90 Days To Life
What are you Living for?
On the wall of the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey hangs a memorial stone to John and Charles Wesley that says, “God buries His workmen, but carries on His work.” (A fitting tribute for men whose lives had been so thoroughly dedicated to the Kingdom of God). Before he died, Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Paul saw his life as expendable for the sake of the gospel. With his mortal and finite life he’d helped to propel God’s everlasting kingdom forward. That knowledge brought Paul complete satisfaction.” The reality is that we’re all expending our lives. All of us are being poured out for something. Yet so many give so little thought to what they are actually living for. Let me ask you, my friend, what are you living for? What will make your life count? What are you propelling forward with your time, energy, finances, and passion? Jesus said in Mark 8:35, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” If you really want your life to count, there is only one way to make that happen: you have to throw it away. You have to throw your life away into the service of the One who gave you your life in the first place. This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
What God wants
Leonard Ravenhill once asked the question, “Is what you’re living for worth Christ dying for?” My friend, we were not saved so that we could be polished, decorative knick knacks sitting on God’s shelf filling space in heaven for eternity. We have been saved for a purpose, and the fulfilment of that purpose is the only acceptable reaction we can have to the great gift of salvation. In light of these things what then should we do? “When Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, met the Lord on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:6, this was his question: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” The question is not, “What do I want to do with my life?” but, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my life?" Whether your journey takes you to the mission field or medical school, whether you become a construction worker, businessman, chef, or pastor, discovering God’s will for your life is not a matter of determining what you want but what He wants. It is a spiritual quest of utmost significance, and the Holy Spirit must lead it. For that reason I invite you to pray the following prayer for guidance and direction with me: Heavenly Father, I present myself to You today as a living sacrifice. Because You gave Your Son for me, I give myself to You fully. I lay my dreams and desires at Your feet and ask that Your will would be done in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen. This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
Saved to Serve
In the twenty-first chapter of John, after Jesus had risen from the dead, He found that Peter had gone back to his old occupation—fishing. After cooking breakfast for Peter, Jesus pointed to one of the fish and asked this question, “‘Simon [Peter] son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’” (John 21:15, NIV). Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, do you love My lambs?” Then, “Feed My lambs.” Rather Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter’s ministry to the sheep was to be motivated primarily by his love for Christ, not his love for the lambs. Some people have a heart that is filled with compassion for a particular people group, cause or need in the world. These are often God-given burdens that can be great motivators. But there is an ambition that should be greater than all others, including the desire to help people and to make a difference in the world. The real question is this “Do you love Jesus?” Our love for Christ must be the ambition that reigns supreme over all others. It will purify every motive and attract the blessing and favour of God. Our love for Him will cause His love to flow through us to a lost and dying world. My friend, examine your life and your work today and hear the words of the master asking you as he asked Peter, “do you love me more than these?” This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
I Will Be With you
In the story of Gideon, found in the 6th chapter of Judges, it’s amazing to think that even after the Angel of the Lord had appeared to Gideon and told him plainly about God’s goodwill toward him, Gideon was slow to believe it. When he looked in the mirror, all he could see were disadvantages and shortcomings. He doubted that he was capable of greatness and wasn’t convinced the Lord had picked the right man for the job. But God knew exactly what Gideon needed to hear, and He spoke words that went right to the heart of Gideon’s inadequacy: “The Lord said to him” in verse 16, “Surely I will be with you.” These must be the most comforting words in the entire world. To know that God is with you and that He is for you—this is the ultimate assurance. Jesus knew you would need to hear this, and that’s why He said in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" and again in, Matthew 28:20 (NKJV) “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. Do you ever feel like a failure? Has your past haunted and defined you? Have you had a difficult time believing that God is really on your side and has your best interests in mind? My friend, it’s time for you to get a revelation of the goodness of God. Turning ashes into beauty is not an auxiliary benefit of the Christian experience; it’s at the very heart of the gospel, and it is God’s will for you today! This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
