Posts

Ambassadors For Christ

Ambassadors For Christ

This world desperately needs to see Jesus as He really is. And this is where you and I come in! To be ambassadors of Christ. An ambassador speaks of a representative who will reflect the official position of whoever (or whatever) they are representing.

At David McCracken Ministries, we have a passion to see the Church Triumphant accurately and powerfully representing the Lord Jesus Christ in every nation.

As His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) we are the ones that God has chosen to declare His Son to this world. As His Church, we are not called to demonstrate a religion nor an organisation, we are called to be a supernatural people, living a supernatural life, declaring a supernatural Christ. We are called to declare a Message that declares His absolute authority over sin, sickness and every Satanic oppression.

In Matthew 24:14 we are given our Commission to take this Gospel of The Kingdom into ‘all nations’.

The objective is not just to make converts. It is to bring a ‘witness’ of Christ to that nation. That means raising up a body of believers that are true ‘Ambassadors’ of the King. It means we represent Him in everyday living, in our families, in our vocation, in our recreation, in our corporate gatherings, in our involvement in society. Our calling is to live like The Christ, talk like The Christ, act like The Christ. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ who are empowered, significant, and relevant.

For such a community to be established in ‘all nations’ (literally in every language group), the whole Body of Christ must be involved. An ‘all nations’ commission demands an ‘all saints’ policy of involvement. Why? Because, as Ambassadors, His agenda must become our agenda; His heartbeat must become our heartbeat; His passion must become our passion. And His passion is for ‘all nations’ to see Him accurately and fully represented.

Friends, if we are all His Ambassadors, then we will share His vision, His heartbeat and His passion. His vision is that in every language group on the Earth, there shall come the living witness of an all-conquering, miracle-working, compassionate, redemptive Christ that has all authority to set them free and give them a new life.

True humility is seen in our worship, our adoration, and obedience to the Supreme King of our heart and in our accurate representation of who He is, and in carrying out of His will on the Earth as it is in Heaven. Let’s honour Him by fulfilling the royal commission He placed upon us: to be His ambassadors who exercise His spiritual authority to ensure His will is done on the earth as it is in heaven!

In such a Cause we are all called to serve. This is the call of God on our lives!

Let this be the year you discover your own personal role in seeing His Vision for ‘all nations’ become a reality.

 

Beyond Understanding

Beyond Understanding

As human beings, we are naturally curious. We like to know things and understand them. But is our ability to understand everything essential for spiritual growth and the development of spiritual gifts? No. In fact, a sign of spiritual maturity is an acceptance that there will always be things that are beyond our understanding.

Job 36:26 (NIV) How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of humility.

God knows everything, we do not. It’s good to remember that Gods ways and His thoughts are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). It’s also good to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). Humility is more necessary for spiritual growth than understanding is.

Humility is equally required in our spiritual gifts. Even when Father reveals something to us, we only get a part of the picture or story.

1 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV) For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of trust. 

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Completely understanding something often eliminates the need for having to trust in someone. God wants us to trust in Him completely, yet too often our greater trust can be in our ability to understand something.

When it comes to receiving a prophetic word from God for someone, we don’t always understand what it means. This can be a scary step of faith, because if we had a little more understanding, we could be a bit more confident. But the truth is, these are the very times when our trust in God is to be greater than our trust in our understanding.

If there is an item of technology that you completely understand and you know from experience it works, your confidence is in the item. However, if you don’t understand an item and you don’t know if it works, your trust in it is connected to who tells you about it. If you trust the person, you can trust the item.

When God speaks, we can trust Him completely. If we don’t understand what He says, we can still trust in Him because He is always trustworthy.

A willingness to not understand keeps us from distraction.

Many people have spent many hours trying to understand something. While understanding in and of itself is not a wrong pursuit, the problem is when the time given and the thing pursued is taking you away from time with Father and what He wants to show you.

When the disciples asked Jesus about the times and seasons, He redirected them to His present commission to be His witnesses (Acts 1:6-8). If the disciples had stayed focused on what they wanted to understand, they would have been off track with what Jesus was initiating.

