Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Is this no longer true just because a lot of people have lost interest in singing the song of salvation?
No! This was Good News in Paul’s day. It’s still Good News for today.
It will always be the Good News of God’s love. It will always be the great reminder of God’s “for ever” love (Psalm 136).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Think often of what Jesus has done for you .... Thank Him for dying for you ...

"When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned" (Romans 4:4).
When God is at work in us, bringing us to faith in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, everything is very different. His salvation is His gift to us. It's not our reward from Him.  
Grace gives to us. We receive from grace. Grace brings us to faith. By faith, we look away from ourselves to the God of grace. We say, "Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace."
"Jesus, our Lord, was handed over to death because of our failures and was brought back to life so that we could receive God’s approval" (Romans 4:25).
Think often of what Jesus had done for you. He died for you. He rose again for you. Thank him for dying for you. Thank Him for rising again for you.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Praise the Lord! ... Give Him the glory!

God's way of righteousness begins with this - He is "just" - and leads to this - He "justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
"For our salvation Christ came down from heaven" (Nicene Creed) - This is Good News for sinners.
As we rejoice in the "for our salvation" message of the Gospel, let us never forget the "for His glory" message!
"To God be the glory, great things He has done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord! ... Give Him the glory!"

God shows us our sin so that we might appreciate His salvation ...

"Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24).

Here, we read about our sin and God's salvation. Once we have received God's salvation, we must not forget about our sin. We have been saved by God's grace - but we are always sinners. Our sin has been forgiven - but our sin is still there, trying to get the upper hand, trying to keep us from "growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). How are we to grow in Christ? We rejoice in His gift of the forgiveness of our sins - but will we grow in Christ by forgetting that we are sinners? When we come to the Cross of Christ, two things are revealed to us - our sin and God's salvation. The revelation of our sin does not end when we receive God's gift of forgiveness. In love, the Lord keeps on showing us how far we have fallen short of His perfect holiness. He shows us our sin so that we might appreciate His salvation and learn to walk with Him on His "Highway of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8).

Saturday, 27 May 2017

"I’m not ashamed of the Good News ... "

"I’m not ashamed of the Good News. It is God’s power to save everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
Jesus wasn't ashamed of us. He went to the Cross for us. This is the Good News. Jesus is our Saviour.
May we be unashamed of Jesus. May we be glad to speak of Him who died for us. May our lives speak for Him - as well as our words. May we not bring shame on His great Name. May we bring glory to His Name - the Name of our salvation.
I was reading Romans 1:1-7. I was asking the question, "What's this about?" There's one simple answer to this question: "This is all about Jesus!"

Thursday, 25 May 2017

On The Way To Rome ...

"You must tell the truth about me in Rome" (Acts 23:11). 
God is looking beyond our here and now - where we are and what we're doing. He's looking at what lies ahead of us, what he has planned for us.
"The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul" (Acts 23:12).
We read about Paul. We remember Jesus. Paul's enemies of Christ wanted to kill him, but God had other ideas - "You must tell the truth about me in Rome" (Acts 23:11). Jesus' enemies crucified him - but God turned everything around: "wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead" (Acts 2:23-24).

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Great Privilege And A Great Responsibility

"You will be his witness and will tell everyone what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:15). 
"His witness" - What a great privilege this is! What a great responsibility it is!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A Man With A Purpose

In Acts 21, we read about Paul, travelling from place to place. He was not alone. The Lord was with Him. He was more than a traveller. He was a missionary - a man on a mission. He was not travelling around aimlessly. He was a man with a purpose. Wherever he went, he shared the Good News of Christ's love.
When Paul went to Jerusalem, he received a warm welcome from the believers (Acts 21:17) - but look at what happened later on - "The mob was behind them shouting, “Kill him!”" (Acts 21:36)! Does this not remind us of our Lord Jesus Christ? - How quickly the "Hosanna" became "Crucify him." Doing God's will wasn't easy for Jesus and Paul. It won't be easy for us. God was with Jesus and Paul. He will be with us.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Speaking To The People ... And Speaking To God ...

