WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

Many people make resolutions. They decide to make some kind of changes that they believe they need to make. How many are kept? Wouldn’t the best idea for the new year, to just do God’s will? To serve Him, maybe your prayers should be “not my will, but God’s will be done”. By the end of the year, you’ll find out if you chose to do His will or yours by how this year ends up affecting your life.

If God’s kept your life up until now, do you not realize that He’s done so for a purpose? You won’t know all the things that are going to happen to you or those you care about, but God knows these things. He’s seen every trial, every happy moment, every tear, all that concerns your life and those that your life will touch has already come to pass with God seeing it all.

Some of you may face difficult moments, but God knows already what they are and He has fixed the way for you to prevail through them. You do not have to go through this life alone. God never created you to be out by yourself, struggling without His help to see you through. We should never look into the future with fear and doubt. Look who is on our side. Listen to Psalm 37:18-19:

“The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.”

God says don’t worry about such things. If you will do what I ask, I will take care of every day you go into. You cannot fully serve God and walk in fear. Listen, you’re not even going to be in control, just maybe a few seconds or minutes here or there, because life spins constantly. God is in charge, not Satan. He may get control here or there, but God always is and always will remain in charge. This year is here, and it is going to continue day after day unless God alone says otherwise.

So who do you want to daily walk with? You have a free will to try it your way, but your way will not be God’s way if you do. Just who do you really want to serve this year? Other people? Yourself? Sure, we have to in a way, but we should only to a point. God gives you your next breath, your health. He supplies you with abilities, but the bottom line is still, who is going to be in control of your life?

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OUR ONLY HOPE NOW

There have been numerous revivals over the course of world history and in America.  There have been pockets but will there be a final awakening?  Are we drawing to the age in human history whereas the scriptures say in Acts chapter 2 verses 17 – 21: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people?  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.  I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The whole history of revival has been the history of God’s intervention to retrieve mankind when all other humans have fallen short.  We today don’t just need the power of God to come down to the church, the church needs God’s power to overtake it.  Real revival is nothing more than, nothing less than, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of the living God upon the people of the land.

From camp meetings to all out outpourings of God’s Spirit, He has chosen to visit His people, but what are the keys that seem to unlock the door of revival?  Holiness plays a giant role.  It is one of the keys as well as prayer being just as big and maybe the biggest factor.

Transformation from revival will only come when we are desperate for it to come.  For without an awakening to revival, sinners will grow harder and old saints, colder.  Revival always starts in the life of spiritually lacking Christians as they truly confess their sinfulness.  Then it will spread to the lost, for the church must be brought into spiritual order before the lost want to be.

Revival should be for the church a strategic attack by God’s people upon the strongholds of Satan.  This nation has a great Christian heritage, a great revival heritage and this heritage needs to be re-visited today or we as a nation will fall into decay.

GIVING IT ALL

Edward Studd, a retired planter from India, was soundly converted in 1875; a year later his three eldest sons, received Christ.  The most famous of the three was Charlie (or CT).  After six years as a backslider, CT was restored to God.

Aware that he still lacked power in his life, he finally realized that he had not fully yielded his life to Christ.  When he did, he had a deep experience of the Spirit of God and was ‘perfectly at peace’.  From then on, his life took a completely new course.

CT was called to China as a missionary.  Despite hardships, CT reveled in his missionary calling; his correspondence home reveals how God molded him through the circumstances of those early days in China and he rapidly matured in his Christian commitment. On his 25th birthday CT came into a large inheritance, which in the light of Christ’s teaching he decided to give to Christian work.

A few months later he married a CIM missionary, and they gave the rest of their money away, leaving five dollars.  Their early married years were tough.  They survived, and eventually a break-through came, and many were won to Christ.  CT also spent much of his time running an Opium Refuge where over a period of seven years he cared for about 800 addicts.

Throughout his life, CT was dogged by poor health.  Both he and his wife were ill during their years in China.  His wife gave birth to four girls during this time, each one delivered without the care of a doctor.  Always they prayed and each anointed the other with oil when they were ill.

Now aged and in poor health, something drew his attention to the needs of Africa.  At the end of 1910 he set off alone to check out the situation in southern Sudan.  Studd made contact with other missionaries and determined that this was where the Lord wanted him to start a new crusade.  In 1913,  CT entered the Congo through Kenya and Uganda.  A mission was established.  Despite language problems there were many conversions.

Studd did not mince words; he demanded and expected total dedication to the Lord.  When he left for the Congo in 1916 he was accompanied by eight new missionaries.  Studd went through a severe testing: ill health, lack of new workers and, above all, missionaries backsliding.  Yet there were encouragements among the Africans, particularly through the 5 AM prayer meeting that he started.

CT pushed himself to the limit to overcome his physical weakness, doing all he could to win souls while there was still time.  In 1922 the Mission expanded and opened up mission fields in other parts of the world – South America, Central Asia and West Africa.

