Less of Me …

I think we all agree that we’re living in a very self-centred world.

It is what “I” want.   It is about “I am” this and “I am” that and “I am” everything.    It has even infiltrated the “church” and Christian thinking.   Saying “I am beautiful” “I am strong” “I am awesome”  “I am …… on and on and on” and tagged on right at the end (to so-called Christianize it) you might find “I am His”  or “I am a child of the King”.   Many of the modern Christian songs revolve around “I“, “me” and “self“.  Many of the messages we hear these days are about “self image“, “living your best life now“, “believing in yourself“.

Woe!!   Stop right there …    Everything we are, we owe it all to Him.

Remember what God’s Word saysI AM is one of God’s majestic names:
YHVH” is the Hebrew word that translates as “LORD” and is found more often in the Old Testament than any other name for God (approximately 7,000 times)YHVH comes from the Hebrew verb “to be” and is the special name that God revealed to Moses at the burning bush. “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM; and He said, thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to youthis is My eternal name, and this is the name you shall call Me from generation to generation(Exodus 3:14-15)
So, YHVH declares God’s absolute being – the source of absolutely everything, without beginning and without end.  The LORD who revealed Himself as YHVH in the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament as Yeshua (Jesus).  Jesus shares the same attributes as YHVH and clearly claims to be YHVH. Jesus presents himself as the “I AM.” Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” (read about it in John 8).

So why am I on about this?

As we see the day of our Saviour’s return fast-approaching, we need to get our priorities and our mindset rightWe need to put Jesus first.  Yes, we are many things IN CHRIST, and which can be backed up by Scripture and used in the right context! But, pushing self to the fore in a more humanistic way is certainly not glorifying to Jesus our LORD.   Hence the reason I share this beautiful poem written by a dear friend of mine …  “LESS OF ME

More of Thee LORD, more of Thee,
More like Jesus would I be.
Self-denied, may others see,
More of JESUS – less of me.

More of Thee LORD, more of Thee
When showers of blessings fall on me
Within life’s sunshine may it be
More of JESUS – less of me

More of Thee LORD, more of Thee
When Satan’s hosts close in on me
Then let, Oh LORD, my reactions be
More of JESUS – less of me.

More of Thee LORD, more of Thee
Time passes all too fleetingly
Through changing years still this my plea,
More of JESUS – less of me.

More of Thee LORD, more of Thee
Till perfected in Heav’n I’ll be
And say throughout eternity
ALL of Jesus, NONE of me!¹

 

If you have any questions or comments or a request for prayer, please do not hesitate to contact me.

¹ Poem by Gill Lourens

War and Peace …

The book of James was written to Christians, and more specifically to those who were facing trials and persecution. Due to threat of persecution and trials, they were tempted to compromise their Christian commitment and relapse into accommodating worldly practices. James spoke as a pastor to these Christians and urged them to develop spiritual stamina but also, in no uncertain terms, urged them not to compromise in their walk with the Lord.

Sadly we see too much compromise in the church today and doctrinal error creeping in.

With this background I share the following…

I heard a message recently from James 4:1-12 titled “War and Peace”

It highlighted 3 important points:

  • The Problems among us are rooted within us  (1-5)

    “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God….”

  • The Promises to us come from above us (through God’s infallible Word)  (v6)

    Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the Spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him. And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  • The Prescription for us must be taken by us  (7-12)
    If we want to live lives that please God and submit ourselves to God, then we need to follow His Prescription.  This is found clearly in verses 7 to 12 of James 4.

    • Submit to / humble yourselves before God.

    • Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    • Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

    • Wash your hands, you sinners;

    • Purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

    • Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

    • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

    • Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.

    • If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbour.

    • Receive the One Who was judged for our sin (on the cross of Calvary)

So, as a follower of Christ, we must remember we are in a spiritual battle.  We need to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph 10:11).  We need to be serious about our walk with the Lord.  “… pay attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to the whole body. Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life. Put away deception from your mouth; keep your lips from perverse speech. Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead” (Proverbs 4:20-25).   As the New Testament also clearly says:  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

 

Keep right away from “Christian Mysticism”!

We are living in times of great deception – be on the alert!! Pray for discernment in these days: Here is an example of what is going on …

Christian mysticism is being incorporated into so-called forms of worship. It refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christianity (both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions).

This is what the Catholic Church is teaching as well as MANY so-called Christian (even Evangelical) churches who are teaching it these days …..

The New Evangelization requires a rediscovery of Christian mysticism, and a revival of the monastic setting which is its natural home

If you want to be a Bible-believing Christian, then you need to keep away from mysticism.

What you do NEED TO DO is be grounded in the Word of God so that you can discern anything that is not of the Lord. It is very subtle.

