Precious Testimonies Ministry Encourager
POURING YOUR LIFE INTO OTHERS WITH HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED WISDOM
By: Norm Rasmussen
My precious wife, Kathleen, and I had the privilege of attending a funeral on July 13, 2011 of a godly woman who, for much of her 80 plus years, poured her life into others for the primary purpose of trying to help advance the Kingdom of God. Lois Bergsma leaves behind her a spiritual legacy that will keep multiplying itself through the lives God touched through her that to me and those who really knew her is nothing short of staggering.
Thank God for funerals like Lois's. Nothing else serves such an important wakeup call ' reminder - that the most important thing in life that matters the most ' when we enter into eternity ' was our obedience to God (walking in righteousness) and the lives that were touched through our efforts to help advance the Kingdom of God while we lived down here.
Yet in this day of mass spiritual confusion that is growing leaps and bounds, Satan has so twisted what the 'Kingdom of God' IS that the Kingdom Of God needs to be defined for confused readers who care to be informed.
Lois was illuminated many years ago by the Holy Spirit revealing to her that if a person has never made Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior, that person's life will have been a total waste upon dying when that person stands and gives himself/herself an account to Jesus Christ the Judge. Thus availing ourselves to the Holy Spirit for the purpose of eventually seeing lost souls come to Jesus Christ is a top priority for us to help advance the Kingdom of God.
Once a person has made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior, (and hopefully are tutored to work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis; strange concept I know to many Christian leaders these days), then they need help along their spiritual journey. They need people who will encourage them, correct them, help them understand biblical truth and how to properly interpret it and apply it, pray for them ' it's called 'helping make disciples in Jesus Christ' ' which is the second component of the Kingdom of God.
Of course, seeking to walk righteously ' walking in obedience to New Testament commands in striving to get sin out of our life ' is a third and vitally important understanding of engaging in Kingdom disciplines regarding Matthew 6:33.
Simply: Engaging ourselves in obeying the Word of God, serious soul winning pursuits and Christian discipleship is how we help advance the Kingdom of God on this planet, and how diligently we have done that in this life are the funerals God enjoys attending the MOST, I believe.
Most funerals we attend always try to speak well of the person in the coffin, and honorably so. Yet whatever the deceased person has done with their life to the omission of helping advance the Kingdom of God in the lives of others won't amount much to a hill of rotten beans when God rewards His people.
Maybe you've never heard it expressed quite this way, so please allow me to bring it to your attention: 'Only one life will soon be past, only our obedience to God's Word and what we've done to help advance the Kingdom of God in the lives of others will matter to those in heaven who have gone before us, and will come behind us.'
All the nations conquered, cities ruled, corporations, businesses and careers built, noble military feats accomplished, marriages enhanced, children reared in a healthy manner, grandchildren babysat, neighbors helped ' none of this will matter to those in heaven if Jesus Christ was left out of all these pursuits we engaged ourselves in while on Earth.
Heaven, dear reader, is NOT about us. Heaven is what makes the Creator and King of heaven joyous. As the King is joyous, He dispenses that joy in heaven to others as pleases the Father and the Holy Spirit. Heaven was made for God, as the coming new heaven in the future (See: Revelation 21:1) will be made for God. And the reason God allows Christians into heaven is to bring Him greater pleasure. And what gives and will give Him the greatest pleasure for all eternity? Imparting joy and pleasure to others. But that joy and pleasure will only be given to those who have grown to wisely understand that joy and pleasure in heaven will only be sustained by coming up with Holy Spirit directed/empowered ways to impart joy and pleasure first to God; secondly to others there. Saints ' there is a whole lot more to: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' than meets our limited human realization. Eternity in heaven with God will be the consuming desire of those who are there to give joy and pleasure to others. As everyone does that, MORE joy and pleasure will come back into the givers (sowers)' only for them to keep pouring it out to others (which includes angels, by the way).
Saying it a little differently ' 'we reap what we sow.' That will be realized to the fullest in eternity without any hindrances. Joy and pleasure will be amply present in heaven, but to be increasing in joy and pleasure, we will have to concentrate on bringing OTHERS joy and pleasure to get more of it ourselves. The sooner we learn that in this life, the wiser we become, so we can benefit from it in eternity, and can teach it to others before our funeral.
God is allowing a lot of shaking around this planet. People are going through pain and hardships that will nearly rip your heart out if you don't know your Bible and realize that with the strength of Jesus Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, only GOOD will come from the shaking going on in our life. And God's shaking is nothing new. God has shaken people since Adam and Eve came on the scene. Most of us have to be shaken to the core, time and time again, before any real spiritual growth is birthed in us, and the worthless baggage is shaken out of us.
Lois Bergsma could have written many books on the shaking she endured during her life. When her husband suddenly died at mid-age, she had six children to raise on her own. Life was never a 'bed of roses' for her. Yet through all the hardships she had to endure, she never lost focus on what is the very BEST investment of our time, talents and finances: Obedience to God's Word and His Spirit, soul winning and discipleship. The Holy Spirit had promised her years and years ago that when her time was done on this sin-racked planet, she could have people waiting for her in heaven that will be empowered by God to bring her joy she would not have known, nor will know otherwise, now that's she's there.
As the cares of this life come charging at us like a crushing tsunami, it is so easy to rationalize: 'God ' I'm too emotionally and physically incapacitated to care about lost souls and the need to help other Christians to become all that God wants them to become. You'll have to have someone else fill in for me.'
In some cases, God certainly understands, and of course, may or may not use someone else to do His work, based on availability, I'm speculating. (I know many Christians teach that if we don't do a specific assignment from God, God will eventually find someone else to do it. I'm not 100% persuaded it always works that way. I often wonder if God is finding fewer and fewer who will do His will these days, but I'll leave that in God's hands; let's not get sidetracked).
