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Showing posts from 2018

A Message For The New Year

We stand between the past and the future. We are to give thanks for the past. Let us “give thanks to the Lord”, remembering “the wonderful works that He has done” (1 Chronicles 16:8,12). We are to commit our future to the Lord in prayer. God promises His blessing to those who call upon Him in prayer: “If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). There is work to be done. It is God’s work. God gives His command to do His work. God gives the strength to do His work (Ezra 1:2,5). God raises up His servants to do His work. We must be committed to doing the work of the Lord (Esther 4:14,16). Sometimes, in God’s work, we wonder what is going on. We wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” We need the encouragement of God’s Word: “He knows the way that I take” (Job 23:10). We need to be assured of the faithfulness of God (L…

Holiness - By Grace

The life of holiness is not an expression of our own moral virtue. It is an expression of the holy character of God being reproduced in us: ‘I am the Lord who sanctify you’ (Leviticus 20:8). God wants us for Himself – This is why we must not live the world’s way: ‘I the Lord am … holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine’ (Leviticus 20:26). God has a great purpose for us: ‘You shall inherit their land… I will give it to you, a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Leviticus 20:24).  ‘The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly… in Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the pathway to holiness: ‘By grace you have been saved through faith… for good works’ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Approaching the Lord’s Table: Forgiveness, Victory, Faith, God’s Word, God’s Love

As we approach the Lord’s Table, let’s think about two verses of Scripture. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler” (Psalm 91:3). The first of these verses speaks of the forgiveness of our sins. The second speaks of victory over Satan. Through the precious blood of Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through the precious blood of Christ, we are victorious over Satan (Revelation 12:11). Let us rejoice in God’s gift of forgiveness. Let us also rejoice in His gift of victory. We do not earn God’s forgiveness. It is God’s gift. Victory is not earned. Like forgiveness, victory is God’s gift. How do we receive these great gifts of God? We come to the Cross of Christ. At the Cross, we learn that Christ to bring us forgiveness – and He died to give us victory. We receive these gifts by faith. Forgiveness and victory do not come to …

Atonement

Leviticus 15:1-16:34  Each of us is unclean before God. Each of us needs Christ, who has given Himself as “a sin offering” to “make atonement” for us (Leviticus 16:16). Christ is the perfect Saviour, who “bears all our iniquities” (Leviticus 16:22). Concerning His great sacrifice for us, the Word of God says, “On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord” (Leviticus 16:30).

Worship The Lord ... (Psalm 18)

Psalm 18:1-24 The first three verses set the tone: Worship. What a great start to this Psalm. Our attention is directed away from ourselves to the Lord: ‘my strength...my rock, my fortress and my deliverer...my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold’ (1-2). The great testimony of verse 3 - ‘I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies’ - did not come easily (4-5). The enemies of the Lord will be brought to judgment (13-14). ‘The cord of death encompassed me...He delivered me from my strong enemy...’ (4-5,17-19) - Rejoice in the risen Christ through whom we have the ‘victory’ over ‘the last enemy...death’ (1 Corinthians 15:20,26,54). God is leading us into ‘a broad place’ (19). Step into the future with Him. Don’t hold back! ‘Let go and let God have His wonderful way’.
Psalm 18:25-50 ‘This God’ is ‘our God’. He is ‘the Rock’. He is ‘my Rock’. No one can compare with the Lord our God. He is the living God, the God of our sal…

Cleansing

“Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’” (John 13:10). * “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses us all from sin” (1 John 1:7).
When we come in faith to Jesus Christ, our Saviour, we receive complete cleansing – “The vilest offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.” ”Every sin had to go ‘neath the cleansing flow.”  * “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps on cleansing us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Coming to Christ and receiving the forgiveness of our sins is just the beginning of our walk in God.
Through faith in our Saviour, we become God’s children. Becoming God’s children through faith in Christ is the beginning of our new life in Christ. God is calling us to grow in Christ. He is calling us to become mature believers.
How are we to grow in Christ? How are to become mature believers? Often, sin will come between us and th…

At The Lord's Table, We Remember Him - And We Respond To Him.