I recently read about a scientific experiment called a “biosphere” where a group of scientists had artificially replicated nearly every weather condition on earth indoors except for one—wind. To their surprise the absence of wind was disastrous for the trees, which began to bend and snap under their own weight. It turns out that wind strengthens the trees by creating stress. Without this resistance the trees will not develop enough strength to hold themselves upright. Douglas Malloch's poem “Good Timber” expresses this point brilliantly: Good timber does not grow in ease; The stronger wind, the tougher trees; The further sky, the greater length; The more the storm, the more the strength. By sun and cold, by rain and snow, In trees and men good timbers grow. Where thickest stands the forest growth, We find the patriarchs of them both. And they hold converse with the stars. Whose broken branches show the scars. Of many winds and of much strife. This is the common law of life. How effective do you think an army would be if the soldiers were trained at five-star resorts? How reliable would a scholar be if he never took a test? How long would a boxer last in the ring if his training consisted of pillow fights? Pleasure over pain is usually our default setting, and people are looking for the path of least resistance. But unlike us, God sees our lives from the vantage point of eternity. His primary concern is not your comfort but your conforming to the image of His Son. This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
I Am Your Reward
Often when people say that they don’t know God’s will, what they really mean is that they have not heard an audible voice from heaven. But I want you to consider Abraham for a moment, the father of the Israelite nation. In Genesis 12:1 God said to him, “get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” God’s call to Abraham didn’t include specific coordinates, just a call to go. As Abraham obeyed, God revealed His plan one step at a time.” If God revealed His ultimate plan for our lives from the beginning, we would often find ourselves chasing a dream rather than following Him. God didn’t want to just send Abraham to his inheritance; God wanted to lead him there. In following God one step at a time, Abraham made an amazing discovery. The land and the legacy that God would give him was something wonderful indeed, but there was another reward that would make all others pale in comparison. “Abram,” the Lord says in Genesis 15:1, “I am . . . your exceedingly great reward.” If you think you’ve got it all figured out and you know exactly where God is going to take you, be prepared for disappointment. God’s will is never revealed in such a way that it negates our need for dependence upon Him. Ultimately whether or not we fulfil God’s will for our lives depends on whether or not we follow Him. The real reward for following God is God Himself.
Faithfulness in the small things
As I look back at my own life, I’m amazed to think about what God has done. Today I lead the international evangelistic ministry of Christ for all Nations. In that role I have had the extraordinary honour of leading more than 15-million people to Jesus in our massive open-air evangelistic campaigns around the world. People are often eager to find out how I landed such a position and they are often perplexed when they discover the reality. I actually started out in this ministry, not as a preacher, but working in the warehouse! That was the lowest and humblest position possible. Sometimes I felt invisible but God knew exactly where I was and He was watching. As I was faithful in the little things He was faithful in the big things. Jesus laid out a principle in Luke 16:10 that is absolutely essential in the quest to fulfil God’s will for our lives. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” You see, God calls us to small things before He calls us to great things. If you aren’t being faithful in the small things, He will not entrust you with more important things? So be faithful today wherever you find yourself and do everything as unto the Lord. As it says in Galatians 6:9 “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” This is Daniel Kolenda encouraging you to live before you die.
Have you ever played a word association game? Word association is an interesting way to see how a person categorises and connects different ideas, feelings, experiences, and information. When I say a particular word, what is the very first thought that comes to your mind? For instance, if I say “dog,” you might think “cat.” If I say “heart,” you might think “Love". What if I said “God”? What would be your first thought? “Good”? “Loving”? “Kind”? “Awesome”? How about this one: Jealous? Moses was a man who spoke with God face-to-face as a man speaks to his friend and in Moses gives an urgent command to the children of Israel, saying, “But you shall destroy their altars, dash in pieces their pillars and cut down their Asherim; for you shall worship no other god; for the Lord, Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous (impassioned) God” (amp). Notice the emphasis Moses places on the jealousy of God. Not only is He a jealous God; that is His very name. You don’t hear this preached very often about God, but it would do us well to remember this part of His personality that is so significant it is actually His name. His name is Jealous! Jealous is not willing to share your heart with another lover. Jealous cannot be appeased by your “throwing Him a bone” on Sunday morning. Jealous is not OK with things in your life that crowd Him out. Jealous isn’t oblivious when you’re flirting with the world. Jealous wants your heart—all of it—for Himself.
