Saturday, 20 April 2013


Matt 11v12:
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Matt 13v23:
But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The idea of the Kingdom of Heaven 'forcefully advancing' can be a somewhat uncomfortable one for us at times. After all, the connotations of the word 'forceful' in our culture are usually negative. When we think of forceful we think of words like 'violence' and we imagine someone being forced to do something against their will. When Jesus spoke of the Kingdom 'forcefully advancing' however, He didn't use that term in the way we would think about it. He used it to speak of how the spiritual Kingdom makes its progress in the earth by His will and power, and through the people of God. He used this word to denote just how we must choose to advance the Kingdom of God in our own lives; with specific purpose and decisive action in a way that is relentless. No matter what happens, the word 'forceful' shows us that as much as is possible, we must be 100% resolute in our determination and unyielding. 

Often as Christians we 'wait' for His purposes to reveal themselves before we do anything. While there are times where we must wait for the specific purposes of God to reveal themselves and for specific doors to open, this never implies that we should do nothing in the meantime. God ALWAYS has a purpose for us in the present, and that purpose ALWAYS has in mind the direct advancing of the Kingdom of God: 'Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added unto you.' God has gone to great lengths to reveal exactly what His will for our lives and our service is exactly in His Word, so it's up to us to just accept it, be thankful for it, and obey it by added action to belief! Now crop is harvested without there first being a sowing, and so we must actually sow something in order to reap something for the Kingdom. If not, we just become like the servant who took His talent and hid it in the field. No fruit came from that servant, and when the master came back He wasn't just a little upset with that servant, He called Him wicked and slothful and threw that servant into outer darkness! We don't really like to think about that, but it's true! It's not good enough to know that we've been blessed with talents and then to simply hide them because it's not convenient right now for us to use them, we MUST use what we've been given! We must be seeking to advance His Kingdom, otherwise we're just being wicked and lazy servants. 

Sometimes we also say that we are waiting to hear His voice. Again, while there are particular times where that may be especially important in order to continue to the next step of service for Him, Jesus said that His sheep HEAR His voice- present tense! He also said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' Jesus is always speaking in the present, because He is our Shepherd who is leading us in the present. The Word of God is for us NOW, not just tomorrow! The Word says, 'Today if you hear His voice'. Even when the disciples were waiting for the Lord to reveal His next step for their service in the Upper Room, they weren't doing nothing. They weren't simply sitting in a room with blank minds. They were seeking Him. They were seeking the Kingdom! And they got what they sought for! The fire of God came down, and many lives were evangelised and the first New Testament Church was started. The Word of God goes to incredible detail in showing what we are expected and directed to do for the Lord and His Kingdom. We even have the very example of the life of the Lord Jesus to imitate. We must also believe that what He has asked us to do for His Kingdom, He has also equipped us for by His Spirit.  How exciting! What an honour! What a responsibility! 

None have been perfect here however, we're all sinners, we all have times where we fail and we become apathetic, and times where the Holy Spirit has had to continually remind us to wake up and to get us back to serving and advancing the Kingdom. But in-spite of this His grace remains, and what He willed yesterday, He also wills today. God's grace is sufficient for us, and He is wanting us to serve Him while it is still called today! If we make excuses and seemingly good reasons why we can't serve right now, we deceive ourselves in thinking that this is ok and that the Lord understands and that He's fine with it. Matthew Chapter 25 shows that the Lord is very much not ok with it. So what are the main reasons that result in us not advancing the Kingdom? Matthew 13 shows us that there are a few. One is that sometimes we don't properly understand the Word, and so fail to take the actions we should take to serve (Matt 13v19). But again, this isn't a good excuse. If we don't understand a direction the Lord has given, we need to be diligent in searching through the Word and praying to gain understanding, even to talking to those that may have the insight that is needed. Some even believe that just keeping their understanding about Christian service as simple as possible is the best course of action for them. After all, life is complex enough, why have a complex doctrine, right? Wrong. While simplicity has its place, after all, the doctrine of the gospel as the foundation of our salvation and faith is very straight forward, as we grow as Christians, the fruitfulness of our service should also grow, as we become fitted for the works that the Lord has prepared for us in advance to do (Eph 2v10). It also makes sense that as we understand more His Kingdom, we become more and more useful to that Kingdom, but if we know very little of it, we will not be very useful at all. Similarly, if we don't know much of the Lord, or wrongly understand Him, then our usefulness becomes a very minor thing. Some don't want to understand more and more however, because, if they do, it will mean that will have to give up more and more of their lives in order to serve Him, and they are not prepared to do that. This is very sad, if only we would realise more and more just how great an honour it is to serve, and what a Kingdom awaits us in heaven if we will but be willing to serve that Kingdom now! 