John 6:1-59
In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus stands before us as the One who calls for our decision. There is no automatic guarantee that all who hear the preaching of God’s Word do, in fact, receive the blessing of which God’s Word speaks. There is no automatic guarantee that all who receive the blessing to which these symbols point. Jesus stands before us, saying to us, “What is your response to Me?”

Make Sure That You Don't Reach The Point Of No Return.

God’s judgment on Jezebel was awesome (2 Kings 9:30-37). Why does God’s Word speak to us so strongly of judgment? He is warning us. He is calling us to repent, to return to Him before it is too late, before our opportunity for repentance has gone. Make sure that you don’t reach the point of no return. ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). For you, this may be God’s time. The Lord may never be so ‘near’ again. You are in ‘the valley of decision’: ‘Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’ (Joel 3:14; Hebrews 4:7). There is still time – to open your heart to Christ, to trust Him as your Saviour, to become a new creation in Him. Here is a prayer you can pray: ‘Restore us, O God; let Thy face shine, that we may be saved!’ (Psalm 80:3,7,19).

Will you be saved - or lost?

Christ invites us to ‘come’ (6:1,3,5,7) - and look at things through His eyes. With Him, we look at earth. With Him, we look at heaven. Troubled world, tremendous worship - These are the things we see when we look through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our world is deeply troubled. Heaven’s worship is absolutely tremendous. Of all our many ‘troubles’, the greatest is this: We are sinners, and none of us ‘can stand’ before ‘the face of Him who sits on the throne’. Our earthly ‘troubles’ are nothing compared with this! There is hope. There is a way of ‘salvation’. We can be saved through ‘the blood of the Lamb’. If, however, we turn from Him - ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ - there will be no hope. We will face ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ (4:16-17; 5:10,14; John 1:29). Will you be saved - or lost?

The Great Conflict Between God And Satan - Never Doubt The Final Outcome!

“Now the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouths of all these prophets” (1 Kings 22:23). While we believe that God is working out His good purpose – “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), we must remember that history tells the story of our sin as well as God’s salvation. Where there is sin, there is also judgment. We see this in John 3:17-18 where the great words of salvation – “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Christ” (verse 17) – are followed by these very serious words of warning – “Whoever believes in Christ is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s only Son ” (verse 18). “Because he has not believed …", there will be condemnation. Scripture says that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). This is the fulfilment of God’s wonderful promi…

Treasures On Earth? or Treasures In Heaven?

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift – articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.” (1 Kings 10:23-25).
” Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.” (1 Kings 10:9). We read about King Solomon. We read about His great riches. We read about  his great wisdom. We learn that he had been greatly blessed by God. What are  we to say about Solomon? We could focus on the spiritual side – “the wisdom God had put in his heart”, “the Lord your God … has delighted in you.” We should also note the temptation that comes to those who have great riches. Things can become more important to us than they should be. …

When The Going Gets Tough ...

“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).

What Are You Doing With Christ's Invitation?

“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.

God's Word Brings Blessing.

"… 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…

Building On Christ

“Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My Word with you, which I spoke to your father David” (1 Kings 6:12). Building a temple for God means nothing if it isn’t accompanied by building the ‘temple’ of a godly life.  We must remember that “our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the place of worship looks great and our lives are a mess, we need to hear what God is saying to us here. He’s speaking to us about godly living. How are we to live a godly life? – We must build our life on Jesus Christ – “whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock … it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). Whenever we start to attach too much importance to the place where we worship, let us remember the words of Jesus: “In three days I will raise up …

Male And Female

Genesis 2:20 “a helper suitable for him” Man was sharing God’s creation with the animals. Now, God was about to do something very special, something that would make the world a very different place. Genesis 2:21
“a deep sleep”
Man contributes nothing to this mighty work of God. This is a great lesson we must never forget. We dare not make too much of ourselves. Anything good in us comes from the Lord. Genesis 2:22
“a woman”
This was a new creation. There was nothing else like her. She was the first woman. There was also continuity between the man and the woman. They belonged together. In man and woman, there is both difference and similarity. The woman is different from the man, yet she is more like him than any of the other creatures. Genesis 2:23
“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”
There is a sense of fulfilment here. Until this point, there was something missing. Now,the creation is complete. There is Man and there is Woman. Genesis 2:24
“they will be one flesh”

The Power, The Victory, The Thanksgiving

The Power – “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power” (1 Samuel 16:13). The Victory – “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty … the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45, 47). The Thanksgiving – “I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me” (Psalm 30:1).