"When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down and prayed with all of them" (Acts 20:36).
We are to speak to the people for God. We are to speak to God for the people.

Words of encouragement

"Paul ... spoke many words of encouragement to the people" (Acts 20:1-2).

Encouragement - What an important ministry this is! We are to encourage one another in the Lord. Our  words are to be upliftings words - words that say, 'Lift up your eyes. Look to Jesus. See how great He is. See how much He loves you.'
In his message to the elders at Ephesus, Paul describes his ministry in this way - "I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:20-21). As he speaks of this Christ-centred ministry, Paul makes it clear that he does not carry out this ministry in his own strength. He speaks of the next step in his missionary journey - "now ... I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit" (Acts 20:22). We learn from Paul that the Holy Spirit is leading us on to greater things - in the service of Christ. Paul was not content with what he had achieved in the service of Christ. led by the Holy Spirit, Paul was moving on to greater things. This is the way the Holy Spirit is leading us today. We must not rest content. We must go on. 


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Strengthening the faith of all the disciples

"Paul ... strengthened  the faith of all the disciples" (Acts 18:23).
Strengthening the faith of all the disciples - This is such an important ministry. We are not to be content with the faith that we have. We are to press on to a stronger faith. What do we mean when we speak about a strong faith? What we mean is this: We're learning to trust in our strong God. Our God is always stronger than our faith. It's not so much our faith that's strong. It's our God who's strong. The strengthening of our faith - This is about a growing awareness of our strong God. He is our strength. Our faith is growing stronger when we're learning to look away from ourselves - we are always weak - to our God - He is always strong.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Give careful attention to God's Word.

"The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).
Give careful attention to God's Word. This is what we learn from the Bereans. May God help us to be more like them.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Come Over And Help Us ...

"During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them" (Acts 16:9-10).
Paul's guidance came through " a man of Macedonia." His guidance came from "God." We look at the human situation. We ask the Lord, "What do You want me to do?"

Monday, 15 May 2017

Making Decisions ... And Making Disciples

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’” (Acts 15:36). 
We begin with making decisions – but we don’t end there. We must go on from there to making disciples. Making a decision for Christ is just the beginning. Growing into a disciple of Christ – this is God’s calling for the whole of our life’s journey.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

There was a problem ...

"Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls ... Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words ... Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:24,32,35).
There was a problem. There needed to be a response. Whenever God's people are being "troubled" and "unsettled" by those who speak their own "words" rather than the Word of the Lord, what are we to do? We must pray that God will raise up "prophets" who will preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God, strengthening the faith of God's people and leading them into a closer walk with God.

Great things can happen ...

Great things can happen when ‘earnest prayer’ is ‘made to God by the church’ - God ‘is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think’ (Acts 12:5-7; Ephesians 3:20). Give all the glory to God.
Herod ‘did not give God the glory’. He accepted the praise of the people - ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man’. Herod’s sudden death - ‘an angel of the Lord struck him down’ - is a warning (Acts 12:22-23; Proverbs 29:1).
‘Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap’. ‘Walk humbly with your God’ (Galatians 6:7; Micah 6:8).

Saturday, 13 May 2017

I see heaven open ...

"Look," Stephen said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56).
Immediately after this great  vision of his Saviour, Stephen prayed two prayers
- "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59);
- "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60).
Stephen's death wasn't a sad exit from this earthly world. It was a triumphant entry into God's eternal Kingdom.
Through faith in Christ, we can die triumphantly.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Peter preached Christ with great boldness ...

