Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NASB)
I just wanted to briefly apologise for my break in posting. I have been unwell the last few days. I hope to be back to posting soon. In the mean time I think you will be blessed by the following study on the Sovereignty of God which I found on Twitter.
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3 (NASB)
Life is full of beginnings, our experiences and skills all start somewhere. I began reading when I was ten due to being housebound because of illness. My love of words and writing truly began in my teens with reading an anthology of great British poets, experiencing what could be created with a few words on paper excited my imagination. The Christian life too has a beginning. After hearing the Good News of Salvation and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I began a new journey in my life. Finding the Bible opened up a whole new realm for me to explore, with God the Holy Spirit as my guide. I remember being pointed to our scipture verse many years ago, it was sound advice which is still valid today.
Today’s verse has two distinct parts, the first part being the old life of sin that we must turn away from. And the second part is what we must do to grow as a Christian. We must “put aside” our sinful past as we would an old dirty coat, with no intention of putting it back on (Ephesians 4:22). In this New Life we give up our past sinful desires or afflictions. Yes, sin is an addictive affliction which makes it harder to kick.
In our New Life we are called to approach it with the simple joy of a child, to seek the Word of God eagerly as a baby seeks milk. The reference to the Bible as “pure milk” refers to its purity and genuineness, an important point considering the amount of fake gospels being spouted in our world leading many astray. The word for milk in the verse is from the Greek word “logikos” meaning “spiritual milk.” His Word is really the source of all spiritual sustenance for Christians of any age.
Reading and consuming the Word of God daily will enrich your life. It will fertilize you, encouraging your roots to go deeper in the Word. Our growth in our Salvation will be upwards towards Heaven, moving further away from sin and the danger of Hell. If your salvation is true you will grow in your relationship with God.
Dear reader, keep seeking the sustenance of His Holy Word. Consume it daily, chew on it thoughtfully washing it down with the Holy Spirit. In it you will taste the Kindness of Almighty God, the sacrifice of His Son at Calvary – the ultimate Kindness.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 (NASB)
Preparation is necessary in all aspects of our life, work or household, pleasure or in health. Thus it is no surprise that in spiritual matters preparation is also required. Prayer and Bible study are essential to our daily survival in the world we live in. Our walk with God is not only a short term strategy, but also a long term preparation for our future with God either through the Rapture or in death (Colossians 3:4).
In our verse today the preparation is metaphorical of action; girding up relating to securing any loose clothing in such a way to make movement unhindered (Ephesians 6:14). But how do you gird up your mind? I would suggest that as Christians we need to use our mind efficiently, and not clutter it with pointless stuff. This brings us neatly to the command to “keep sober in spirit.” Being sober minded is a life saving strategy in our wicked world with many traps for the unwary ( 1 Peter 5:8). The practice of spiritual sobriety has three elements; Abstinence, Alertness and, Calmness.
Abstinence takes us back to the question of what we feed our mind with, what kind of media we consume and how much we consume? If we feed our mind junk or worse wickedness that is exactly what we produce in turn. We need to be alert to temptations and traps that Satan lays before us in life, that we can turn away from them. Calmness relates to a serenity of spirit, confidence in the provision of protection by God. These three cords entwine making our spiritual sobriety in Almighty God secure each day.
Dear reader, in confidence of your preparations “fix your hope completely” on your future hope; looking for and expecting your reward in Jesus Christ someday. By the Grace of Almighty God if you know and love His Son, you will see Him face to face at the end of days. Be sure to be prepared for it!
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7 (NASB)
I read this scripture in “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers yesterday, under the same title I have used for this post. The main point is how mankind is under the misunderstanding that a loving God will always forgive, that He is too Good to send anyone to Hell. How wrong are people who believe this! This belief overlooks that God is Holy and Righteous in all His ways, our sin cannot come before His Throne.
We need to be clean (free from sin) before we can approach God. Believing in Him, good deeds, going to church or reading the Bible can’t achieve this cleansing. Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ, the Son of God whose death and resurrection wiped out sin for all men forever. I like the Good News Bible simplicity in our text: “For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God.” This is the one and only route to Heaven, we can receive it if we accept it. This Gospel message should be the foundation of our witness to those around us.
As I was writing this I was reminded of two friends who both tragically died young. One was a believer in Christ and is now with his Saviour. As far as I know my other friend (who came from a Christian family) rejected Jesus and sadly is in Hell. Yet I often think of him and pray that maybe in his ending he accepted Jesus and found salvation through Him.
Dear reader, have you received the forgiveness of God by repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus Christ? Don’t be deceived by Satan, telling you God won’t send you to Hell or that you have plenty time – “now is the day of Salvation!”(2 Cor.6:2). There is no other way but through Jesus, the Saviour. If you are saved through Christ, share it. Don’t let discomfort stop you from saving souls from Hell, and populating Heaven. Here is a little help…who can you share this post with today?