I believe God is talking to some people reading this who have just grown spiritually unwise by not pressing through the trials they have and are facing ' not thinking ahead to THEIR funeral and ultimately eternity because they have allowed themselves to become so emotionally and spiritually imprisoned from the storms they've battled and/or are battling.
No matter how beat up we may be, we STILL can take a few moments each day and be instruments of prayer for the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of others. We STILL can pray for the leaders of our nation (Because God says to do so in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and if our prayers don't matter God wouldn't have wasted His time telling us to pray for the leaders of our nation, right?), for God to send revival (which may be OUR personal revival!) for God to protect and anoint Church leaders in our communities, for every person around you that doesn't know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Wiser people than I have said that God ALWAYS uses the prayers of His people who will pray in accordance with helping expand the Kingdom of God in the lives of others ' but if a person has not allowed the Holy Spirit to impart that revelation of truth to them ' Satan will convince them their prayers don't matter 'So why pray?' they conclude. I know; I've come to that conclusion way too many times myself since being a Christian, waking up by the help of the Holy Spirit that my flesh has lied to me once again most likely by Satan's assistance.
Here's a serious danger we all face. We can get so bogged down with the cares of this life where we can go through days and days and never praying for one other person or situation. We can be so emotionally and spiritually paralyzed that we don't even care about praying for OURSELVES. Witnessing to the lost somehow, and helping others grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ? 'FORGET IT! God ' when you start blessing me ' I'll get back in the game. Until then, count me out!'
Yet funeral day is coming for each of us. And once funeral day arrives, what will people at your funeral think about you? And probably more importantly, what will the people and angels in heaven think about you? Will they think that you were a WISE Christian who gave your ALL in accordance with your giftings and abilities for the advancement of God's Kingdom ' or will they write you off as just a mediocre, not very wise (selfish?) Christian who spent your time, giftings, and finances on things that did essentially ZIP to help God's Kingdom advance? Saying it another way ' are you content come funeral day to just skate into heaven to be with God or do you see the wisdom of holding up the bar much higher and become someone who decided to not just make a dent in this world for Jesus Christ with your life ' but a HUGE dent for Jesus Christ with your life? Being a spiritual firecracker or a nuclear bomb?
Folks ' in one sense, I'm not really writing this for anyone else to read. I need to write it for myself as an 'attitude adjuster'. I need funerals like Lois's to help keep me reminded and focused on what is TRULY important in life and what isn't ' in light of eternity. And what IS truly important in life, for the wise? Purposing to walk CLOSELY with the Holy Spirit daily to discern how He wants to use us, because He'll ALWAYS use us if we truly want Him to. Wherever we are on this planet, He'll somehow use us ' if we are wise enough to realize that once we cross over into eternity ' we will have lost NOTHING by availing ourselves daily while on earth to Him to somehow purpose to advance God's Kingdom.
Here's a little reminder for someone who may need to be reminded: The Holy Spirit was never sent by the Father to us to be kept in some theological box in a dusty closet to be discarded in the trash when we die. The Holy Spirit was sent to comfort us and empower us DAILY to press through the trials of life to help us keep on keeping on, pursing the most important thing that is most important to God, saints gone before us and who will join us later once we're there, and His angels: The advancement of the Kingdom of our precious Lord and Savior and King and Judge ' Jesus Christ. We can cry out for more help from the Holy Spirit all we want, and never get much of it I'm persuaded, if all we want is some heavenly goose bumps and things to start going better in our lives. The one's who cry out for more of the Holy Spirit for the explicit purpose of being used of Him to impact the lives of others for Jesus Christ are those the Holy Spirit comes racing to assist and empower (and often bring deliverance and favor to when it won't come otherwise).
Am I portraying God as selfish and non-compassionate to hurting people perhaps such as yourself? If I am, I don't mean to. Yet so much of Christianity is getting reduced down to a mentality of: 'Jesus ' what can you do for ME today, and tomorrow, and the rest of my life?'
The Christian living for 'ME' at the exclusion of not caring about soul winning and discipleship of others is going to come up mighty short on Reward Day. Furthermore, God can make life become more and more difficult until your funeral date arrives if you remain guilty of 'The ME only gospel.' God is shaking a lot of people to help them reprioritize what is important in life. Life is about eternity, not about a few short years on this evil planet that is growing more evil.
God tells us in Matthew 6:33 to 'Seek the Kingdom FIRST '' ' not second. The wise (I'm still learning and fall short so often, I have to confess) push through their pain to make certain they are keeping the advancement of the Kingdom FIRST in their daily lives because God never tells His people to do anything in His Word that isn't WISE. (But we also must be patiently wise in allowing the Holy Spirit to give us correct understanding and application of His Word. Satan delights in getting Christians to take God's Word and twist it out of its intended meaning, which then becomes deception that Satan wants getting passed to other Christians to deceptively help advance his causes).
Thanks for hearing me out. I covet your prayers that God will keep my wife and I motivated, protected from undue demonic attacks, and anointed to deliver words that bring spiritual life to people, instead of words that will come to naught in light of eternity.
So I end by reminding self: 'Self ' listen up! Just because increasing trials come your way is no excuse to feel sorry for yourself and give into discouragement that can then move into depression which them moves into serious spiritual apathy if it's allowed to keep advancing. Rule over your mind by walking in the Spirit, which requires walking with the Holy Spirit much closer than what your flesh likes to do. It will pray eternal dividends, so keep fighting!'
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of
the kingdom [Jesus
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
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Dear Reader -are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... pleaseclick here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.
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