Three Benefits of Being Ambassadors for Christ

Three Benefits of Being Ambassadors for Christ

Anthony Morgan left the Secretary of State’s office with a bounce in his steps. He could hardly wait to get in touch with his wife and give her the great news. He had been chosen to be the United States Ambassador to Glokwando. He would be representing his beloved country to the government of this far away land.

He and his family would live in the American Embassy in Glokwando. A beautiful, almost palatial complex from which he could conduct his business.

Now there was much work to do. He would have to learn the language and study the culture of these people. But more importantly, he would have to fully understand the mission. He would want to represent his country in an honorable way, so Anthony would need to study to be certain that he understood the United States position in dealing with these people.

The rules of engagement. The history of the relationship between the countries. And most importantly, the goals of his government in performing this mission.

He would certainly expect the full backing of the United States government as he carried out his duties.

Does that sound like a terrific assignment?

Well, I have some great news for all Christians everywhere. You, too, have been chosen to be an ambassador. And ambassador for Christ – representing God’s kingdom to all the people of the earth.

After we are born again, our home country is now God’s Kingdom, not just our earthly homeland.  Even though we are living on the earth, our allegiance is to One higher than the earth. Our allegiance is to our God. The Creator of all things.

As with any job, there are benefits and privileges – along with responsibilities.

To really understand this assignment, it helps to look at ambassadors in the natural realm.

First, they must be citizens of the country they represent. You wouldn’t see an ambassador of the United States being a citizen of Russia.  Obviously, they must be a citizen of the country they represent. A citizen in good standing and loyal to their home country.

To be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, one must be born again. I’ve talked about that in other posts. And to be in good standing, the person must be faithful to God and to His Word.

Second, a natural ambassador must learn about his own country. The history, the laws and customs, and the philosophy – the guiding principles of that country. In order to represent his own government to another nation, he must be faithful to execute the plans assigned to him.

For instance, a Russian ambassador and a Turkish ambassador to the United States would have different agendas and different perspectives on what they want accomplished. Each would represent faithfully the desires of their own countries.

So as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, we study His word and spend time with Him in order to represent Him well. We want His principles to be our guide for what we do.

We will get more into our mission statement later.

First let’s look at three important privileges we receive as God’s ambassadors. What can we expect as benefits?

And how do we appropriate them?

Deuteronomy 28 is a great place to start for understanding God’s promises – and even His desires for you. The first 14 verses list promises we can expect when we are faithful to the call of God. These promises are often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. Galatians 3:13,14 tells us that Jesus paid the way for Christians to inherit these blessings as well.

Looking at these scriptures and others, what can we expect?

First, we can expect God’s blessing upon our family.

Blessed shall be the offspring of your body… Deuteronomy 28: 4a(NASB)

The Lord will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)

All your sons will be disciples taught of the Lord; and the well-being of your sons will be great. Isaiah 54:13 (NASB)

When we look at the faithfulness of God not only to Abraham, but also to his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, we see the picture of God’s desire to bless our entire families. For generations to come.

Now our part of the plan is to fully invest in God’s Word and apply it to our lives.

Second,  we  can expect provision.

An ambassador knows that he will be supported by his home country. Usually quite lavishly. In a similar way, as God’s ambassadors, we can expect provision from Him. This is not to say that there won’t be times when our faith is stretched to receive this provision. Yet God’s provision will be there – sometimes from the most unexpected places.

The Bible is full of words promising our provision, and giving us wisdom on how to receive these natural blessings.

The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hands to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Deuteronomy 28:8 (NASB)

The Lord will open for you His good storehouse the heavens to give rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12 (NASB)

Philippians 4:19 And your God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

­­And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. II Corinthians 9:8 (NASB)

God’s Word is our instruction manual to let us know what we can expect, and how to appropriate His blessings.

We learn that our provision is linked with our obedience and our faith.

If you be willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land. Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)

Never does God want us to be selfish in receiving. In fact, He indicates that we reap what we sow.

Give and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing shall men pour into your lap.

