Transformational Truths

A WORD ABOUT HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD

One of the declarations the children of Israel made to Joshua was that they would obey the voice of the Lord. (Joshua 24) How would they know the voice of the Lord in order to obey Him? How can we hear the voice of God today?

The voice of God can be heard from the words He has already spoken. The children of Israel had the law God had given to Moses. Every word in the law of Moses was given by God and was His voice. Therefore, they would know they were “hearing the voice of God” when they read the words of the Law.

Today, we can know that when we read God’s Word, we are hearing the voice of God. We can be sure every word of the Bible is profitable to instruct us and teach us how to please God. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Jesus gave us further confirmation that we can hear God’s voice. We know that we hear His voice when we follow Him. John 10:4 explains that those who respond to the voice of God are the ones who hear the voice of God.

If you are wondering how to hear the voice of God, first expose yourself on a regular basis to God’s Word. Do what it says as diligently as possible. Change your ways to adapt to the instruction you are reading. As you conform your ways to the ways of God, you will recognize that you are following God and will know you are hearing the voice of God.

Joshua warned the children of Israel to put away all the other influences they had in their life like strange gods of the surrounding nations, friendship with the non-God people, and having close relationships with non-believers.

Hearing God’s voice has not changed. Psalm 19:7-11 conveys that the voice of the Lord is best heard through the law, testimony, precepts, and commandments recorded in the Bible.

HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD OCCURS BEST WHEN WE LISTEN ONLY TO HIM AND BECOME DEAF TO OTHER INFLUENCES.

Written By: Anne Gurley

Transformational Truths

Faith . . . Follow . . . Find – How To Let The Spirit Lead In Your Life

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

As a believer, it is essential that you are led by the Spirit of God. You know that you belong to God as you are led by His spirit.

The voice you praise, the instruction you follow, and the love you behold determine the source of your leadership.

Psalm 16, Psalm 36, Romans 14-15 and Ephesians 2 will assist us in seeing this progression more beneficially.

King David wrote Psalm 36 and noted three characteristics of an ungodly person. The person who did not belong to God and was not led by the Spirit, did three things:

  • Spoke transgression within his heart. His mind was full of failure and falsehood. The ungodly was deceived because he complimented and persuaded himself his path was “fine”. His heart judged him to be “ok”.
  • Saw no place to reverence or honor God. Chose not to respect God, or honor Him. His concentration was on himself and following his thoughts. He held himself up in the place of honor. Therefore, without knowledge, he walked in agreement with death because he chose not to reject it.
  • Stopped understanding how to be truthful and do right. He was continually deceived and performed evil. The road of evil is where his feet walked and planted themselves. He found evil because that was the road on which he was stepping.

In Contrast, Psalm 16 describes a person who is delivered from death. This godly person who belonged to God did these three things:

  • Praised God’s Word that provided him counsel. Spoke God’s word in his heart. Truth dominated the testimony of his inward thoughts.
  • Purposed to see God as the prevailing view of his life. The godly person follows the direction of God and His ways in all the decisions of life.
  • Puts trust in God – finding a good place. The portion of life is pleasant and good both now and forever.

What does this mean for you? How do these list of characteristics influence you? Is there anything you can learn and implement to make certain you are led by the Spirit.

We find three key aspects to the godly person. They have faith, they follow, and they find.

The godly person has faith. This person praises God’s Word. Their listening ear is attentive to the voice of God. They talk to themselves regularly all the Words of God. They do not listen to their own heart and their own folly. Instead, the godly person hears the word of God, meditates on it, treasures it, and rehearses it regularly within their mind, will, and inner intention.

The godly person follows. The path of life for the godly person is walking step by step with God – loving good, departing from evil. One of the “problems” with the ungodly person is he does not despise evil. Be sure to know being on the path that is led by the Spirit of God, you must hate evil and cling to what is good and right.

The godly person finds. Setting the Lord ever before Him, he finds God’s direction, path, and pleasure in all that he does. He always seeks to please the leader, the Spirit, and stay on the narrow way that leads to life. The godly person lets God illumine his path and ensures all his steps are in agreement with God.

WHERE CAN YOU BEGIN OR RENEW THIS LEADERSHIP IN YOUR LIFE?

Faith, following, and finding are only possible as you have a personal knowledge of God. As you “know” Him, then you are in receipt of the lovingkindness of God. It requires the lovingkindness of God for you to have faith, follow, and find. It requires God’s initiation to provide you the leadership in your life so that you can belong to Him and be led by His Spirit.

