"I have been all over the world.
I have seen many religions
and heard many philosophies.
How can I know that this is the truth?"
Years ago several of us visited an army captain whose wife attended our church. He welcomed us into his home and allowed us to talk with him about Jesus. When we asked if he would like to accept the forgiveness of Jesus and devote his life to Him, he politely asked a difficult question.
He said, “I have been all over the world. I have seen many religions and heard many philosophies. How can I know that what you say about Jesus is the truth?”
I said, “If God sent his son to die for you, that is surely important. I suggest that you ask God Himself to show you if this is true or not.”
In chapter 5 of The Gospel of John in the New Testament, Jesus dealt with this very question. Beginning with verse 31 He said if He alone bore witness about Himself His testimony could not be deemed to be true. But He said, “There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that his testimony is true.”
Jesus first mentioned John the Baptist. John said Jesus was the son of God. John the Baptist may have been the most impressive man to walk the earth in those days. Jesus called him a burning and shining light. He noted that they rejoiced for a time in his light. There are many today who will tell you that you can personally experience Jesus in your life. Some of them are impressive people. Astrophysicist/astronomer, Hugh Ross of the University of California is one who comes to mind. I also think of preachers like Tim Keller, and Ravi Zacharias who died earlier this year. Billy Graham also died this year. Years ago the church that I served was starting home-churches in a mountain valley that did not have a church. In house after house where we were invited to lead Bible studies people brought up Billy Graham. Everyone seemed to be impressed with Billy. He indeed bore witness to the truth. But people, no matter how impressive, are not the great witness Jesus spoke of. Jesus said He did not accept human testimony. He mentioned John so that the people might be saved, but He said there was a greater witness yet.
Jesus next spoke about the works that he was doing. His miracles were a powerful witness about him. God continues to show us his mighty works today. The more we know about the Earth, and life, and the universe the more astounded we become. Is it rational to believe that the most complex things we know anything about, including life, eyesight, human consciousness, and intelligence, and even the universe itself happened by accident?
Of course, admitting that there had to be a Creator, does not make Christianity true. But the miracles of Jesus can still be seen to this day. I have heard people accuse Christianity of perpetuating slavery. And they are right. In the 19th Century some people actually used the Bible to justify slavery. God forgive us. However, it should be noted that slavery has been prevalent in every part of the world. We do not know of a time in history when human bondage did not exist. And no other philosophy, no other influence besides Christianity ever abolished slavery from whole nations or from human approval and law.
Angola prison in Louisiana was once one of the most dangerous prisons in the United States. Because of a Christian witness, that whole prison has been turned around. Despite the fact that some of the most violent criminals in our country have been incarcerated there, almost all violence has been eliminated within its walls. Is there any example in the entire world of anything else turning a prison around like that?
A large hospital in the city where I used to live is dedicated to scientifically curing people of alcohol and drug addiction. They saturated the city with advertisements about their treatment plan. According to their own statistics, only 20% of their patients were still alcohol or drug-free three years after their treatment. 20% is certainly better than nothing. And I will admit that the statistics this hospital provides are better than many other treatment centers. However, Christian treatment programs are much more effective. I have a friend who began an outpatient treatment program in the same city. After 20 years more than 60% of those who have gone through his program are still alcohol and drug-free. Nothing else changes people like the message of Jesus Christ.
But Jesus does not quite say that the works that He accomplishes are the testimony about which He referred. He says that by those miracles which still take place God himself to testifies about Jesus. If you are considering these things I would encourage you to ask God to show you if this is the truth. You might pray something like, “God, if there really is a God and if you really care about me, show me if this is the truth, and help me understand what you show me."
Early on a Sunday morning several weeks after we visited the Army officer that I began by telling you about, he came to our church dressed in fatigues. He had duty that day and could not come to the service. But he told me he had not been able to forget the prayer that I had suggested to him. In the next 10 years God did a number of stunning things in that man’s life. And he eventually gave his life to Christ. I am still in regular contact with him even though I live in a different state. For nearly 30 years now he has been one of the strongest leaders in the church that he joined.
My new novel, EARS TO HEAR ,
will soon be released!