Peter preached Christ with great boldness: ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’(Acts 4:12).
This boldness came from the Holy Spirit. Peter was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’(Acts 4:8). Don’t say, ‘I‘m no Peter’. Peter failed his Lord and had to be restored (Matthew 26:69-75; John 21:15-17). Peter drew great strength from ‘the company of those who believed’. They ‘gathered together’ for prayer. They ‘were of one heart and soul’...’(Acts 4:31-33). Why did God deal so severely with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)? This was the start of something great. God refused to let His work be spoiled! There is a warning for us: Don’t pretend to be more holy than you really are. God sees what you’re really like. ‘Search me, O God...’(Psalm 139:23-24). There was great blessing: ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord’(Acts 5:14). There was persecution (Acts 5:17-18). This did not hinder the advance of the Gospel (Acts 5:42). Satan was not going to give up easily. He came right back at the apostles (Acts 6:1). Satan was defeated. Through the Spirit of God and the Word of God, the victory was won. The apostles ‘devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word’. They were supported by ‘seven men... known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom’(Acts 6:3-4). Armed with ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’, let us be ‘be strong in the Lord’- ‘filled with the Spirit’- as we ‘let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly’(Ephesians 6:17,10; 5:18; Colossians 3:16). Filled with His Spirit and obedient to His Word, let us look to God for His blessing (Acts 6:7).

Jesus is the way of salvation, joy and victory.
  • Jesus is the way of salvation - Concerning "the Name of Jesus Christ", Peter tells us that "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10, 12).
  • Jesus is the way of joy - Jesus tells us, "In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Jesus is the way of victory - Paul gives to us this word of encouragement: "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Christ brings a change of direction into our life.

This change of direction is described for us in Acts 2:42 -“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Christ is preached. We believe the Gospel. We receive salvation. Life is no longer centred upon ourselves. It is centred upon Christ.

On The Day Of Pentecost ...

Acts 2:37-38
At the heart of the Gospel, there is the love of God. This is the story
told by Peter on the Day of Pentecost – the story of God’s
love for us. In love, God offers to us the forgiveness of sins and the
gift of the Holy Spirit (v. 38). These blessings are undeserved –
we are “far off” (v. 39). As the message of salvation was
proclaimed, the Spirit of love was powerfully at work, creating faith
– “they were cut to the heart and asked, ‘Brothers,
what shall we do?’” (v. 37). The story of salvation calls
for our response. Can we hear this story of salvation without
responding in faith, without earnestly seeking the blessings promised
to us in Christ? – Sadly, there are people who hear the Gospel
many times but are never gripped by the Gospel. We are only gripped by
the Gospel when we allow the Spirit of God to do His work in us,
drawing us to Jesus Christ. This emphasis on the Spirit is important.
Repentance and faith come to us through the work of the Spirit in us.
This is very different from the suggestion that we depend on our own
ability to save ourselves through our own ‘good works’ of
repentance and faith. Peter calls for repentance. When we repent , we
turn from every attempt to save ourselves. It cannot be done. We put
our trust in Christ. He alone can save us. We do not come to God,
demanding that God must accept us because of our repentance.Trusting in
Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit.
We receive the power we need to live a new life, centred upon Christ
rather than self. It is the power that comes from knowing that our sins
have been forgiven. It is the Spirit’s power to change us, making
us more like Jesus. What does it mean to be gripped by the Gospel? What
does it mean to have faith in Christ? There are two elements in faith.
First, there is faith in the events, believing that they really
happened. Second, there is trust in what the events reveal. We trust in
the love of God. What is faith? In one sense, faith is personal. In
another sense, faith involves being in community with other believers
– “they were added to their number” (v. 41). In
Peter’s call for baptism, we see this second element of faith. In
baptism, we are taken beyond the purely personal aspect of faith. Our
attention is focused on the community of faith into which we enter. We
are not simply isolated individuals. We belong to the body of Christ,
in fellowship with other believers.
Our Question And God's Answer (Acts 2:37-38)
The question is our question: “Brothers, what shall we do?”
The answer is God’s answer: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Where Does Our Question Come From? (Acts 2:37)
Where does our question come from? – It comes from God.
His Word is preached. His Spirit is at work.
Following on from the preaching of God’s Word in the power of God’s Spirit, we read this, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart”. This is where the question comes from. God has put it into our heart. Through His Word and His Spirit, he leads us to ask the question of salvation: “What must I do to be saved?”
God's Answer To Our Question (Acts 2:37-38)
The question is our question. The answer must always be God’s answer. We ask the question. We cannot give the answer. In ourselves, there is no answer. We are “far off” (Acts 2:39).
We know about our sin, but we cannot give to ourselves the forgiveness of sin.
We know about the emptiness in our lives, but we cannot fill our own hearts with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We can only come to God in our sin and our emptiness.
We come in our sin, praying for God’s forgiveness. We come in our emptiness, praying that God will fill us with His Spirit.
When we come in our sin and emptiness, God speaks His answer.

