AFM Ministry's David Shelton

David's Life applications of God, his Word and his calling

Category: Worship

Difficult work of ministry

I have a new blog post up on our ministry site  at the link below..or click on the image to take you to it.

Juliana-church kids

https://afm.ngo/presidents-blog/2017/7/11/the-difficult-work-of-ministry

PRAYING ALIGNMENT WITH GOD

https://afm.ngo/presidents-blog/2017/6/27/praying-alignment-with-god

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The Great Terrorist

“May I be daily more and more conformed to thee, with the meekness and calmness of the Lamb in my soul, and a feeling sense of the felicity of heaven, where I long to join angels free from imperfections, where in the image of my adored Saviour will be completely restored, so that I may be fit for his enjoyments and employments.
I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face, for I know I shall be drawn, not driven, out of the world.” – excerpt from a Puritan prayer from ‘The Valley of Vision’

Early America was filled with many well educated and literate devout followers of Christ. Prayers and speech like this are full of solid theological  meaning and depth that we just do not hear today. We today are some of the shallowest people our nation has ever produced due to the techno-media sound bite attention span most of us have, we rarely plumb into the depths of God’s word and truths and apply them so eloquently to our own words and lives.  When I read these Puritan prayers, I am challenged to think and ponder God’s Word and his blessed truths as they apply to myself. Thank the Lord for many writings from these godly people of early America and beyond. We all would do well to read more of our Christian ancestors and their deep faith and knowledge of God. They offer us much wisdom and inspiration. 
Who today speaks like this? Who talks about the “felicity”  (intense happiness) of heaven? Who refers to our God as the “king of terrors”, because truly He is for all the unrepentant!
Look how the prophet Isaiah responded to the King of glory when he saw his vision:

Each creature was calling to the others: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord All-Powerful. His glory fills the whole earth.” Their calling caused the frame around the door to shake, as the Temple filled with smoke.
I said, “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure, but I have seen the King, the Lord All-Powerful.”-Isaiah 6:3-5 NCV

And this same God who came and befriended us, saved us from his own terrible wrath to come for our own sins, will return as the greatest terrorist of all time bringing fear to the vast majority of sinners in the world! Look how John’s Revelation pictures him!

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The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.- Revelation 1:14-18 ESV

But for us redeemed by his merciful hand, we know him as the shepherd of our souls. Truly he is the meek and mild Shepherd who is the defender of our lives.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. -John 10:14,15

Our Holy Holy Holy God, has given us who trust in him a  confidence and peace beyond words, because apart from that, we should all tremble..tremble….tremble…. If still lost in our own righteousness (or should I say our lack thereof)
The standard is God’s holiness.
How will you measure up?

  In Christ you are pure and perfect…
…if you don’t know him, you are not going to fare well. Terror is the best description.

Before God blindly?

I am Gabriel!!! I stand in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you this good news!!  (Luke 1:19 exclamations mine)

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This is how I see it. I added the exclamations. This is from the story of Zechariah the priest getting the news of his 80 year old wife’s pregnancy; their prayers for a son answered by God in such a dramatic way. Zechariah was standing before God’s highest archangel and requesting a sign!?? Really? Haha. Wow. I hope when God speaks to me l can be more properly responsive. I mean he came and appeared before him fresh in the glory of God himself, the archangel Gabriel!

Just before, the text states that Zechariah “nearly peed himself” in fear, when Gabriel appeared in vs 12 (using modern day expressions)! Gabriel had to comfort him to not to be afraid, but that he came bearing good news, and then he told him that he and Elizabeth’s prayers were about to be answered with the conception of John.

Just prior to all this the text narrates some about who Zechariah and Elizabeth were. It said they were righteous people before God, living blameless lives following God’s commands.
Wow. That’s quite a statement of how great a man Zechariah really was! He was truly a man of faith, while most only were going through the motions of religion, he followed God out of love and obedient faith.  It had been hundreds of years of mostly silence to the people of Israel. Miracles were mostly stories of long ago history, so when Zachariah gets a visit from heaven’s great angel Gabriel, he had trouble with what seems like simple faith. Zechariah sees and trembles and hears the from God his Holy Angel, and then dares ask for a sign to prove what he said was true? LOL. I can’t help but laugh.

   We know how the story ends. This statement above is what Gabriel begins with by basically saying (my rendition):
“I am Gabriel, ” for crying out loud! Are you so blind and dim that you don’t take my own appearing before you as enough of a sign?! Well since you apparently are so blind, I’ll make you blind until your son is born! That will be your sign!” 