You can praise God through Christ Jesus because you were once far away from this way of life, and this leadership of the Spirit. You have now been brought close to God and His path because of His lovingkindness. It was God’s grace (favor, kind-intention) toward you that while you were dead (no spirit leading you or in you), you were rescued. This was a rescue of significant proportion. The path you were on was misery, death, and disaster. Because of faith (God’s spoken Word and the persuasion of its accuracy) you were joined to God. You now belong to Him and are led by the Spirit.

It was nothing in you or because of anything you did that enabled you to be rescued by God. It was God’s working of His will in your life. There is no boasting of your works. Your rescue (and continual keeping) was God’s making and doing. It was all of God. If there was any effort on your part, your salvation would no longer be of grace.

Now that you have been rescued and given faith (persuasion to believe God), continue on with faith, follow, and find. Always think and do what God approves, submitting to Him from the heart. Follow after godliness and peace trying never to offend God. Always being concerned about others. Being strong in the strength of God. Letting the joy of the Lord be your strength. It is the Word of God that initiates His strength and joy.

Keep these four characteristics of God in your thinking regularly:

  • Lovingkindness – good intention – consider its extent and reach toward you to be beyond the heavens
  • Faithfulness – loyal love – consider its depth to be as high as the sky.
  • Righteousness – God’s approval – consider it very stable and great like a huge mountain.
  • Judgment – decisive, cutting ability – consider it vast like the sea

The goodness of God is precious, valuable, desirable, and of much cost to those who have experienced it. It is available in abundance as you see God’s outstretched arm and strong hand making Himself available to you to lead you. The delight of the pleasures of God constantly and forever quenches your thirst. You have eternal life and pleasures as you continue to find the path of life.

You can pray like David, keep Your goodness/kindness flowing to me. I acknowledge You, keep You in my heart, speak of You often, follow after You with all that is within me, and find You to be well-pleasing to me. Keep me from the path of pride that considers my ways better than yours and the hand of evil that pushes my way as of importance over your way.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD?

The sons of God will belong in His kingdom. Those who are not sons of God will perish outside. You must strive to enter the kingdom of God at the narrow gate. You need to have tunnel vision for God. By Faith (God’s persuasion in His Word) follow God in all areas of life, and find life forever in the Kingdom of God.

Put yourself in the position to hear, see and find the Lord. True pleasure cannot exist in any other means than being led by the Spirit.

Written By: Anne Gurley

Transformational Truths

Triumph Over Anxiety and Enjoy a Life of Stability

How’s your mood today? Would you describe yourself as stable, unshaken, untroubled? Are your thoughts or actions free from care and without great turmoil? If you are like many Americans, your anxiety level has increased and continues to increase. Your security is scattered and your thoughts race with all the “things” that unsettle you.

Anxiety is not a new emotion or condition. There are many instances in the Bible where people felt anxious or troubled. There were several occasions Jesus actually said He was “troubled” or showed signs of anxiety such as crying and sweating great drops of blood. Though Jesus Himself felt troubled, He was not overcome by his anxiety. Stability and security characterized His thoughts, attitudes, and actions in spite of His great turmoil. He told the disciples in John 14 to not “let” their hearts be troubled. Jesus understood anxiety would come, trouble would occur, but his disciples did not have to be controlled by their anxiety. They could have stability in their life no matter what they were experiencing.

The fact that Jesus dealt with anxiety and His disciples dealt with troubled emotions, gives you hope for your anxiety. Count off three people you know in America. One of them likely deals with anxiety. You may be a person who lives with anxiety on a daily basis. You more than ever need stability in your world. Your life is becoming ever more turbulent. You may think, there’s no hope for me. I am powerless to change may be the words on your lips. I’ve tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING has worked you declare in defeat. I’m still anxious every day and nothing seems to work for me with matter of fact certainty you repeat to yourself.

When anxiety crowds in and takes over your life, what are you to do? Will you cower in defeat? Will you sit idly by and “let” anxiety have it’s way? It is true, anxiety can control your life. It comes in like a flood, almost before you even realize it. I want to encourage you to not give up. There is hope and help for you. No matter what you’ve tried in the past, no matter how far gone you think you are, and no matter where you find yourself; there is hope for you. If you believe in God, there is hope for you! Your help is not in what you do or in your efforts. If there is any hope for enjoying a life of stability through triumph over anxiety, it will come from the Lord.

Agree with God today. Take His hand. Say to Him, “You’ve enjoyed a life of stability and triumphed over anxiety. I am going to walk with You in this process. I decide this moment to walk Your path. Take my hand and guide me. Enable me to hear your word, believe it, and do it.” You may have to renew this prayer of agreement often. God will never leave you or forsake you. He has your best interest in mind. His kind and good intention is for you.