The Lord Bless You And Keep You ...

Numbers 6:22-27 There’s nothing better than God’s blessing. It’s nice to have friends. People like you. It feels good. God’s blessing – That’s so much better. Friends come and go. God’s blessing remains. You can be surrounded by friends – and still feel very lonely. Sometimes, they’re great friends. Sometimes, they disappoint us. When you’re surrounded by God’s blessing, everything’s very different. God will never disappoint us. He’s our “always and forever” Friend. His blessing is an “every day” blessing. It’s not just a “now and again” thing. It’s an “all the days of our life” thing. Everywhere we look, we see God. We look to the hills. We see our Creator. We look to the cross. We see our Saviour. We are blessed by our Creator. We are blessed by our Saviour.
How do we enjoy God’s blessing? Trust Him. Walk in His way. Wherever life’s journey takes us, He’s there. He’s our faithful Friend. He’s the Friend who’ll never let us down. In our happy times, He gives us His joy. …

How Great Is Our God!

"Who can speak about all the mighty things the Lord has done? Who can announce all the things for which He is worthy of praise?" (Psalm 106:2).

There is always more to be said about the Lord than we can ever say. When we have said all that we can say, we have not said enough. The Lord is always greater than all our words about Him. How great is our God! How great is His mighty work of salvation! Praise be to His Name - the Name of our salvation.

The Holy Spirit Leads Us In The Way Of Victory.

John 15:20, 26, 16:13–15, 33, Rom 12:2, 2 Tim 3:12, 1 John 5:4–5 Jesus was ‘persecuted’. We will be ‘persecuted’ - ‘all who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted’ (John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12). We have no guarantee that life will be easy. In all our difficulties, ‘the Spirit of truth’ directs our attention to Jesus our Saviour (John 15:26; 16:13-15). Whatever our problems, we draw encouragement from Jesus’ words: ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Here, we have realism and faith. The world is trying to squeeze us into its own mould (Romans 12:2). Sometimes, we feel like faith is slipping away. Sometimes, we feel like giving up. What are we to say to all this? ‘Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?’ - This is our faith’ (1 John 5:4-5).

“The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11).

“The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11). The house of the Lord is never to be the chief focus of our attention. The Lord of the house is to be the focus of all that we do when we gather together for worship. When we look, with admiration, at the grand cathedrals, we may wonder, “Who were they trying to impress when they built this?” When we see two hugely impressive examples of Chucrh architecture located very close to each other, we may wonder, “Is there more than a bit of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ thing going on here?” We may wonder, “What goes on in these places?” Are they places of which it can be said, “The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord”? or Have they become places that are not really much more than tourist attractions?” When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, He found that life in the Jerusalem Temple was busy with activity, but it was empty – God was not there. At the end of the book of Ezekiel, there are these …

Two Men With The Same Name

Two men with the same name – Saul, the first king of Israel, and Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ and His servants. In both stories, we read of a new man. * In the case of Saul, the first king of Israel, David was the new man. Saul was rejected. He was replaced. The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king … So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:1, 13). * In the case of Saul of Tarsus, it was very different. Saul became the new man. He became Paul the apostle. He was saved by the Lord. His life was transformed by the power of Christ’s love. He became a new creation in Christ Jesus. He had this great testimony: “It is no longer I wh…

The Darkness Of Sin, The Light Of Salvation

Beyond the darkness of sin, there's the light of salvation (Genesis 1-3).
This is not only about creation. It's also about sin. There's also the promise of salvation (Genesis 3:15). Even in the darkness of sin, there's a glimpse of the light that will come. God created us. He has not forgotten us. He has sent His Son for us. He has not left us in our sin. He has delivered us. We have just a hint of this here - "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent" (Genesis 3:15). There is enough of a hint to persuade us that there are better things still to come. We do not get bogged down in sin. God is calling us beyond that. He is calling us on to salvation. He is calling us to come to the Saviour - our Lord Jesus Christ.

What kind of person are you becoming?