Now for the third benefit: protection.

A natural ambassador can expect the armies of his sending nation to promise security and safety. In a similar way, as ambassadors of Christ we can count on protection from God’s heavenly army: His angels.

A favorite reminder of this truth is found in II Kings 6:8-15

The king of Aram was attempting to conquer Israel, but Elisha the prophet had been thwarting their plans.

God had been showing Elisha what the Aramites were planning, and Elisha had been warning the Israelites. As a result, none of the evil plans were working, and the King became very frustrated. He decided to capture Elisha.

The king located Elisha in Dothan, and sent a huge army with chariots and weaponry.

Elisha’s servant woke up early and saw that they were surrounded by this evil army. Frightened, he ran to wake Elisha. They were surrounded, and there was no hope for them.

I love Elisha’s famous response.

So he answered. Fear not. More are they with us than they who are with them. II Kings 6:16 NASB

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. II Kings 6:16-17 (NASB)

Elisha prayed for God to strike the army blind – and the angels did it. Then Elisha led them away to another place where they received food and water and were returned to their own land.

Needless to say, they never came again.

This episode shows us that we are surrounded by angelic beings. We can’t see them, but when we are God’s people, we can count on them for protection.

When speaking of angels, Paul says:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14 (NASB)

And there is this:

Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word. Psalm 103:20 (NASB)

When you and I – as ambassadors – speak God’s word, we activate our angels to accomplish what God has promised. They are part of God’s plan for us and our mission.

My husband had an interesting encounter several years ago.

Distressed about some things which were happening, Mickey was walking around our den, wringing his hands and thinking. Maybe praying a little.

Suddenly he had a vision.

He saw what looked like a hockey penalty box – loaded with angels. They were sitting, watching, and waiting for Mickey to speak the Word.

As he began to speak God’s Word, they rushed out of the penalty box and started to work. He knew they were performing the Word. And he knew that the answer was coming.

And the answer did indeed come – almost immediately.

There are many examples in the Bible of angels working on behalf of God’s people. They are there for our protection and deliverance.

So as ambassadors for Christ, we can expect many benefits. We can expect blessings on our family. We can expect provision. And we can expect protection.

The word of God is filled with wisdom on how to appropriate these many benefits. As we study God’s word and apply His principles, we will see the fruit of our labor.

What does our God expect in return? As God’s ambassadors, we have a job to do.

That message is for another day.

Take Your Place in God’s Kingdom: Getting Started

Take Your Place in God’s Kingdom: Getting Started

Do you realize that God’s kingdom is here on earth right now? And do you realize that you have a special place in that kingdom?

Many Christians are confused about this issue. They think that the Kingdom of God is for a future time. Yet when Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, and rose again from the dead, He ushered in this great Kingdom.

We are going to discuss this in the next few posts – and explore the what, the how, and the why.  If you are a Christian, you have a place in this Kingdom. Your Father has a special plan for you and wants you to fulfill that purpose.

So let’s get right to it.

When Jesus walked the earth, He repeatedly emphasized a new kingdom which was coming: The Kingdom of God. Yet then, as now, most people misunderstood.

Some thought that He was talking about Heaven, where people would go after they died. Others just thought he was talking nonsense.

Well, He was speaking about now – and He certainly wasn’t speaking nonsense. He made the way for God’s Kingdom of Heaven to be with us today, and If you are a Christian, you are a citizen of that Kingdom.

In fact, if you are a Christian, you are called to be an Ambassador representing that Kingdom.

What is that Kingdom? What does it mean to be a citizen of that Kingdom? And how do I operate my life so as to live on earth and in that Kingdom also?

Today I want to begin with prayer for all of us. Read the prayer out loud to yourself and concentrate on what you are saying.

Dear Father,

I am asking for our eyes to be opened to what you want to say to us. We know that your Word contains so much more than we have understood or manifested in our lives. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we can truly grasp what you want us to know. We love you. Amen

When you read the Gospels, you see many scriptures which talk about this.