It’s important to note that the disciples weren’t asking a question about something grievous to God. The question itself and the desire to understand the times and seasons was not wrong, but it was not Jesus’ focus at that moment. Their ability to move beyond understanding did not distract them from the powerful day of Pentecost and the birth of the early Church.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper intimacy.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

When it comes to knowing God and walking with God, there will always be an element of mystery. There is both the reality that God is infinitely larger than our natural minds can ever comprehend, and the invitation to search for Him more intimately.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Finding God on deeper levels is not connected to natural understanding but to divine wisdom and revelation. This is about finding God in our heart and our spirit, not just in our minds. It is knowing Him as Abba Father. There is something beautiful about knowing someone, and because of what you know, your desire to know and love them further grows stronger over time.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We often bring our requests to God because we do not understand something. Our way of doing things would be for God to give us the understanding to our requests and that peace would be the result of understanding. But this is so often not God’s way and it is for a very good reason.

If understanding is the ultimate goal of our prayers and it is the guaranteed outcome, our peace is attached to our understanding. But when we are growing deeper in intimacy with the One who loves us unconditionally and completely, our peace is found in Him and it is experienced even deeper in the absence of understanding.

Beyond Understanding

Job 37:5 (NIV) God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

We should desire to know God better and to understand His ways more. But this understanding is a spiritual revelation from the Holy Spirit, not an accumulation of facts from studying books or from life experience.

So as we lean into God more and desire what is on His heart for us and for others through us, we are called to be faith-filled people who have a confidence in God and a willingness to live beyond our understanding.

End Times

A Word About The End Times

People love to speculate on the End Times. I have heard many opinions from different people. Some have fought for the truth of their convictions, while others hazard a guess at what might possibly be. Many predicted dates for the End Times that have since come and gone… and we are still waiting.

Does God have anything definitive to say about the End Times? Is there a prophetic word of encouragement for us all today?

While having my own devotional time with God recently, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go to a certain scripture reference that I did not know by heart. In obedience, I turned to it and the following is where He led me. I believe it is God’s perspective for us about the End Times.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 NIV Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

God’s word to you for the End Times is “Live ready!” God is not going to make the date of Jesus return clear to any person. It is a mystery and it will remain a mystery. Our responsibility is not to work out when, but to live ready now.

When Jesus says “Come” are you ready to go? Here are three things the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Each point is relevant for every person that wants to be ready when Jesus triumphantly returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

  1. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 is often quoted when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, and it is a very powerful verse. What is not often stated is the preceding verses which give the context to which Jesus spoke. Let’s take a look together.

Acts 1:6-8 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples of Jesus wanted insight into the Father’s timeline of when certain things would happen. Jesus response is to be our focus today. In effect He said, “Don’t focus on trying to work out when my Father will do what He said He would do. Rather, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through Him, be my witnesses all around the world.”

The instruction hasn’t changed. We are all called to live full of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses of who Jesus is. The Father will do what He said He will do and He will do it in His time, but this is not to be our focus.

  1. Live with your bags packed.

When we go away to another place where we are going to stay for a while, we pack a bag. In it we take what we need for where we are going. We don’t pack things that we need in our present location. We pack what we need for our intended destination.

This life is not our final destination. Yes, God provides for our needs here on the earth, but they are physical things that we cannot take with us. They are important in this moment, but they are not the most important.

The things of the Spirit and the things of the Kingdom are most important. Doing the will of our Father now is what we are to pack into our bags for our ultimate destination. Living for the glory of God now is an item worth packing for eternity. Passionately loving God and selflessly serving people will also travel well – we should most definitely pack these!

Here’s what the Bible says:

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Is your focus on accumulating what you want for here and now, or is it on having what you need for all eternity?

  1. Live with your affairs in order.

We are called to live right with God. We are also called to live right with people. One of the things that empower both of these principles is our commitment to keep short accounts. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to ‘keep no record of wrongs’. When it comes to relationships, don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

We have today. In fact, the only guarantee we have is right now. Therefore, the focus of the One who holds the times in His hands and who knows the beginning and the end is for us to live ready now. Jesus is coming again – of that we have no doubt. When? Well, this is what Jesus said:

Matthew 24:36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Let God do what He said He will do, and let us do what He has called us to do. It’s time to live ready for the return of the King!