We also make the excuse that now we have much trouble, or persecution in some way, and so couldn't possibly serve right now in our lives. Again, that excuse, for all of us, isn't good enough! (Matt 13v21). If we say that trouble or persecution means that we will not serve in this life, it mean that really we have no real root in ourselves, that is, we either don't have proper saving grace, or we don't have the Word at the centre and foundation of our lives. Because of this, when trouble comes, we let our service slip on the basis that it isn't really a part of the foundation of our lives, and it isn't really the thing which guides and directs our life, or that which sustains our lives. Jesus said that, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.' His very food and sustenance came from doing His Father's will! Jesus' whole life was driven and directed by doing that will, wherever that meant that He had to go and whatever that meant that He had to do.

To have trouble in our lives cannot be our excuse for not serving God at any moment in our lives. Jesus' and the Apostles seemed to have continuous trouble, and yet the grace of God was sufficient for them to continue to do His will, and to advance the Kingdom of God. And how amazingly successful they were! If we had to wait till we weren't experiencing trouble in our lives, we'd NEVER EVER do anything for Jesus. Chances are they'll NEVER be an ideal time to serve the Lord, for there will ALWAYS be something else to do, and ALWAYS be something else to endure, the flesh, the world and the enemy will make sure of that. But while our flesh may say that the only thing that is needful is our welfare, our happiness and our survival, there is really only one thing that is needful. Jesus said to Martha that ONLY ONE THING WAS NEEDFUL- that one thing was Him, and waiting upon Him and serving Him. Yes, there are things that we must do in our lives, those practical and good things, but they must not be at the centre of our lives. The centre must be His will, then whatever we do will be done FOR THAT WILL, and with that will in mind, not in-spite of it and not just in addition to it. 

The next excuse isn't just an excuse, but simply an action, and those actions show where our heart and focus is really at. Jesus says in Matthew 13 that the worries of life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, that is, His will, and so we don't become fruitful. Again, what worries are there that justify us not purposefully advancing His Kingdom? Should our lives and any of those good things in it take precedent over His Kingdom? Certainly not. All other Kingdoms, and all other things, even the very best and most precious of things in our lives will one day pass away, then what shall remain? Only HIS KINGDOM and HIS WILL will remain. That does not mean that we have to ignore our lives and those good things in it, but that all those things should be submitted to the primary goal of our lives, and should be loved in light of His will for His Kingdom. All the service we do, and all the work that we do, whatever it may be, can and should be done for the Kingdom of God. Whatever impact we think we may or may not be having is pretty much irrelevant; His Word doesn't return to Him void, and we can be sure that God will bring about the increase and fruit He desires, as long as we're willing to serve His Kingdom, and are active in doing as much as we can for it. Yes, God can reap even where He hasn't sown, BUT THAT DOESN'T EXCUSE US FROM SOWING. That didn't excuse the wicked servant, and it won't excuse us*. But if we sow what we can, even those small seeds, He'll make sure they'll be eternally fruitful.

*Matt 25:

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The last reason we give, often whether we know it or not, is 'the deceitfulness of riches.' Riches are deceitful because they promise much, but deliver very little. They also bring unwanted burdens and temptations for our flesh. The natural man is convinced that if it has the riches of this world, that it will be content, and so it will continue to seek more and more of these things, even when it has most of them, because of its fallen nature. Riches also distract. While the spiritual man desires the things of God and the things of the Kingdom, the natural man will blind us to all these things if we let it. The riches of this world keep our minds and hearts on the physical and natural things of this world, while the Lord desires to keep our minds, hearts and desires on spiritual things. Often we need riches to be taken away from us to even realise how little we are actually doing to serve the Kingdom of God. And it is only when they are taken away do we realise that this has been the case. While we may be sowing and reaping many physical things now, and things which embolden only our pride and excite only the senses, our spiritual man, purposes and assignments languish, because those things don't seem relevant enough for us while we are living in this world (because even the world says that they're not relevant, expedient or needed!). That is why the Bible says that we must put our mind 'on things above,' and not on things on the earth. Where our true treasure is will show up in whatever we do. If tomorrow we found ourselves in heaven, how much treasure would we have? How much in heaven would excite and thrill us? How much in that place would set our hearts burning? How much would we love there? How much would we cherish? Would we find that very little that we ever did on earth benefitted such a place and brought glory to the only one to whom it is due? Did we ever do much bring souls there? Did we do anything to heal those that are there? Did we do anything to make those souls that are there wiser to who Jesus is and what He loves? Did we encourage souls there to make it to that amazing place? Did we strengthen minds and hearts? Did we give life-giving encouraging, direction, warning and rebuke? Did we counsel? Did we teach? Did we console? Did we give to those in need? Did we leave it all on the table so to speak? Did we do everything we could that Jesus and His Kingdom, by His grace, be made any richer and any more beautiful?

