We have now been In India for two weeks, and I have yet to write a blog. Returning to this beautiful place that I love to do ministry so much has not been different than any of the other previous countries. Yes, there is more poverty, and this is a third-world country. Yes, it is illegal to preach Christianity here. Yes, the conditions are different, but the Spirit of the Gospel is the same and compels us to minister in the same ways, if not more, as we did in all the previous countries. Counting our ministry in New York City, this is our seventh country to be ministering for the Lord in, and we just hit six months of traveling. I do not think that anything has been like I expected, but the changes have been even more dramatic for my wife. This is the main reason that I encouraged her to write the first few blogs. India is the only third-world country she has ever been to, and the first time she has been in Asia. The experiences to her are much more new and shocking than they are for me. All of this being the case, she has written some amazing blogs from a first timer’s perspective. I pray that you are able to experience this culture that is so different from ours in her unique perspective.
Last weekend, we were told that we would be traveling with Pastor Binny to preach to some youth in a neighboring state. True to Indian culture, we met up with the pastor about two hours after we originally and planned. Everything we had been told was not entirely accurate, which is very common here. After staying the night at his mother’s house, we traveled through some very jungle-ish regions (where we saw many monkeys and were told elephants were often seen) to a small village in Andhra Pradesh where a church was holding Fasting-Prayer. In India, it is very common, usually weekly, that churches will hold a 24-hour or all-day time where everyone in the church gathers to fast, pray, sing, and be taught. Most of the people will spend all night and/or day here and then have a community meal afterwards.
With the plans being changed, I was not sure if I would be able to share the message that I knew that God had given me. First, I shared about God’s ministry that had brought us here, and Katie shared the word that God had been speaking to her for India. After this, Pastor Binny preached a word on faith. I thought this was the end of the teaching, but about an hour before the fasting prayer was to finish Pastor Binny invited me to share a message, if I had one. I was glad to be given the chance to share the Word I knew that God had given me to share.
Here is the first part of the message that I spoke to the church, but is just as important to you wherever you are:
God began to speak to me about what made the prophet Daniel able to say at the end of his life that “…the people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32). At this time, Daniel had experienced the greatness of God in so many ways. He had escaped death many times, slept with lions, watched his friends last through the fire, survived many changes in rulers, and even governing kingdoms.
Holy Spirit revealed to me that the key to why Daniel was able to continue through all these things and make such a bold statement at the end of his life was found in Daniel 1:8 “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” Here, the scripture is talking about how Daniel chose at a young age not to eat food offered to idols; however, this revealed his desire was not to be disobedient to the Lord in any way. This commitment led to Daniel and his friends being tested and later honored. Both Daniel and his friends would be tested over and over again whether they would keep this commitment or value their own lives, status, power… more. In spite of everything, they made this commitment and stuck to it. Because of this, their strengths and great exploits are recorded and still bring encouragement to us today.
Meditating on this, God showed me four things that are keys to complete commitment to the Lord.
4 Keys to Commitment –
- Consecrate yourself to the Lord. All of us start in a state of unholiness and dishonor because of sin. However, through the blood of Jesus, we can be forgiven and are brought to a state of righteousness. We must then chose to walk in a holy way or return to our former fleshly ways of living and thinking. (When we are cleansed, we become “…vessels of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” 2 Timothy 2:21).
- Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). This does not come naturally, but is a continual progression throughout our entire lives learning to love Him with everything we are, everything within us, and everything we have. This is in direct opposition to our flesh that wants to please and love only itself.
- Stir up the giftings that are within you (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Timothy is reminded to stir up the giftings within himself. He is not told to pray for God to stir them up, but to stir them up himself. He is encouraged to act and use the gifts that he has so that they may grow and be pruned into greater and more powerful ones. This is evident by how the next verse talks about not fearing, but walking in power, love, and all wisdom.
- Be completely obedient in all that you do (Luke 17:5-10). Here, the apostles ask the Lord to increase their faith. Jesus responds to them by telling them a story about being obedient servants. No matter what the size of faith you have, you are able to do great things!!! However, it is obedience to the Lord that not only causes His power to work through you, but causes you to be given more faith and the ability to do even greater things.
As Followers of Christ, we are called to be committed, changed, and active in each one of these areas, or we will not be fully effective for His Kingdom. I encourage you to examine your commitment to the Lord.
Are you walking as a fully committed Follower of Christ?
Are you succeeding in each of these four areas?
Are you strong and carrying out great exploits for Him?
Ask Holy Spirit to reveal a few specific ways you can work on one of these areas this week!!!
Pray that the Lord will strengthen you in every area and that you would never settle for less than the very greatest of exploits that God has planned for your life. I bless you with knowing God, being completely committed to Him, becoming strong and carrying out great exploits for His glory!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!