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:11-13 (NASB)
The world I was born into was very different to the present twenty-first century. There was no political correctness, prejudice was rampant in all its forms. Women had to fight for basic employment rights and equal pay. Disabled people were treated as subhuman, subjects of ridicule. Racism was the natural order, tv sitcoms (“Love Thy Neighbour” in the UK) poked fun at black and Asians alike. In South Africa the white minority reigned supreme over the African majority. Sadly today we still witness prejudice in the world, it has continued to evolve into other forms of hatred.
I have experienced prejudice in my youth, as the son of a Catholic. Sadly Sectarianism is still prevalent in Scotland today. I have always struggled with the idea of prejudice as a Christian, it goes against the truth of God’s Word. In our scripture today we are reminded that there is no prejudice in the gospel of Almighty God, His Love is for all mankind regardless of differences. In Acts 10 Peter was instructed by God to take the gospel to a Gentile (non-Jew) called Cornelius, thus opening the way for all mankind to receive the Good News.
Dear reader, I beg of you to share with all men the gift of salvation you have received. Make no judgements who to share with based on colour, race, religion, nationality, ability or disability. Almighty God has chosen all peoples as the subject of His love, including you.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6 (NASB)
The Christmas season is fast approaching, Advent is only eight days away. Charles Dickens books are being pulled off bookshelves by some for their annual fix of Dickensian festive cheer. Soon it will again be “the season peace and goodwill to all men.” Yet we live in a divided fractious world beset by the worst passions of selfish humanity. The church instead of being the guiding light for the world is also divided, one denomination against another.
This was not God’s plan, but He foresaw the divisiveness of fallen man and made provision for it. The Mighty Triune God provides a way of hope for sinful man, a narrow path from Bethlehem to Calvary that finishes in the glory of Heaven. The Path of Peace is open to all repentant men, regardless of Christian denomination. Our various ways of worshipping God achieve the same result of bringing our sacrifice of repentance to the Almighty.
Dear reader,as we approach Advent let our light shine a message of Godly unity, a message of hope for a lost world. Prepare yourselves for the journey ahead to the manger at Bethlehem, where God meets us on the Path of Peace.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.Colossians 3 : 24b (NASB)
Christmas 1991 was my first encounter with this book by John MacArthur, it was a gift from my pastor at the time. He had recognised a need for me to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. At that time in my life Christmas brought only sorrow and loneliness with no family around me.
Mike had given me this present one night before Christmas day saying “you need to open this one early!” That night back home as I read this I came face to face with the Messiah and His Father God. I was filled with a myriad of emotions, all good, as I devoured the book in one sitting. That Christmas became the best I had ever experienced, as I focussed on my Lord and Saviour. I had a joy and hope that had been missing for some time.
Each year I have re-read “God With Us” to re-engage with the real reason for the season. This morning I sit here ready to read again this blessed book, forever thankful for good friends. But most of all thankful to my Father God for His gift of Salvation in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91: 1-2 (NASB)
Yesterday as I was seeking of the Lord what to write next I found myself reading “My Life In Our Father’s World”, the blog of Barbara a sister in the Lord. In her recent post she issued a challenge to write a devotional commentary of Psalm 91, then I felt that familiar still small voice stirring in my heart! Here is the result of that inspiration.
The author of this psalm is not known for sure, there are good cases for both Moses and David. In my time reading and meditating on this psalm I came to the conclusion that it stands perfectly well regardless of who wrote it. It is without any doubt a beautiful account of blessings of those who trust in God Almighty – El Shaddai. The psalm takes the structure of a conversation involving three parties; the psalmist, his friends and God himself having the final Word.
The psalmist begins the conversation (verses 1-2 : A declaration of blessedness) declaring that those who trust God will know His protection over their life, and proclaiming that therefore he trusts God – his shelter. As I read this it reminded me of woodland camps that we built as kids; they were our shelter from the world. I like the KJV here referring to the shelter as “a secret place” which is very personal and exclusive, just like our camps in the woods. The beauty of the psalmists shelter is that is not made of branches and foliage, it is God Almighty (El Shaddai) Himself that is the shelter! If we trust in Him each day, he will shelter us from the world around us. Let us with the psalmist shout of our Lord (Jehovah) and God (Elohim) – the self existing Almighty One. He alone is our castle and eternal hope.
The conversation shifts to the friends (or a chorus of friends) of the psalmist (verses 3-8 : A reassurance of blessedness) who concur with the declaration of the psalmist. Do our friends see our blessedness under the protection of God? God’s protection covers us like the wings of a mother hen over her chicks in times of danger (Luke 13:34), as if surrounded by a mighty impregnable rampart. Be reassured brethren, under His protection we need not fear the schemes of the evil one day or night. As the psalmist did we look around and see many falling foul of evil and mourn their fate without God, but we are secure in Him. Seeing the wickedness of the world should motivate us to share the Good News with those perishing around us, seeking to bring them under His protection.
The ninth verse is a joint declaration of blessedness by the psalmist and his friends. The Lord (Jehovah) is our refuge (secret place) and hope for the future no matter what the world throws at us. Our present “dwelling place” is temporary as we look forward and upward to our future Tabernacle with Him, in Heaven. Hallelujah!
