8.3. The Great Escape – Got Saved – 3 of 6


Have you ever been in a scary bad situation?

Sweat on your brow and that clinching feeling in your heart?

Then by devine intervention you got saved!

This is a story like that.

Let’s have a look!

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family. Acts 16:22-34

Ever been flogged? Maybe your dad gave you a big hiding one time, but that does not even compare! 

Ever been to jail? They were thrown in jail for speaking the truth.

Ever been in a violent earth quake? 

Imagine this all happening to you in one day!!!

Have you ever said: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

That might be the most important question to ask in your life!

There is a condition here stating: Believe in the Lord Jesus.

Can a baby believe? No, it cant even change it’s own nappy!

Speaking the word of the Lord has the following practical, they were baptized immediately.

Finishing off the story, it also states that he and his whole family believed.

Do you think the apostles made sure they believed? If that was a condition to be saved, surely they did!

Did you get baptized after you believed? Were you filled with joy?

Prayer for Today:

God I don’t know if that would have been my attitude after I was flogged! I might have moped and cried because of the pain. They even shared their faith in the most horific circumstances. It just show me Lord you can word in every circumstance. I pray that my story would also be shared ine day of my belief and baptism in the Lord. Amen.

That don’t impress me much – Darkness – 3 of 13


Good deeds, they go a long way. Sometimes you see that guy at the traffic light begging, but you turn you window up to avoid the contact. Then again there is a friend in need and we rush to their help. I have one uncle and one aunt for a while now in hospital and you can only visit them so many times in our busy lives. Sometimes we compare ourselves with people that are less “righteous” than us and that make us feel good about ourselves. 

Does propping yourself up suffice with God; in His eyes?

Let’s have a look.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. – Rom 3:23-25

A song comes to mind, “That don’t impress me much” by Shania Twain. I don’t think we impress God a lot. 

Who has sinned? 

Everyone! 

Yes I know; even the beautiful lady that lives across the street.
Sinned a lot – Sinned less – Sinned only one time

   Person A    –   Person B    –     Person C
Who is further away from God: a person who sins a little, or a person who sins a lot? 

All are equal, all lost. 

Therefore a good moral life does not save you. 

You cannot earn your salvation by your good deeds.

Faith in the blood of Jesus saves you (v. 25).

So the real question here is; do you see yourself as a sinner in need of redemption? 

Or are you still at the first point of consciousness (unconscious incompetent); you don’t know that you don’t know. 

Like the Bible says; you flatter yourself too much to detect or hate your sin. (Ps 36:1-2)

Prayer fro Today:

Lord I know I fall short and need your forgiveness. It does not matter how many good deeds I do, that will not get me into heave. Only the saving blood of Christ can that for me. Help me to get in contact with Jesus blood spiritually and help me to lean what that means. God only You can save me. Amen

What is my Purpose and Destiny? – Consider the Cost – 4 of 7


Verse for Today:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” – Luk 14:25-33

In my line of work you have to calculate the cost of buildings all the time. You even have to do a feasability to see if you will make money with the project. You most probably have seen that half built house that is the laughing stock of the town stand there. Sometimes we are very enthusiastic about to start something but lack the determination to complete it. We did not determine up front the magnitude of our decision and resolved to do it. 

Hate is a strong word. Most conflicts in the world today stems from hate. It is such a destructive emotion that destroys relationships. Now out of the ordinary Jesus calls us to to everything except Him. Why would He do that? If you put everything in an eternal perspective what really matter is if you, yourself go to heaven. No relationship, even your own life should deter you from loving God. It is thee pinnacle of all prioroties. Jesus makes it a condition to be a disciple. 

The other condition we have seen in the previous verse is that if you do not carry your cross, you cannot be a disciple as well. Seems a bit harsh when Jesus says that. What if your work was optional, would you have gone? No, I dont think so. So some things in life is non negotiable. 

