Dead Calm

‘A dead calm is our enemy, a storm may prove our helper. Controversy may arouse thought, and through thought may come Divine change.’ – C H Spurgeon

The Christian is never promised a life of ease and tranquillity, in fact the Word of God explains we should expect the opposite. Jesus said, ‘in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’. Elsewhere the Apostle Paul explains that none of the hardships we face in both the physical or spiritual realm will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In the world today we see a style of ‘easy belief.’ Another gospel which brings no deep repentance and divine change in the heart and mind of man, when in truth only the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit can bring man to real life change and prepare him or her for the Christian life. Conversion comes only through a ‘face to face’ encounter.

  • Face to face with the truth of our condition and sin – Leading to repentance and confession
  • Face to face with the truth that only Christ can save us from hell and separation from God in eternity – Leading to reconciliation through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.
  • Face to face with our desperation for God Himself – Leading to relationship through Christ and a brand new life.

There is a danger that man approaches God because he needs Him to fix all his life problems that he may arrive at peace. Jesus does not come to us as a mere problem solver and provider of peace, he has to come as our Saviour and Lord. If all you want Him to do is to provide you with ‘dead calm’ in life then this is a clear and present danger.

YOU ARE IN THE ARMY NOW!

My friend John Glass, previous GS of the Elim movement relayed a conversation that took place between himself and Michael MTumi, who was then the leader of the largest and fastest growing Pentecostal denomination in the world. John asked, ‘what was the key to the growth and the willingness to serve among the Pastors and leaders?’ Michael replied, ‘you lead a group of people who are a denomination whereas I lead an army’.

When you came to Christ you joined an army of believers who must follow in obedience to the Commander-in-Chief. Jesus himself is the Commander of the army of God.

  • We are never called to physical war, but we called to the spiritual warfare of prayer.
  • We are never called to violence, but we are called to take hold of the Kingdom.
  • We are never called to be hostile or aggressive, but always called to love and peace.

We are called to lay down our lives in absolute surrender to the will and purpose of God.

You cannot be in the army and personally decide to stay in the safety zone. You must rise up and ‘go over the top’ leaving the trench of your problems and issues that have restricted you from being effective in service for many years.  Be prepared to face the onslaught of all that life can bring with determination and faith to press through in the battle. You are on the winning side not because of the easy life you are called to live, but because the battle belongs to the Lord and he is always fighting for us.

God always leads us in triumph and victory. He will deal with your problems, and promises you peace in every trial and every storm, but right now bring your full focus on serving in the army and God will deal with the rest in His way and in His time.

The Cost Of Being A Disciple

As we step into 2017 we are being challenged by the Word and the Spirit to set the course of our lives to be true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the greatest destiny for us because although the modern message of our day may present an alternative destiny that involves reaching personal goals and dreams, the fact is, God has a higher destiny for his disciples. It is beyond the trappings of the ‘prosperity gospel or the personal dream message’. It is the Divine will of God to establish us as true disciples willing to pay any price required to complete his purpose. Matthew 14 v 27 reminds us of the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. ‘…anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple’. The early disciples left everything behind and most paid the ultimate sacrifice in losing their lives for the sake of the gospel.

The writer to the Hebrews uses the heroes of faith from both the Old and New Testament to help us see that even when life takes us into the bleakest and darkest of times we are still able to walk by faith into the purpose of God. Jesus asked the Father to ‘take this cup from me’ referring to facing death upon the cross, but then exclaimed; ‘nevertheless thy will be done’. What would have been perceived as heaven’s greatest defeat by the enemy became the greatest victory for the whole of mankind. Let me remind you what Hebrews 11 verse 32 – 38 states, and take note that those who experienced complete victory as well as those who paid the ultimate price are commended for their faith in God. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets… Through acts of faith, they toppled Kingdoms, made justice work. They took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and yes chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless – the world didn’t deserve them – making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

(The Message) Their story of life is real history and they make up the great cloud of witnesses referred to in Chapter 12. These people blazed the way for us who now follow in the same faith and life of sacrifice as followers of Christ. Faith should not be focused upon what we can gain for ourselves but what we can give for the purpose of God. God will meet all your needs and that is a promise from him.

Thank God that I can conclude this article by writing of the ultimate victory of Christ which they and us will share in eternity. Hebrews 11 v 39 & 40; ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect’.

As you walk through 2017 and on into your future be encouraged because whatever you carry for the sake of Christ will produce an eternal moment of victory. Bring your full focus upon the will of God no matter what you face and finish the course no matter what the cost.