One Handful or Two

One Handful or Two

God asked me one day, “What do you have in your hand?” Not literally in my hand, but what was I juggling in my life? And when I answered the question honestly, I realised that it was not just one handful that I was carrying, but actually I had both hands full. And my hands were full to overflowing. I was so busy doing things for God that I had been distracted from chasing after God himself.

I have found myself at times chasing many things. And they may have been good things – related to family, ministry, or church life. But as a bit of an over-achiever, I can easily find myself with too much on my plate. I say yes out of enthusiasm to help others, which can result in feeling worn out or depleted.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

When I was younger, my Dad used to have a bit of fun when offering us certain foods – such as a slice of cake or slice of cheese. He would ask whether we wanted a one-handed slice or a two-handed slice. Of course, if my friends were around, they would always ask for a two-handed slice – it sounded like it was going to be so much bigger and so much better! But in fact, a two-handed slice was so thin and fragile that it needed to be held with both hands. It would crumble at a moment’s notice. The one-handed slice was the one you really wanted – it was thick and stable and easily held in one hand.

When both our hands are so full of stuff in our lives, it is like that two-handed slice. Life seems like it will be so much better when we have two hands full – but in fact, too much and our lives feel thin and as if things would easily crumble. We end up chasing after the wrong things, and it takes all of our energy to ensure that things don’t fall apart. But we don’t want to drop the ball or let people down, so we keep straining to juggle our many responsibilities. As a result, our life feels unstable and uncertain.

When I chase after many things that are not in God’s plan, I lose my tranquillity. I forfeit that inner state of being calm and settled. I end up toiling and working so hard I lose my joy. And if we are honest, amidst the many good things in our lives, we can end up a slave to what seem to be good things. But too many seemingly good things are not always right if they are not in God’s plan.

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Jesus teaches us not to worry about tomorrow, and to seek Him first. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. If we stick to one handful of the things in life, we have the other hand free – to hold God’s hand. To allow Him to lead and guide us. To ensure that we have the margin and space in our day to hear His voice and be led by the Holy Spirit. With one hand full, our lives are stable and secure in Him. And with just one hand full, we also have the other hand free to help others along the way as He directs.

So, allow Father to speak into what you have in your hands. Don’t get caught up in meaningless toil – live your life with one handful, not two.

Philippians 1:6 (The Living Bible) “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”

The Anointed One

The Anointed One

Jesus Christ is the anointed one. He is the Messiah, our deliverer, our Saviour, and our King.

Matthew 1:1 in the NKJV states, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” When we look at the name Christ, it mainly points to two words and they are ‘Messiah’ and ‘anointed’ (Strong’s g5547).

In the Oxford Dictionary, the word ‘Messiah’ is defined as ‘the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible’. It goes further than this and names Jesus; ‘Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the Saviour of humankind’.

This is true – Jesus is the Deliverer and the Saviour – but this is not predominantly what the word ‘Messiah’ means in the Bible.

The word ‘Messiah’ only appears twice in scripture (Daniel 9:25-26), and it means ‘anointed’ (Strong’s h4899). The word ‘anointed’ appears many times in scripture, and it is the primary meaning of the name ‘Christ’. Why is this so important?

The following verses are what Jesus said about Himself when He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2:

Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

The word ‘anoint’ here, when referring to Jesus, means ‘through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. by implication, to consecrate to an office or religious service’ (Strong’s g5548). This is powerful!

It also means ‘consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing Him with the necessary powers for its administration’ (Strong’s g5548). Wow! Jesus was sent from His Father to be the ‘Messiah’ (everything contained in the name ‘Jesus’) He was empowered to do everything He did because He was anointed by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38)

Jesus is anointed with power and spiritual authority. He is The Anointed One!

We Shall Reign

We Shall Reign

Although entering the Promised land was a wonderful, long-awaited day for Israel, there was one snag; the giants were still there! Why?

