1) MESSAGE 23 10 12 ISRAEL
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Daniel chapter 3 verse 18
Daniel had been taken as a teen to Babylon nearly twenty years before the fall of Jerusalem. Daniel lived in exile along with those of his own people who had been taken into exile from Judah. Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon decided that some of the young men who had come from Jerusalem should be brought to his palace and trained.
Daniel was amongst these. From the start Daniel and his friends would not defile themselves with the king’s meat and drink. Daniel kept to following a life of separation to God. He would not in any way cease from giving himself wholly to God. Because of his dedication to God we are told:
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Daniel chapter 1 verse 9
Daniel became very skilled in all learning and wisdom. He also had understanding in visions and dreams. Nebuchadnezzer had a dream of the which none of the king’s advisors could give an interpretation. Daniel, though, was given the interpretation and the king made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzer decided to build an image of gold. He did not know God. The time came when the image was to be dedicated. All the rulers of the provinces of Babylon along with all the princes and officials of the king attended the dedication. It was unlike other dedications in that everyone attending was commanded at the sound of music all had to fall down and worship the image.
Disobedience brought the prospect of being cast into a burning fiery furnace. To those who did not worship God to obey the command was easy. To Daniel and his friends this was an abomination. It was in direct conflict with their faith. How could they obey the command when their God had given the command that they should have no other gods but Himself. To Daniel and his friends they knew that they could not obey even at the prospect of being cast into the burning fiery furnace.
All fell down at the sound of the music except Daniel and his friends as they were Jews. This was reported to king Nebuchadnezzar by some of the Chaldeans who spoke about Daniel and his friends as Jews. When Nebuchadnezzer received this report he was furious. Although Nebuchadnezzer offered Daniel and his friends a further opportunity to fall down and worship the image they could never obey the command. To hear the words:
Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Daniel chapter 3 verse 15
This was an affront to God. Nebuchnezzer had overstepped the mark and would in God’s time be brought low. For the present Daniel showed respect to king Nebuchadnezzer but could never obey the command. Daniel had a faith which was stronger than all the threats of king Nebuchadnezzer. He believed that God was well able to deliver him and his friends from the fiery furnace and out of the hand of the king but even if he did not do so Daniel made it clear that his God was more to him than life itself.
What a stance of faith we see here in Daniel. One which still speaks today. Daniel and his friends were cast into the fiery furnace but there was no death there as who should be with them but the Son of God. Nebuchadnezzer saw a forth person in the furnace and it was the king who said that this person was like the Son of God. Daniel and his friends were set free from the furnace. The king’s attitude was so changed that he accepted that Daniel’s God was different to any other god. Daniel and his friends as Jews had both been protected and justified because they had put God first in their lives.
Has anything changed since the time of Daniel and his friends? In many ways no. As a Jew Daniel was singled out. There have been times when the Jews have been singled out by enemies of God and tried to be destroyed. Nothing has changed here as even in our own day there are still rulers and nations who are determined to destroy the Jews. Why should this be? It is because Satan will do all he can to try and prevent Yeshua returning to Jerusalem to be received by the Jews as their Messiah.
One of our responsibilities as Christians is to pray for the preservation of Jerusalem and the Jews and see that God’s promises in the Bible in relation to the return of Jesus are brought to birth.
The Christian life is one of accepting responsibility. Like Daniel it is not looking to our own wellbeing but to honour our God and seek first the kingdom of God. This kingdom will see the bringing together of Jew and Gentile as one in Christ Jesus.
Just as Daniel and his friends put God first in their lives and would not compromise there are still many throughout the world who have had their faith tested to its limits. Over the centuries and even now there are those who have paid the ultimate price in death because Jesus meant more to them than life itself. How many are in prison today because Jesus means more to them than life and they will follow Him at any price. It is not loss to these dear brothers and sisters but they count it all joy to follow Jesus and suffer for His name. What a privilege to stand in prayer with those who are in prison or in any other way are persecuted for the Lord and Saviour who is everything to them. Although we do not know many of these dear ones by name it humbles me to the ground to think of what they are prepared to go through for the One who loved them and gave His life for them.
May we who are not in prison for our faith or suffer the prospect of persecution just because we are Christians look to examine our own walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Have we realised that there is a price to pay as Christians. It should not be a life of one way communication by only asking God for the things we want. No. It is seeking the kingdom of God. It is seeking like Daniel to give God his rightful place. It is following the example and words of Jesus in taking up our cross and following Him. God first, serving others second and ourselves last.
Lord Jesus Christ can we ever thank you enough for all that you mean to each one of us. You love with a love which is unlike any other love. This is the love which reaches down from heaven because you were prepared to die in our place. Thank you Jesus that the one perfect offering for sin through the shedding of your blood has made it possible for every sinner in the world to be reconciled with God. May we who have received the cleansing of your blood love you with a love which also accepts the way of the cross. Lord, there are many who are in prison because they have gone the way of the cross as like Daniel they would not follow other gods. There are many who are persecuted for their love of you in countries which do not accept you. Lord Jesus please be with those who are in prison for you or suffer persecution for their faith in you. May we who are also your people stand with our dear brothers and sisters as we remember them in prayer. This prayer seeks only to bring honour and glory to the name of our God. Amen.