Or, sadly and tragically, when we get to that awesome place, will we find that we have left our hearts on earth? Would we, along with Lot's wife, turn our eyes back to where God has brought us out from? And would we only escape, 'as by fire?' One of the reasons Christians hate God's judgments, and any talk of judgment, is because they are afraid God will destroy the world they are so in love with, and they cannot bear to think what they'd do without it. How will they then be employed? How will they then be entertained? What purpose will they then live for? How will they function without the world to guide them and motivate them? What will they learn then? What will they strive for? It is best that we examine our lives now to see, not only HOW we are employed, but examine our hearts to understand what MOTIVATES us in that employment. Are our desires, at their heart, heavenly or earthly? The cornerstone for what we do, say and the essential drive of our desire should be to see HIS KINGDOM ADVANCE. Not our Kingdom, not our desires, not other peoples' happiness, not our success, not our fulfilment, but the Lord's purpose and everything that entails. Is our food, like Jesus' was when He was on earth, 'to do the will of Him who sent Him'? Or is it to do our will, and only His whenever we feel like it? How much of HIS DESIRE are we filled with? Do we truly want to be making our way to heaven now, and to see that Kingdom that we are supposed to be serving now, or are we taken up with unprofitable things? and are those things quashing the very Spirit of God inside of us and making us immune and unaware of His Will for us in serving Him?

None of us our perfect here. In fact, we all are sinners, and that fact seems to be something that is clearly made plain to us each and every day, but thank God for His goodness and His grace! He picks us up when we fail, and He doesn't look at our past record to determine whether we're worthy to serve Him, because we're only worthy because of the blood of Jesus, and His imputed righteousness. All that is needed is for us to be in agreement with Him, and to serve as best we can in His grace. All He is after is our hearts and our desires. This is often a constant battle, and we know that the flesh will lust against the spirit, but the Lord does not condemn us for those things, we are justified by faith in Him! Even though the flesh lusts, the spirit also lusts, and all He desires is that, inspite of those evil lusts, to follow after His Spirit (Gal 5v17). So yes, two desires will always be going on inside of us, but by His Spirit we can know which is of Him, and which is of us. By His Word we can know what His exact will for us is, and by looking at the life of the Lord, we can know what life and what exact service He wants us to imitate. But we must be those that are 'forefully' laying hold of His Kingdom, for without a forceful advance, there will be little to no fruit for His Kingdom. And that, God willing, will be part 2 of this post.

Friday, 5 April 2013


If you go onto my blog, you'll see that since February of this year I've been warning about a coming storm, an unexpected desert and God's protection for His people that is coming. The first post I did on it was called, 'Relegation and the Coming Storm' (23/2), in which I warned about a war that the Lord showed me is coming. One of the most recent posts I put out was on the 28/2 called 'The Coming Storm: An unexpected Journey.' I also did a short series of posts on the coming storm as well.

I didn't write any of those things to cause fear, but rather simply so that people will be as prepared as possible for what is coming, so that when it comes, we'll all still know that God is sovereign and that He will continue to be right next to us all, just like He was with the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace. Just like Jesus told His disciples what was coming before it came, so He warns us too, so that our faith can be strengthened in the present for what is to come: John 14v29- I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. We tend to believe that our trust in God is rock solid in the good times, and that no trial will ever shake us when life is easy, but Jesus knows that we are all much weaker than we think. Rather than berate us, He lovingly gives us the gift of prophecy, to reaffirm to us just how much He is in control. He lovingly and patiently gives us prophecy in order to solidify and strengthen us in the faith He has given us. If we know these things now, when they happen, instead of freaking out and running away from Jesus, just like the disciples at the cross, we'll stay with Jesus, continuing to follow and pray as we go. That's why Jesus said, 'Watch and pray.' We must be very vigilant to watch what is going on in the world right now, especially with North Korea, and pray accordingly.