God’s Answer Comes To Us In The Name Of Jesus Christ. 
“What are we to do?” – Before we think of what we are to do, we must think about what Jesus Christ has done for us. This is the Good News. Jesus Christ has taken our sins upon Himself. He has died for us so that we might be forgiven by Him.

We must never begin with the call for repentance and baptism. We must always begin with Jesus Christ – “the Son of God loved us and gave Himself for us” (Galatians 2:20).

“What are we to do?” – The first thing we must do is this: we must look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

When we turn our eyes on Jesus and keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will never think of our repentance and baptism as ‘good works’ we have done, ‘good works’ by which we make ourselves acceptable to God.

The Name of Jesus Christ is the Name of our salvation. It is in Him that we are called to repentance and baptism. It is through the power of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, that we are able to put the old life behind us and begin the new life of the Spirit.

At the heart of God’s answer to our question, there is “the Name of Jesus Christ.”

In His answer to our question, God speaks to us of repentance and baptism. He speaks of the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Above all else, He speaks to us of His Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God's Answer Is For Every One Of Us (Acts 2:38).
To every one of us, God says, “Repent and be baptized”. To every one of us, He says, “Leave your old life behind. Step out into the new life with Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.”
God’s answer is for every one of us. He doesn’t say to some of us, “You need to repent” and then turn to others, saying, “You won’t need to repent. You’re good enough already.”
Let God's Answer Change You. (Acts 2:38).
The question is asked, “What are we to do?” God’s answer begins with a call for repentance and baptism – “Repent and be baptized.”
If we were to read no further than the words, “Repent and be baptized”, we would miss a great deal of what God is saying to us here.“Repent and be baptized” is only the beginning of God’s answer. We must go on from there. As we read the remainder of verse 38, we learn that
* God’s answer is addressed to every one of us.
* God’s answer comes to us in the Name of Jesus Christ.
* God’s answer comes to us with the promise of the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We ask the question, “What are we to do?” (Acts 2:37), God gives the answer – “Repent and be baptized.” (Acts 2:38).
We lay our old life before the Lord. We invite Him to come and change us.
He comes in forgiving love. He comes in transforming power.
Once we have put our faith in Christ, everything changes.
“If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation.
Old things have passed away. Everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Three Great Gifts - Jesus, Forgiveness, And The Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)

Through faith in Christ, we put the old life behind us. Our sins are forgiven. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Through faith in Christ, we receive the strength we need to live as men and women who love God.
Through faith in Christ, we receive the strength we need to maintain our confession of faith – "Jesus Christ is Lord.”
In Jesus Christ, God’s answer comes to us with the promise of the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, 8 May 2017

“God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (Acts 2:24).