2) MESSAGE 06 11 12 ISRAEL
Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
Ezra chapter 1 verse 3
The more time we spend in studying the Word of God the more our confidence in Him will grow. God does everything according to His own perfect will. He is never too early and never too late. God’s own people the Jews had been taken into captivity to Babylon because of their disobedience to God. The captivity was not to be indefinite but the Jews would return to Jerusalem according to God’s word. This word was declared by the prophet Jeremiah.
For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 10
God was true to His promise. The Babylonian empire had crumbled. In its place had come the Persian empire. We read that in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia God fulfilled His promise that the Jews would return to Jerusalem. This was a king who was not a Jew and did not know God. Even though Cyrus did not know God he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom in order to fulfil God’s promise. It appears incredible that someone who was not one of God’s own people the Jews could be used to do such a thing. Cyrus acknowledged that it was God who had given him his kingdom and charged him to build God’s house in Jerusalem. There was already a temple in Jerusalem but this was in need of repair. This is the way our God has worked throughout history. He has fulfilled His promises and often worked in ways which are different to what our human minds would have expected.
Not only was Cyrus used to make a proclamation about the building of God’s house in Jerusalem but he made it possible for God’s own people the Jews to return and do the restoration work. Cyrus encouraged the Jews to return as we read that he said “ his God be with him” chapter 1 verse 3. Not only was the way opened for those Jews who were willing to return and restore the temple but there was a call also for those not returning to give towards the expense of restoring the temple. The response was to give full support for this great work. Moreover Cyrus knew of all the vessels which had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and placed in the house of the heathen Babylonian gods and these would be returned to their rightful place.
Our God is the God of precision. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He knew that even before the Jews were taken into captivity in Babylon that this would only last seventy years and He already had His perfect plan to both restore the Jews to Jerusalem and restore the temple. This is exactly what happened as Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the priest along with Ezra were used by God to ensure that the temple was restored.
The return of the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple is a great encouragement. God had His own plan and saw that this was completed. He is the same God for His word declares this to be the case.
For I am the LORD, I change not.
Malachi chapter 3 verse 6
In the present day there are similarities with this account of the call to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Instead of a physical building in need of repair it is the Church of Jesus Christ. The Jews had disobeyed God and because of this were taken into exile. In our own times how many who call themselves Christian are not because like the Jews they have gone after other gods. In the case of today how many places of worship do not proclaim the true Jesus but follow another Jesus.
For he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 4
If I preached another Jesus no doubt this would be to a full church. I do not preach to pamper to the flesh and make the hearers to feel self satisfied. No. Never. The message which the Holy Spirit will always make known through me is that of the way of the cross and full surrender. In western society the true Jesus is not welcome by the majority of so called Christians. Why you might ask. It is because the true Jesus demands our all. It is living in the spirit or should I say the Holy Spirit living in us His own life when we have been willing to say I am willing to be made willing for you to have my body and live your life in me, a life like that of Jesus. This is all of Him and none of me. It is only when the work of the Holy Spirit takes place at this level that we have fully entered into these words of Saint Paul.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I , but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians chapter 2 verse 20
Who are you following? Is this the true Jesus or the false Jesus? In countries like Sri Lanka, India and Kenya Christians accept the message of full surrender. In western society the message of full surrender is usually rejected as it goes right across everything which is seen as important in life. Which Jesus have you chosen? Is this the one which pampers to self or the one which follows the way of the cross? Of one thing I am sure very few in western society are prepared to lose all for the true Jesus who gave every last drop of His blood on the cross in order to reconcile sinners to God. It is the Sri Lankans Indians, Kenyans and others from poor countries who are prepared to go all the way that the true Jesus will turn to ensure that the Gospel is taken into all the world.
Lord Jesus Christ may we always keep before us the cost of our salvation. We were condemned sinners without hope as we had no communication with God. We were dead in trespasses and sins. Yet, Lord, whilst we were yet sinners you had taken our place on Calvary’s cross and shed every last drop of your blood to be the one perfect sacrifice for sin for ever. In the light of your sacrifice how can we not give you our all. You died for us; we need to die to self so that your life can be made known through us to ensure that the Gospel reaches every creature. Lord there are numerous so called Christians who believe they are following you but live only for self as they follow another Jesus. In your mercy blessed Lord give them the chance to turn to you the true Jesus and follow you in a life which is prepared to accept the way of the cross and surrender all to you. This prayer seeks only to bring honour and glory to the name of our God. Amen.
3) BRIAN MASON MESSAGE
to the People of Great Britain
08 January 2013
And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord.