Some of you know that I recently published the collection of short stories, THE GATHERING OF OUTCASTS
It may be easiest to access my books from my Amazon Author Central page,
You can learn more about me and about my books on my website, http://daveswatch.com/
Continue to look with me at this powerful passage from Habakkuk 2. Verse 2 reads,
“Then the LORD replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.”
Let's focus on two applications of this verse;
The Foundation of Writing
The Purpose of Writing
It stretches metaphor to say the foundation of our writing is from above. But I think you get the point here. When you are in fellowship with God you will see the same things you saw before, but you will see them from the rock of God's perspective. You may write about a dysfunctional home, but you will see it through the weeping eyes of God who loves them. And behind your words will be the knowledge of how it should be. You may write about a good elderly woman but you will not be blind to flaws in even the best person's character.
And notice that God tells us to write to affect the lives of people. We are to make what we write plain. You are writing for people to understand, not to impress them. I have read books that the authors admitted were written to help them work through a trauma. But those books were only good, or readable for that matter, if truth could be applied to the reader. The purpose of our writing is to make truth known to as many people as possible.
God' truth is the foundation of our writing. And people are the target of our words.
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead....(Philippians 3:9-11)
BLESSED ARE YOU LORD GOD, KING OF THE UNIVERSE, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS, ALL LIFE, ALL LIBERTY, ALL GOODNESS FLOWS. YOU ARE WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE, ADORATION REVERENCE AND AWE. YOU ARE MAJESTIC AS YOU REIGN, SOVEREIGN AS YOU RULE, RIGHTEOUS AS YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT, HOLY AS YOUR NATURE IS. LET ALL THE PEOPLE SAY AMEN AND GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HIS LOVE NEVER ENDS, LET ALL THE PEOPLE SAY AMEN.
BLESS THE LORD, OH MY SOUL AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME, BLESS YOUR HOLY NAME. BLESS YOU FOR ALL YOUR BENEFITS HAVE ACCRUED TO ME, THROUGH THE LOVE, SACRIFICE, FINISHED WORK AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, CREATOR OF ALL THINGS....FOR WHOM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED FOR AND BY HIM. MAY I NOT JUST BE FOUND IN HIM, DAILY, IF ACCUSED OF BEING A CHRISTIAN, BUT MAY THE EVIDENCE BE SO OVERWHELMING THAT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS CHRIST IS EMBEDDED IN THE VERY FIBER OF MY BEING, AND ALL WHO ARE CALLED BY YOUR NAME, THAT THOSE WHO ARE ACCUSE US OF FOLLOWING THE WAY OF YAHWEH, WOULD SAY "HE IS ONE OF THEM...OR SHE IS ONE OF THEM"....THEM BEING - FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, BLESSED TRINITY! OH HALLELUJAH, GLORY TO THE LAMB OF GOD, PRAISE YOUR GREAT NAME!
FATHER GOD, LET THIS LIFE OF CHRIST, FREELY GIVEN LIKE LIVING WATER TO ALL WHO ASK, SO RICHLY DWELL IN ME THAT IT WOULD BE OBVIOUS IT CAME NOT FROM ME, FROM IN ME OR FROM NOTHING ANY OF US HAVE DONE, BUT CAME DIRECTLY FROM THE FAITH YOU IN YOUR LOVE, COMPASSION, MERCY AND LONG SUFFERING GAVE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. LORD, YOU CALLED FOR US NOT TO BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT TO BE MORPHED, TRANSFORMED, CHANGED TO THE LIKENESS OF IMAGO DEI - THE IMAGE OF GOD, IN WHOSE FASHION YOU FIRST CREATED MAN, THROUGH THE FIRST MAN WHO SINNED, ADAM. THE SECOND AND FINAL ADAM- YAHWEH, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST - NEVER SINNED BUT SUFFERED FOR ALL SIN OF ALL MANKIND FOR ALL TIME.
