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Showing posts from March, 2017

"“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”" (Mark 14:36).

Doing the will of God wasn't easy for Jesus. It won't be easy for us. It's always better to do God's will rather than insisting on getting our own way. For Jesus, there was more than crucifixion. There was resurrection. Whatever may lie ahead of us, may we never forget this - God is our loving, heavenly Father, and he has great things planned for us: "the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4:14).

Wherever the Good News is spoken ...

"Wherever the Good News is spoken in the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her" (Mark 14:9).
The Good News tells us about Christ's love for us. It tells us about what Christ has done for us. It also calls for our response to His love, our response to what he has done for us.

"When you hear of wars and rumours of wars ... " (Mark 13)

Mark 13:7-8
7 “When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. 8 Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes and famines in various places. These are only the beginning pains of the end.
Wars, earthquakes, famines - What are we to make of such things? Jesus says, "Don't be alarmed." Many people look at the terrible things that happen in our world - and they lose their faith.They find it hard to rediscover their faith. Everything seems to come back to this - 'Terrible things are happening. I don't know what to make of it all.' How can Jesus say to us, "Don't be alarmed"? He looks beyond what's happening now. He looks on to "the end." We see the mess that our world's in. He sees God's eternal Kingdom. He's calling us to lift up our eyes. He's calling us to see things with his eyes. …

Love God, love your neighbour (Mark 12:29-31)/

Love God. Love your neighbour. Love for God comes first - but it never stands alone. It's never just "Love God" - and leave it at that. It's always "Love God" - and "Love your neighbour."
"The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus.  As He taught, He said, “Watch out for the experts in Moses’ Teachings! They like to walk around in long robes, to be greeted in the marketplaces,  and to have the front seats in synagogues and the places of honor at dinners. They rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make themselves look good. The experts in Moses’ Teachings will receive the most severe punishment. As Jesus sat facing the temple offering box, He watched how much money people put into it. Many rich people put in large amounts. A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a penny. He called His disciples and said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others.…

Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith.

"Have you never read the Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is amazing for us to see’?" (Mark 12:10-11).
Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith. We build on Him, the solid Rock. He's the sure Foundation. He died for us. He was raised again for us. What great things the Lord has done for us. To Him alone be all the glory!

“Many warned him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more … ” (Mark 10:48).

There were many people who tried to silence blind Bartimaeus. Here was the voice of prayer – and they were saying, “Shut up’! Thank God – he didn’t shut up. He shouted out. They more they said, “Shut up”, the more he shouted out.
Because our praise is loud, that doesn’t mean that it’s real – but what kind of worship if we can hardly burst a paper bag! Let’s lift up our voices to the Lord. Why? Because we want to be loud? – No! There’s something much more important than how loud we’re singing. It’s this – how much we are lifting up our hearts to the Lord.
We read the story of blind Bartimaeus, and we ask the question: Who was really blind – Bartimaeus or the people who were trying to shut him up?
They could see Bartimaeus, but they couldn’t see that he was doing the one thing that really mattered. He was calling upon the Lord. They were busy criticizing him. He kept on calling on the Lord. They were so busy trying to put Bartimaeus right that they hardly even noticed Jesu…

“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant … For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43,45).

Do you want to be the Lord’s servant? Remember that He is your Saviour. Do you want to serve the Lord? – You must be saved by Him before you can even begin to serve Him. When we think of Jesus as God’s servant and say, “I will serve God the way Jesus served Him”, we have missed the point of Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man” came ”to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ service is defined by the giving of His life as a ransom for many. We can never give our life as a ransom for many. Only Jesus can do that for us. Where does our life of service begin? – It begins at the Cross of Christ. It begins when we say, “I cannot serve You. I can only be saved by You.” That’s where the life of service begins. It begins with being saved by the Lord. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Get things right at this point – and then your life of service is ready to begin.

" ... the seed shall sprout and grow, he himself does not know how ... " (Mark 4:27).