Something else to watch carefully is …  church music and songs.
I’ll go as far as saying that very many of the songs in churches today are about ME / I / MY and very repetitive – almost like chanting (sometimes totally meaningless phrases), rather than praising and worshiping our God and Saviour.    The focus needs to be on the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone!   It is not just about having a “great experience” or “feeling good”.   It should be all about Him – lifting up the Name of Jesus!

We need to take care and walk circumspectly. “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”(Eph 5:15-16)

For more information, contact me using the contact form

The Truth about the Rapture of the Church

Today I feel the need to post this excellent video by Dr Ron Rhodes from Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries

He explains clearly what the Bible tells us, in no uncertain terms, about the Rapture or catching away of the Church, the true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a topic people tend to have varied opinions, BUT, what does the Bible teach us about this?

Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour the Lord will come.

How to live in the light of the Lord’s imminent return …

“Hold on now … who said anything about the imminence of the Lord’s return?”

That is just the point!   We seldom hear people refer to or preach on the subject dealing with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.   This is very tragic really.  The very fact that the Lord could return at any moment (when we least expect Him) is what can help us all as Christians to keep focused and to walk in ways that are pleasing to Him.

Sadly so many Christians and Churches are getting dreadfully side-tracked these Picture globedays on issues that have little or no bearing on the salvation of the lost and walking closely with Jesus.  Recent arguments and discussions about various “issues” are not really helping anyone spiritually.   These are distractions rather than helping us to focus on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

As Christians we have a responsibility to “go and make disciples of all nations” and to “build each other up in our most holy faith, praying in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19 & Jude 1:20).  In fact, the book of Jude is such a gem to study and ends on such a triumphal note in verses 24 & 25.

I know that there will be some reading this blog post who will feel that I am being simplistic.  Be that as it may … “as we await the return of the Lord Jesus, we need to throw and strip off everything that hinders, trips us up or slows us down and the sin that so easily entangles, ensnares or distracts us so that we can run with perseverance and patience the race marked out for us.”  (Free translation of Hebrews 12:1).

It is a great concern to me that we as Christians can so easily find ourselves taking the eye off the ball.  The Lord says in His Word: “…be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with …worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; … “(Luke 21:34 – Amplified)

young man reading small bibleA Pastor we had in South Africa once shared these five points about living in the light of the Lord’s imminent return.   Each point has Scripture references associated with it and can thus be a practical personal Bible Study for a quiet time with the Lord.

1. Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16-26
2. Memorize ScripturePsalm119:11
3. Keep short accounts with God and others – resolve outstanding issues – 1 John 1:9
4. Pray without ceasing1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
5. Be faithful in church attendance and fellowshipActs 2:41-47
6. Learn to know the Power of God in your lifeEphesians 3:20

Any questions or discussion will be most welcome!

How did I get through this day?

How did I get through this day? In the busyness of every day; in the difficulties, trials and anxieties of each day; when we look back over the day, week or year, we wonder how we ever managed to cope.

Sadly, in the midst of everything, we are not always conscious or aware of the fact that we are not alone. Whether it is illness, financial difficulties, work pressures or loneliness, we often feel as if we are absolutely on our own. But, be encouraged.

Someone sent me a letter some years ago whilst I was going through a particularly difficult time. The following verse was shared for my encouragement: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders” (Deut 33:12). Even though this was said about the tribe of Benjamin, we believe “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16) and hence is applicable to all who read it and obey His Word.

If all Scripture is inspired or God breathed, all the promises and encouragement are from Him. Therefore, looking at Deut 33:12 can be most encouraging:

As Benjamin was loved, so are we. John 3:16 tells us just how much God loves us – He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will never perish but have everlasting life.

Because we are loved, we can rest secure – live in safety, knowing that whatever happens, our Saviour will hold us in the palm of His nail-pierced hand.

Why can we rest secure? We rest secure because He shields and protects us.

When are we secure in His love? He shields and surrounds us all day long, continuously! He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Where is our security? In Christ our Saviour – “Whom the Lord loves, rests between His shoulders”. Shoulders speak of strength. Being carried speaks of support. It speaks of being able to rest. Lifted up out of the clamber, pain and torment of our situation. Being lifted high – secure and preserved from every harm.

What a precious thought. He whom the Lord loves rests between His shoulders. Thank you Jesus.

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?

Here’s a thought for today (and every day) …

(Recommended Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

Eternal life is not something we only receive when we die. We receive eternal life the moment we repent of our sins and accept and believe in Jesus as our Saviour.

Once you know Him as Saviour, no matter where you are, God is with you.

But the great thing to remember is that we have the promise of eternity with Christ. We look forward to that day when we see Jesus face to face.