One of my favorites is this one…

II Corinthians 5:16-20 (NIV)

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do no longer.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone. The new is here.

All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting peoples’ sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore, Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.

God has made Him who knew no sin to be made sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews were taught that a king would come to rule and reign forever. Of course, they understood this in earthly terms. They weren’t ready to receive the spiritual significance of what was to come.

But they were looking for this Messiah. A coming king.

So it had to bring lots of confusion to some of the Bible scholars when Jesus came on the scene and began talking about the Kingdom of God. Besides, He didn’t seem like the king they were expecting. He was a carpenter’s son.

What was this Kingdom? What could He mean?

He repeated the term over and over. (That exact term is mentioned 68 times in the Gospels).

There was a Kingdom of God which was about to spring to the earth, and natural men could not enter it – or even understand it.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3 (NIV)

But it was clear that it was Good News that this Kingdom was about to come. Mark introduced it as the “Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom.” Mark 1:15

Today that Kingdom is still here. It has been here for more than two thousand years, and we are still trying to figure it out. Even those of us who know about this Kingdom and are attempting to live there are not fulfilling all that God has for us.

Nobody has grasped all of it yet.

So looking at it bit by bit…

The first requirement is to be Born Again. We have to be Born Again to enter this new Kingdom.

God created mankind in three parts. Spirit, soul and body.

Our spirit is the part of us that communicates with God – hears His voice and understands what God has for us.

Our soul is what most people recognize about us. Our mind, our will, and our emotions. Our personality. Our gifts to excel in math, languages, or sports. Our creativity.

And our body – our “earth suit” is what we need to stay here on earth. When our earth suit gets too damaged, we have to leave the planet.

Now God created man’s spirit to be alive and well, communicating with Him. Yet because of the fall of man, our spirits were disconnected from God. They became dormant. Our spirits were supposed to rule over our lives to guide us into the paths God had for us. But in the absence of God’s connection, our soul became the ruler.

The soul of man can be very gifted, but without God, it is always selfish. Without God’s guidance and empowerment, every man is self-centered.

Even when we are doing heroic things, we want to be noticed. We want people to admire us. We want wealth and we want power.

My husband has a great analogy which compares man’s predicament to an air tool such as an air wrench.

A mechanic, when changing a tire will employ an air wrench. He hooks the wrench to the air hose and uses it to quickly and easily remove the bolts without having to exert much pressure. The power from the air hose does the trick.

If you were to purchase an air wrench from your local store and attempt to use it right out of the box, you would be disappointed. It wouldn’t work.

It looks like an air wrench and connects like an air wrench, but without the power of the air, it doesn’t work.

We people were designed to have God’s Spirit – His breath – blowing through us. The source of wisdom – or power – of true life. When we are disconnected from God, we no longer have that intended power. We are like the air wrench which is not hooked up.

We aren’t working properly.

So when we receive Jesus as our Savior, we get Born Again. Our Spirits come alive and reconnect with God, our source of life and breath. We can see what God is doing for us and through us. We are new creations. Our sins are forgiven. New things have come – and all of these new things are from God Himself.

A new world awaits us. A new Kingdom – with a new King – who happens to be our Father!

Oh yeah! Galatians 4:6 says as new born people, we are children of God and our spirits cry out “Abba, Father”. (Which means Daddy)!

No longer are we selfishly trying to control things to our advantage. We submit our lives to our Creator, who loves us and cares for us.

At that point, there is so much to learn.

Through prayer, spending time with God, and through His Word, we start to understand these new things of His Kingdom.

If we continue in our pursuit of God and His plans, we will continue to grow in our relationship with Him. We never stop learning more. And we never stop needing to feed on His Word.

His Word will bring us understanding and faith. We will be reading His Word and suddenly verses will leap off the page. There will be understanding and direction. Correction when we need it. Encouragement when we need it.

So back to our foundational scriptures: the verses in II Corinthians 5:16.

Paul says, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view. We don’t look at the outward man.

And we don’t regard ourselves as what others can see outwardly.