Was there a reason God did not destroy these giants after seeing His people wandering in the desert for forty years? Why risk yet another generation being turned back by their intimidation and size? Surely God knew of the battles that would have to be fought, the constant challenges to faith that His people would be presented with. The sword and the spear seemed to be such a contrast to a “land flowing with milk and honey” as promised.

This is where we must understand God’s objective, for it is the same today with all of us. From the very beginning of time, God has always had the power to destroy the devil and his hordes. There has never been a time when the Lord and His angels could not have hurled every demon into the lake of fire and left them there. Our God is sovereign, and His authority is absolute.

Why then has He tolerated this sin-infested world and the demons that so ravage it?

The answer is found in knowing God’s ultimate intention for those of humanity that have chosen to serve Him as undisputed Lord. If we are ever to be the overcomers that we all desire to be, that will not be because the Lord has removed the potential of conflict from our path. It is quite the opposite. It is the very process of being confronted and having to decide to exercise our God-given authority in prayer that develops that spiritual dominion within us.

Consider the clear declaration of these scriptures:

Revelations 5:10  “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
Revelations 20:6  “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
2 Timothy 2:12  “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him”.

The capacity to reign, the spiritual authority to rule, is not a gift; it is a developed spiritual muscle. It is only as we exercise it that it matures. If we see this clearly, we realise why it was so necessary for those giants to be left alive, awaiting God’s people. Let me declare it simply and plainly: Our adversaries exist to be conquered by you and I! They are our fuel for growth.

It also tells us why Jesus did not remove all evil from the Earth at the time of His triumph at Calvary. There is no dispute that Our King utterly annihilated Satan’s legal rights to rule and express evil on the Earth.

It says in Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (the cross). Matthew 28:18 tells us, And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

It is in the next statement in Matthew 28:19 that says it all: “Go ye therefore”! In other words, Jesus is saying, “I paid the price to purchase all dominion and rule, but you must now enforce that and see it acknowledged on a daily basis by the enemies of the kingdom.” The legal document that guarantees us our potential victory over the flesh and the devil is the declared Word of God. It alone is the truth.

Our past failures and the accusations of the enemy can be highly persuasive, and they are often very convincing lies. But the tragedy is that everything that is human in us reaches out to accept their logic and the apparent reasonableness of their suggestions.

At times it can be a major challenge to believe in God’s integrity and that of His Word, turn your back on all that persuasive human reasoning, and declare: “we are more than conquerors through Christ!”  (Romans 8:37) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens [empowers] me.”  (Philippians 4:12-14)

Does it take faith? Absolutely. But He has already placed that faith within you. It is by your decision that you must draw upon that faith and determine to live by it. It is as you cry out to Him in prayer and claim the power of His Word that faith is released. Such an overcoming life is not for a few elite superstars but for everyday followers of Jesus like you and me.

Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!”

Stillness and Silence

Stillness and Silence

Sometimes when the pressure of decision is very real, there is a place that I like to go.  It’s a place in which stillness and silence reigns, where the beauty of God’s handiwork is seen so clearly.  It’s so easy to love a place like that for so many reasons: the quietness, the beauty, the serenity of nature’s touch.  But most of all, for me, it is a place where I find my Father’s heart.

Psalm 23:2 is such a well-known scripture – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

His silence is still golden. In an age where the pressure of decision seems to be an ever-present adversary, we need to know a place where we can find our solitude.  A place uncluttered by the affairs of man and the tension of the time clock ticking our moments away. A place where we can hear God clearly.

In my quest for such a place over the years, I have often found some beautiful and wonderful spots.  Places that still linger and minister to my mind.  But not always so.  There are times when such a place, is not to be found.  For reasons many and varied, our search for solitude remains an unfruitful one.  For too many this moment becomes a time of crisis.

It is in such moments that the reality of the Holy Spirit is such a comfort.  I have discovered that we can find a place of haven, wherever we are.  It’s not a place of trees, and soft waters in the natural, but rather a place where our minds are at peace and our hearts are ministered to by His love.  The Bible says that the love the Lord Jesus Christ can give is a love “beyond all understanding”.  He speaks of a peace which is above all ability to reason or comprehend.  It’s a peace which knows no limits and has no barriers.  It’s a peace not borne out of the efforts of man, but has upon it the sweet touch of the Divine. A place of stillness and silence where the loving heart of the Father ministers to us by the Holy Spirit.