With an emphasis on the absolute necessity for practical holiness in lives of all believers and his demand for a willingness to pay the supreme sacrifice, CT Studd became a man whose life reflected God’s power.  Despite all he went through, his true heart was fixed on what mattered most.  How does it look in reflection to yours?

THE EXPLORER

Africa was long known as the ‘Dark Continent’ yet it fascinated this young man. David Livingston, who made three journeys into Central Africa, though he was born of poor but godly parents. Although at the age of ten he was put into the local cotton mill as a ‘piecer’, working from six in the morning to eight o’clock at night, he had an unquenchable thirst for education, and after work attended the company’s evening school for 2 hours.

After his conversion sometime in his teens, he began to consider the idea of becoming a medical missionary.  He qualified as a doctor and was accepted and he embarked for Africa.

Then he attached himself to a friendly tribe whose chief became his only known convert. David began to reach out to other tribes, using his medical skill in healing people and also holding preaching meetings to present the gospel. But the natives were much under the influence of witch doctors.

David soon became aware of the problem of slave-trade and tried to work against it. He married and had a small family to consider. It was necessary to send them back to the safety of England. David then journeyed through country no white man had ever seen before. It had taken him two years.

Fever stricken, David rested for months and recovered from his illness. He set off again, this time to discover route to the east coast by using the great river Zambezi. After covering a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, he returned to England and reached home in time for Christmas. He found himself to be a national hero.

When David made plans to return to Africa, he was determined to try and stamp out the slave trade. He sailed to Cape Town, where he left his wife and youngest son and moved up the coast. This second journey proved to be a failure and the government called him home. His sadness turned to grief when his wife, traveling to meet him, died of a fever. He then decided to return to Africa for the last time, as an unpaid consul with little authority.

 

For some years no news was heard of David and when natives spread the rumor that he was dead expeditions were sent out to discover the truth. He was eventually found by H.M. Stanley, a journalist from New York, where he was attempting to find out the source of the Nile or the Congo rivers. But his strength ran out and one morning he was found dead, kneeling at his bedside in an attitude of prayer. The natives cut out his heart and buried it there. His two helpers carried his body to the coast for return to England and his was buried.

 

To most people David Livingston is probably best remembered as an explorer. But initially he went out as a missionary setting up mission stations, opening up Africa to the gospel, to the unknown territories, for missionaries to follow.

 

Commitments and Bargains

People like their traditions, their ways, and their opinions.  Even Christians if they are not careful will get to a place in their own ways of religious beliefs that they make their own god out of it.

Any time we let the valuables of this world become so important to us that we feel we can’t live without them then we are not living for Christ. It is our own trust issues that cause the problems.  You see people want eternal life and they want eternal life on their terms.

We can allow ourselves if we are not careful to make deals with many other things than God and get us out of position with God’s true plan for our life.  Every time anyone bargains with this world, they’ll end up getting let down.

God is Holy.  You come to Him only one way, through Jesus.  No other.  God’s into us being obedient.  God’s into truth, into integrity, things that this world seems to have little of.  God has never broken His word with His people.  But people have most always broken their promises to Him.

People have a hard time keeping their word because their flesh is dishonest.  It wants to alter whatever it needs to so it can feel better.  Its sinful, it wants its way constantly.  It demands its rights all the time.  It’s selfish, trying to keep going just as long as you’ll pamper it.

Mankind is flesh and the flesh is weak, but God knows there’s a whole other story.  God is God.  He is not a man that He can lie.  God is not dishonest.  He only knows how to deal with people in truth.  God’s word is real and He makes no bargains of any kind.  God can fix any problems.  It doesn’t matter.  But He is going to do it His way or He won’t do it at all.

God Fixes What Is Broken

It is an amazing thing just what God can do with broken people and broken problems when He is given all the broken pieces to work with.  God doesn’t make deals with people.  He offers us hope, peace, help and eternal life.  But all deals are off the table, but His alone if you want His help.  You were never made to take on the world or even just a little part of it on your own.

So cancel all your plans that you have to be in charge of, and let God have them and He will work out everything for their right purposes.  No matter the mess you think you might have because of what you’ve let yourself get into, God can fix your life no matter what is going on.

God can deal with whomever or whatever needs dealt with if you’ll let go and let Him do what only He can without your interference.  Oh, it may not always look like all will be well at first but if you are patient and obedient, He will come through.

If you try to keep anything back, it won’t work out.  But it does when He’s got everything to work with.  God is not into a partial role.  He must have the full access to it all if it is to be fixed rightly and you must be patient with the process.

It Costs To Follow

God never fails to keep a promise and tells us if we will look to Him, He has made a way for our lives each day. Also, God warns us if we refuse to keep His word and if we trample His promises there is a price to pay. It costs to follow God, but it also costs a lot more if we turn our backs and won’t.

Today problems are not caused by God but by people. Think about the children of God under the hand of Pharaoh in Egypt. We must remember Pharaoh was not the problem. The people had caused their own hearts to get out of adjustment.