When you strategize against an opponent you take into consideration their strength, resources, influence, etc. You are stupid if you take on an enemy that is stronger than you because he will crush you due to your ignorance and stubbornness.  Do we really think we stand a chance against God? Do we measure up to Him? If not you just need to submit and get with the program. 
Are you willing and do you give up everything you have on a daily basis to follow Jesus? That most probably is the biggest call. 

Practicals:

  • Prioritise your life.
  • Plan God into your day, it does not happen automatically. 
  • Determine what you have to give up.
  • Building your life does not happen in a day, you have to resolve every day. 
  • Just let go of the peanuts, they will burn up anyway. Trust God that He will look after you.

Prayer for Today:

Lord help me to love you wholeheartedly. Help me to see life in perspective. I pray that I will give up everything everyday to you. Amen

The Words of God – Listening vs. Doing – 8 of 9


Verse for Today:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does. – Jms 1:22-25

Listening – To make an effort to hear something. To pay attention; heed.

Deceived – To cause to believe what is not true; mislead. To give a false impression. 

Do what it says – To perform an act, duty, or role. Or “Just do it” which is Nike’s logo.

We tend to forget easily. When you get up in the morning get dressed for work, brush your teeth and comb your hair. The worry you have is you hair still intact or your makeup for the ladies; you need another look. 

It is funny as men we can spend hours in our garage to work on the car, our hobby’s, etc. but when it comes to our spiritual life we think it will magically happen by itself without work. Then we wonder why why we are not growing. Do you have the same vigor in pleasing God than with your work? Do you have a plan and are making it happen? The Bible does say “In the same way faith not accompanied by actions is dead?”

We normally feel good about reading our Bible’s and praying but is there a practical side to that?

One guy said you can only change one thing at a time, it is like golf we like to focus on that one ball. Why not start with lazyness and focus on that for a year because that is really the problem.

You might feel like your were just in a meeting and your were roasted by your boss, but you know that God would be happy when you make this change.

Practicals:

  • The Word of God is a mirror
  • Do not forget what you see — “do what it says”

Prayer:

God you know our lives. But do we see ourselves in the mirror and forget what we look like? I would think most of the time, like they say ignorance is bliss. Help me to be the real man you had me in mind. Let me take responsibility for my life and like Donald Trump says: “Lets make America great again”

The Words of God – Living and Active – 2 of 9

Living

Being alive; having life; active; lively; vigorous; producing life, action

Active

Having the power or quality of acting; causing change; communicating action or motion; given to action; constantly engaged in action; energetic; diligent; busy

Heb 4:12-13 : For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

It sounds energetic!!!

I picture a guys doing the ironman race.

Do we take it that it is the words of God?

When you go to speak to the president your whole posture and behavior changes due to your respect for the person who he is.

How much more do we value and respect what God says.

How alive and applicable is what God says in your life?

Well I think it starts with finding out, ie to read it consistently.

The next thing : It compares God’s words with a sword.

Sword : An instrument, instrumentality used in fighting or hunting.

It main function is to cut. Applying it here it has a spiritual, not physical implication.

It will cut your heart. It will expose your spiritual intestines, doing an operation on your heart.

It will cut out the cancer that is killing you.

Question : Are you allowing God’s word to cut you?

When the word cuts you it lays bare everything in your life. Someone says it is like you have a TV screen at the back of your head and everybody can see what you are thinking. Scary or not? 🙈

Doing your taxes is most probably one of the worst things you have to do in your life. That is for me.

Giving account forces you to be responsible with your life.

How are you making yourself accountable every day?

God’s word is powerful!

It will change your life for eternity!

May you be blessed by it.

Is 40 : 8 – The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

Prayer:

Dad, thank you for giving me your message that changes my life for the better. Help me see it is good for me. Help me to be accountable. Amen

The Ethiopian’s Quest – Part 7 of 8

The Ethiopian eunuch mentioned was a high court official of Candace, the queen of Ethiopia. He was in Israel to worship the Lord at the temple, which means he was probably a Jewish proselyte. 