Things were going from bad to worse!  The people of Israel had forgotten ‘the Lord their God’ (Judges 8:34).  ‘The enemy’ was ready to ‘come in like a flood’ (Isaiah 59:19).  Abimelech - Gideon’s son by ‘his concubine who was in Shechem’ (Judges 8:31) - was very unlike his father.  Gideon had pointed away from himself to the Lord (Judges 8:23).  Abimelech was eager to draw attention to himself.  He murdered his seventy brothers, paving the way for himself to become king (Judges 9:1-6).  Abimelech spelt trouble!  Things were only going to get worse with Abimelech.  There was ‘an evil spirit’ at work among God’s people (Judges 9:23).  Where was God in all this? - ‘Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct’ (Romans 1:28).  What kind of person are you becoming?  Each of us must choose!

Gold!

Exodus 37:1-29
Many times over, we read the word, “gold.” We look beyond the furnishings of the place of worship to the God whom we worship. In our hearts, we say, “My God, how wonderful You are.” All that we read of here is pointing us to the great God, the God of glory, the god who is worthy of all praise. Many people place great value on “gold”, but they do not worship God and give glory to Him. How sad it is that so many people place such high value on the things of this world  – and place such little value on the God who created our world. In our world, we must learn to look beyond this world. We must learn to say, “I’d rather have Jesus than riches untold.” The Lord must always be more important to us than anyone or anything else. We must not let “gold” become our “god.” We must look beyond the “gold” to our God.

“Give thanks to the Lord.”

Psalm 107 calls us to “give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 107:1,8,15,21,31). When we hear the call to “give thanks to the Lord”, our response is to be ‘I want to give thanks to You among the people, O Lord” (Psalm 108:3). “With my mouth I will give many thanks to the Lord, I will praise Him among many people” (Psalm 109:30).

A Godly, Christlike And Spirit-Filled Life

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

More Than A Human Story!

Queen Vashti is removed from her position. She is replaced by Esther. There is no direct mention of God in connection with these events. That fact that the book of Esther has been included in the Word of God indicates that these events were interpreted as evidence of God’s activity among His people. It is important that we read the book of Esther as part of Scripture, and not only in terms of what is written in the book itself. Reading Esther in this way, we see it as part of God’s Story, and not only as a human story. Although the Name of God does not appear in this book, we have here an inspiring story of the triumph of good over evil. This is a book about God and Satan. They are opposites. The victory belongs to God. He is Lord. Before the victory, there is the conflict. The people of God are in great jeopardy. Their life is in danger. The evil man, Haman, “planned to wipe out ... All the Jews in the entire kingdom of Xerxes” (Esther 3:6). Esther played a vital part …

Thank God - for the Holy Spirit.

We thank You, our Father, that You have sent Your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. We thank You that the new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. You are preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’(Romans 8:18). We thank You that the Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance’ - He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course! With Him in our hearts, we long for more. We long for Your glorious future. We’re not staggering along on a dead-end street. We’re walking tall. We’re travelling with You, Lord. You’re leading us on to Your glory. May we always be led by Your Spirit. May we keep on growing in Your Spirit.

The Mercy Of God - And The Purpose Of God

Exodus 2:23-25 The mercy of God, revealed in the Exodus, is connected with the ongoing purpose of God – “God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (Exodus 2:24). From Exodus 1:13 to Exodus 2:23-25, there were 80 years (Acts 7:23,30). These 80 years are referred to as “the course of those many days” (Exodus 2:23). Egypt is “the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6). The people of God were in bondage for many years. Year after year passed, and the people remained in bondage. Where in the world was God in all this? Was He absent? Has He left His people? Had God forgotten His promises? No! Not at all! God was there all the time. In mercy, He was waiting patiently for His people to call upon Him, to cry to Him for mercy. Is there not here a lesson for our Church and our community? Don’t give up. God hasn’t given up on us. He is still waiting for us to call upon Him. In mercy, He is waiting for us to cry to Him for mercy. In Exodus 2:23-25…

