo poo in holes in the ground, I have found the greatest adventure of all that this life can afford... the adventure of following Christ and his Spirit living through me. God my Creator uses me to flow into the lives of willing and open hearts of people for the gospel love of God! It is an adventure! Yes, just not an easy one. But... it is the most glorious one that will bring the greatest tears of joy to your eyes that you will ever experience! Jesus said come and follow me! Let all his people say and "do" a big AMEN with our lives by going and doing what he commands, no matter what! Come with me, commit to stretch yourself from your comfort zone in following Christ and lets go! I am leaving for Africa mid November and Lord willing India and Pakistan end of February of which is plenty of time to still go. Think about it and pray and ask God to send you. Will you be like the prophet Isaiah who heard God calling out for someone to represent him, and his cried out. "Here am I Lord. Send me!
At what point does a person cross over from death to life? Salvation can be defined biblically in many ways, but in it's simplest terms reduces down to one thing, no longer being an object of God's wrath but now an object of his eternal love and filled with his very own life forever.While many people want to be right with God, many are not sure God is 100% for them. As Holy Scripture tells us, we are all born into sin, inheriting our parents sin nature and are all under God's wrath and the curse of sin and death from the start. So when can you and I know we are no longer subject to God's Holy justice for our sins past, present and future?
According to Christ Jesus it happens at some point in this life, never after we physically die. Hebrews 9:27 says,"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." So there is no choice to be made after death, it is too late. In John 5:24-25 he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." The dead? Well certainly he was not talking about the physically dead. In the parable Christ told about the rich man and Lazurus the beggar, he illustrates that the dead have no visibility or connection to the physically alive, just memories, as they await their time of final judgment, or resurrection as in the case of the saved. So who are these "dead" Jesus is speaking about. In context of Jesus speaking, he is addressing this message to the disciples and crowds listening to him teach. He says when someone referring to those listening hear his words of Truth and by faith, believe he is from God the Father at that point they cross over from death to life. So the dead he is referring to is people alive right then, people alive right now; all who can possibly hear his message salvation in him from your dead in your sins judgment, not the physically dead. Their destiny is sealed. So if I share the glorious Gospel message with a person and ask them to bow their head and pray to Christ by saying a simple prayer or repentance and faith in him, are they saved at that moment?
Well for some yes, and some no. Why you ask? Simple. We are not saved by knowledge of the truth, nor are we saved by saying a confession of faith or voicing a particular prayer. No, we are saved at the moment we truly see and Believe in our heart we are worthless apart from Christ and we need need him to save us. The moment our heart cries out to Christ, "Jesus, Son of God, save me!"... And when your heart cries out that vision of trust in him, so too does your outward action and lips. This is why in Romans 10:9 it says, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". Notice the confession with mouth must include the faith, the belief. So when is God seen as 100%for you and you are saved and given his Spirit for eternity? At the moment of true humble Faith. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, so too with the Gospel message. It takes the Holy Spirit to give them an thirst for the living water of God that only Christ can give. This is why prayer is so very important. We must pray for supernatural thirst for God to draw people to Jesus the Life.
I like how John Piper describes this moment of saving faith, Even though a new Believer may not be able to eloquently say it in such words, this described well saving faith.
" What the Bible teaches is that God becomes 100% irrevocably for us at the moment of justification, that is, the moment when we see Christ as a beautiful Savior and receive him as our substitute punishment and our substitute perfection. All of God's wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God's demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure and receive him in this way his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant."
At the moment of justification we are saved, which happens at the moment we receive him as our atoning sacrifice by faith through the grace of God filling our dead souls with his eye opening Spirit of Life.
Some still doubt if they really have that kind of saving faith or ever did. They just are not sure. Well ask yourself these questions. Do I really love Jesus as he really is; how he is revealed in the Bible? Do I see him as hating my sin so much and loving me so much that he was willing to do the unthinkable for me, spilling his own life-blood for my soul? Does it bring a tear to my eye to think of how my sins are an unholy shameful thing before his glory as Holy God? Does it drive me to my knees to cry to him often to rescue me and wash me and hold me up, as I stumble and fall? Do I really see him as my daily life and reason for living? If yes, then you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.... and not some phoney emotional hyped up human attempt to emulate the Holy Spirit yet not be willing to die to sin and self daily. There is a deceiving spirit in this world that dresses up as an angel of light and loves to delude people with drummed up sensationalism. It happens in Churches and many pagan faiths, but is demonic. The presence of the Holy Spirit in you draws you to your knees in humble adoration to Jesus the Holy One. Yes he is our seal of redemption and he always leads us to daily struggle to take up our cross and to die to sin and self as as we seek to obey our Lord in passionate love.
Then you are truly born again, crossed over at that point from death to life. And keep your hope in this, that which God starts he finishes, and he will complete you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
- When Does God Become 100 Percent for Us? (calvinistview.com)
Here the youth minister at Kennedy's Tulumba village Church was a time of much excitement among the children. AFM's first group mission to Kenya, Africa last year in May seems like a thousand years ago, but was just last year. As I think and plan more intently on God's will for myself and our AFM mission to Uganda and Kenya coming up in November, I am a bit anxious to have this trip all settled down as to God's purpose and desire for us when we arrive. I guess that is the human nature side of me to feel always in control, but I know following the Holy Spirit is more about trusting God and allowing him to work through us simply by being obedient to his call, even when I cannot see clearly the paths set before me. Pray with me that the Lord will help me take one day at a time as I desire for my life to be useful in the hands of Jesus my Savior. May God bless my Kenya friends!