We are spirit men. We are new creations. All of the new things are from God, who created us. We have a significant purpose, and as we look to God and His Word for our answers, we begin to see this Kingdom of God we are talking about.

This new Kingdom. Made up of citizens from all nations and all walks of life. All forgiven and made new because they have  received the sacrifice of Jesus as applying to them.

New Creatures. New Kingdom. New Purposes. And now preparing to be Ambassadors for this New Kingdom.

Next we want to take a good look at this Kingdom. What does it entail?

Are there benefits? O course.

Does it mean we have to act spooky or weird? Of course not!

In the next post we are going to delve deeper into this Kingdom of God and remind ourselves of how our Heavenly Father wants us to live.

See you there…

Note: This series is an adaptation of a series taught by Mickey Estes. Ambassadors for Christ, first taught at Good News Church in Blue Mountain, Mississippi.

 

 

When You Need Direction

When You Need Direction

On the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea stands what many say is the world’s largest church. David Yonggi Cho (formerly known as Paul Yonggi Cho), is the founder and pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church. The latest counts have his congregation close to a million!

His story is an awesome one of a poverty-stricken young man who had an encounter with God on what seemed to be his death bed. He was healed as he embraced the new life from God. From this new-found life he has grown into one of the world’s most powerful men of God.

Needless to say, spiritual leaders have swamped him with requests for advice. How did he manage to inspire so many people? What is his formula?

When confronted with these questions, Pastor Cho’s characteristic wisdom and humor converge as he responds with a broad smile… “I pray… And I obey.”

What a formula!

It seems so simple. Pray and then obey. Whatever God says do, do it.

Throughout the Bible we see this concept in action. Someone will be in trouble and they will call upon the Lord. “What should I do?”

One of the most notable examples of this is David at Ziklag. (I Samuel 30).

He and his men had been away from camp, fighting with the Philistines. They returned to Ziklag to discover a horrible scene. Their camp had been raided and burned. All of their wives and children had been captured – and all of their possessions had been stolen.

There was nothing there but a burned-out camp!

Needless to say, David’s men did not take it well. They wanted to stone him!

Distraught, David pulled himself aside and “stirred himself up in the Lord.” He fasted and prayed and asked God for guidance.

“Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”

God’s answer was certain. “Pursue them. You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

So that’s what David did. He and his men pursued and found the camp where the raiders were gathered and retook all that was stolen.

Just as pastor Cho has done, David prayed and he obeyed.

It seems simple. So why don’t all of us do that? Pray and obey.

The key is knowing what God says. And, of course, what He says starts with His Word.

While you are in prayer, God will impress you with His plans. Then if you continue to listen carefully, He will show you how that lines up with His Word. He will give you scripture which will back up what you are hearing.

Today we have many advantages which David didn’t have. Jesus has come and paid the price for our salvation, and He has given us the Holy Spirit within so that we can hear more clearly.

Also, we now have the Word of God. That’s how you know for sure that God is speaking to you.

We can read the Bible and see what brings life and what brings death. We can see what works and what doesn’t. And we can understand God’s plan more completely.

As we read, the Word will speak to us, and we will have confirmation of what we believe God is saying.

Knowing that God’s plans are perfect and that He always has an answer for our problems, we can count on His direction. And we can be sure that His way is the best way forward.

We pray … and we obey.

That’s the way to the Good Life He has for us. That’s the way to success

Prayer Brings God’s Purpose to the Earth

Prayer Brings God’s Purpose to the Earth

 

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, once said, “I am convinced that God does nothing on the earth, except in response to believing prayer.” When God’s ready to put a new piece of His puzzle in place, He first impresses upon the hearts of His true prayer warriors to pray for it.

We see that principle in Luke 2: 21-52.

God always has His intercessors. While many of the church leaders are parading around in their priestly robes, trying to impress their subjects, God has some less significant people praying for His purpose.

These intercessors are the ones who see and recognize Jesus!