Four Scriptures To Help You Triumph Over Anxiety

Psalm 112:6He will never be shaken.
This Psalm describes a person who is not shaken. It doesn’t say they don’t have anxiety or that their world is not troubled. Instead it says this person is stable. Unmoved is the footing of this person. Their foundation is secure and they are held up despite their difficulty. Even in darkness, they will have light. Future for this person and their children is great with blessing, wealth, and riches. The conclusion is they will be known for their strength.

I would venture to assume if you are “struggling with anxiety”, you want to have a dose of what this person has. What is the theme of the person this Psalm describes? What is the footing for the basis of this person’s life? How do they have such stability? They have darkness, but light is seen in the midst of their darkness. How is this possible?

This Psalm provides the path of triumph in this way.

  • Praise the Lord – This person boasts in God not in themselves. They remember God – the great and awesome God. Focus for them is on God and what He has done, is doing, and will do.
  • Fears the Lord – Honor and reverence for God is a way of life for this person. Standing with “awe” at the wonders of God in His creation, His salvation, and His eternal life.
  • Greatly Delights in God’s commandments – Seeks to love God and do all that He has said to do. Evaluates God’s way of doing things as best and valuable.
  • Trusts in God without wavering – Boldly puts confidence in God, believes His Word, and places himself under the shelter of God’s protection.

James 1:12When he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.
In this chapter, we are given hope for a future reward. We are reminded in this world we will have trouble, difficulty, anxiety, and many distresses. However, we have hope and some steps we can practice to ensure we walk the path of triumph. We are promised stability even though we have disquieting circumstances in life.

Though you are just trying to “get through today”, consider the promise of tomorrow. Your “getting through today” may be because you are hoping tomorrow will be better. This passage provides the avenue you can take when you are anxious. On this route, the footing is secure and the future is established forever.

The avenue of stability is along this route.

  • Count all the anxiety joy – Know that God would not take you where His grace cannot keep you. Put on the record book the benefit of this “anxious” life you have as a satisfaction God is working in your life to make you perfect and complete, not lacking anything.
  • Ask God for wisdom – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is an honor and reverence for Him. God promises to give you more honor and reverence for Him. He will not find fault with you for not having it. It is a gift He gives. Ask Him for wisdom to trust Him more.
  • Ask God in faith – Be confident in God. What He has promised, He is able to perform. Do not call God a “short-comer” because of what seems to be His inability to help you. You are not beyond His help or His promise. Abraham may have doubted his and Sarah’s ability to have children, but he never wavered in faith believing God’s promise. If you have any doubt, let it never be of God. His promises will stand forever. They are trustworthy and true.
  • Love God – Have a personal affection toward God. Join yourself to God in union with Him. Do not let anything come between you and your God. Make Him have first place in your life, having the preeminence over all things. Give of your time and attention to Him in reading His Word and making exchange with Him in prayer.

Proverbs 31:25 She smiles at the future
The Proverbs 31 woman is known for her great stability. Nothing seems to get her down. She does everything with great poise and grace. Her reputation seems unable to be attained and she intimidates you with her seeming perfection and lack of anxiety. You may think, her life is nothing like mine or she’s never seen the trouble I’ve seen. Will you listen to some of the things in her description. She has a husband and nothing is said about him but that “he sits in the gate”. She worked continuously. She seemed to be the only one who worked, caring for her maidservants, children, needy, and poor. Everyone seemed to “need her”. Certainly she must have felt “spent” at times. She dealt with merchants who didn’t encourage her merchandise. She “perceived her merchandise is good”. She strengthened herself and always kept herself “on”. Her grin never left despite the circumstances that were often less than gleeful.

Are you anxious because of your life’s circumstances. Do you have family who seems to pull you down and spend all your energy? Do you feel like you constantly have to “perform” for others, keeping your life and family together? Is that causing you instability? How much encouragement from others have you received lately? Do you have to think what you are doing is profitable because you have no one else to spur you on to keep going?

The way to smile no matter your circumstances is found here.

