You will be ‘very good’

“He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 1:6)

Reflection:
Whatever may be happening – or not happening – in your life at the moment one thing is certain. God is at work. What He started in our salvation He will continue developing until it is completed. He will not cease until He can look into us and say with satisfaction “It is very good.”

The true quality of our life is not measured by what is happening around us or to us. It is what is happening within us that is vital. We will not always be aware of it – and sometimes will feel that we are not making progress. But that itself is an indication that God is at work and has effected some change within. As uncomfortable as it might be it is a step forward. He will be preparing the next one for us, and us for it.

In our life there will be some easy paths and some difficult challenges. All will lead us onwards and will be used by God to build us and to grow us in our relationship with and trust of Him. To trust in the Lord is to trust Him with every aspect of our lives all the time.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

In many ways we are still spiritual infants. Like a good parent God will guide us forward into and through the different stages of growth and development. He will be with us in all the times of success and failure, sickness and health, sadness and joy, despair and faith.  Having called us He will never desert us – even when we prove difficult! He has invested Himself in us, nothing can separate us from Him and His love, and He will work in all things for good in our lives as His children.

He is with you now. Hold on to Him, persevere with Him and trust Him in all things.

Response:
Trust is a decision, take it. A mustard seed of faith is enough for a great God.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for what You have already done in my life, and for Your most wonderful sacrifice on the cross. Please help me to trust You more and more – knowing that You have not finished Your work in me yet, but that You will. Amen.

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Cleansed from sin 1

2016.08.29

“But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared”

  (Psalm 130:4)

Reflection:
In essence sin, in all of its aspects, is directed as an act of rebellion against God. This is stated strongly by both David and Paul.

  • “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4)
  • “the sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:7)

Forgiveness can come only from God and is possible only because God is a God of love and grace.

  • “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7)

However the passage continues to say “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished” which shows that His forgiveness is not indiscriminate. He will not automatically clear everyone who is guilty. There is a need for acknowledgement of sin and penitence from men and women.

  • “And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4)

God’s forgiveness is a gift and not a right. And when He forgives His forgiveness is complete and not partial, temporary or conditional.

  • “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12)
  • “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25)
  • “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19)

Because sin separates us from God, and as forgiveness comes only from and through God, our relationship with Him is all-important.  He needs to be ‘feared’ or held in the highest regard and respect.

  • “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (Psalm 130:4)

Response:
Only God can forgive, cleanse and heal us of the guilt and stain of sin

Prayer:

Father please help me to not take sin lightly, nor Your call to holiness. Help me Lord to repent, confess and turn away from anything that damages my relationship with You. Amen.

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It could be me

2016.07.12

“Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37)

Reflection:
A teacher of the law had tried to test Jesus with the question, “Who is my neighbour?” In response Jesus had told the story of The Good Samaritan where a man on his way to Jericho had been attacked by robbers and left bleeding and naked on the road. A priest and a Levite had come along and both had ignored him. Instead it was a despised Samaritan who stopped and helped the man.

Jesus point was that our neighbour is anyone we meet along the road of life – and the commandment is that we should love them as we love ourselves.

The Lord revealed an important truth to me recently after hearing a sermon on this parable. It was this –

“It is far easier to be the one who helps than the one who needs help.”

It is worth bearing this in mind as we come across people who are in need of assistance.  Not only may they not have the ability to help themselves at that point but may also be suffering the pain and indignities of their situation. We would not wish to change places with them.

Response:
Be grateful for being the one able to help

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to do what I need to with a generous heart and a willing spirit. Amen.

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More Salt

2016.06.27

“You are the salt of the earth”
(Matthew 5:13)

Reflection:
So many foods taste that much better after the application of some salt. Tomato wedges, hard-boiled eggs and soups – to name only three – are just not the same without salt. Very often in the home or eating out we will hear the request, “Please pass the salt.”

One of the meanings that Jesus wishes us to understand in His teaching is that Christians are to be like salt in the lives of those around them – adding flavour to their lives, helping release and bring out the flavour in their lives and helping people to find purpose and quality in their lives. So many lives could do with more salt!

The world seems to embrace the attitude ‘take as much as you can, wherever you can, for as long as you can’ without being too concerned about the effect that this has on others. Jesus approach was patently different – He came to serve, not to be served by the world. Wherever we find Him in the Gospels someone is normally being helped in some way – even on the cross.

Wherever we are we can add flavour to somebody’s life – by being more friendly, more considerate, more helpful, more interested, more understanding and less hasty, critical and judgemental. It does make a difference, even if we do not see it at the time. And in a strange way, as we become saltier, more people will be attracted to us and want some of our salt in their lives.

Response:
Be intentional – Pass the salt around

Prayer:

Lord as I have received Your Salt in my life help me to spread some of it in the lives of those around me. Amen.

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(Image: preachersinstitute)

Come in Lord

Word1

“He said, “It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer;
You have turned it into a religious bazaar.”

(Luke 19:46 – MSG)

Reflection:
Jesus was speaking of the Temple as He cleared it of those carrying on business there. It is a stark reminder that the House of God is set aside for His glory as a place of prayer and worship. This should be true of all churches and other places of worship today.

 However if that should be true for our churches it should also be true for both our own houses as well as the bodies which house us. As Paul reminds us

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

 Worship and prayer should become a natural and ongoing part of our everyday lives. God is with us always so even when we go about our daily business and social lives He should be acknowledged and invited to be a part of them.

 Our lives, homes and places of work can become spiritually cleaner and clearer, and more blessed and pleasant, as we worship God and pray Him into and through them.

  • “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
  • “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Response:
Dedicate your home to the Lord by praying in each room and asking Him to enter and take possession of it. Practice worshipping and talking to Him as you move about your home. Next time you bathe dedicate your body to Him as well.

Prayer:

Father my home is You home, my body Your temple. Bless and honour them with your presence and make then holy to You. Amen.

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The Holy Spirit

2014.06.09

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”

(Zechariah 4:6)

Reflection:
On Sunday the Christian Church celebrated the Day of Pentecost. It was an event that Jesus had foretold when He informed the disciples,

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:49)

It was also the fulfilment of the prophecy of John the Baptist. Each of the four gospels has John specifically stating that a key part of the ministry of Jesus would be to baptise people with (orig. Greek ‘in’) the Holy Spirit. This significance must not be overlooked as it underlines the importance of what was to happen by associating it with Jesus salvation ministry.

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)
• “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8)
• “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16)
• “He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33)

The revelation of Scripture is that nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity together with God the Father and God the Son. We find Him particularly in the Great Beginnings recorded in the Bible.

The Beginning of Creation
 “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
The Beginning of Jesus humanity
 “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
The Beginning of Jesus Ministry
 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
The Beginning of the Christian Church’s ministry
 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)

The wonder and glorious truth is that the same Holy Spirit is the gift of God to His people today.

“If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Lk 11:13)
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7)

He has been taken for granted and even ignored, and the state of the Church bears its own witness to this unhappy truth. However, He still works His ministry of love, grace and life in and through those who will receive Him, and brings us deeper and deeper into the reality and love of our Lord.
Without Him we could not know or respond to our Lord. Without Him we would have no gifts or empowerment for our life and ministry. With Him there is the light, life and love of God revealed to us.

Response:
Pray that He will continually fill you too. As Christians we must neither ignore Him nor confine Him.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, I ask You to fill my life, draw me closer to Jesus, and lead me in the purposes of God, each and every day. Amen.

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