During difficult times, the hope of eternity gives us strength. If you have a tendency to worry yourself to sleep, cast your thoughts upwards, speak to Jesus who is right there with you and think of heaven and what awaits us when we get “home”.

Harriet Buell wrote in her hymn, “A Child of the King”,
“A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there”

If you need further info about how to inherit eternal life, click here

PRAYER IS NEVER WASTED!

In these days we need to persevere in prayer for those who do not know the Lord as their Saviour.

Just this morning someone shared with me something very precious.  It was a quote by John MacArthur 1:

“Jesus affirmed the fact that believers’ prayers participate in the fulfillment of God’s plans”

In Matthew’s gospel we read how the Lord Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages with the Good News about the Kingdom … He had seen the crowds and had so much compassion on them because they appeared to be so confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd …
He said to His disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.”” (Matt 9:38)

So, when we pray for the lost, and pray for ways to reach the lost with the Good News of the Gospel, we are participating in the fulfillment of God’s plans”

And when we pray, let us pray with expectation“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3)

What a wonderful AND very challenging thought!

And just another quick thought … could YOU (could I) perhaps be part of the answer to the prayer for the Lord of the Harvest to send more workers into His fields?

_______________________________________________________________
Ref:          MacArthur, John: The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997


For further reading:

Matthew 9:35-38
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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.” (ESV)
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (NLT)

Luke 10:2
“These were His instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields”.(NLT)

Is it possible to live a Holy Life?

Here’s a thought … God will never instruct you to do something that is not possible!

He says, “be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).   How can we possibly be holy?

The first step is to repent of sin and commit your life to the Lord Jesus.
The next step is to start reading and studying His Word, the Bible.

There is nothing that will enable us to live holy, Christ-like, lives more than studying the Word of God.

Psalm 119 (which happens to be the longest chapter in the Bible) gives a clear picture of the change that occurs when we devote ourselves to the study of the Bible on a daily basis.

According to this Psalm, “when we devote ourselves to the daily study, memorization, meditation, and obedience of Scripture,

  • we learn how to cleanse our way (v 9);
    “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your Word and following its rules”
  • we avoid sinning against God (v 11);
    “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You”
  • we are inwardly revived and strengthened (vv 25 & 28);
    “I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by Your Word … I weep with grief; encourage me by Your Word”
  • our hearts are enlarged (v 32);
    “If You will help me, I will run to follow Your commands”
  • our eyes turn away from worthless things (v 37);
    “Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through Your Word”
  • and we are comforted in affliction (v 50)” ¹
    “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles”

You will find that there is absolutely nothing that can compare with the habit of meeting God through His Word every day.    And all that you need to do this is:

  • a Bible
  • a willingness to set aside a dedicated to time to read and study the Bible (even if only half-an-hour at a time)
  • a pen & notebook to jot down what the Lord shows you through His Word (even if it is only one or two lines)
  • a highlighter is good to have so that you can highlight verses in His Word that are particularly meaningful to you.

So, do not miss out on this blessing as it will help you draw closer to the Lord Jesus and help you to live the life He wants you to live.

And remember, if the LORD through His Word instructs you to do something, He will not leave you to try in your own strength.  He will be there to help you and strengthen you.  He has said: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)

“You and I can walk in obedience to God’s Word and live a life of holiness” (Jerry Bridges, In Pursuit of Holiness)

Do not hesitate to make contact if you need prayer or further spiritual help/information

¹ Jeremiah, Dr David, “Turning Points – Sign me Up” monthly devotional, April 2019.

Broken vessels … Broken lives!

Earlier today I came across a post that reminded me of two things

  1. A beautiful song which a dear friend and I used to sing together as part of our Christian ministry whilst we still lived in South Africa many years ago.
  2. Myself – my life before I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour.  My life was messed up, BUT GOD broke into my life, picked up the pieces and made me over anew.

What Jesus did for me, He can do for you too.

If you feel as if or know you have “messed up” and your life is empty and meaningless, then call on Jesus, the Master Potter, TODAY and He will pick up the broken pieces of your life and make you over anew

The Potter, saw a vessel
that was broken by the wind and the rain.
He sought with so much compassion
to make it over again.

Oh, I was that vessel
that no one thought was good,
I cried, “Lord, You’re the Potter,”
“and I am the clay,”
“make me over again today”.

Chorus:
Then God picked up the pieces
of my broken heart that day.
And He made me a new vessel,
and revived my soul again.

If you need spiritual help and want to know how to come to Jesus and ask Him to make you over anew, please either fill in the contact me form and / or visit this page designed to help you find the Lord as your Saviour.

Day Ashton
dayashton.uk@gmail.com

 

The Potter saw a Vessel written by Andrae Crouch