  • Virtuous – Always present yourself for the outcome of “good” and “valuable” in all you did. This is not possible for ongoing stability unless you join yourself with Christ. Unless you work with all the might and power He provides, you will not endure. Choosing to give all the parts of your body to work what God approves in union with Him shows forth this valuable virtue.
  • Proactive – Prepare ahead of time. Decide ahead of time to seek the Lord, His ways, and determine to not delay. It has been said delayed obedience is disobedience. When you see something that needs to be done, do it without delay. Consider ahead of time what is needed, and plan to do it before it is considered “past due”.
  • Strength – Get the support you need from whatever source you need it. Get the counseling, the helpers, the people to come along side. Never neglect God as your foundational source of strength. Always look to God and His ways to strengthen and stabilize your path.
  • Kindness – Receive fulfillment from teaching the way of kindness with your mouth because it comes from your heart. Never get fulfillment from useless words. Always speak words that are meaningful and lead people to know God and follow His ways. Remember it is the kindness of the Lord that leads people to repentance. Instead of “harping” on how people aren’t doing things the way you want them to do it, choose to teach people kindly remembering “a soft answer turns away wrath”.

Psalm 1:3He will be like a tree planted . . . in whatever he does, he prospers.
A song explaining the way of right living describes stability despite ungodliness, sinners, and people who mock God. On every side there was opportunity to falter, fail, and have company with those who seemed to be having a great time. Companionship was an option for those who were on the path that would perish. Though they laughed now, had a movement of “the way to do things”, and stood secure; warning was made to not associate with what seems right now. Be aware every way seems right to a man but it is God who examines the heart.

It important to understand that because your life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, having any personal power, or be any fun; doesn’t mean you are not planted by the river. It doesn’t mean your heart is not right with God. It doesn’t mean you are not prospering. Just as trees have seasons, your life has seasons. In the winter, a tree looks dead with no blossoms, no life, and as if it would never live again. You may feel in your life of anxiety that you are dead, never to live again. Your life will live again just as the tree will bring forth blossoms and flourish in its season. The prosperity of your life may be in the dormant stage right now, but do not neglect to consider it stable, ready to bloom at any time.

The passage to prosperity comes by this route.

  • Separation – Changing your environment may be of help to you. What are you taking in? Who are you hanging around? What are you using to feed your life? Separate from ungodliness, sinners, and doubters.
  • Joining – Get some company that will “water” you. Join yourself with God’s Word, God’s People, and people who have had God work and move in their life. Set aside time to water yourself daily with God’s word, be in God’s presence, and take in words of confidence in God. Choose to read biographies of people who have seen God’s prosperity in their life.
  • Satisfaction – Be satisfied with God. Be filled to the full with God and His ways. Know His word is best and valuable.
  • Wait – Those who wait upon the Lord get new strength. Don’t discount God’s working in your life. Do not discount God working through your efforts to separate yourself from sin, join yourself to God, and choose to be satisfied with His ways. Your blossoms will appear soon. Evidence of your prosperity will come.

Take courage, my friend. The anxiety you are experiencing is not out of notice with God. He is fully aware of your anxiety. He does not “blame” you for your anxiety. He knows in this world you will have trouble. But, He wants you to know He has overcome the trouble of this world. When you join yourself with Him and choose His ways, you can triumph over your anxiety and enjoy a life of stability.

Try it today. Try it again tomorrow. And again the next day . . . do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Jesus Christ. In Heaven there are many rooms and one of them is being prepared for you. Join yourself with Jesus to triumph over your anxiety to enjoy a life of stability. He’s coming back for those joined to Him to receive them to be forever with Him. (John 14:1-3)

Written By: Anne Gurley

Transformational Truths

3 Reasons All Church Members Will NOT Go To Heaven When They Die

Where will you spend eternity? How would you answer that question? Are you confident with the response? What gives you the basis for standing firm on your reasoning?

It is beyond sobering to acknowledge, we are not the Ruler of Heaven. Therefore we ultimately do not get to make the determination of where we spend eternity. God is the Ruler of Heaven. As owner of our physical home on earth, we determine who is received and accepted in our house and who we lock out, kick out, or fight out. God has all rule and authority to make the determination of who He allows in His dwelling. It is His decision to accept, receive, deny, cast out, or ban.

Each individual will be judged one-by-one. There will be no mass entry. The entry into Heaven is “narrow”. It is a “closely-defined path God ordains to travel on to gain His approval“. (Matthew 7:14) Like a one-by-one turnstile is the gate into Heaven. We are reminded of Genesis 3:24: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The experience is one-by-one to pass through the flaming sword which protects the entry into life forever.