I chuckle at this story, but as I think it over I also freeze with some fear over my own frailties and inability to hear God and obey at first word from him. I too have stood in the presence of not just one of his holy Angels, but the presence of God through his indwelling Spirit! Yet I still get dim-witted and blind and allow myself to fall into sin from time to time. O how this grieves me and causes me to fall on my face in repentance and sadness!
   My God who redeemed me and robed me his own glory and righteousness, the goodness of Christ, and who now lives in me through the Holy Spirit; How in my right and sane mind could I ever willfully sin?! How?!
Like Paul sometimes, I must humble my heart and say, “O wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

Within us all is a war raging! A war of love for God’s law and glory, given by Holy Spirit transforming us from the inside out, the new man born of God, daily fighting the old man and law of sin and death! If you desire God, and truly want to be like Jesus, this battle will never stop raging…the day it does, you have turned around and are walking from God.

Fight my friends! Never give up! From Glory to Glory we shall overcome! We know when we fail our God, we have purification and restoration to keep in the war! All we need to do is repent and come to Jesus. (1Jhn 1:8-9)
We too can rejoice like Paul and say as he did in Romans 7:25 …

“Thanks be then to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Why? Because Jesus himself declared that even if we fall, Satan can never own us ever again and he will complete what he started in us(Phil1:6)!
Hallelujah!

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”
-John 10:27-30

Stay in the battle and see with clear eyes the glory of God working in you.

Think on this.

Why should I be afraid of bad days? Why should I fear when evil people surround me? They trust in their money and brag about their riches. No one can buy back the life of another. No one can pay God for his own life, because the price of a life is high. No payment is ever enough. Do people live forever? Don’t they all face death? See, even wise people die. Fools and stupid people also die and leave their wealth to others. Their graves will always be their homes. They will live there from now on, even though they named places after themselves. Even rich people do not live forever; like the animals, they all die. This is what will happen to those who trust in themselves and to their followers who believe them. Think deeply on this.
Like sheep, they must die, and death will be their shepherd. Honest people will rule over them in the morning, and their bodies will rot in a grave far from home.
But God will save my life and will take me from the grave.
Think deeply on this.

psa.49.5-15

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Be raised with Christ today!

Come let us worship and bow down our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!
For Sunday we celebrate his victory over both sin and death, and the power over Satan whose head was CRUSHED in the resurrection of Christ from the dead!  Our living Lord has risen and he has given us his Holy Spirit to conquer all of sin and Satan’s power over us! You my friends are meant to walk in the kingdom of light! To be a soul winner and to tear down the gates of Hell! This is your destiny and purpose and the Devil knows it!  This is why so many find living for Jesus so hard at times!

Yet as you should all know when you, when you walk in darkness by sinning and listening to the deceptions of the devil, God allows you to be defeated and crushed in spirit and miserable to move you to you towards repentance so that you can make these words of revival your personal testimony…listen to God speaking to you…

Lamentations 3:19-26 ESV

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:   The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.   It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord .

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You see it is the power of faith in the truths of God that invigorate hope and move our soul to come to the Lord continually for our salvation and peace and joy! 

The Bible says ,”Just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue in him, rooted and built up in him, abounding in thanksgiving as you have been taught”! (Col 2:6-7)

How did you first come to Jesus? In humility and repentant faith, correct? So daily do likewise. For we are saved once and for all by faith in Jesus Christ; but also in practical daily life to transform us from our sin nature into his nature , we are daily being saved! So walk in the light and know Jesus as Lord, Savior, Friend and Shepherd of you soul!
He loves you and has given you everything you need to defeat the darkness before you and to Overcome! In Christ you are an Overcomer! In him you can do all things God has willed for you!  All he needs from you is willingness to humble yourself before him and act in faithful obedience.
HE is the GOOD Shepherd.
Celebrate with thankfulness like never before as you meditate on his amazing grace and love!
Amen!

Resting deeply.

Could you sleep through a violent thunderstorm pounding your home? I do many times, but I know many who cannot. How about if we add a mega earthquake to that storm?  Could you sleep through that?
Okay..you know someone who could maybe?
Well then let’s move their comfy bed outside and then let the torrent of rain fall down on them and add that storm and earthquake to them. How about then? Could they sleep though that?!   I bet not!
   You’d have to either be literally unconscious, crazy, dead, or so full of assurance of your life being in Gods hands, that you would be comfy taking a “rocking-n-rolling-shower-in-bed-while-you-slept” nap!!

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I love the story in Matthews Gospel about Jesus sleeping in the storm. Just think about this. The twelve disciples on a relatively tiny fishing boat in a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee fighting for their lives to stay afloat while water is violently thrashing around their boat splashing in and all over everyone! There is no “below deck” sleeping quarters here…just think like a large canoe! And yet Jesus is quietly taking a peaceful catnap with water splashing all over him… and the thunderstorms seemingly about to sink their vessel far away from land! Think loud, rough and wet!