When people question me concerning the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are things I can refer to.  The miracles, the healings, the transformed lives, the sheer joy in our services from people who have previously only known despair.  But perhaps one of the greatest evidences of all is that ever present peace which is greater than my understanding.

The peace of which I’ve written, is a peace freely available.  But will never be found in the strife and struggle of physical or intellectual endeavour, for it is spiritual in nature. By coming to the Lord Jesus who is its Source and Supply we can receive in a moment that which may be the quest of a lifetime.

My prayer is that you will find your haven of stillness and silence soon, for I know how much I value mine.

 

 

Trust and Let Go

Trust and Let Go

It is winter and the cold, crisp mornings awaken the senses and chase the fog from one’s brain.  As I yet again gaze out of my office window, my eyes take in the conifer still lush and green, and the deciduous tree whose nakedness is so stark in contrast.  There is one tree in particular that I have been looking at each morning, awaiting an event that seems determined not to occur.  It has lost its leaves completely except for six small reminders that stubbornly refuse to release the Autumn in which they flourished.

My first thoughts are those of admiration as I think of their ability to hang on and persevere. What is it that gives them that capacity to cling to the branch when no others can? It has been many days now that they have defied the elements of this season’s harsher days.

But this morning another thought came as I looked to find them still there: as amazing as their resilience is, is it not misguided? Is it not also true that whilst they occupy that one small spot on that tree, that nothing new can grow in their place?  In their magnificent endurance they are unwittingly postponing the coming of Spring.

For now, that is acceptable—for the time appointed for Spring has not yet arrived. But it will come. My friends, seasons are so important.  There is the season of perseverance, to cling to the loyalty of that which has been; and there is the season to recognise God’s awakening to a future promise. When that moment arrives, the act of greater courage is not perseverance or endurance but the trust that allows you to relinquish. Because there is a time for everything—including for uprooting and letting go. (Ecc 3:1-2)

Finally letting go of that which was once filled with promise but now lies dead and cold is often heart-rending and traumatic.  But it is vital to make way on the branch for the coming of the new buds of Spring.

In the simplicity of trust and an unreasonable faith in the Father’s love, open those hands and let go.  For a fleeting moment you may feel a wind of insecurity caused by a vulnerability of the unknown, but it will pass. In its place you will find a new awareness as the Holy Spirit whispers fresh thoughts of new days of promise.

Spring is on its way a little while from now, and the Gardener of our souls beckons us to make way for it with an open heart made ready by the relinquishing of the Autumn now gone. Trust in your Abba Father as you draw near to Him.

You can dare to trust and let go for He is worthy of that trust. Read more about making hard decisions in your life.

A dove representing the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Power

We live in a time when too many Christians accept such a small part of what God intends for our new life in Christ. We also live in a time when so many (myself included far too often) try hard to be good, rather than be filled to overflowing with the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11-12 says, I (John the Baptist) indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

This scripture can be a little confusing, yet because it is one of the first mentions of what Jesus will do, I feel it is important to look to see what God is saying. As I pause and listen, I see two things: Firstly, all that God wants to accomplish in our lives is through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through our best efforts. Secondly, God wants to do a thorough and truly transforming work in us, not just a slight improvement.

The work of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit is a thorough clean out work. We need a deeper revelation of this in our lives. But we also need a deeper revelation of why Jesus wants to thoroughly clean out the chaff of our lives.

Freedom is the reason Jesus is an all-or-nothing Saviour. He has no desire to simply improve our present reality and our spiritual condition. Sure, we might measure our lives compared to some other people and think we are not too bad. But compared to a holy, righteous and perfect God, well, we all miss the mark terribly.

And this is why Jesus came! He came to remove restrictions, to remove barriers and to remove obstacles! He came to pay the price, tear down the veil, disarm the devil and usher us boldly into God’s throne of grace! He came to live as a man, sinless, reliant on the Holy Spirit, in communion with His Father and as a tangible example of this new life He was purchasing for us!

All of this is done by the power of the Holy Spirit.