God, in His Word the Bible, plainly states – It is not God’s will any perish. (2 Peter 3:9) God did not create the Paradise of God, to not share it. It is actually God’s good pleasure to give the kingdom. (Luke 12:32) God is not a Being that we should be afraid of Him. He loved humanity so completely that His perfect love would do away with all fear of torment. (I John 4:18) God so completely and perfectly loved all of humanity, He sent His only Son so that none would perish but all who believed on Him would enter into eternal life, Heaven, the Kingdom of God. (John 3:16)

When Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth He did many wonderful things including teaching three useful things for us to know about entering His Kingdom. He specifically addressed this instruction to those who were sure they were going to Heaven. All three of these stories have people who were right at the door. They were among the crowd expecting to get into Heaven. They were in the church. Heaven was their home and they were sure of it. Nothing could have convinced them otherwise. They were considered “among the wise, but not prepared”, “holding the gift, but having no interest”, and “with the chosen, but not dressed”.

Among The Wise, But Not Prepared (Matthew 25:1-13)

Jesus taught the way to Heaven would be like ten virgins waiting for the Bridegroom to come. Five were foolish by taking no extra oil for their lamps. Five were wise and had extra oil for their lamps. The Bridegroom delayed in coming a long time and all of the virgins slept. When the call came the Bridegroom was coming, everyone woke up. They all were getting their lamps ready. The wise virgins had oil for their lamps to stay lit. The foolish complained to the wise their lamps were going out and desirously asked for a share of the wise virgin’s oil. The wise refused to give it claiming they wouldn’t have enough for themselves if they gave to the foolish. The wise advised the foolish to go quickly and buy oil and then come back. The foolish went to buy oil. The Bridegroom came while they were gone. He began the celebration without the foolish virgins. When the foolish returned, they knocked for entry. The Bridegroom opened the door and refused to let them in claiming he did not know them. Therefore, they couldn’t come in. The foolish among the wise were rejected from entering.

The foolish were among the wise, but they were not prepared. They had chosen to keep company with the right people. They had chosen to remain in the place where the Bridegroom was coming back for them. They remained until the last minute when they realized their supply was too little. They had nothing to help them see until the end. The light they had depended on being enough was not enough. Their initial investment in obtaining oil did not enable them to have enough to last until the Bridegroom came. They hadn’t completely lost their light, but their lamps kept going out. Therefore, they had to leave the place to go and buy more. While they were gone, the party began without them. Entry to the festivities was not opened to them because they had decided not to be prepared.

Oil, in the Bible, often represents the Spirit of God. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, every person who belongs to God must be born again, must be born of the Spirit of God. Must move only with the breath, life, and movement of God. God must have total control and effect of their life. They must have given their all over to Him to be totally consumed by God. The foolish virgins had given over a portion or part of themselves, but they had not given their all in preparation for the Bridegroom. If they had already given all they had, they would not have gone to buy more oil. Going to buy more oil showed they had something to give in exchange for the oil. They had been holding on to something as their own and not giving their all. They returned with oil, which means they made a purchase. They traded something they had for the purpose of getting the oil that would produce light. The unfortunate thing is that it was too late. The Bridegroom had already come and they were left behind. They were refused entry with the Bridegroom. They had tried. They had thought it “wouldn’t be a problem”. Imagine the feeling of devastation and horror.

The first reason all church members will NOT go to Heaven is because they are not prepared. They still have things of themselves they are refusing to trade for more of the Spirit of God. Church attenders and those associated with the church will NOT go to Heaven when they die because they have not given their all, emptied themselves of all they have so that they can have much reserve of the Spirit of God. Not all church members are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Those church members who have not surrendered all the ability they have to contain things to God, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. All the “trading” must have already happened before the Bridegroom comes. The wise did not offer any oil or money to the foolish virgins. The wise understood it is personal preparation to be in readiness for the Bridegroom. The entry of the five wise into the Bridegroom’s presence was not conveyed in the story, but the mass exodus out of the Bridegroom’s presence was clearly displayed.

Holding The Gift, But Having No Interest (Matthew 25:14-30)

Recorded is another parable describing the Kingdom of Heaven. A man going away on a great journey calls three of his servants. The man gives to these three servants belonging to him some of his treasure. To the first he gives five talents, to the second he gives two talents, and to the third he gives one talent. The man gave the men the talents based on his judgment of their ability to handle what he would give them. The man leaves and the men go away. The servant with the five talents immediately goes and invests his gift and gets 100% return. The servant with the two talents does the same thing, getting for himself 100% profit. The servant with the one talent dug a hole and hid his talent. After a long time, the man came back and called his servants asking them to account for what they had done with what he had given them. The first two servants showed the man their 100% profit on the value he had entrusted to them. The man was delighted, brought them into closer, joyous fellowship, and entrusted even more to the first two servants. The third servant came before the man claiming he knew the man was hard, gaining from what he had not invested, and claiming as his own where he had not put anything. The man was furious, took what he had given to the third servant, gave it to the one who had ten talents, and judged the third man to outer darkness, the place of much crying and torment.