On his trip home to Ethiopia, he had a life-changing encounter with Philip the evangelist.

Q. Have you had a life changing experience that have changed your eternal destiny?

Q. Would you like to have one?

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. 

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” – ‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:26-36, 38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are many elements of God’s providence and intervention in the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. The account reveals the importance of these three things: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit’s leading, and a human evangelist. In order for a person to accept the truth, he must first hear the truth preached (Romans 10:14). 

It is God’s desire that the truth be preached everywhere (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of the Lord had been preparing the eunuch’s heart to receive the gospel. As the eunuch read Isaiah, he began to ask questions, and at just the right moment the Lord brought Philip across his path. The field was “ripe for harvest” (John 4:35), and Philip was God’s laborer in the field. This was no coincidence. It was God’s plan from the very beginning, and Philip was obedient to that plan.

Q. What do we learn from this scripture?

  • The angels and the Holy Spirit are helping to get you to God. How has He been working in your life?
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions about life or the Bible — be humble. Q. What questions do need answering?
  • You need someone to explain the Bible to you. Q. Who do you know that can teach you the Bible?
  • You will be “rejoicing” when you find God. Q. Have you found God yet?

Resources:

  1. https://bit.ly/2nSuSVq

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by

Verse of the day

“A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” – Psalm‬ ‭90:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Key Words

  • Thousand
  • Years
  • Like a day
  • Just gone by
  • Watch in the night

Reading for Today

Psalm 90 – 93

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

God knows everything about us even our secrets. Put your heart before God and your struggles He wants to help you and lead you to peace.

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Wow God has given us 70 to 80 years to live. It is reassuring that God says they are but trouble and sorrow. So if I have an unrealistic expectation of life I will be disappointed most of the time. 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Your days are numbered whether you accept it of not. Almost sounds like a project manager gantt chart with project duration and relationships on it. I think if we view it like that we will use our days so much more effectively.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Do you have an emotional connection with God. How real is God to you?

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” – ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭90:4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Amazing to think God establishes us in our work. So if you are having problems at work, take it to God through prayer. 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Almost sound like the umbrella of Santam protecting you. God is our insurance policy forever.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Have you seen a mother hen cuddling her chicks under her wing. And all the girls go, ahhhhh. It is quite a cute scene. As men we would say that is for women, but don’t you appreciate a nice hug from a loved one. It is pretty much like that with God caring for us. It is intimate and reassuring.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

The battle is really the Lords, just give it to Him.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” – Psalm‬ ‭91:1-2, 4, 7, 9-10, 14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,

For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”” – Psalm‬ ‭92:1-2, 4, 6-7, 12-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty.” – Psalm‬ ‭93:4‬ ‭NIV

How does ut feel when you swim in the sea, quite humbling. That is how we should approach God.


Today’s Prayer 

Lord we are but a mist that appears, then is gone. Father I do trust that you will work out things according to your Glory. Helpme to be thankful and at peace of what You are doing. I pray that I will make today count. The world is so fleeting and empty. How awesome is Your nature, I stood in awe of the mountains yesterday missing my turnoff to work in Ellisras. Lord I am encouraged by my friends heart that after our bible study‬‬ he already invited a lady to join us. God you are at work in people’s hearts, I pray that I might be a good instrument to guide them to You, not a faulty one. Father I do know that people will lie and tell false truths about us. But like Jesus we should most probably just keep silent and let Your will be done.

Christian or a Disciple ?

Is Discipleship a ministry in your church or the ministry of your church ?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This question has been hitting me like a brick for a while.

A question comes to mind?

Am I a disciple if I don’t make disciples?

Scary thought if you think : Disciple = Christian = Saved !!!

Is your purpose in life to be a Disciple or a “Christian” ?

“Then Jesus came to them (The disciples) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” – Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭niv

I had to come to the realization that although I reached out to people and studied the Bible with them no one became a disciple in 21 years. Surely I should have seen this long ago or got a solution to me, not being fruitful.