The protection of God is total for the psalmist and also for us who love God, covering all afflictions or adversity (verse 10). From our home to wherever we go each day He covers us with His impregnable wings. He gives His angels the duty of guarding our welfare (verses 11-12), protecting us from mortal harm. With such security we are safe and able to stand against the wicked schemes and temptations of Satan (verse 13).
The psalmist has been saving the best part to the last in verses 14-16 ( God’s confirmation of blessings). “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.”(verse 14). El Shaddai Himself has His say, confirming the endowment of His glorious blessings on the psalmist and also on us His children who love Him. Our comprehension of the presence, love and power of our Almighty Father at work in our lives is limited by circumstances. Through reading His Word and communion in prayer we can grow our understanding and thus our faith in Him. By desiring more of Him, clinging lovingly to Him every day we secure our lives and eternal future (verse 15). The final promise of God in this psalm is that we will witness His provision, of deliverance and prosperity (not just wealth but in life itself!) in our lifetime.
Dear reader, do not deny yourself the delight of meditating on this psalm for yourself. In it you will encounter the depth of the Love that is showered on you daily, and the very real blessings that come from trusting El Shaddai.
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”John 12 1 – 8 (NASB)
There is something especially beautiful in seeing people in love, words are unnecessary in such moments. The love is there to be seen and felt in tender moments. We think of couples in love, young and old alike, but there is another loving relationship that is also beautiful to behold. I speak of the love seen in a saint for their God. I have fond memories of brethren who are now resting in Glory, whose love for their God was as bright as a summers day. Such love brightens any room with a warm reassuring glow, blessing those who witness it. In our scripture today we enter as guests to a Judean dinner, hearing the guests chatting and eating. Freshly baked bread and wine scents the air around the dining table, suddenly love interrupts all conversation in an act of worship by Mary.
Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who had recently been raised from the dead by Jesus their Master. The dinner they were present at was in honour of Jesus and was held at the house of Simon the Leper. Both Simon and Lazarus had reasons to be thankful, Simon for his healing and Lazarus for his life! Martha, Lazarus’ other sister was helping serve the dinner. At this time Mary took out a bottle of pure nard (perfume oil) and reclining by Jesus she anointed His feet spreading the perfume all over His feet. The rich sweet fragrance dispersed throughout the room dispelling the food odours, the guests stopped their chatter and looked on amazed at this act of adoration. Had they ever seen such rich unashamed love in action before? Yet in this beautiful tender moment there were dissenting whispers.
The loudest voice was that of Judas Iscariot who was the manager of the disciples money, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” This was in anger at an opportunity missed, not to be charitable but for him to steal. Here is a contrast, Mary’s love of her Master and Judas’ love of money.
Jesus rebukes the criticisms of Mary, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” In this He is saying that His time amongst them was nearly over, that His death is quite close. Did Mary have an idea that this was the case, that she had anointed Him so lovingly?
Dear reader, Mary made her worship clearly understood to all present, there was no words needed. Sometimes when someone has blessed us greatly words are insufficient, action is needed. Let us bring our best worship, a sweet holy fragrance to the Messiah.
Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles. Lamentations 2:14 (NASB)
Recently as I read today’s scripture (referring to Israel before the Babylonian conquest and exile) I couldn’t help but draw a comparison with society today. In the last few decades we have witnessed a growth in false prophets and teachers purporting to be from God. When the truth of the matter is that they are liars and agents of Satan in these last days before Christ’s return. They serve themselves in the guise of being preachers of His Word. This isn’t news to many reading this, praise the Lord for them. But I write this because of the burden God laid on my heart in the last few days for His children being led astray by false prophets. I pray fervently that some souls may be saved from these lying devils in nice suits.
In Matthew 24 we are forewarned of the signs of the last days before Christ’s return, specifically in verse 24 of those who will seek to deceive the children of God. These fakes will twist the Word of God and preach destructive teachings (2 Peter 2:1), even denying the sovereignty God whom they claim to serve. These liars will sell people a false god, a cuddly father who is nothing better than a butler to serve your worldy needs. The Righteous God Almighty and the filthiness of sin hardly get a mention. A true pastor preaches the whole Word of God, the gospel of repentance from sins and the quest for holiness and Almighty God.
These vultures prey on the weakness of humanity, the lust of self always lusting to hear sugar coated words of comfort. They will soothe your ego, tickling your ears telling you how great and worthy you are. Their words are unchallenging, with just enough truth to help you swallow their lies (2 Timothy 4:3).
Dear reader, be aware of false teaching everywhere. You find false teaching in church establishments, telling lies about relationships by watering down God’s Word leading their flock astray. Fake preachers I would recommend to be avoided at all cost are Kenneth Copeland, Joel Olsteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and Paula White, this list can go on and on. Be careful of the media you consume, just like you were in church listening to your pastor. After all when you listen to preaching you are opening the door to your soul. Listen to all things but test them too, weigh them prayerfully against the Word of God (1 John 4:1). Have the spirit of the Bereans who searched the scriptures, checking what Paul had preached was correct. Doing this as the Bereans did is a noble thing! (Acts 17:10-11).