1 Samuel chapter 7 verse 5
Samuel’s life was wholly dedicated to God. Even before his birth his mother Hannah had promised to give him to God if God would answer her prayer and give her a son. Hannah had not been able to have children and was at the end of herself not able to understand why she was not able to have children. It is when we come to the end of ourselves and humanly speaking whatever we are seeking is humanly impossible that God intervenes. Hannah’s motives were pure in that there was to be no selfish gain from being able to have the son she asked from God.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.
1 Samuel chapter 1 verse 11
How rightly it has been said that the end of self is the beginning of God. O that God would bring Christians today to a realisation that their own efforts and human thinking are at the root of why Christianity is at best a pale shadow of the dynamism of the early Church.
God heard Hannah’s prayer because it was a prayer which had been placed on Hannah’s heart. Hannah had been brought to the place where God wanted her to be. It is only when each one of us is brought to the place where God wants us to be that God is able to do what He wants to do.
Hannah kept her promise as when Samuel was old enough she took him to the house of God in Shiloh. Whilst there Hannah told Eli the priest that she had prayed for a child whilst on her last visit and she had now brought the child to be dedicated to God. Samuel was dedicated to God as evidenced by the following words.
And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.
1 Samuel chapter 2 verse 11
In contrast the sons of Eli were called sons of Belial. Although they were priests their lives were corrupt to the core. They were out for self gain rather than serving God with pure hearts. God knew all about the sons of Eli and as they were not right with God they could not be allowed to carry on the work of God when their father died. Samuel instead was to be trained to carry on the work of God for it was in Samuel that God had found someone who gave his whole life to God without a thought of self gain.
Even whilst still a child God made Himself known to Samuel when He spoke to Samuel three times in the temple when the lamp of God had gone out. When Samuel heard a voice he went to Eli who said he had not called him. This happened a second and then a third time. After the third time Eli told Samuel to go back and say:
Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.
1 Samuel chapter 3 verse 9
There had been no open vision, that is, contact from God to His people for many years. God had been waiting until He could find someone He could trust. Samuel was told what God would do in relation to Eli and his sons. There was to be judgement on the sin of the sons who had corrupted the office of the priest instead of being men set apart in holiness to serve a holy God. The old order through the line of Eli was to cease. Instead God had in Samuel someone after His own heart and someone He could trust. When the judgement came it was total. There was first four thousand men killed in battle with the Philistines. The elders of Israel called for the ark of the covenant to be taken to the place of a further battle as they believed that this would save them out of the hand of their enemies. This could not happen as God had deserted his people because of sin. The sons of Eli were killed along with thirty thousand footmen but more significantly the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines.
It was for a period of twenty years that the people of Israel lamented after the Lord. The ark of the covenant had eventually been returned by the Philistines for it had proved to be a curse to them whilst it was in their hands.It was after this time of lamentation that Samuel can be seen as taking on his life’s ministry. He had been fully prepared by God and was now a man of authority. He had that which is so lacking in ministry today. He had power. It was through humility that he received this power. It was not self sufficiency but every part of his life was given over to God. Samuel called the people back to God as they had to put away all other gods and serve God alone. It was when they did this that God would deliver them out of the hand of their enemy the Philistines. The people were willing to obey as they fasted and acknowledged that they had sinned against God. It was only when the people were willing to turn away from their wicked ways by casting aside other gods and serving their own God alone that Samuel was able to pray for them unto the Lord.
How similar this is to present day Britain. The people have for years gone after other gods. Instead of keeping to their God given constitution and honouring the oath sworn by the Queen at her coronation Britain has become apostate. It is the Protestant Reformed Religion which has to kept. Anything outside of this is acting as corruptly as the sons of Eli did in not giving God His rightful place. Great Britain take note as you are no longer great. The glory has departed. Will you continue to act in defiance like the sons of Eli did. If you do then God’s judgement which is already upon you will not just remain but the judgement will become more severe. There will be no improvement through human thinking for only God Himself can bring prosperity. People of Great Britain learn from the judgement of the people of God in the time of Samuel. Your only hope is to turn away from following other gods and do that which is contained in the Queen’s oath. The European Union will continue to destroy you as much as the Philistines destroyed the people of Israel. People of Great Britain your only hope is for there to be a day of fasting and repentance called by the Queen and for a turning to God through His own provided means as contained in the Bible where Jesus Christ said:
I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
St John chapter 14 verse 6
Lord Jesus Christ what deep truths are contained in the Word of God. At the time when Samuel was born the people of God had gone after serving other gods. The priests too were corrupt as they sought their own selfish ends instead of being set apart for God. The people of Israel had to be judged for their sinful ways. Yet Lord in all this in God’s time there was the man Samuel who had been prepared to lead the people back to God as they repented of their sin. Lord Jesus the people of Great Britain have also sinned and continue to sin as they have disobeyed their God given constitution and are also serving other gods. Lord continue your judgement upon Great Britain in order to bring the people to repentance. Lord Jesus please remember that it is by grace that the sinner is saved. Help us Lord to turn to you in repentance. Thank you Lord Jesus that your blood can wash every repentant sinner clean. Lord in your mercy turn us back to God. This prayer seeks only to bring honour and glory to the name of our God. Amen.