We Are All Called
Through the years a fundamental disconnect has developed between two parts of the church commonly known as the “clergy” and the “laity” producing a hierarchical concept of ministry that has segregated these two groups. The result has been a handicapped system in which the career ministers, who are a minority of the church, have assumed the majority of the work of the ministry. Meanwhile the rest of the body of Christ, the vast, overwhelming majority, have been taught that they are not qualified for ministry and have been reduced to a crowd of spectators. But when Ephesians 4 talks about the role of the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, the concept that emerges is very different from what’s been modelled in the contemporary church. The New Testament pattern according to Ephesians 4:12 is for those in fivefold ministry offices to serve the body of Christ by equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. So, if the body of Christ were compared to a football team, those in fivefold ministry would be the water boys, serving the team and helping to keep them equipped, refreshed and out on the field winning the game. The real ministers and ambassadors of God’s kingdom to the world, the real players on the field, are the hundreds of millions of blood-washed saints who make up the body of Christ. My friend, God wants to use the gifts, talent, and calling He’s given you to impact the world! So today, wherever you are, use your sphere of influence as a platform to further His kingdom and bring glory to God.
The brother of a famous evangelist, whom I’ll call Sam, once jokingly explained why he became a farmer instead of an evangelist like his brother. He said that his brother was out in a field praying one day when the letters “PC” appeared in flames of fire across the sky. The brother said, “Lord, what does this mean?” to which the Lord replied, “Preach Christ!” Afterward Sam said he went out into that same field and “PC” again appeared in flames of fire across the sky. He asked the Lord, “Does this mean You are calling me to preach Christ as well?” “No, Sam”, The Lord replied. “I want you to plant corn.” Although this story was intended only to be a joke, there is a profound lesson here. Sam did not preach to multitudes like his brother did, but God did use him as a farmer. Because of his unique sphere of influence in the business world, he was able to share the gospel with people who might never have gone to hear his brother preach. Whether God calls you to full-time, vocational ministry or calls you to be His ambassador in the world of business, science, government, entertainment, or wherever, the principles are the same and, in the end, the reward will be the same if you will be faithful. May you be obedient in whatever field He calls you to so that in the end you will hear those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).
Story of David Green
David was the “black sheep” of the family. He didn’t feel called to be a preacher like his other family members. But what he did have was an affinity for maths and business. He took to the business world like a duck to water, and he was good at it! But whenever he would get a promotion or achieve some success, he didn’t receive the affirmation that he longed for from his mother. She would say, “That’s wonderful, David, but what are you doing for the Lord?” This bothered him because he did love Jesus and wanted to serve Him, but God hadn’t called him to preach. In 1972 David opened a retail business called Hobby Lobby, and he began to discover God’s will for his life. He told me that, in the beginning, he didn’t know that serving God outside of the ministry was even an option. But God began to unfold this great truth to him over time. Today David Green is a billionaire. He’s come to see that his business is his ministry. Hobby Lobby now has hundreds of stores that are located all over the United States. Through their missions support they believe they have been able to reach more than one-third of the world’s population with the gospel – and they continue to do so! David Green said, “Our organization wants to be remembered as one that knows the difference between temporal and eternal. Our business is only a means to an end and our end is to try to affect lives for eternity.” David Green’s life is a powerful example for us. Whatever gifts God has given you, you can also make an eternal difference today.
