Posts

Showing posts from August, 2016

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22-23).

* The love in us comes from the love of God.  * The joy in us comes from the joy of God.  * The peace in us comes from the peace of God.  ... The God of love, the God of joy, the God of peace ...   Without God, there can be no love in us, no joy in us , no peace in us ...  ... Love, Joy peace ... That's what we find in Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we are learning to love Jesus, learning to rejoice in our Saviour, learning to rest in the peace of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we learn to walk with Jesus in the way of patience, kindness and goodness. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we travel to the Cross of Christ where we learn the way of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What Are You Saying To Us, Lord, Here-And-Now?

"You have heard that it was said ... But I say to you ... " (Matthew 5:21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34, 38-39,43-44). When we see the great contrast between what has been said in the past and what Jesus says to His generation and our generation, we must remember Jesus' words, "Don't ever think that I came to set aside Moses; teachings or the Prophets" (Matthew 5:17). What does Jesus mean? Clearly, He doesn't just repeat what's already been said. Jesus says, "I didn't come to set them aside but to make them come true" (Matthew 5:17). Jesus doesn't contradict the Old Testament. He brings out its deeper meaning. He reveals its fuller meaning. Jesus is expounding the Word of God. He enables His hearers to see things in a new light - but He doesn't do this by setting aside God's Word. The Word of God stands - for every generation. It is not to be tampered with. It's to be upheld. At the heart of upholding God's Word…

Deliver Us, Lord, From Hypocrisy.

Jesus speaks about prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), doing good works (Matthew 6:1-4) and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). He emphasizes that we're not to be like the hypocrites (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Sometimes, it is difficult to work out where Jesus is leading us with. In Acts, there's a strong emphasis on God's people praying together. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of praying "in secret." Is there something about us that leads us in the direction of hypocrisy whenever we are praying with others? We find the same emphasis in Jesus' teaching about doing good and fasting. - "Make sure that you don't become like the hypocrites." When we move into the public sphere, we run the risk of hypocrisy. We must never forget this - and we must pray that God will deliver us from hypocrisy.

Daily Devotional Readings: Year Two - April

1st April: 1 Samuel 17:1-58 David defeats Goliath. This is not only a story about David and Goliath. It is about the Israelites and the Philistines. It is about 'God' and the 'gods' (43,46). Victory comes from the Lord. It is given by grace. It is received by faith (47). Notice the contrast between the attitude of Saul - unbelief -and the attitude of David - faith (33,37). Unbelief is all around us. Don't be pulled into it. Don't forget God. Remember what He has done for you and thank Him that He will not fail you now (37). Put off the armour provided by men. 'Put on the whole armour of God' (38-40; Ephesians 6:11). We will not win the victory if we fight in our own strength. We must draw our strength from the Lord. He helps us. We are 'strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man' (Psalm 121:2; 124:8; Ephesians 3:16). 2nd April 1 Samuel 18:1-30 'Loved' by 'all Israel and Judah' (16,28), David was hated by only one …

What Matters Most To You?

The values of our Lord Jesus Christ, Gospel values, Kingdom values are very different from the world's values. It's the difference between "treasures on earth" and "treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-20). When we treasure the things of earth, we will worry about the things of earth. Jesus says that we are not to worry about these things. We are to have a higher priority than 'looking after No. 1'. We're to be concerned about "God's Kingdom and what has His approval"  (Matthew 6:33). When the things that matter most to God are not the things that matter most to us, other things will take over our lives. What matters most to you? This is what Jesus is asking us. Are the things that matter most to God becoming the things that matter most to us?

Times change - but our God doesn't change.

"But You, O Lord, remain forever" (Psalm 102:12). Times change - but our God doesn't change. He's unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable - in His great love for us. His love doesn't come and go - sometimes up, sometimes down. His love remains forever. This is Good News for sinners. We have wandered far from Him - but He hasn't stopped loving us. He keeps on loving us. He's calling us to return to Him. He's calling us to make a new beginning with Him. This is love - and it gives us great hope for the future. Without His love, a New Year is just another year - more wandering around in the wilderness without really knowing where we're going. With His love, everything changes. His love changes everything. We move forward into the future with confidence in this: the Lord remains forever - and His love remains forever. Thank You, Lord, for Your great love. We don't deserve to be loved by You - but You keep on loving us. This fills our he…

Be Holy. Be Loving.

Jesus calls us to be both holy and loving. We need both - holiness and love. We're not to be hypocrites who've given up on holiness. We're not to be content with keeping up appearances. We're to seek holiness of heart. This is the heart of holiness. We're not to be hypocrites who show no love for other people. How can we have much love for God if we don't have much love for other people? A life that's centred on ourselves is very different from a life that's centred on Christ. A life that's being shaped by Christ's love will be a life of receiving His love and sharing His love. He's teaching us how much He loves us. He's helping us to show His love to other people.

One Year Bible: Days 274-304

Day 274Jeremiah 2:31-4:9; Philippians 2:12-30; Psalm 115:12-18The Lord calls us back from our backsliding: “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22). The returning people say, “Yes, we will come to You, for You are the Lord our God ... surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel” (Jeremiah 3:22-23). As we return to the Lord, He gives us this calling: “Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16). To those who return to the Lord and seek to live as His holy people, the Lord gives His promise of blessing - “The Lord remembers us and will bless us ... He will bless those who fear the Lord - small and great alike” (Psalm 115:12-13).
Day 275 Jeremiah 4:10-5:31; Philippians 3:1-4:1; Psalm 116:1-11 The Word of God is like a fire, burning up the sin of man (Jeremiah 5:14). The purpose of this fire is not…

Daily Devotional Readings: Year Two - March

1st March: Ruth 1:1-2:23 Ruth meets Boaz. It seemed like a 'chance' meeting - 'she happened to come...'(2:3). It was more than that. God was at work. Ruth had committed herself to the Lord (1:16-17). She was being guided by the Lord (Psalm 37:3-5; Proverbs 3:5-6). Ruth was unassuming and grateful, hard working and responsible (2:10,13,7,18). She is a fine example of the 'good wife' described in Proverbs 31:10-31. In Boaz, she found a good man - godly, generous and sensitive (2:12,14,16). We read about Ruth. We learn about Jesus Christ. When you come to Him, He says, 'Do not go to glean in another field...' - 'There is salvation in no one else' (2:8; Acts 4:12). In Him, there is amazing grace. He loves us. He looks upon us favourably. He takes notice of us. He died for us (2:10; Romans 5:8). Let us follow Him (1:16-17; John 6:67-69). 2nd March: Ruth 3:1-4:22 Ruth was covered by the 'garment' of Boaz, her 'kinsman - redeemer' (3:9)…