Praying keeps our minds and hearts with Jesus, and is the conduit for the grace that we'll need at every step of the future that is about to unfold. Jesus watched and prayed in the garden of gethsemane, and so wasn't surprised, shaken or put off from continuing to be obedient to the Father when the time came for Him to experience the attack of the enemy, because He knew it was coming and that God had allowed it. God had sent Him the comfort He needed (the angel), and God will likewise send us the comfort that is needed just before the the storm hits, and that comfort is often in the form of prophecy. Jesus Himself knew that the cross was coming and had known for a long time. He had even told the disciples about it on quite a few occasions, but they never seemed to quite 'get it,' and really their focus and concerns were on other things, so they were never truly prepared for it.

This is very much like we often are, and so Jesus is very patient with us to continue to reiterate to us time and again the important things of the future that He knows we need to know about (not everything, for 'we see in part and we know in part'). Often we don't get it at the time, because it just doesn't seem to make sense to us, especially because, like the disciples, we don't really believe that God would allow so much trial and so much suffering, especially to His own people. We also often can't understand the 'why' of it, so instead of grappling with and thoroughly searching out the truth to see the basis for such things like judgment and wrath in the Word of God, we choose to avoid it at all costs, because it just seems to much for us to bear, too hard to try and understand, and to scary to look into. If, when Jesus had warned the disciples about the coming judgment and wrath that would be poured out on the cross, they had really listened, taken it to heart, and then gone and searched the Word to see the basis for such a thing in scripture, they would've understood exactly what was coming and why it had to come, and from everything we know of how much the Apostles suffered and endured after the cross, I personally don't think they would've ever left Jesus at the cross. I think that, like Jesus, they would've set their faces to the trial and faced it like the incredible men of God that, by the grace of God, we later saw them to be.

Similarly, if many today, instead of simply ignoring warnings about the future, judgment and wrath, and why God does and allows these things, and focusing on just the aspects of God they like, that are easy, that feel good, and that they think will benefit them in some way, and actually went to the Word to find out about all these 'harder' things of the Word, they'd find that they do have a basis in scripture and they would be able to understand and accept them and profit by them. Often the meaning of prophecy is hidden from us, just like it was from the disciples, because really our hearts aren't open to it.

Luke 18v31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

This happens because we really aren't willing to receive from God in this way. Really we don't have 'ears to hear' prophetic things, so we don't hear them. Jesus won't force prophetic revelation on us, and if we're not open to hearing His voice in that way, He won't give it to us. I few years ago I knew a person who had been getting prophetic dreams from the Lord. There came a point though when they didn't want to hear from the Lord like that anymore. For them it was scary and so they asked the Lord to stop giving them dreams. And so the Lord did as they asked, and that person stopped getting prophetic dreams. They got what they asked for, but the question really is, what did they miss out on? What information will they not be benefitted by now, and what will the consequences of that be for their lives now and in the future? We must be very careful to not just receive the revelation that we want, but to receive every revelation He wants to give us (Mark 4v9), because all of it is intended to help us and our walk with Him. If we just receive what we want, we are in danger of envisioning, worshipping and serving the God of our own hearts and of making an idol that is only like God in the shallowest sense. However, if we receive the prophetic revelation He wants us to have, and the basis for such things in the Word of truth, then we'll profit by them in just the way He intended. If we now believe the prophetic revelation He is giving WE WILL PROFIT FROM THOSE THINGS IN AN INCREDIBLE WAY when those things start to take place. When the storm hits, His people will already have known it was going to hit, will be prepared for it, will understand that such things have a basis in the Word, will and ways of God, will know how to live and follow God in such a time, still serve Him in such a time, endure through such a time, and understand that God will have His perfect will through that time. If we don't listen we may very well come to severely doubt God and His goodness, doubt His sovereignty, doubt His love, be overcome with sorrow because all those dreams and goals that merely originated in us and were really just selfish come to nothing, and simply just flee God during such a time because we'll feel that God has failed and that the enemy has won. So the encouragement for us is to listen to what God has been speaking about, heed the prophecies He gives, and seek to gain a firm understanding and basis for them in the Word of God, If we listen and understand now, we'll be able to obey Him in the time to come.