Did this become true only because a lot of people said that it was true? Has it become false because many people refuse to believe that it’s true? No! It’s God’s great miracle. Death has been defeated. There is hope. Death will not triumph over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Jesus' Love For Us And Our Love For Him

John 21:15-17

Jesus loves us so much more than we love Him. In love, He comes to us to draw out from us a greater love for Him. I find great encouragement in the story of the restoration of Peter in John 21. Peter had denied the Lord three times. For each denial, Jesus came to Peter with the question, "Peter, do you love Me?" Three times, Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus. Following on from this, there is the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Lord works through Peter in a very wonderful way. Three thousand people are brought to faith in Christ - for each denial, a thousand souls brought to faith! What a wonderful restoration! May we have much cause to say of the Lord, "He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3). May our ministry of His Word prosper - "those who turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Speaking To God And Listening To Him

John 17

This is such a great prayer. At the heart of it, we have these great words, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17). True prayer is always grounded in truth. There is a conversation between ourselves and God. God initiates this conversation. From Him, there is revelation. From us, there is response. Revelation comes first. He speaks to us. Then, we speak to Him. In our world, there are many voices. There is one voice which must not be drowned out: the voice of God.

"Your Word is truth" (John 17:17).

Where does our faith come from? It comes from the Lord. He has spoken to us in His Word. He is still speaking to us. Are we listening to Him? We're not to come to the Word of God with the attitude that says, "This is true. That's not true." On what basis do we say, "This is true. That's not true"? We may come to some parts of the Bible and say, "That speaks to me." We may come to other parts of the Bible and say, "That doesn't speak to me." What are we saying when we say this kind of thing? Are we saying something about God's Word? or Are we saying something about our need to listen more carefully to what the Lord is saying to us through His Word? Let us learn to say, with our Lord Jesus Christ, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17) and we will begin to say, more and more often, "That really speaks to me." It's not about our deciding what speaks to us and then saying, "That really is the Word of God." It's about our saying "Your Word is truth" and then discovering that God has a great deal to say to us when we are learning to say to Him, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:9-10).

Where does happiness come from?

"Now you're in a painful situation. But I will see you again. Then you will be happy, and no one will take that happiness away from you" (John 16:22).

Where does happiness come from? Is it something that we reach out for and grasp? or Is it something that's given to us? Our happiness comes to us from our Lord.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

We wish to see Jesus ...

"We wish to see Jesus ... The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified ... I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself ...  although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him ... they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:21,23,32,37-43).
When we say, "We want to see Jesus", we are led by the Holy Spirit to the Cross of Christ. In the Cross of Christ, we see love that appeals to all people, calling them to come to the Saviour and receive His salvation. Sadly, there are many who refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some who find themselves drawn to the Saviour. They "believe in Him" but  "they do not confess Him" because "they love the praise of men more than the praise of God." What are we to say when the love that makes its appeal to all is rejected by many? - "Not everyone has faith, but the Lord is faithful" (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3). When we are surrounded by so much unbelief, let us hold on to this: The Lord is faithful. Whatever the unbelieving world  may say about the Lord, may the Lord's people always say, "The Lord is faithful."

Jesus Christ - The Good Shepherd, The Great Shepherd, The Chief Shepherd

* Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who died on the cross for us – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
* Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd who rose from the dead for us – “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
* Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd who is coming again for us – “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free ... So, if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free" (John 8:32,36).

Don't seek freedom, the way the world defines it - free to do what you like. That's not freedom. When we live to please ourselves, we show that our lives are being controlled by Satan. The more self-centred we are, the more Satan laughs. He says, ' I've got you exactly where I want you.' Receive freedom from Christ - set free from self-centredness, set free for a Christ-centred life - "It's no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

Monday, 1 May 2017

From Eternal Love To Eternal Glory

"We wonder, "Where have we come from? Where are we going to?" Jesus says, "I know where I came from, and where I'm going" (John 8:14). Show us, Lord Jesus, Your eternal love - the love that calls out to us from the beginning, the love that calls us on to the end, the love that calls out to us from Your eternal glory, the love that calls us on to Your eternal glory.

What are we to do, Lord, when we think that You're against us?

Job 9:20-10:22 What are we to do, Lord, when, like Job, we think that You are “against” us (Job 10:2)? Where do such negative thoughts ...