So we see Simeon and Anna. Neither of them is a person of position or great honor; they are simple people. Both of them are advanced in years and both spend lots of time praying. It is these two who God chooses to reveal the identity of Jesus.

Both of these people have seen in God’s Word that the Savior would come, and they are praying for it to happen. The Holy Spirit has revealed to Simeon that he won’t see death until he has seen the Christ, and that’s exactly what takes place.

The joy which comes from this man is evident as he recognizes Jesus and proclaims God’s Word. Overhearing these words, Anna agrees, and her joy exudes to others – the Savior has come.

God’s methodology hasn’t changed. There are many today who parade around in their pride and arrogance, ignoring God’s plan, and even discounting his Word.

Then there are others. There are those who love God and His Word, and who spend time praying for it to come to pass. Sometimes these people are unrecognized, even by those around them. But God knows what they are doing, and He is pleased.

Our world is in great need of awakening, and that’s a promise God has made to His people. As those who will believe God and allow Him to direct their prayers, rise up to their positions of prayer, we will see His plans come to fruition.

We have already begun to see trickles of it, but we will see more. We will see God move in the hearts of people, calling them to a greater life in Him.

Significant change is on the way.

I choose to be a part of His prayer team. Do you?

Suellen Estes150

 

 

P.S.

This is an excerpt from 30 Days: Daily devotions Based On Scripture by Suellen Estes. You may see more at amazon.com/author/suellenestes

Faith Pursues

Faith Pursues

If you’ve heard me teach for very long, you have heard me talk about “the woman with the issue of blood.” She’s one of my favorite people in the Bible, and an incredible inspiration to many.

In Mark 5:25-34 we catch her story. Here she is – a very sick lady. So sick, in fact that she has been going to every specialist she can find, and she has spent all of her money. For her to go to that much trouble, she must have been in great pain.

But she heard…

What did she hear? She heard about Jesus and how He had been healing people who were sick. And the amazing thought came into her mind that maybe – just maybe – He could heal her also.

So she went to where the crowds were gathered and observed His power over sickness and disease. She probably heard others talking about their healings, and she increased in assurance that this time would be different.

The day finally came, and this special lady was going to act.

Can you imagine how nervous she might have been? She was not even supposed to be out in public with her ailment, so her boldness put herself at great risk of punishment. And then think about the embarrassment involved. All of those people would see her erratic behavior… And what if it didn’t work?

All of those thoughts must have roared through her head as she pushed forward to make her claim. Yet she would not be denied the blessing she had come to believe was hers. This woman was determined.

So she pursued, and we know the outcome. Her healing came – not because Jesus had chosen to give it (He didn’t even see her there), but because she reached out with faith and courage.

“Who touched me?” He said – a question which confused His disciples. How could He ask that when the crowd was heavy and many were touching Him?

This was different. Someone had touched Him in a way so that he felt power leaving His body. Though He didn’t see her, Jesus could feel the anointing being transmitted to her. Her faith had pursued the healing available through Jesus, and this faith had appropriated that healing for her.

Okay, so here we are in the present day, and I think that this message should resonate with us now. There are many problems we encounter. Sickness, financial lack, and problems with families.

Perhaps we have gone to every professional and we have tried everything they have recommended.  Perhaps we have even spent all that we had in order to find the answer. Yet the problem is still raging – with no solution in sight.

Yet as we think  about Jesus, read God’s Word and pray, we begin to focus on a different kind of solution – a heavenly one. God is still working miracles – in the 21st century. He is healing supernaturally, restoring broken lives, and restoring broken families. He is also making a way for provision when there seems to be no way for it to come.

When I find myself facing difficult situations, this woman and her tenacity stir me to take action. I pray and read passages of Scripture or other books to elevate my faith. I have seen many miracles in my own life, and I expect to see many more.

And I know that there are times when you have to be bold as you go for your answers. You must pursue. You have to be determined to press through the crowd of casual believers and receive answers which seem impossible to many.

Then you’ll hear those words, “Who touched Me?” You’ll receive that power that only Jesus and His Holy Spirit can give.