HE HAS CALLED US TO THAT SAME WITNESS AND THEREFORE SUFFERING IN ORDER THAT WE MAY BE HIS DISCIPLES. MAY WE TAKE UP THE DAILY CROSS AND CRUCIFY OUR BENT AND NATURE TO FOLLOW AFTER THIS WORLD, EVEN IF WE KNOW BETTER, BUT AS WE RISE DAILY, MAY WE PUT TO DEATH THAT TENDENCY TO SIN, TO PERVERT, TO STRAY AND DISTRACT AND MAY WE THEN, THROUGH THE SACRIFICIAL LOVE WE SHOW TO OTHERS AND MORE IMPORTANTLY TO YOU, IN ALL WE SAY DO AND THINK, BE A REFLECTION OF THE SURRENDER AND OBEDIENCE WHICH YOU EXPECT FROM THOSE OF US, WHO ARE COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO YOU.
FATHER, IT IS ONLY BY THE ACT OF BEING A MARTYR, METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING, BEING A MARTYR AND NOT AN INDULGER OF THE CORRUPT THINGS OF THIS SOON-PERISHING WORLD, WOULD BE BE FOUND WORTHY OF OUR POSITIONAL SALVATION IN YOU. THANK YOU FOR THAT TRUTH, THAT KNOWLEDGE AND THE DYNAMIC POWER TO EXECUTE YOUR COMMAND AND EXPECTATIONS IN OUR MOMENT BY MOMENT LIVING. WE LOVE YOU, WE PRAISE YOU, WE WORSHIP AND ADORE YOU, THROUGH CHRIST YOUR SON AND KING, AMEN.
Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places: An Untold Story of Lostness in America
by JD Payne
- March 3rd, 2014
I am delighted to share that Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places: An Untold Story of Lostness in America is now available to download as a pdf. It’s brief, about fifty pages. That is intentional. You can read it quickly.
The pastors with The Church at Brook Hills are always asking how we can best equip our faith family for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11-12). Part of shepherding others to reach the nations requires painting a picture of the realities of lostness. Therefore, I wrote this short ebook for our people.
Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places is written to cast a vision of reality in the United States, and to offer some practical steps to move us along in disciple making and church multiplication. We know much about lostness in other parts of the world; we know little about it in our backyard.
One of the convictions that we hold as a faith family is to give away many om advancement. With this in mind, I am releasing this book to you. I pray that it will be a blessing to you and your ministry.
Download your copy.
If you do, tell others to get a copy. Spread the word, far and wide.
Take it. Give it away. Use it for leading your church to the nations in this nation and beyond. If you do, tell others to get a copy. Spread the word, far and wide.
Join us in praying for America to understand LOSTNESS right here.
International Orality Network
Connect The Dots
I was very blessed to have an enjoyable drive to work. Most of it was back country road, no interstate highway or four lane road. Not much traffic unless I was running late and encountered school buses. As I was driving to work one morning, I looked to my left and saw two deer grazing in an open field. They heard the car and watched as I drove by. A half mile further, I looked up in time to see a flock of geese flying in formation overhead. The sun was just coming up and the sky was a brilliant shade of red and orange.
I had to just keep thanking God and praising him for the wonders he had placed in my pathway. As I was thanking him, it occurred to me that he orchestrated this beauty just for me. I never saw another car as I drove down the country road and that increased my awe in my creator.
Why would he plan such an event for me? He must really love me and want to bless me. That really got me to wondering how I fit into the scheme of things in the world.
I am a praying person, maybe more than some, but probably not as much as others. I am led by God’s Holy Spirit and when the Spirit asks me to pray for someone, I do.
Each morning I have my devotional time before starting my day. I need that time to get prepared for the day. It seems to help me be ready for any and every situation I may face.
I have been praying around the world with the help of a world prayer map. It directs my prayers to different countries on specific days. This is a tool that I use to pray for those who have never heard the gospel message. It amazes me that someone on the other side of the world may be blessed because I prayed for them.
Back to my story, I’m not sure what I was praying as I drove down the road that morning. I know that I was marveling at God’s work in the heavenlies. The sunrise was breathtaking. God spoke to my heart that morning and assured me that I was part of something much bigger than my own little corner of the earth.