So what has changed from when I became a disciple and were fruitful with making disciples to not being fruitful as a disciple?

  • Not feeling leadership is worthy of respect. Their lives did not inspire me. Well you can most probably say I was imitating them and their attitude. 1 Cor 11:1
  • Not making every effort. Luk 13:24
  • My heart wasn’t fully committed to the Lord. 2 Cron 16:9
  • Making disciples wasn’t my purpose in life anymore. Luk 19:10
  • Not being healed because confessing sin was not a priority. Jms 5:16
  • Not seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness but the comfort for my life. Mat 6:33
  • Sharing an invite and not the gospel. 1 Cor 15:1-4
  • Not believing the harvest is plentiful. Mat 9:37. Not being a workmen. It is hard work to make disciples or would you rather just be comfortable?
  • Not asking the right questions to people about their relationship with God and being too scared and not knowledgeable. Acts 19:2
  • Not really care if people are going to hell. Jude 1:23
  • Not having a compassionate heart. Mat 23:37
  • Not denying myself and taking up my cross. Luk 9:23
  • Not having deep, meaningful discipling times where I bear my heart and my discipler being concerned about my righteousness!!! 2 Tim 4:2-4
  • Not overcoming sin, struggling all the time. Heb 3:12
  • Not believing that we can reach the world in our generation. 1 Disciple make 1 Disciple per year for the next 35 years then the whole world is evangelized reaching 17 billion people. Acts 19:10
  • Not realizing I was lukewarm and about to be spit out of God’s mouth. Not being self aware and seeing myself from God’s perspective. Rev 3:14-22

There is really only one of two choices!!! Luk 13:1-9

Repent

Or

Perish

So I was faced with a decision and repented !!! Amen !!!

Desperate Times Call for Disciplemaking Measures

INTRODUCING GOD

Check out this site to put things into perspective – http://htwins.net/scale2/

 

These broad yet compelling features of God reveal Him as the author of creation and the

caring, involved guide for our journey through life to eternity.

 

1. God’s Creativity (Read Genesis 1:1-27)

a. God’s creativity is revealed in the heavens and the earth (the sun, stars, skies,

weather, land formations, oceans, gravity, plants, animals, colors, shapes, etc.)

b. God’s creativity is revealed in the creatures of the sea (compare star formations

and the ½ inch seahorse)

c. God’s creativity is revealed in human beings (our diversity and ability to be creative)

 

2. God’s Glory (Read Psalm 19:1-6)

a. The creation shouts a message of an intelligent creator who cannot be ignored

b. The creation tells us of God’s majestic qualities

 

3. God’s Engineering (Read Job 39:13-18)

a. Consider an ostrich who lays her eggs in the open ground. She lacks wisdom to

protect her young, yet her offspring survive

b. Consider the defensive abilities of other creatures or the human eye

 

4. God’s Vastness (Read Psalm 8:3-5)

a. Consider the immensity of God’s work in the creation

􀁸 It is estimated that more than 100 billion galaxies exist (See Appendix: The Vast

Universe)

􀁸 It is very humbling that God focuses on us and cares for us, even though we are

seemingly insignificant

 

5. God’s Omnipresence (Read Hebrews 4:12-13)

a. Omnipresence means that God is present everywhere, even when we were in our

mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16)

b. The all-seeing eye of God reveals everything, both good and bad (Hebrews 4:13)

c. We can’t run or hide from God; we will one day have to give an account to this great

God

 

6. God’s Love (Read 1 John 4:7-10)

a. God displayed His love for us by providing the ultimate gift of Jesus

b. God’s love is consistent, selfless and in no way manipulative

What are your own thoughts about these amazing traits?

What do you think and feel about God?

 

Further Reading:

 

Exodus 3:1-14—God’s Name

1 John 1:5-7—God is Light

1 Peter 1:15-16—God is Holy

Romans 2:4—God is Kind

Romans 11:22—God is Stern

Acts 17:24-31—God is Purposeful