The problems the people of Israel had took 40 years to get straightened out. God dealt with the obstacles in just a period of months. And yes He can even deal with your obstacles in a matter of moments but our will to do things the way we want is a different matter.

If the people of this world would just choose Jesus, they would have life. They would have hope. These obstacles would be dealt with. God wants to help you get past those obstacles, whatever they are…He can handle them. If you think you can handle your problems yourself and you can deal with issues because you know what you believe is best, then you are usurping God’s position and He will not share that with anyone. Therefore, you are on your own.

Now God is a fair judge and He will not let fence riders stay in His camp. You are either in or out. Too many people toy with this Christian life and many in the end may face a direction they never thought they were headed. Listen to Hebrews 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”

There is a price to follow God. It is all of you or none. When you mess up, confess your sins to Jesus. He will forgive them. Move on letting Him lead you to do better next time and grow in your relationship with Him. God’s not giving up on you. He loves you and wants to be in all of your life. He is more than ready, willing, and able. Again, it is your choice. He has made His move toward you at the cross with Jesus. What move have you made toward Him?

The Greatest Days

The greatest days for God’s church are before us.  I’m aware of what is going on in our world and that the Christians are facing situation here in America like we have never had to face before.  But, I want to assure you that the same God who has helped His people for countless generations has not lost His power and is still completely able to handle every matter that stands before His people today.

There may be many uncertainties, but the very thing you can count on is the certainty that God rules and reigns in this universe and no one is going to change His plans for His people.  So those who are His people, must keep their focus on Jesus and no other source in the time in which we live.  It doesn’t matter what happens concerning our world…Jesus is our supplier.

It doesn’t matter if the world falls apart and if our government can’t help us…Jesus has promised He would never leave us.  Christians should survive on an IV that reaches to heaven.  That is our life source.  Knowing God is your supplier and God can do great things and we can trust in Him in the months ahead.

Do not put your trust in man’s opinions on the issues facing the world today.  Regardless of the political climate, unrest in other parts of the world, or economic concerns, let your life be void of human reasoning and filled with Godly wisdom.

God does not look at matters nor is affected by such things like mankind is.  Keep this verse found in Isaiah 54:17 as your daily shield, “no weapon formed against us shall prosper…” because you belong to God and not a person.

Our Thoughts and Prayers

Many times when there has been a national tragedy or a terrible accident, we’ve heard a government spokesman or national leader, a state or local official, stand at the microphone and speak to the audience and media about how they feel about this storm, senseless shooting, etc., and say these words: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims and family, loved ones” or whoever.

Now isn’t this interesting? I can understand someone saying they are thinking about such things. But let’s look at the statement “our prayers.” Who are these leaders praying to? Surely not the same God of the Universe who has been kicked out of the military, schools, colleges, Boy Scouts, city council meetings, politics, businesses or hundreds of other places where praying to the eternal God of heaven used to be allowed.

This just goes to show you how far away from God these people are. They want the Holy God, who is the maker of heaven and earth, thrown out of every place society wants to rule and reign. And these people want a God of convenience and political correctness to show up like some genie from a bottle whenever they have need of His services.

The Bible says God will not be mocked by such actions. Therefore, society calls on those false, manmade gods who do absolutely no good to pray to, and in reality all they are doing is bringing the judgment of God down on their own head.

You can’t have it both ways, and God will not be participating in any such request from prideful and disobedient hearts.

What Place on the Road are You Traveling

In Acts chapter 9 verses 1-9 you have a man named Saul, a religious man believing he is serving God by going after those who are not preaching his religion. Ever meet someone like this who has the only way to heaven by certain rituals on doctrinal rules because they’ve had the real revelation of God’s word? We see this man named Saul off to do the religious, politically correct works. For, you see, there is tolerance for all kinds of diversity and acceptance of it, but for the Christian there is none.

2 Corinthians 4:3 says: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing…” We can get caught up in works, but works can’t replace obedience to God’s word, and to live for God’s word means at times we will have to take a stand on Biblical principles and will receive criticisms from it. If you’re not following and obeying Christ, then you, like Saul, are persecuting His people, His name, His works.

In Acts 3:10-22, Saul is confronted by Jesus on the road to Damascus. There was a man named Ananias that helped Saul to see the light, and God has put people here and there to help you, too. And have you let them? Saul turns to Jesus, listens to this man, and was changed. The scriptures say that he began to preach and people were amazed; and Saul increased in spiritual strength, became Paul the Apostle, and ended up writing a lot of the New Testament.

How has God changed you? How are you different than you used to be? Are people amazed at how you now walk and talk? Just like Paul, you are a chosen vessel. Which part of the road are you on, the one headed to Damascus or the one now leaving on a journey for Christ?

Every one of us has a new mission once we’ve met Jesus and a new road to follow. Are you traveling the same road that Jesus is on today?