“Are you saved?” I can remember as child a Baptist preacher saying every week without fail the words; ‘Are You saved?’ I believe those 3 words are possibly Baptist’s greatest contribution to the faith. You may know a lot about Him, but do you know Him? If there is no grieving or sorrow over your sinful condition…no witness of the Spirit, then you don’t know Him. For Jesus to truly save you, you must believe you are drowning and in need of saving—otherwise the broken cry for a savior is not heard and He cannot save. It is a matter of need…do you need Him? Do you see your very real need of His love and forgiveness? Or, do you see yourself ‘pretty good’– never considering that one sin…it’s rebellion like witchcraft that has you under a spell of deception never considering yourself that bad; it is your only weak link, but it is powerful enough to destroy your whole life with that one unredeemed failure. I see God is not mocked and sin must be atoned for. What are you doing and where are you taking your sin for atonement? Because what He takes, He covers–what He covers, He redeems, what He redeems He changes, and what He changes He keeps for Himself with a movement of the Spirit that directs my steps to increase as His disciple and witness. So, I ask you again, “Are You Saved…Are You Really Saved?”
I sometime get that sense of God’s purpose for humanity and truly experience a desire to be used to reach others for His kingdom. In the middle of one of those thoughts, God brought a revelation to me; ‘you have abilities, or you think you do, but it’s not your abilities I need; it’s not your charm or charisma, not your personality or persona, no matter if you think it’s strong or weak. No, reaching men has nothing to do with your good intentions, or even what you think! Remember, ‘I told you to come to the cross and surrender your thoughts, intentions, and abilities or lack of them. I told you in My word to reckon ‘yourself’ to be dead, so I could live. This world doesn’t need to know who you think you are, it needs to know Me and who I Am! Surrender your thoughts to Me! As long as you live ‘your life’, you cannot reproduce Mine! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….’ He further says, ‘whatever things were gain to me, I counted as loss that I could know Him and the power of His resurrection life!’ God says, ‘live My life and others will see Me through your surrender. They will see a brokenness that is evidence you serve me and not yourself, and you will prove to be my disciple whose actions reach many because of Who I Am!’
Something made me think of my Grandmother the other day; she would often call and say, ‘I don’t know nothing….I just called to find out how you were doing’. She was a busy woman, probably too busy, but I was amazed that she could find the time to do the things she did. “I don’t know nothing” may not be good english, but it made me think about her and the love she had for me. It makes me lovingly think of others I care about and how I should find the time to reach them. The truth is, I don’t have much to offer and I really don’t know much… but, for the grace of God I am nothing and I have nothing. While in that momentary thought of, ‘what little I could offer anyone’, I found myself praying; God save my children, save my family, God save me, and Lord save others through my life…oh, how I need Your power.’ Your life is a powerful thing, a tool created really for only for one purpose and that’s to be used by the power of God to influence others for His cause. Your life is to become a living testimony made by what only the Holy Spirit can reflect upon you, so others could be saved. I love the place where Jesus says, ‘Come to Me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest….’ The word says, Jesus lives at the right hand of God (Mk16:19). Residing in power, He lives to make intercession for us’ (Heb7:25). He lives to call us to rest ourselves in His finished work and be connected to His life and power by the Holy Spirit whom He sent as our Helper and His agent of extra-ordinary benefits. He lives to bring you into a restful place to stop thinking there’s anything you could do for Him. He lives so you might realize it’s in only what He can do for you– to reflect His life by powerful changes in your character and demeanor. The Spirit of God moves in the place of prayer connecting us to the will and intention of His heart. While men search for the perfect; the perfect life, a perfect home, the perfect love, it can only be found in the perfect heart of God, known only by time in the presence of His own dear Son. E.M. Bounds one said, “Prayer is far reaching in its influence and worldwide in its effects. It affects all men, affects them everywhere, and affects them in all things. It touches man’s interest in time and eternity. It lays hold upon God and moves him to interfere in the affairs of earth. It moves the angels to minister to men in this life. It restrains and defeats the devil and his schemes to ruin man. Prayer goes everywhere and lays its hand upon everything.” It’s prayer that makes us behold Him who is perfect, so we should reflect His glory. The enemy would have you weak and giving up over the things you see, but Jesus would have you pray and He says, ‘come to Me!’