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…

Eternal life

John 3:16; John 10:10 What does it mean to have eternal life? There are two important dimensions in eternal life. There is life after death and there is life before death. There are a great many people who never give any thought to an after-life. The question, "Is there life after death?" rarely crosses their mind. they are content to live from day to day, taking each day as it comes. These people are, however, interested in another question: Is there life before death? When they hear of Jesus Christ, they ask, "Can He change my life here and now? Can He make a difference in my life right now? The Gospel answer to that question is an emphatic "Yes". Jesus Christ does not only give us heaven. He give us new life here and now. The two sides of the life which Christ gives to us must be emphasized. There is life before death. Jesus calls this: "abundant life" (John 10:10). There is life after death. Here, Jesus speaks of "ev…

God''s love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

We read in the Bible about God’s love. Is this just something from the ancient past? Is it for us? The Bible speaks to us from the ancient past – but it’s not to be left in the ancient past. * “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) – This is for us today. He loved the world then. He loves the world now. His love is unchanged.  * Sometimes, we start off well. We’re reading the Bible. We’re learning about God’s love. Then something unexpected happens – and we start wondering, “Does God still love me?” Where does that thought come from? Does it come from the Spirit of God? No, it comes from our enemy, Satan. He sows seeds of doubt in our mind. He says, “Do you really think that God loves you?” He contradicts God’s Word – and leaves us very confused (Genesis 3:1-5). When Satan comes to us with his lies, we must remember this: God never stops loving us. We may stop loving Him – but He will never stop loving us. His love is unchanging.  * How do we know that God’s love …

"The Word became flesh" ...

"The Word became flesh" then so that He might be made flesh in us now (John 1:14). The Son of God became "Emmanuel" (God with us) so that He might be "God with us" here-and-now.   "Jesus ... has risen" (Matthew 28:5-6) - so that, as the living Christ, He might live in us.  Our faith is grounded in the great facts of the Gospel: The Word became flesh, Jesus has risen. The Saviour was born for us. He lived for us. He died for us. He rose for us. All that He has done for us must become a powerful reality in us. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  'For us' - we must never forget this. We do not jump straight to 'In us.' To those who speak of a inner spirituality which is not grounded in the historical reality of the great events of the Gospel, the Word of God says, "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God&q…

The prodigal son and the perfect Son

* Jesus told a story of God's love - "the story of the prodigal son" (Luke 15:11-32). * Jesus is the Story of God's love - His Story is the Story of God's perfect Son. ---- In Luke 15:13, we read of the prodigal son going into the "far country". In Luke 15:20-22, we read of the joy of his homecoming -"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet." ----- In Philippians 2:8, we read of Jesus going into "the far country" (Luke 15:13) - "He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!&q…

Loving Jesus And Living For Him

"Be ready ... Be ready ... " (Luke 12:35,40). When Jesus returns, we are to be ready. This doesn't mean that we need to have all the answers to all the questions that can be asked about his return. It means that we're to be waiting for him in faith. We're to be loving him and living for him.

Are we listening to the Lord - or are we listening to the world?

"Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of the inheritance that our father left us.” 14 Jesus said to him, “Who appointed me to be your judge or to divide your inheritance?” 15 He told the people, “Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.” 16 Then he used this illustration. He said, “A rich man had land that produced good crops. 17 He thought, ‘What should I do? I don’t have enough room to store my crops.’ 18 He said, ‘I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones so that I can store all my grain and goods in them. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You’ve stored up a lot of good things for years to come. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight! Now who will get what you’ve accumulated?’ 21 That’s how it is when a person has material riches but is not rich in his rel…

The power of the Holy Spirit

"At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say" (Luke 12:12). The power of the Holy Spirit - This is something we must never forget. We meet someone who needs to hear the Good News of Christ's love. God is giving us this opportunity to speak a word for Him. What are we to say? We look to the Lord - to give us His Word, the words that we are to speak for Him - "Lead me to some soul today, O teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, And cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, And few there are who pray; Melt my heart, and fill my life, Give me one soul today."

Strong words from Jesus!