In Psalm 139:7 - 8, David says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
As Christians, we are never separated from God and his love. His word tells us so. (See Romans 8:35-39.) That being said, we know that we are to pray. We are instructed to pray for other Christians, for our enemies, for those who persecute us. We are told to pray without ceasing and we are told by Jesus to pray: “Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13.
Did you hear what Jesus asked us to pray for? He said “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Wow, we are asking God to do his will on earth as it is in heaven. That is pretty awesome. I can’t really imagine what God does in heaven, but it is something fantastic. We know that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven. We know that the true temple of God is in heaven. We know that there is a throne in heaven.
When we ask for God’s will to be done, we are impacting our planet in a mighty way. When I pray for the gospel message to be preached in other countries, when I ask for God’s purpose and plan to be fulfilled in the leaders of other nations, when I ask that Christians would have the mind of Christ, my prayers are being heard in heaven and affecting the heavenlies.
Remember when God created the heavens and the earth? What did he do to create things? He spoke them into existence. Although I am not God, when I speak the things that his Holy Spirit instructs me to speak, I too am causing things to happen in the spirit realm.
What an awesome responsibility and how powerful are our words. I don’t really know the impact I have on other countries when I pray. I usually ask according to Jesus words in Matthew 9:36-38, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, (that is you and I) “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We are asking according to God’s will when we ask him to send workers into the harvest field.
How does my life affect what happens in the universe? I can’t really say, but I do know that God hears my prayers. When someone is sent into the harvest field to become a missionary and preach the good news of salvation, I am there with them in Spirit. The impact they have on others may be a result of my prayers and the prayers of other saints around the world.
When someone hears and accepts the gift of salvation, the angels in heaven rejoice. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7 Now that is far reaching. A little prayer from me and others like me can open the doors of heaven, send workers into the harvest field, the message of salvation through Christ can be preached and people can have eternal life.
Eternal life, now that is universal. It is so far reaching that we may never know just how far that one little prayer went.
Multiply our prayers by thousands or hundreds of thousands and you may be able to understand how you can affect what happens in the universe.
Now I have never really read anything in the Bible to prove what will happen when we live for eternity, but I have heard it said that what we are experiencing here on earth is like pre-school compared to what we will experience in eternity. And yet, we cannot experience eternal life unless we give our hearts to Jesus here on earth.
Our prayers for the lost people of the world are so important. If they are lost they don’t know to look for Jesus. We have to share the message with them. Not everyone who hears the message will accept it, not everyone who hears the message will understand it, but Jesus died for everyone on earth. That means that everyone on earth should at least have the opportunity to hear what he did for them. God wants to give everyone the chance to accept his gift of eternal life.
Do your prayers make a difference in the universe? Yes they do. Even if you don’t see visible proof, you have to pray and keep on praying. God knows your heart and he knows that you are sincere in wanting to reach the lost.
We know that no matter where we are, you are there, your Holy Spirit is with us, as Christians, wherever we are. We thank you for the way you reveal yourself to us and we want you to reveal yourself to those who don’t know you.
We know that you are the Lord of the harvest and that you can send workers into the harvest field to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We know that you have a purpose and a plan for leaders of nations around the world, you are the one who has put them positions of leadership. We pray that your plans for the leaders of the world would be fulfilled and that they would become the men and women you created them to be.
We want to advance the gospel around the world and we pray that those who hear the gospel would accept your gift of eternal life. We know that heaven is poised and waiting to rejoice as people accept your gift and we rejoice with the angels.
Thank you for hearing our prayers offered in Jesus name. Amen
Have you ever been in a place and felt God was speaking everywhere you turned? A place where revelation was so tangible, it was like dew saturating the air? It was during a recent trip to Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, that God gave me a greater revelation regarding the benefits of Kingdom citizenship.
“We the people in order to form a more perfect union…” is how the preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins. The constitution was formed to bring 13 individual city-states together and create 1 governmental structure wherein the power resides with the people. This document was created to give a voice to the people; a document that outlined the benefits of being a citizen in this newly formed United States.
Benefits guarantee the citizenry certain freedoms and privileges.
So how does relate to being a citizen of the Kingdom of God? What privileges come with being a citizen of this eternal Kingdom?
How to become a Kingdom Citizen
Welcome package, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39