All three servants in this parable were given at least one talent. They were given a gift, something valuable from their master. All three servants belonged to the master. He claimed all the servants as his own. He wanted all of them to belong to him. The man put a gift in each one of their hands according to the servant’s ability to receive it and do something with it. The first two servants wasted no time. They understood what they had was valuable. They traded or exchanged the value to gain even more value from what each had been given. Their dealings were very profitable. The third servant had the value in his hand, dug a hole, and buried it. He did nothing with what he had been given. Instead of exposing it, he hid it. Instead of letting it gain profit and increase in value, he suppressed it, put it out of sight, and did nothing with it. When the man returned, he met with his servants to have them account for what he had left with them. The man judged the first two servants very good and faithful inviting them to enter into his joy. The first two servants had shown how much they loved the man, how good he had been to them, and they doubly returned the value to the man. The third servant gave back what the man had given him reporting his thoughts of the man’s character, business, and way of doing things. The third servant had no value for the man or what had been placed in his hands. He did nothing with it and gave it back just as it had been given to him. After hearing the servant’s reasoning for his action, or lack thereof, the man told the servant about his reputation and said even if you felt that way about me and what I had given you, if you had just put my value with the bankers and gained a little interest, I would have spared you. But since you do not have even a little interest to bring with you at my coming, I will remove what I have given you. There is no place for you in my joy. Instead, you are thrown out to pain and torment.

The third servant had been given something of value. It may not have been as much as the first two servants, but it was according to his ability to receive and do something with it. The gift of God to all of man kind is the sending of His Son, Jesus. 1 John 5 tells us that God sent Jesus in the world because of His great love for mankind. It is when we receive the love of God by receiving His Son that we are born of God. Those who are not born of God through believing Jesus is the Son of God, call God a liar. The third servant called God a difficult person to deal with, a liar, and a thief. The third servant failed to see that the man had already showed how much he cared about him by giving him this valuable gift. The third man failed to value the gift He had been given. Though the third servant had already been accepted as his servant and had received from the man something of the man’s own, the third servant had no change in his opinion on the man’s reputation. The third servant failed to see the value, instead when providing his “account” before the man talked only of his own thoughts, observations, and conclusion about the man discounting the value the man had already placed in his hands. The third servant had the value in his hand, but had no interest in it. The third servant would forever be in the dark with continuous crying and tormenting pain.

The second reason all church members will NOT go to heaven when they die is because they have no interest in the gift God has given them. They are numbered with those who are followers of God. They say they have a value of their masters, but are not interested in it. They take no action to promote, display, or expand the value of their owner. They do their “own thing” without any regard, investment, or interest in God’s only begotten Son. The first two servants understood the value of what they’d been given. They wasted no time to share what they’d been given. They promoted what had been placed in their hand thereby being profitable for their master. The first two servants experienced much joy in displaying their valuable pieces. The third servant had no joy in his master. He was eager to return what his master had given him and had no shame in telling his master what he was really thinking. The interest we have in the son of God, the gift God has placed in our hands is the determining factor on where we spend eternity. It is an individual ruling. The two good, faithful, profitable servants couldn’t get the third wicked, lazy, unprofitable servant into the joy of the master. Neither is the person beside you on the pew, your pastor, or your best friend at church able to get you into Heaven. Entry into Heaven is determined on what you do with the valuable gift placed by God into your hand, His only begotten Son.

With The Chosen, But Not Dressed (Matthew 22:14-30)

Jesus told another parable about a great wedding feast banquet a king had prepared for his son. The invitations had already been sent out inviting the guests to the banquet. Those assigned the task of rounding up everyone who had been invited were sent out. Many who were invited were unwilling to come. The king sent out others to round up those invited to come explaining everything was ready and for them to make their way to the feast. The invited guests either paid no attention or beat the messengers who were sent to bring them to the banquet. The king was furious and slew those invited who did his messengers harm. Then he sent out other messengers to go into all the highways and find all who would come to the wedding feast. The banquet hall was soon full. The king came and looked over the crowd. He found one man not dressed in wedding clothes. He asked the man how he got in without wedding clothes. The man was speechless. The king instructed for that man to be bound hand and foot and cast out to outer darkness where there would be weeping and tormenting pain.