"After Jesus spoke, a Pharisee invited Him to have lunch at his house. So Jesus accepted the invitation. The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn’t wash before the meal. The Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside you are full of greed and evil.  You fools! Didn’t the One who made the outside make the inside too? Give what is inside as a gift to the poor, and then everything will be clean for you" (Luke 11:37-41). Keeping up appearances - That was all that mattered to the Pharisees. There's a difference between the way things seem and the way they really are. Jesus saw this clearly. The Pharisees didn't. May God help us to be followers of Jesus - not followers of the Pharisees. Luke 11:42-54 42 “How horrible it will be for you Pharisees! You give God one-tenth of your mint, spices, and every garden herb. But you have ignored justice and the love of God. You should have done these things without ignoring the o…

God has spoken to us by His Son.

“Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it” (Luke 10:23-24). There is a progression, in Scripture, beyond the revelation given to Israel through the Old Testament prophets to the great revelation given in the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. He is greater than all the prophets. He is greater than all the kings. He is the Son of God. He is our Saviour. There is no-one else like Him. There were many prophets. There were many kings. There is only one Saviour – Jesus Christ, the Son of God: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Stop walking away from Christ. Start walking with Him.

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades” (Luke 10:13-15). What is Christ saying to us as we read His strong words of judgment? He’s calling us to change direction. Stop walking on “the broad road that leads to destruction.” Start walking on “the narrow road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14). Stop walking away from Christ. Start walking with Him.

A large harvest, few workers ...

"He told them, 'The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.'" (Luke 10:2).  A large harvest, few workers: what do we do? - "Ask the Lord ... " "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).

Lord, we thank You that Your Son, Jesus, went to the Cross for us.

Lord, we thank You that Your Son, Jesus, went to the Cross for us. It was our sin that sent Him to the Cross. He took our sin upon Himself. He took our place. We were the ones who should have died – but He was the One who died for us. We look at ourselves, and we see nothing but bad news – “The wages of sin is death.” We look at Jesus, dying on the Cross for us, and we hear the Good News of Your great love for us: “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

More than a prophet - Jesus is my Saviour.

"A great prophet ... Are you the one who is coming?" (Luke 7:16,19-20). "A great prophet" - This may be the beginning of our faith, but it's not the end of our faith. "A great prophet" - This is the first stage of our faith. We sense that there's something different about Jesus. Then, we begin to ask the question, "How different is Jesus?" We start to wonder, "Is Jesus more than a prophet?" "Are you the one who is  coming?" Where does this question come from? It comes to us, when we start thinking, "There's something different about Jesus." We ask the question. God gives His answer. It is an answer that arises in our hearts, as we think about Jesus, as we think, "This is more than a prophet. This is my Saviour."

The blessing - it's for you!

"Jesus looked at his disciples and said,
“Blessed are those who are poor.
God’s kingdom is theirs.
21 Blessed are those who are hungry.
They will be satisfied.
Blessed are those who are crying.
They will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you, avoid you,
insult you, and slander you
because you are committed to the Son of Man.
23 Rejoice then, and be very happy!
You have a great reward in heaven.
That’s the way their ancestors treated the prophets" (Luke 6:20-23). 

"Blessed are those ..." (Luke 6:20-21). "Blessed are you ..." (Luke 6:22). The blessing is not only for those. It's for you!

John - the prophet; Jesus -the Saviour

"And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Luke 1:76-79).
These words of prophecy speak of the ministry of John the Baptist - "a prophet of the Most High." He was to "prepare the way for the Lord." "Salvation ... forgiveness ... mercy ... heaven ... peace" - John's ministry gave a taste of all that Jesus, the Saviour, would bring to us. We give thanks to God for Jesus the Saviour - and we also thank God for John the Baptist.

Jesus - “the Son of God” and “the Saviour of the world”

Some people think of Jesus as a great teacher of morality. Is that all that we can say about Him? Those who “believe” in Him say something else about Him – He’s “the Son of God” and “the Saviour of the world” (Luke 1:35; John 4:42). The critics say, “You can’t say that!” We give this answer: Jesus said it! He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He said it then. He’s still saying it now. Thank God – He’s given us more than a great teacher. He’s given us His Son – our Saviour. * God’s Son is unchanged – He’s still our Saviour: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). We sing of God’s “amazing grace” - “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Sometimes, we lose our way, and we wonder, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” Sometimes, Jesus doesn’t seem to be so precious. Sometimes, we don’t feel so blessed. What’s the …

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 …

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!

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!