Story of Winfried Wentland
Our ministry, Christ for all Nations, has conducted some of the largest evangelistic events in history. Most of the time when people think of the ministry of Christ for all Nations, they think of evangelist Reinhard Bonnke or myself - the preachers. But some of the most important people in our ministry work behind the scenes. One of my heroes is a man named Winfried Wentland. For more than thirty years he has been driving our trucks across Africa as a part of our technical team. Twelve times he was almost killed. He has been shipwrecked, pulled from the bottom of a crocodile-infested river, caught in the crossfire between rebel armies, escaped from the hands of terrorists, robbers, child soldiers, and thugs. He has contracted malaria nearly two dozen times. Few people have had such adventures and heroic exploits for the gospel. However, Winfried says, “This is not about personal satisfaction. To do this kind of work, apart from God’s calling, you also need great perseverance. Most of the time it is just physically demanding, hard, dusty, routine work.” Winfried and the men who work alongside him are experts in their respective fields: engineering, electronics, logistics, and so on. And although these vocations are not typically thought of as being associated with ministry, their work is absolutely vital to our mission. As a direct result of their efforts, literally tens of millions of precious Africans have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour. My friend, no matter what God calls you to do, realise that He wants to use you for His glory and for the expansion of His kingdom.
The Hidden Gemstone
A farmer in North Carolina lived on a beautiful farm that his family owned for many decades. Eventually, the farmer died, and after being in the family for more than two hundred years, the property was sold to one of the neighbours. As the new owner of the farm was walking in the field, he saw a large, unusual-looking rock just barely sticking out of the dirt. He picked it up and began to examine it. He could immediately tell that this was no ordinary rock but some type of gemstone. He took it home, washed it, and brought it to a jewellery store in the town where he lived. The jeweller confirmed what the owner already suspected; the old stone that had been in that field for thousands of years was a large, uncut emerald that has since proved to be worth several million dollars! Think about this, that gemstone was in the field all along just waiting for someone to come along and “discover” it. Undoubtedly the emerald had been seen thousands of times before, but it was overlooked because it appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary rock. How often we overlook treasures because of preconceived expectations and personal biases. As you are seeking God’s will for your life, may God give you the grace today to see what you’ve never noticed before, what may have been there all along just waiting for you to discover it.
God's Specific Will
Recently, I was approached by a man who wanted my advice in a very difficult situation. The man, who was a husband and father, had decided to leave his wife for another woman. He felt this other woman was his “soul mate,” and he believed God had spoken to him and told him to divorce his wife to marry the other woman. What was my advice? Well, of course, I told him that it was absolutely not God’s will for him to leave his wife for another woman. Now you may ask, “How did you know this? Did you hear a voice from Heaven or get a supernatural word of knowledge for that man?” I’m being sarcastic of course, I didn’t even need to pray about. I knew it wasn’t God’s will for this man to leave his wife and commit adultery simply because of what God has already revealed to us in His Word.” My friend, knowing God’s will for your life always begins with the Word of God. Whatever you do in life, it must line up with God’s Word, and He will never call you to do anything that is contrary to it. If you’re moving in a direction that is contrary to what God has revealed in Scripture, don’t waste time praying about it. Instead, get yourself in line with His word. Then and only then will you be positioned to receive the blessings of God.
God's Way Is Best
There seems to be a perpetual conflict in the Christian life between what is “good” and what is “God.” For example, I have seen Christians marry the wrong spouse because they were unwilling to wait for God to bring the right one along. God allowed them to do what they insisted on doing and in some cases even turned bad situations around for His glory. But whenever we choose to disobey and do things our own way, something is lost that can never be restored. God will forgive and heal, but He will not turn back the hands of time. God has a “good” will for your life, but He also has a “perfect” will. His perfect will and the blessings that accompany it are reserved for those who are willing to be radically obedient. Those who are slow to learn this lesson will endure much unnecessary hurt and loss in the process. There are moments when God’s way will seem so difficult, so prolonged, and so unrewarding, while our idea will seem much easier, much quicker, and so much more enjoyable. But it is only an illusion. Looking back, we’ll always find that God’s plan was so much better than ours. There will never be an exception to this rule, so you might as well just decide from now on to yield to God’s will, do it God’s way, and wait for God’s best.