The man was in the right company. He had decided to go to the banquet. He knew the right place to be. He was with those chosen to attend. Notice the order of those invited, rounded up to come to the banquet did not exclude anyone. There was no one who didn’t get the invitation to come. The banquet didn’t begin until everyone, even those in the highways, got a chance to attend. The problem was that everyone had on wedding clothes. They were clothed properly for the banquet. Everyone had gotten the message a certain dress was required, except the one man. Either he didn’t get the message, or had chosen not to conform to the attire required. He made a decision to “not ask any questions” when his dress was different from others. This was either by choice or failure to notice. The king of the banquet made the determination, after giving the man opportunity to provide defense, he was not able to stay. He was to be bound hand and foot and cast into complete darkness where there was great weeping and pain.

Because the man was not properly clothed, he was not allowed to remain at the banquet. Unless we are properly clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus, we will not be properly dressed for Heaven. We do not have to be discouraged, God Himself clothes us. Isaiah 61:10 says “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” The man at the banquet had failed to rejoice in the king’s son. Therefore, he was unclothed for the banquet. He was at the banquet by his own standard, character, and dress. The man missed the wardrobe appointment to ensure he was properly covered for the event. Because of the man’s failure to be dressed properly, he was thrown out of the party and into darkness, pain, and torment.

The third reason all church members will NOT go to Heaven is because they are not properly dressed. They have not received with rejoicing the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. They have not joyfully accepted the covering of salvation He provided for them through the cross. They have failed to trade in their clothes to be covered by the blood of Christ and receive the righteousness of God. Therefore, they do not have on the right clothes for Heaven. Just as the man was in the right place, fully expecting the partake of the king’s banquet; those who fail to receive the free gift of salvation provided by Jesus Christ will be unable to partake of Heaven.

Notice the similarities between all three of these teachings. All of the people “cast out”, thought they were going to “let in”. With this in mind, it is important that we take heed to the message in 2 Peter 1:10-11 which exhorts all in the church in this way, “brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

This scripture refers to “these things”. In the prior verses it explains we first must receive the divine nature of Christ in order to escape corruption. This is done by faith, the persuasion of God, and trusting the promises of God. Then we add to our faith a measure of virtue which is moral goodness or making right and good moral decision. To virtue we add knowledge which is teaching and direct application of God’s word. To knowledge we add temperance which is self-control, an evidence of being under the control of the Holy Spirit. Then add to temperance, patience which is a remaining under the troubles of this life. Next add to patience godliness which is an inner response to God and the things of God. Continue on by adding to godliness brotherly kindness, affection and care for other believers. Finally add to brotherly kindness, charity which is the focus on what God prefers.

We are comforted to know that if we begin with the nature of Christ in our life through faith in the promise of God recorded in John 3:16, believing on Him for our eternal life. Next we receive his nature as our own by faith followed by good moral decision. Then the good moral decision are followed by good teaching and application of God’s word. Allowing God to control us by His Holy Spirit and always remaining in the troubles of life. Then we have a personal inner response to God’s Work, affection for other believers, and always carrying out what God prefers. In the end we will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:11)

Written By: Anne Gurley

Transformational Truths

12 WAYS TO PRACTICE THE GREAT COMMISSION

The last words Jesus spoke before ascending into Heaven are of critical importance. These words are a summary of the authoritative order to be carried out of all who follow the ways of Christ. All who call themselves “Christian”, are responsible to keep this final commandment.

Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus told His disciples, He is in charge. God has put Him ruler and king over all heaven and earth. Therefore, the disciples need not doubt who is in charge. They can be confident this God-Man who came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead was in control of everything that happened in heaven and earth.

The disciples had seen and heard first-hand this One who was from the beginning. The Word of Life had become flesh and lived among them. They looked on, took in, and experienced the Son of God in human form. They had nothing to doubt that He was exalted by God because He had perfectly obeyed all God’s commands and done exactly what His Father had instructed for Him to do.

“Go” was the command. It was an order to move. The intention was that they not stand still, but they move among others. They could go anywhere in heaven or in earth because Jesus had given them the authority to “Go”. He had all authority and He could tell them what to do. There was no territory that was not subject to His authority. These disciples of Christ had the owner’s permission to move about freely in heaven and in earth. There was no place that was “off limits”. Every territory was open to them. They had the authority of Christ, the “owner” to enter all territories there feet walked.

“Teach all nations” was the action they were to take as they were walking. To teach is to help someone to progressively learn the Word of God to become mature. The purpose here was clear, the disciples’ main duty was to help others hear and do all God’s word had declared, commanded. There was no limit to who they were to help progress in the learning, understanding, and applying God’s Word. No territory was off limits. Their teaching was to be global, universal, without boundaries.

“Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” was further clarification of the duty of each person in the hearing of Jesus. The triune God, three in one, was the theme of the message to be declared. Jesus was commanding – make them “fully wet” with the reputation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Do not just sprinkle a little fact, but totally “whelm them over” with all the Father is, all the Son is, and all the Holy Spirit is. The character and how to recognize the word and work of each role of the Godhead should be fully understood by each individual the disciples help to progress in the Word of God.

Teaching them to observe” was the end result which the disciples were going after. Doing all God commands was the goal of their “Go”, their “Teach”, and their “Baptizing”. The disciples were to look for evidence the people heard, understood, and applied in their life all God had said. Complete would be the job of the disciples when the actions of obedience was displayed among those to whom they spoke.

Assurance of spirit was not absent though a bodily presence would be missing. Jesus was about to go away, yet He had promised the disciples He would send a “Helper” to them. He would not leave them without comfort. There was no intention the disciples would be powerless to carry out this “Go”, “Teach”, and “Baptize”. Jesus assured them, He would be with them. He would never leave them or forsake them. Though the world pass away, His Word would not pass away. Though the earth be no more, He is timeless and raised for all eternity. He would not be in their vision much longer, but He would unite His Spirit with their spirit. His way of doing things would unite them and enliven them so they could carry out the “orders” He had just given them.

Is this “Go”, “Teach”, and “Baptize” command relevant to us today? How can we practice obedience to this final verbal order of Jesus?

There are several examples of followers of Christ practicing this Great Commission recorded in the Bible. We can identify 12 ways we can practice doing the Great Commission. Two passages you can review in your evaluation of these 12 practices are found in Acts 8:26-40 and Acts 17:16-33. There are others that illustrate 12 ways to practice the Great Commission. In John 4, where Jesus witnessed to the woman at the well, He demonstrated how the Great Commission should be performed.

Led by the Spirit

Philip was prompted by the spirit. Paul’s spirit was moved to action and speak to those men in the city.

Come up beside

Philip ran up beside the Eunuch. Paul moved to where the people were congregating. Both these men put themselves in the same company with those they would talk to. They got themselves within hearing distance.

Hear of their interest

The passage explains Philip’s experience. It records he ran up beside the chariot and heard what was of interest to the Eunuch. The passage records Paul was hearing the men of the city speak and saw their conduct. Both Philip and Paul met the people they spoke with at the point of their interest.

Ask if they understand

Philip and Paul both heard the questions and lack of understanding of the people to whom they shared the Word of God.

Provide assistance when they ask

Neither Philip or Paul pushed their way to be heard. They waited for a door of opportunity to be heard to be opened. Then, they spoke the Word of God in a manner that met the need of their hearers. They assisted the ones who were hearing to have their understanding enlightened.

Listen to their questions

All the talking was not done by Philip or Paul. They kept open communication between their hearers and themselves. To complete this, they listened to the real question the individuals were asking and hear their root need.

Answer their questions with the Scripture

Depending on the latest trend or idea was not the means by which Philip or Paul addressed the hearers. Instead, they used the Word of God to explain God and His plan to each one who would listen.

Show them Jesus – (expose/reveal)

Explain who Jesus was, what He did, why He did it, and what that means for the individual was the message they gave in the words they spoke. Revealing the great love of God to sinners in the Person of Jesus Christ was their major objective.

Pause for the hearers personal acceptance

Look for the hearer to believe the word that has been spoken, the Christ that has been revealed, and turn to Him. Paul and Philip looked for individuals to have a personal acceptance of the word that was spoken.

Check for belief

Ensure before going any further, there is individual persuasion of what has been shared from the scriptures. Clarify any misunderstandings with scriptures. Ensure the person understands, agrees, and wills to adhere to what has been told to them.

Follow through in obeying the scriptures

In Philip’s case, they determined to baptize the Eunuch as soon as they came to water. Paul got right to the point encouraging every one who was in his hearing to “repent” and “believe”.

Be led by the Spirit to the next person

Philip was taken away from the Eunuch and found him on to another group to proclaim the wonderful news of God. Paul stayed to proclaim the scriptures to the people, then was moved on by the spirit to a new group of people.

Notice the most central theme of witnessing and fulfilling The Great Commission is the sharing and the proclamation of the Word of God. It is the Word of God that saves. It is not the method, the pomp, or the right situation. It is truly the leading of the spirit of God and the Word of God that brings individuals to the point of persuasion, belief, acceptance, and obedience.

If you ever feel a little apprehensive to “Go”, “Teach”, or “Baptize”, just remember these 12 ways to practice the Great Commission and begin today. Use your time to study and learn all you can about the character of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You never have any trouble talking about someone you know.

Written By: Anne Gurley