God has given us a great promise - "my word that goes out from my mouth ... will not return to me empty" (Isaiah 55:11). When we feel that God's Word is returning to us empty, we have this Word of encouragement: God's Word will not return to Him empty. God gives us His great promise "my word ... will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." We do not see all that God's Word is doing as the Spirit of God brings Christ to the people. God sees the full impact of His Word. That is why He says that His Word will not return to Him empty. When we have preached the Word, we must say, with the hymnwriter, "I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin; revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in Him." We don't understand all that God is doing as His Word is preached. We do know that He is at work. How do we know this? - We know Him - "I know whom I have believed." We know that we …

New life for Levi (Mark 3:1-4)

* His name was LEVI.
* He was EVIL.
He was a tax collector, making a fortune for himself at the expense of other people.
* He began to LIVE when he followed Jesus.
What a wonderful message there is in the conversion of Levi.
Our Saviour still calls sinners to make a new beginning with Him (Mark 3:17).
Let's be like the new Levi - "He arose and followed Jesus" (Mark 3:15).

Will we be ready, when the Lord returns?

Matthew 25:1-13
Will we be ready, when the Lord returns? This is the question the Lord is putting to us here. It's the most important question. It's the question that we cannot evade. It's the question that won't go away. It's the question of our life. What is our life all about? What is most important to us? Who is most important to us - Jesus or ourselves?

Famines ... and "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord"

"There will be famines" (Matthew 24:7).
What are we to do when there's "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11)?
Pray that God will give you the grace to keep on following Jesus, even when so many show no interest in following Him:
"He who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).
* This is a Word for ourselves - "Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10).
* It is also a Word for others - "Let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

A trap that failed!

Matthew 22:15-22
Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words.16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.”22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus. They failed!

Invited And Chosen

"Many are invited. Few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14).
How are we to know that we are chosen as well as invited? How are we to answer this question? We must ask another question - What are we doing with the invitation? Will we discard the invitation? or Will we take up the invitation? There is a way that we can have the assurance that we have been chosen by the Lord. It begins with taking up His invitation. He invites us to come to Him. We come to Him, and we are welcome. It is His welcome that gives us the assurance that we have been chosen by Him.

A human explanation... but that’s not the whole story!

“Come, let’s kill him” (Matthew 21:38).
From Jesus’ parable, we look to His death. The crucifixion of Jesus has a human explanation: “wicked men put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross” – but that’s not the whole story! In the death of Jesus, we see God’s “plan” of salvation – His eternal plan (Acts 2:23). When Jesus’ enemies thought that they had succeeded, they couldn’t have been more wrong! Jesus’ death was followed by His resurrection: “God raised Him from the dead.” In Jesus’ resurrection, we see His mighty triumph over death: “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him” (Acts 2:24).

Christ - the Rock of our Salvation

As well as Peter's three denials, we have three wonderful statements which point us away from Peter, in his failure, to Christ, who is the Rock of our salvation.
(a) "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).
(b) "This Jesus, God has raised up and "made both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:32, 36).
(c) "Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. To you who believe, He is precious" (1 Peter 2:4-7).
Praise God - Our faith is not built on shifting sand. It is built on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the risen Lord, the wonderful Saviour.

Travelling towards the Kingdom of Heaven

"Jesus said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matthew 13:52).
We are travelling towards "the kingdom of heaven." As we journey towards God's Kingdom, He is teaching us many lessons. We are to treasure the lessons which come to us from the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. There is nothing more precious than this: "We have received ... the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).

First things first!

“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

First things first! We worry about many things. We get anxious about this, that and the other thing. Jesus is saying to us, “Seek first God’s Kingdom.” Whenever our many anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, let us remember this: The Lord is King!

From religion to revival

Standing upon divine revelation – “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), Jesus received God-given strength for challenging the “bread alone” of human religion – the religion of “the hypocrites” (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Their religion was centred upon themselves. Jesus had this to say about their religion – “Be careful not to practise your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1). The “hypocrites” added their own ideas to the Word of God – and the power of God’s Word was lost. Jesus shows us the better way – looking to the Lord, listening to the Lord and learning from the Lord. He calls us to live a God-centred life: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He calls us to put God first: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The difference between Jesus and “the hypocrites” was clear for all to see: “When Jesus had finished saying …

I have decided to follow Jesus ...

