God Pleaser

Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond servant of Christ.”
If we are truly serving God, we will upset men. But we must make that choice. It is inevitable because we live in a sinful world that hates holiness and righteousness, therefore by standing for those things you will also be hated at times. But rejoice when you suffer for God, because He is well pleased with you.
I encourage all who proclaim to be in Christ: do not be ashamed of Jesus, or His words. Stand for them even if you are standing alone, for when you do, know that the Lord is standing with you. May God give you grace to live for Him.
Love Jonathan Ball

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Don’t Settle Down

If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, then I charge you before the Father in heaven: don’t settle in this life as if you belong to this world. To those who have been born from above, we are told that we are only pilgrims here, travelers who are just passing through to get to where we really belong, the kingdom of Heaven. We are told not to focus on the passing world around us, because it is simply fading away. Why build a kingdom in a place that is perishing? Instead we are to seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God, for we died to this world and are hidden with Christ in the Father (Colossians 3:1-3).
Rather than putting your energies into this passing world, throw them into the unseen things of Heaven. Build godly character, serve others, build up the body of Christ and reach the lost with the everlasting gospel. Those are the works that will follow you into eternity; your bank account won’t.
Those things might not earn you a fancy new car or a palace somewhere, and they might not even give you a good name with the world (since the world hates Jesus), but if your a true believer, you already gave up pursuing those things… Right?
The end result is this: we must live in this world while we are here so use what you have, but don’t let it be the focus of you life. For true life is more than food and the body more than clothing (Luke 12). God knows what you need before you ask, so don’t worry about it. Take the energy that you would put into worrying and use it to press into the kingdom of God. Read His word daily and obey it. Live life with a lose hand when it comes to worldly possessions. Find out what Gods will is and live for it. When you seek Him you will find that He is more real than anything in this present life, for He is the Author of Life!

Love in Christ, Jonathan Ball

The Day You Die

Ask yourself, “when is the day I will die?” Is it tomorrow? Is it in 50 years? Will I die from a heart attack, old age or a car accident? No one really knows, but 1 thing is certain, that 10 out of 10 of us will die. No one will escape.
The Bible tells us that it is appointed for all men to die, and after that the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). God is a just Judge and must do what is right. He sees every lie we have told, every time we have cheated, every time we have acted selfishly, every time we have lusted in our heart for someone else’s spouse, every time we have cursed others in anger, every greed driven motive, every secret of mans heart and He sees that we have never loved Him, the One who gave us life and every good thing, the way that we ought too. The list could go on, but the fact is that we are very very guilty. If we are honest we will admit that all of mankind is worthy of hell and deserving of judgment. But God is rich in mercy, unlike humanity. Even though mankind has sinned against Him continually, He does not desire us to end up in Hell. He has offered us redemption through His Son Jesus Christ, who came 2000 years ago to pay the punishment for our sins. He diverted the righteous wrath of God off of us and onto Himself, taking the full brunt of the Fathers judgment so we wouldn’t have too. That is called love. He laid down His life for a world that is un thankful and disobedient. What a wonderful God. But for His sacrifice to apply to your life He requires you to confess and forsake your sins, even if you enjoy them, and put your trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross (his death, burial and resurrection). God will give you the gift of eternal life and erase your sins, but its your choice. You can continue in your sins and pay the full price on Judgment Day or you can turn in repentance and put your faith in Gods Son.
Please, if you have not, turn to Jesus today while you still have breath in your lungs. You are not promised tomorrow. I am pleading with you on Gods behalf: be reconciled to Him now. For Jesus will either be your Savior today, or your Judge on the Day of Judgment.
Love Jonathan Ball

Count the Cost

Count the Cost

Richard Wurmbrand

(He spent 14 years in communist prisons being tortured for Christ)

“In Mark 5, Jesus orders demons to leave a possessed man and enter into a herd of swine. After the demons enter the swine, they run straight into the sea and drown. The owners of the swine, the Gadarenes, thus lost their means of feeding themselves and their children. How would we react if the entrance of Jesus into our lives meant the loss of our house, car, bank account or job? The Gadarenes reacted by asking Jesus to leave the area.”

Just seeing pictures of this man Richard make me want to weep. Reading his writings is like hearing of a foreign Christianity, one that you only hear about in books. The sacrifice that the underground Church makes when they chose to follow Christ is costly, costing Richard 18 deep torture wounds, years of horrific suffering, separation from his wife and son, and the pain of witnessing his brothers and sisters in Christ be martyred for their faith. This is not something known to the west.

Nevertheless, what Scripture tells us is true for all generations and all walks of life; those who truly follow Christ will suffer (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus said to count the cost before we chose to follow Him. Are we willing to follow Him at any price? Will we follow Him at the price of our worldly pleasures, at the lost of friends, at the price of being mocked by others? Are we willing to suffer ridicule for His name, or is our profession of faith shallow? Are you willing to stand for righteousness even if everyone else gets angry and calls you a fool (Mark 8:38, Matthew 5:11, 12)? We might have never been faced with physical harm yet for our faith, but it is coming. Will we go to prison for the sake of the gospel? Are we willing to suffer loss because we serve the Great Master of all, Jesus Christ?

Know that there are believers all around the world this very hour that would die for their faith in Jesus; they have lost limbs, family members, parents, and children because they turned to Christ. They love Him and worship Him with all that they are. They live in caves and mud huts, they worship in forests and secret places because if they are caught they could go to prison for decades. There are tens of thousands around the world who are in chains, all because they refuse to deny the One who gave His life for them. To them Christianity is serious, serious as life and death. When they chose to follow Him, trust me, it is at a cost.

But this high price has produced the most beautiful believers in the world. Because of their living sacrifice, their lives become passionate, fruitful, a sweet fragrance to all around. The power of their testimony becomes more than just words, but a tangible evidence of their love for God. In the face of death they sing, because they know that they will soon be in the presence of their sweet Savior.

So what do we do here, that we may be as committed as they? It starts by counting the cost. Why did we come to Jesus, was it to enhance our self centered lives? If so you should just stop now, since you will fall away as soon as it gets difficult. But let us do as Jesus commanded, let us count the cost (Luke 14:26- 33). The cost is death to you, allowing Jesus to live in you (Galatians 2:20). Before you profess to follow Jesus, and certainly before you tell others you are a Christian, consider if you would follow Him at the cost of your family, job, health, money, agenda and happiness?  If anything would turn you away from Him, you cannot be His disciple.

Even though this sounds too hard to handle for our American ears, it is the only real Christianity, and it is the only gospel that will give you true life. Many wonder why they are so unhappy as “Christians”, so unfulfilled; why the answer is quite simple, it is because they have not fully surrendered to Christ. But when we die, then we shall life, and that life is abundant. Richard Wurmbrand said he has only see truly joyful Christians in prison and in the underground Church.

LORD, please help us as a Church to learn what it really means to follow You. We need you so very much. Break us and teach us, mold us and shape us into the people You want us to be. Please Father do WHATEVER it takes to produce a beautiful bride for Your Son, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Love Jonathan Ball