I say all that because for a long time now the Lord has been warning me about a coming storm that is about to take place. I've written about it again and again, and so the Lord has been clearly warning and making it as plain as possible that trouble is on its way. Now, that storm may or may not just be about to start. Just after the series of posts I wrote about the coming storm, North Korea started its threats to the US and to South Korea. On 11/3 North Korea declared that they had nullified the Armistice between it and South Korea, and from there we all know about the threats that have taken place (even before that the threats had started). From here it seems like anything could happen with North Korea. They are moving missiles around and telling people from foreign embassies that they won't be able to guarantee their safety after April 10. So was it a coincidence that just after the posts I wrote about the coming storm North Korea began making threats? Does this mean that the storm is just about to break out? Personally I have no idea. It could be coincidence or it could be incredibly divine timing, only the Lord knows. Either way, God has told me very specifically that we as His people must now be watching. So we watch: we watch North Korea, Iran (if you don't know about Iran, google 'Iran, Barak Obama and Timeline' to find out what's going on there), current events, our own lives and ourselves, and we watch for coming trials just like the disciples were told to do, simply because we need to obey Jesus in this. Prophecy is a way that Jesus prepares our way before us, because being an eternal God and an eternal author of our lives and salvation, He is as much concerned with our present as He is with our future- Matt 11v10:
..."I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

I'd encourage everyone to make use of the comfort and prep that the Lord is providing at this time. Just like God gives the gifts of preachers, teachers, evangelists etc, so has He given the gift of the prophetic, and that is because each of these gifts have their role to play in being the means by which God gives His people what He wants to give them, comfort them, prepare them, and equip them. As for myself, I don't claim to be anything but the chief of sinners and a very ordinary man who doesn't even know what's going to happen a hour from now, let alone any other time in the future, but mercifully there is a God in heaven who knows these things, and I do believe very strongly that what He has shown to me and many others will come to pass. There has only been a handful, if that, that have read each of the posts I've put on my blog, but they are still there for anyone who believes that they might be useful and profitable for them and their walk with the Lord in the time to come. I pray that they would be profitable for you if you decide to read them, and that whatever is of the Lord will speak to you, but whatever is of me will be burned up in the reading of them. There are many other people online that God has shown similar things to as well, and in much more detail. I'd encourage everyone to look at the following websites to see confirming prophetic revelations:

*Just a disclaimer to say that I don't believe everything all of these men believe about the Word, but I think it's very rare that we all believe exactly the same thing. When it comes to the fundamentals though, they are very sound. So obviously use discernment, test all things by the Word of God, by prayer and by the voice of the Lord.

God bless

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Matt 9v9:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth, "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Matt 4v17: From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Luke 8v1: After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

In this age we place so much emphasis on needing to relate to culture, peoples' situations, circumstances, ages, backgrounds, ideals, dreams etc, that we often forget just how simple evangelism is. Although God does use differences of ministries, parables, prophecy, persuasion and meeting people where they are at, we must remember that the Spirit of God is the one of makes the Word of God understandable and relatable to the soul. The Spirit knows the language of the every heart and is able to open the eyes of the understanding and to lift the veil by His power alone.

All the Lord needed was two words to get Matthew following him! All He said was 'FOLLOW ME.' He didn't even start out with a story or parable about tax collecting, didn't talk to him about his profession of tax collecting, didn't crack jokes about how people so often were unwilling to hand over their money to the government, didn't seek to show Matthew that He knew his life, didn't question him about his life and profession, didn't seek to show him just how relatable a God He was, and didn't even introduce Himself and explain all about Himself! He simply said two words.

That form of evangelism must've seemed like such a mystery to those that witnessed that. And then to witness Matthew actually get up and follow Jesus! Really, from a human standpoint, it would've seemed like Jesus didn't do anything at all, and no one would've expected a response from Matthew. If anything, people would've probably expected Matthew to get angry at Jesus, after all, who was this guy that just came from nowhere and demanded that he follow Him? without even knowing Him or doing or saying anything to convince him that it was reasonable or worth it? The Spirit was working behind the scenes to move this man's heart and to convince His mind, and no human theatrics or cleverness was needed.

Both ourselves and ministers today don't need to do a song or dance to get people to follow Jesus, because both OURSELVES, AND THEY THEMSELVES, CAN'T DO A THING TO MOVE MEN'S HEARTS ANYWAY. This takes the burden off of us to know we don't need to be anything we're not in evangelising, and reminds us that not one ounce of power resides with us, it all resides with the Lord. When men are called by God, they don't need to be dragged to Him. Men begin to follow Jesus because the Spirit of God breathes into them (Genesis), He hovers over the waters of their hearts (Genesis) and He comes upon them (Acts).


In a word- not much like most ministers today. Lets see the differences by looking at the book of Matthew:

Matt 8v18: When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.

1) Jesus fled a crowd! He did not seek out popularity from men, for He knew what was in men (John 2v24-25). Rather than bask in the glow of what He fully deserved and what was due Him, He preferred to CONTINUE TO DO THE WILL OF GOD, WHICH USUALLY LED HIM AWAY FROM THE MASSES, TO MINISTER TO INDIVIDUALS. Just look at virtually EVERY passage that follows in Matthew, and you'll be extremely hard pressed to find EVEN ONE instance where the Lord is ministering to masses, instead of to individuals and to few. There were a handful of occasions all up that He ministered in that way, but very rarely. Today most ministers want as big a crowd as they can get, and they call it revival, but Jesus usually didn't minister in that way because He knew that the power of God wasn't heightened or lessened by numbers. Jesus fled a crowd the same way we should if suddenly popularity comes upon us, for two reasons; one, the temptation for us to become proud will be too much for us, and two, the temptation for men to start making idols out of us will be too much for them.

v19: Then a teacher of the law came him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

2) Jesus didn't advertise the Christian walk as one that would fulfil all peoples' hopes and dreams for absolute abundance and ease! Far from it! Instead, He put the HARDEST aspect of Christianity front and centre for those that were thinking of following Him. He told this potential follower that it was likely that not only would he likely just have the BARE ESSENTIALS, but at times even these may not seem to be enough (not even a place to live!). This wasn't an unkind thing for the Lord to do, rather a loving thing. After all, it makes sense to prepare a potential follower to know the cost of following Jesus before they begin, so that they'll have a chance to figure out it they really want to follow Jesus (not just in a day of popularity and provision, but in a day of storm, hardship and poverty), lest, after having started to build, they find that they can't give what they thought they could at the beginning (Luke 14v28). Most Churches today are continually going on about how God provides everything we need, and that He's present to continually bless us and prosper us, and while there's a place for that in the right context, but while that should be preached, that's not all that should be preached. Yes, God provides for our NEEDS, so let people know this, but in what context? -Seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And this context necessitates hardship, and not only hardship, but often SEVERE hardship. And so this must be what is primarily put front and centre, because people must be warned and prepared before setting out with Christ. Most Churches now are often unwittingly advertising that following Christ will be one long life of Christ entertaining us and giving us fun times after fun times, and this is grossly misrepresenting not only Jesus Christ, but also just how hard it often is to follow Him. This is not helping, but hindering a walk with Christ.

3) Jesus didn't worry that the hard truth and hard reality of a following after Him would damage His popularity. Jesus couldn't care less if He had masses following Him or not, or if people thought that He was wonderful or not, in fact He often preferred to escape the masses in order to spend time with His Father and spend time in prayer, because He knew that the work of salvation was not enhanced by a hyped up crowd, but by the power of God alone. How many hard words do you hear from the pulpit today? How much of the hard reality of following Jesus do you hear? Those questions are good to use as a test of the truth you hear from any pulpit or any Church. If you hear those things, there's a good chances those places of God are legit in terms of speaking the truth, if not, there's a good chance that error and deception are going on.

4) v21: 'Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me. and let the dead bury their own dead."
I can just hear most people today, "Wow Jesus, that is incredibly harsh! His father just died!' I wonder, if that was posted on Facebook today, just how many likes that would've gotten? Not many (if any) of course, because sacrifice is hard and uninviting. Jesus was a minister who, again, put out just how hard following God would often be. He showed the potential follower of God that there would be times when the calling of God on someone's life would necessitate them leaving even loved ones, would sometimes necessitate appearing harsh to others and those close to us and would necessitate making drastic sacrifices. Furthermore, sometimes following Jesus will necessitate us making a clear cut distinction between the natural and the spiritual, and sacrificing natural loves in order to follow spiritual ones. When Jesus said, 'Let the dead bury their own dead,' He was also alluding to a spiritual reality that even though sometimes we would care for those that are unsaved, sometimes in order to continue to follow God, we must part from unsaved people in order continue with the calling and mission God has for us (even those unsaved that we may dearly love). Also- the man who wanted to follow Jesus would even have to leave his family and the place He lived! Jesus didn't give an incredibly long speech in soft and soothing words to this man in order to console him about this, He simply said 'FOLLOW ME'. Sometimes God desires for ministers to just put it plainly to the people of God that in order to follow Him, they must make great and often painful sacrifices. The reward is sometimes only in the life to come! Let us never shy away from telling people just how hard it will be to follow Jesus!

Monday, 1 April 2013


Daniel 1v8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

1 Cor 10v23: All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

Notice here that DANIEL COULD HAVE eaten and drunk just what the Babylonians ate, and could have APPEARED (v10) exactly the same as the Babylonians themselves (on the outside), and there would have been nothing wrong with this, BUT HE DIDN'T. Now, on the surface of things this seems to be a pretty odd and unnecessary choice that Daniel makes. After all, who cares if he eats the food and drink of Babylon, as long as he doesn't gorge himself, right? As long as he isn't getting drunk, and isn't becoming unhealthy to the point of not being able to serve, what does it matter if he eats and drinks what others eat and drink? But to Daniel, this was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, and EXTREMELY NECESSARY. 

So the question is, why was this the case for Daniel? 

Daniel did not want the Babylonians to think that ANYTHING GOOD AND GODLY that came from his service in ANYWAY ORIGINATED FROM THE WORLD and from what they, as their so called 'great society' prided themselves on. And, by the grace of God, this worked, because God honoured what Daniel desired and chose to do. Daniel allowed the chief official to test whether he would end up worse for wear with not consuming what the Babylonians did, and low and behold, not only did he not look worse for wear, BUT HE APPEARED EVEN HEALTHIER. This was to show that if Christians and ministers choose to have God create the required image they desire for His glory, not only will God do this well, but in a better way than they ever could through those natural means that are available to them. Those natural means are not unlawful (in and of themselves), but by the use of them, not only are they not beneficial, but they end up defiling the spiritual health of the people of God, and also the good purposes and appearances the Church and its ministers are trying to achieve, because the Spiritual Church isn't built by being fed with natural things, and not with those things the world prides itself on.

To eat and drink what the Babylonians did would not have been wrong, but it would likely have made the Kingdom of Babylon and its rulers believe that the great wisdom and insight that Daniel received from God (and that ended up saving it's ruler), was actually due, in most part, to those things that originated from them. Rather than risk this kind of obscured testimony, Daniel did what many would've thought to be drastic and unnecessary. And so it is today, most if not all think that the means by which the Church is using to appear healthy and good looking to the world; big lights, big cameras, big smoke machines and everything else under the sun is just fine, but while they're fine for use outside the Church, they're not for His Church. While ministers believe these things are the very things God uses to create an appearance that they believe will in some way inspire our walks with God to be healthier and stronger, they do not, rather they make us more prone to love how the world represents itself. 

These 'things' that the Church is feeding itself with are the natural things of this world, the natural things of Babylon, and while they are fine in and of themselves, how they are being used at the moment is defiling the Church, rather than them being expedient for it. At the moment these things are inspiring a love of pride, position, prominence, promotion, shallowness, greed for gain, and outright error (after all, if the Church is rich, of course that means that God wills that all His people be rich...right?...). Simply put the Church of today beside the Church of Sturgeon's and Tozer's era, and you'll see the massive differences between each, and that sums up the point of this whole writing. And why those differences now exist today are only because of those things that pretty much no-one thinks are important now. I don't even want to mention what I think the Apostles would've thought of the Church now, or what those greats I just mentioned would've thought. My goodness, what they would say would make my comments seem like fairy-floss to the fire they would've brought. But nevertheless, the choice remains for His people. Are they willing to use their freedom to gorge themselves on the world for what they would say are 'good motives,' or will they make the choice that Daniel made, knowing that sometimes freedom to do something doesn't mean that we should do it. Conversely, often freedom is given by God to test us to see where our hearts are really at. Are our hearts really and truly with God? Or are we open to the things of the world as well? Are we as jealous as Daniel was to see all glory, honour and power go to the only one it should go to, or do secretly believe that we should be sharing some it? Are we doing everything we can to make sure the world knows the difference between our lack of goodness, compared to God's complete goodness? Or are we willing to take the freedom that is ours and so allow for the possibility that the world and other Christians may be mistaken and think that some good things actually come from us? 

These things that seem so little, are actually so important. So as a Church, what choice shall we make? and what do we really want? both for ourselves and for God?