"It's pointless to serve God. What do we gain if we meet His standards or if we walk around feeling sorry for what we've done" (Malachi 3:14) - This what the world says.
What does the Lord say to us? - "The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings for you people who fear My Name" (Malachi 4:2).
The Sun is shining upon us. It's not just the sun that's up in the sky. It's Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He makes everything new. It's not pointless. Life has a purpose. It's God's purpose for our life. There is gain. We don't just think in terms of financial gain. There's spiritual growth. There's moral strength. Our life is better when we see it through the eyes of the Lord. Many times, we have let our Lord  down. He will not let us down. He will lift us up - above the world's way of thinking, and into His way of living. He will lead us in His way of blessing.
"I have decided to foll…

Prophecy that has been fulfilled, prophecy that will be fulfilled

"They will look on Me, the One they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10).
"These things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled ... ‘They will look on the One they have pierced’" (John 19:36-37).
"They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son" (Zechariah 12:10).
"‘Look, He is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of Him.’ So shall it be! Amen" (Revelation 1:7).
There is prophecy that has been fulfilled. There is prophecy that will be fulfilled. From the words of the prophet, we look to events that have already taken place - the crucifixion of Christ. We also look forward to an event that still lies in the future - the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God for the fulfilment of prophecy. We trust in God for the fulfilment of prophecy.
"Th…

Jesus Christ is "the cornerstone" upon which our faith is built.

"From him will come the cornerstone... they shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies... because the Lord is with them" (Zechariah 10:4-5).
* Jesus Christ is "the cornerstone" upon which our faith is built  - "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord" (Samuel John Stone).
* In Christ, we are "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37) - "From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed" (George Duffield).
* Jesus is with us. He is our Saviour. He has forgiven our sins. He is our Lord. He leads us in triumph over Satan.

"His dominion shall be ... to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10).

God's purpose was moving on. He had begun with Israel. Their deliverance from bondage in Egypt was a mighty demonstration of His saving power. This was only the beginning. God was moving on to Jesus - "the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42). In Jesus Christ, crucified for us, God was reaching out, in love, to "the whole world" (1 John 2:2). The Gospel is not only for the Jews: "It is it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). Jesus is calling us, His redeemed people - empowered by the Holy Spirit - to take His message of salvation to the ends of the earth: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

We hear the Word of the Lord so that we might become strong in the Lord.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke ... '" (Zechariah 8:9). 
We hear the Word of the Lord so that we might become strong in the Lord. God's Word is not to go in one ear and out the other hand. When that happens, Satan is winning a great victory over us - "When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mark 4:15). When we "hear the Word of God", let us pray that we will "accept it and bear fruit" (Mark 4:20).

A Call For Conversion, A Promise of Salvation (Zechariah 1:1-6)

* The Faithful Ministry of God's Prophets
God’s work does not always move forward smoothly. We face determined opposition. Where there is opportunity, there will be opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9). The servants of Satan rise up to oppose the servants of the Lord. The Lord’s enemies had some success: ‘the work on the House of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill’ (Ezra 4:24). This was only a temporary setback. God gave new strength to His servants. He sent His ‘prophets, Haggai and Zechariah’ (Ezra 5:1). They brought His Word to the people. Strengthened by their ministry of God’s Word, ‘Zerubbabel... arose and began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem’ (Ezra 5:2). God’s work was back on track. His people were moving forward - again. When your head goes down, let the Lord come to you. He will lift you up!
God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word. Haggai and Zechariah were faithful in preaching God’s Word to the…

"I will fill this temple with glory" (Haggai 2:7).

We read about the glory of the temple at Jerusalem.  There is, however, a greater glory - the glory of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) - "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (Revelation 21:22). Where do we find the real glory? Is it in the place where we worship? No! It's in the Person whom we worship. It's in the Lord. The real glory comes from Him. It's the Lord who fills the temple with His glory.

It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us.

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (Habakkuk 2:1).
Habakkuk doesn’t say to God, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I’ll go away and think about it and see if I agree with what you have said.” No! He says something very different. He says, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I will be corrected by Your Word to me.” It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us. The moment we speak about our thinking being corrected by God’s Word, we hear voices being raised – “The Bible was written such a long time ago. The world is very different now.” Yes! The world is very different now – but we must ask the awkward question, “How many of the changes have come from the fact that we have stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to us?” Have we stopped listening to what the Bible h…

The Reviving Power of God's Word

"Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth" (Jonah 3:3-5).
What a revival! What power there is in the Word of God!