I sometime get that sense of God’s purpose for humanity and truly experience a desire to be used to reach others for His kingdom. In the middle of one of those thoughts, God brought a revelation to me; ‘you have abilities, or you think you do, but it’s not your abilities I need; it’s not your charm or charisma, not your personality or persona, no matter if you think it’s strong or weak. No, reaching men has nothing to do with your good intentions, or even what you think! Remember, ‘I told you to come to the cross and surrender your thoughts, intentions, and abilities or lack of them. I told you to in My word to reckon ‘yourself’ to be dead, so I could live because this world doesn’t need to know who you think your are, it needs to know Me and who I Am! So surrender your thoughts to Me! As long as you live ‘your life’, you cannot reproduce Mine! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….’ He further says, ‘whatever things were gain to me, I counted as loss that I could know Him and the power of His resurrection life!’ God says, ‘live My life and others will see Me through your surrender. They will see a brokenness that is evidence you serve me and not yourself, and you will prove to be my disciple whose actions reach many because of who I Am!’
What is the Kingdom of God like? How would you describe It? These questions Jesus asks and then answers by saying, ‘It is like a tiny mustard seed’, planted in a garden. Planted within earthen vessels, the Kingdom is within you. God has given to each a measured task in this Kingdom. And He has not called me to compare my work to the work of others, He simply seeks for me to follow my unique talents in bringing an increase to this living structure. Right now, in the crucible of your circumstances, God is developing faithfulness to make sons of His kingdom in order that in these days ahead, we might be that city set on a hill–a bright light and living demonstration of relationship marked by His love. Recently, it was impressed upon me and now I say to you, God is not finished with your mistakes and is working to prepare you for the work of His kingdom by turning your failure to His testimony. The days ahead will require light. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-15, you are the light of the world to make a point of your usefulness to His kingdom in this very hour. Are you going to work with Him, or let the enemy rob you of your place and purpose? There is a call for a decision on your part, trusting completely in the work He has finished and is seeking to complete in you for His glory to shine. There is a hill that that stands before you and He says rise and to the darkness shine.
Times like these are days marked by uncertainty. There are pressing fears without and fears within. For the believer, there remains only one constant; it will be the insight you draw from the Word of God that keeps you; it will be this truth that gives you a bearing. When Jesus fed the multitude with one small boy’s offering, He makes a point giving insight into times like these. That day there was not enough money to feed such a crowd, yet the favor of God at Jesus’ blessing was all that was necessary to transform small things into great. The point is we are living in times when your resources will fail, and it will be more important than ever to understand His ability to take the small things and make great impact, not only in your life, but in the lives of many others. In times like these, in the coming days ahead, who are you going to trust? Jesus offers the favor and blessing of God that can unlock the wealth of His kingdom. Like that small boy, He desires to use you and that small gift you possess. What will you do? Times like these require decisive action. What about your gift? It’s greater only in His hand producing the blessing of God. Commit yourself by faith, seek the increase of His presence, and practice thanksgiving and praise for the provision He declares is your’s in Christ, for to those who trust in Him there is no want. Psalm 23 declares, amid troubled times there is a table of provision which He has prepared in the presence of your enemy. So go ahead and thank Him and be expectant in His praise because the table has been set; He is just waiting for you to come and dine in His sweet fellowship.
Sometimes I am wanting to find the application of this word into my life, but I’ve got no aptitude for it. To that I would say, “God give me a mind for what you think, so I could be effective as your disciple.” I came across this scripture the other day taken from Isaiah 50 which says; “The Lord has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” Often, we look for ways to apply this word in our lives only to find the simple truth is not merely conveyed with great oration or vivid illustration. The truth however is best understood by what Jesus said in Luke 14, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” While men often go here and there to find great preaching looking for that one great illustration, nothing connects me to Jesus like the cross. Jesus is affirming the cross as a means of application but more importantly as a means of identity. When by taking up our cross we deny ourselves, we are saying no our thinking and to our own reasoning and even our own cause. When we do that, we are identifying with the thinking that had Him at the cross for us in the first place. Taking up my cross aligns my life with the cause and thinking of Christ. Presently, most Christians know more about God than they are able to apply for lack of the cross. All of us have a cross to be sure, but is yours currently out for repairs? Paul said in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Paul saw himself as crucified with Christ because He’d taken up His cross. There was with Paul a death to this world and its thinking, but also the applied ability to actually live as Christ would because he had nothing else to live for. Full faith in Jesus had taken over his mind to actually comprehend the height and depth of Christ’s love for him. That is ultimately what Jesus is saying in Luke 14, namely this: that as long as you have something else your living for, you won’t carry your cross. Jesus is saying, ‘nothing can come ahead of me, so get square with me and I will order your thoughts aright and connect your head with your heart and you will live and speak as my disciple.’