Read this Matthew 8:23-27 with me…

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

He was asleep! They had to go and wake him!
I mean there is so many things to take away from this account and his miracle of commanding the storm and the sea to be calm is what most of us focus on because of its miraculous nature, but don’t overlook this important part of the story!

Jesus was sleeping! Really! How can that be? Think about how you cannot sleep when even tiny things worry you and keep your mind churning… Just imaging what is going through Jesus’s head to sleep through such an event. Nothing! Absolutely nothing but a dream about riding a cart pulled by 12 little lambs.. Haha. Who knows what he was dreaming, but I can tell you this. It was no nightmare!
He had total confidence that the Fathers will must be done… and his heart was so in tune with God’s so as to rest totally in God’s divine power and sovereignty!  (He and the Father are one in essence and the Spirit kept him humanly aware)
So he did not worry that they would perish on that lake because he knew this…
God’s will was not for them to drown at sea
    but to spill his blood for you and me..
on the cursed tree!

Are we willing to let go of life control so much as to drop of all your worries, and truly trust in God?
Oh how I pray for this kind of Holy Spirit power. Not so much to command the seas and the winds, but to rest my soul even in the storms that blow through my own mind and life!
We all have various storms, but will we rest in Christ through faith?

Come unto me all you who are tired and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. -Jesus (Matt 11:28)

He is the Master of REST! 

Humility, a prayer

God.
You do not play in convincing me of sin,
Satan did not play in tempting me to it,
I do not play when I sink in deep mire,
  for sin is no game, no toy, no bauble;
Let me never forget the heinousness of sin lies
  not so much in the nature of sin committed,
as in the greatness of You, the One sinned against.
When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me,
  By showing me that in myself I am a dying condemned wretch,
  but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive, and satisfied;
that I am feeble and unable to do any good,
But that in him, I can do all things and for your glory!  Thank you Father God. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Inspired by “‘Humiliation’ The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers”

O God my exceeding joy!

Singing your praises uplifts my heart, for you are a fountain of delight, and do bless the soul that joys in you.
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But because of my hearts rebellion, I cannot always praise you as I should; yet I will at all times rest myself in your excellencies, your goodness, and loving-kindness.

In Jesus, you are the object of inexpressible joy, and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought of you.

But Lord, I am sometimes as though your enemy; my nature revolts and wanders from you.

Help me to extol you with my entire heart-submission, to be diligent in self-examination, to ask myself whether I live as one born-again, whether my spirit is as that of your child, whether my griefs are those that bring repenting hearts, whether my joys are the joys of faith, whether my confidence in Christ works in love and purifies the soul.

Give me the sweet results of faith, in my secret character, and in my public life.

Cast cords of love around my heart, then hold me and never let me go!

May the Saviors wounds sway me more than the scepter of princes.

Let me love you in a love that covers and swallows up all, that I may not violate the pure union with all of your beloved!

There is much unconquered territory in my nature, so scourge out the buyers and sellers of my souls temple, and give me in return pure desires and longings after perfect holiness with you my dear Lord. 

This is my prayer, my Father;  My God, my Savior!

Amen.

My prayer today adapted from “A ministers praises, Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers “

Man a Nothing

O Lord, I am a shell full of dust,
But animated with an invisible rational soul
And made anew by an unseen power of grace;
Yet I am no rare object of valuable price,
But one who has nothing and is nothing,
Although chosen by you from eternity!
Given to Christ and born again!

I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of my sinful state,
Of the vanity of creatures,
But also of the sufficiency of Christ.
When you would try to guide me, I control myself.
When you would be sovereign, I rule myself.
When you would take care of me, I do it myself.
When I should depend on your provisions, I supply myself.
When I should submit on your providence, I follow my will.
When I should study, live, honor, trust you, I serve myself.
I fault and correct your laws to suit myself.
Instead of you, I look to man’s approbation, his approval.
I am by nature an idolater!

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to you!
Convince me that I cannot be my own God!
Or make myself happy,
Nor be my own Christ to restore my joy;
Nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, and rule me.

Help me to see that grace does this by the will of your afflictions,
For when my credit is good, you cast me lower,
When riches are my idol, you make them grow wings,
When pleasure is my all, you do turn it into bitterness.
You are the good God who does what it takes to transform my corrupted heart!
Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;
Show me Jesus that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience,
Or support this tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit.
Then O God, I implore you, take me to the cross,
And leave me there! Yes…leave me there where your blood flows down and washes me clean….. This I pray. 

Amen

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My prayer for today, adapted and inspired by ‘Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers”