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

Showing posts with label god's love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label god's love. Show all posts

Monday, 31 December 2018

Out of an old year, into a New Year - with Jesus!

We live in a world in which many people are trying to grab our attention. There is more interest in making a profit than listening to the prophet. We need to listen to what the prophet says to us: Emmanuel - God with us - has come to us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). God has come to us. He has not left us - and He will not leave us!
Jesus, our Saviour is always with us. Wherever we are, He is there. When everything seems to be changing, let us remember this: God’s Son is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. Often, we forget Jesus. He never forgets us. He always remembers us.
Do you feel that the Lord is far away from you? When you feel like this, remember God's Word: Jesus is "God with us." When we feel like God has deserted us, what has changed? Has God changed? Has He stopped loving us? No! He has not changed. He still loves us. How do we know that God still loves us? How do we know that He keeps on loving us? God has given His answer to our question? - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16).
Our feelings change. Sometimes, we’re up, and sometimes, we’re down. God’s Word is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. When your faith is shaken by the things that happen to you, hold on to this: Jesus still speaks to us “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Our Saviour is with us - always. What a great Saviour He is!
Don’t look back, and wonder about what might have been, if … There is no value in thinking like this. That kind of thing never does anybody any good. Look forward. Look to Jesus. Believe that He loves you. Believe that He will never leave you. Believe that the future is His future. Believe that He wants to bless you. Believe that He will bless you – and celebrate His love.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Where do we see Jesus – and hear Him speaking to us?

Where do we see Jesus – and hear Him speaking to us? Does this only happen when we’re at Church or when we’re reading the Bible?
Come to Church, read your Bible – and look for Jesus everywhere you go. He’ll give you glimpses of His love!
“Open our eyes, Lord, We want to see Jesus … Open our ears, Lord, And help us to listen” (Songs of Fellowship”, 443).
Let us celebrate the love of Jesus. May our hearts be filled with His love.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Love Of God

In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’. These opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right – (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there. (b) The priority of God’s Word (Genesis 1:3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the Word of the Lord. (c) The priority of God’s Spirit (Genesis 1:2). All was ‘empty’, all was ‘darkness’, yet the ‘Spirit of God’ was at work, and transformation was set in motion. Here, we have God’s priorities, set out in the Bible’s first three verses – Putting God first and listening to His Word, we are to pray for the moving of God’s Spirit, ‘hovering over’ our lives to transform them. For those who make God’s priorities their own, there is a promise of great blessing (Psalm 1:1-2). It is the great blessing of knowing Jesus Christ, our Saviour, as ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23).
God speaks, and it is done (Genesis 1:3, 6-7, 11). God is pleased with what He has done (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12). This is the pattern of God’s original creation. It is to be the pattern of our life as a ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God speaks to us and we say, ‘Your will be done’ (Matthew 6:10). We say, ‘let it be to me according to Your Word’ (Luke 1:38). God looks on such obedience, this ‘walking in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16, 22-23), and He sees that it is ‘good’ (Micah 6:8). In these verses we read of the separation of the light and the darkness, the separation of the waters and the dry land, and the fruitfulness of God’s creation. There are lessons for us here. We are to ‘walk in the light’ (1 John 1:7). We are to let the Spirit’s ‘living water’ flow in us (John 7:39-39). Walking in the light, letting the living water flow – this is the way of fruitfulness.
The Bible’s opening chapter is a great hymn of praise, emphasizing that all things have been created for the glory of God (Revelation 4:11). Nothing can be permitted to distract our attention from the Lord. He alone is worthy of worship. The creation of the ‘lights’ makes no reference to the sun and the moon. These were worshipped by neighbouring peoples. They are not gods. They are simply ‘lights’. Our worship is to be given to God alone. The waters teemed with living creatures. The land produced living creatures. Here, we have a picture of life. There is life where the living water of the Spirit is flowing freely among God’s people (Ezekiel 47:5-9). This water brings life to the land (Ezekiel 47:12). Moving with the flow of God’s Spirit, we are to pray that ‘the water of life’ will flow freely ‘for the healing of the nations’ (Revelation 22:2).
We now come to the creation of humanity, male and female. Our creation is described in a distinctive way – created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We are different from the rest of creation. We have been given dominion over ‘all the earth’ and ‘every living creature’ (Genesis 1:26, 28). We are different from God. He is the Creator. We are His creation. Created in God’s image, we have been created by Him and for Him. Though we have sinned (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23), now – in Jesus Christ – we have begun to live as a new creation (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10). The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1) and that ‘all things were created by Him and for Him’ (Colossians 1:16). This is the Saviour who is at work in us, enabling us to live as a new creation! Creation has been ‘completed’ (2:1). Salvation will be completed (Philippians 1:6)!
In the end, there will be love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘His love endures for ever’. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It’s a message worth repeating – over and over again! God’s love is an everlasting love – ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is an unfailing love – ‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken’ (Isaiah 54:10). Let us ‘give thanks’ to God for His love (Psalm 1-3, 26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us ‘an everlasting salvation’. His ‘salvation will last for ever’ (Isaiah 45:17; 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord – ‘Pharaoh… great kings… mighty kings …’ (Psalm 136:15, 17-20). Those who reject God’s love will not receive ‘eternal life’. Their future will be very different – the ‘raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).
When you see a rainbow, remember there is love, eternal love, the love of God.
Here, we pick up on the words of Genesis 7:16 – ‘the Lord closed the door behind them’. What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark. What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? – The Lord. What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? – God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). From the ark, we learn of (a) the one way of salvation – The ark had only one door. Jesus is ‘the Door’ which leads to salvation (John 10:9); (b) the eternal security of salvation – All were safe inside the ark. In Christ there is eternal security (John 10:28); (c) the absolute necessity of salvation – Outside of the ark, there was certain death. Refusal to come to Christ for salvation leads to judgment: ‘How shall we escape…?’(Hebrews 2:3).
Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: ‘the ground was dry’ (Genesis 8:13). Safe from judgment! This is the message which comes to us from the Cross: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). The judgment has fallen upon Christ. We are no longer swept away in the judgment. We can stand on solid ground: ‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand’ (Church Hymnary, 411). He is our Support in ‘the whelming flood’. God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ship’ (Genesis 8:15). We are in Christ. He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He does not bring us into Christ solely for our own benefit. We are sent out to be fruitful (Genesis 8:17; John 15:16). We are to ‘abide in Christ’. This is the way of fruitfulness (John 15:4-5). We are not sent out alone. Strengthened in ‘the ship’ (in Christ), we step out with Christ and for Him.
‘When you see a rainbow, remember God is love’. The rainbow reminds us of the gracious promise of God (Genesis 9:13-15). If the love of God is revealed in the rainbow, it is more fully revealed in the Cross: ‘We sing the praise of Him who died, of Him who died upon the Cross… upon the Cross we see in shining letters. ‘God is love’, He bears our sins upon the tree. He brings us mercy from above’. When we read the Old Testament stories, we must learn to see their place within the fuller Story, the Story of God’s salvation: ‘I will sing the wondrous Story of the Christ who died for me’. This is the greatest Story of all – ‘the Story of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love,… the Story of wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin’. ‘This is our Story. This is our Song, praising our Saviour all the day long’. This is ‘the Story to tell to the nations’ (Church Hymnary, 258, 381, 132; Mission Praise, 59, 744).
Be still and know that there is love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘Be still, and know that I am God…Shout to God with loud songs of joy’ (Psalm 46:10; 47:2). In our worship, there is to be both quiet trust and loud praise. We read the great words: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1). God’s Word brings peace – ‘in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength’. We must not keep God’s blessing to ourselves. We must share it with joy – ‘Sing to the Lord…let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands’ (Isaiah 30:15; 42:10-12). The Lord is to be ‘exalted among the nations’. He is not only ‘our King’. He is ‘the King of all the earth’ (Psalm 46:10; 47:6-7). ‘Father (Jesus/Spirit), we love You. We worship and adore You. Glorify Your Name in all the earth’(Mission Praise, 142).
In Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
Here, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world (Genesis 21:22-34) and his relationship with the Lord (Genesis 22:1-14). Abraham deals honestly and wisely with the pagan king, Abimelech, who acknowledges Abraham’s closeness to God – ‘God is with you in all that you do’ (Genesis 21:22). We are to be honest and wise in our relationship with the world (Romans 12:17; Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:12). Our relationship with the world is to be grounded in our relationship with God. In the testing of Abraham, we catch a glimpse of ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Christ is the Lamb whom God will provide (Genesis 22:8). In Genesis 22:14, we read, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’. On Calvary’s hill, Christ died to bring us to God, so that we might learn to live for Him in this world (1 Peter 3:18; 2:24).
After the renewal of God’s promise (Genesis 22:15-18), Abraham went to Beersheba (Genesis 22:19). He returned to the place where he had ‘called…on the Name of the Lord, the Everlasting God’ (21:33). This is a good ‘place’ to be, the ‘place’ of calling on the Name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. As we read of the death and burial of Sarah, we must remember this: the Lord is the Everlasting God. The death of Sarah took place in God’s time. Her death signified that her work had been done. She had mothered the child of promise. Beyond the death of Sarah, there was the continuing purpose of God. The cave at Machpelah (23:19-20) became the burial place for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah. We see the continuity of history, and we thank God for His continuing faithfulness down through the generations.
Our hope of eternal glory comes from love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore’ (Psalm 16:11). In this earthly life, there are many difficulties. For all of God’s people, there is something better still to come. We must look not only at the things which are happening now. We must look also to the glory which is yet to come. Our hope of eternal glory is based on Christ’s resurrection. David’s words (Psalm 16:8-11) are quoted by Peter in connection with ‘the resurrection of the Christ’ (Acts 2:24-33). ‘Christ has been raised from the dead…at His coming those who belong to Christ…will be raised imperishable’ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 52). ‘The Lord is my chosen portion…Therefore my heart is glad’ (Psalm 16:5, 9). Is this your testimony? Choose Christ and be glad.
In the redemption of Israel, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
God had redeemed His people. He was with them, and He was about to reveal His saving power in a mighty way (Exodus 14:13-14). There is judgment as well as salvation (Exodus 14:30). Looking to neither the ‘right’ nor the ‘left’, we must look to the Lord (Exodus 14:21-22). Rejoicing in ‘the great work’ He has done, our faith ‘in the Lord’ grows strong (Exodus 14:31).
God has given us a song to sing. We have a song to sing. It is a song of redemption – God has redeemed His people; a song of thanksgiving – we give thanks for God’s redemption; and a song of hope – we look forward to the complete fulfilment of God’s redemption. This is not only a ‘song of God’s people’. It is also the song of Moses, a personal song. This is worship – not a mere formality, but worship which arises from the depths of Moses’ heart. Deeply moved by the grace and glory of God, Moses pours his heart out to God in worship: (i) He praises the God of grace – ‘my strength… my song… my salvation’ (Exodus 15:2). (ii) He praises the God of glory – God triumphs ‘gloriously’ (Exodus 15:1). His ‘glorious’ power is demonstrated in His ‘glorious’ deeds (Exodus 15:6, 11). (iii) Worshipping this God of grace – the redeeming God (Exodus 15:13) – and glory – the reigning God (Exodus 15:18) – , we say, ‘You are my God, and I will praise You’ (Psalm 118:28). Let us worship God – personally as well as publicly.
In the prophet’s words, we hear the Word of love, eternal love, the love of God.
The Word of God is spoken – ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found…’ (Isaiah 55:6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God’s promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty’ (Isaiah 55:11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize – ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts…’ (Isaiah 55:8-9). We may be feeling very despondent – ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything’ (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘You shall go out with joy…’ (Isaiah 55:12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord’s promise: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy…’ (Psalm 126:5-6). We must not ‘judge before the time…’ (1 Corinthians 4:5).
‘I will praise You, O Lord… God is my Salvation… The Lord is my Strength and my Song…’ (Isaiah 12:1-2). May this be our personal faith – this is what the Lord means to me – and our public testimony – making Christ ‘known among the nations’, telling ‘all the world’ what the Lord has done for us (Isaiah 12: 4-5).
Be wise. Open your heart to love, eternal love, the love of God.
Hoping for ‘good luck’, some people expect good things to happen to them – all the time! God says, ‘Seek wisdom. Be ready for the hard times’. Wisdom comes from God. He speaks to us with words of wisdom (Proverbs 2:6; Proverbs 8:6-8). Wisdom is not only for ‘kings and rulers, princes and nobles’. It is for everyone who loves the Lord (Proverbs 8:15-17). Wisdom calls us to choose good rather than evil, life rather than death (Proverbs 8:13, 35-36; Hebrews 5:14; Deuteronomy 30:19). The way of wisdom is the way of happiness (Proverbs 8:32-34). Our path may not be paved with gold. Wisdom is better than ‘silver, gold and jewels’ (Proverbs 8:10-11). Christ is our Wisdom. Receiving Him, we receive wisdom. Growing in Him, we grow in wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:6). As you rejoice in Christ, remember: ‘He who wins souls is wise’ (Proverbs 11:30). Don’t keep Wisdom to yourself. Share Christ with others.
In Proverbs 9:5, there is a Gospel invitation: ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed’. We eat bread. We drink wine. We remember our Saviour (Matthew 26: 26-29). ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Proverbs 9:10). ‘This sounds so old-fashioned’- so the world tells us. ‘The fear of the Lord’- This is something we must not forget. If we do not fear the Lord, we will forget Him. If we forget Him, we are fools. What is foolishness? Is it a lack of education? No! – It is a lack of obedience. When we do not ‘honour’ God, we are ‘without sense’. ‘Claiming to be wise’, we show that we are ‘fools’. If we are wise, we will keep ‘going straight on the way’, looking always to Jesus Christ who is the true and living Way. He leads us from ‘the depths of hell’ to the heights of heaven (Proverbs 8:13-18; Romans 1:21-22; John 14:2, 6).
In creation and Scripture, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
God reveals Himself in creation and Scripture. He speaks through His created world. He speaks through His written Word. God is always speaking. He is never silent. Through His created world, God is speaking to us – every day, every night. He is showing us His glory (Psalm 19:1-2). He makes us aware of His presence. He whets our appetite for His written Word. The Scriptures lead us to Christ. Through faith in Him, we receive salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). Christ is the high-point of God’s revelation. He is the living Word (John 1:1, 14). The testimony of the Psalmist – ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul’ (7) – becomes real for us through faith in Christ – ‘I came to Jesus…My soul revived and now I live in Him’ (Church Hymnary, 212). Make it real. Come to Christ. Come alive in Him!
Through Christ, God looks upon us with love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘I will look on you with favour’ (Ezekiel 36:9). Through Christ our Saviour, God looks upon us with favour. Here are some words which will help you to rejoice in the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which is ‘greater than all my sin’, the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which ‘reaches me’. ‘Let me introduce you to a friend called Grace. Doesn’t care about your past or your many mistakes. He’ll cover your sins in a warm embrace. Let me introduce to a friend called Grace’. ‘His grace reaches lower than your worst mistake and His love will run further than you can run away’. ‘He believes in lost causes when common sense would just give up. He believes in lost causes and changes people with His love. There’s nobody too far gone, no one beyond His reach. He believes in lost causes ‘cause He believed in me’. Let Jesus be your Joy!
May your soul be lifted up by love, eternal love, the love of God.
Three times, the question is asked, ‘Why are you downcast, O my soul’. Three times, the answer is given, ‘Put your hope in God’. Three times, there is the response of faith: ‘I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God (Psalms 42:5, 11; 43:5). Often, we are filled with questions. We must bring our questions to God. We must learn to listen for His answers. The Lord is speaking to us. Are we listening? God speaks to us through His Word. Are we taking time to read His Word? He wants us to come to Him with the prayer, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:8-10). Listen to the Word of the Lord. Let His Word be your Guide: ‘Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me…’ (Psalm 43:5). ‘Deep calls to deep’ (Psalm 42:7) – Let ‘the Spirit’ show you ‘the deep things of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:10).
When the Spirit breathes upon us, we receive love, eternal love, the love of God.
It was ‘a valley of dry bones’ (Ezekiel 37:1-2). Then, the Lord changed everything – ‘I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live’ (Ezekiel 37:5). What a difference the Lord makes! ‘Breathe on me, Breath of God. Fill me with life anew’ (Church Hymnary, 103). What happens when the Spirit of the Lord breathes new life into the Church of God? – ‘The Church that seemed in slumber has now risen from its knees and dry bones are responding with the fruits of new birth’. ‘Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Let the breeze of Your presence flow that Your children here might truly know how to move in the Spirit’s flow… Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving grace, we pray. Unreservedly, have Your way. Holy Spirit, we welcome You’ (Mission Praise, 274, 241).
On the Lord’s pathway of victory, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
The Psalmist prays, ‘Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord’ (Psalm 143:9). He is not concerned only about his own welfare. He is concerned about the glory of God: ‘For Your Name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life’ (Psalm 143:11). How does God lead us in victory? How is He glorified in our lives? He brings to us the teaching of His Word - ‘Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love’ (Psalm 143:8). He gives to us the strength of His Spirit – ‘May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths’ (Psalm 143:10). Through His Word and Spirit, God shows us His ‘unfailing love’. He enables us to say, ‘You are my God’, ‘I have put my trust in You’ and ‘I am Your servant’. He ‘shows us the way we should go’. He ‘teaches us to do His will’. He gives us victory over our ‘enemies’ (8, 10, 12).
In the story of God’s salvation, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
In Zephaniah 3, we have a story of sin – Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She has not obeyed His voice. She has not accepted correction. She has not trusted in the Lord. She has not drawn near to her God’ – and a story of salvation – ‘Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has turned back your enemy… The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:1-2, 14-17). The story of our sin is full of sadness. The story of God’s salvation fills us with gladness – ‘Rejoice and be glad! The Redeemer has come’ (Mission Praise, 573).
Let us worship God: our response to love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘Exalt the Lord our God… Make a joyful noise to the Lord’ (Psalms 99:5, 9; 98:4, 6; 100:1). We are to worship the Lord with joy. We are to glorify God. We are to enjoy Him. In our worship, we must never forget the holiness of God: ‘He is holy!… The Lord our God is holy!’ (Psalm 99:5, 9). In our worship, we rejoice in the love of God: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever… He has done marvellous things!’ (Psalms 100:5; 98:1). The God of ‘awesome purity’ loves us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee…’ Let us worship Him with holy fear and heartfelt love: ‘O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears… with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love Thee too, O Lord, Almighty as Thou art, for Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart’ (Church Hymnary, 356).
Living as a new creation: our response to love, eternal love, the love of God.
(a) ‘We know that our old self was crucified’ (Romans 6:6) – What a great thing God has done! He has made you ‘a new creation in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). (b) ‘Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:11) – Believe it. This is what the Lord has done: ‘you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit… the Spirit of God dwells in you… Christ is in you… the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you… His Spirit dwells in you’ (Romans 8:9-11). (c) ‘Yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life’ (Romans 6:13) – Act upon it’. ‘Walk in newness of life’ (Romans 6:4). Live as those whom God has made new. We are ‘not under law but under grace’ (Romans 6:14). Keep your eyes fixed on the Saviour and your obedience will be Gospel obedience and not merely legal obedience.
At the Cross of Christ, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
‘The Lord is high above all nations… Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?… Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water’ (Psalms 113:4-5; 114:7-8). The Lord is greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like the greatness of the Lord. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with the greatness of God. His greatness is not only the greatness of His power. It is also the greatness of His love. When we sing, ‘How great Thou art’, we sing not only of His power – ‘Thy power throughout the universe displayed’. We sing also of His love – ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die – I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin…’(Mission Praise, 506).
In the resurrection of Christ, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
The resurrection declares Christ’s victory over evil, the triumph of His love. There is no need for fear: ‘He has risen’- His ‘perfect love casts out fear’ (Matthew 28:5-6; 1 John 4:18). There has to be a new beginning in faith. First, there was a new beginning ‘in fact – Christ has been raised from the dead’ (1 Corinthians 15:20). Christ has won the victory over the grave. Christ has taken the sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Between the new beginning in faith – making disciples (Matthew 28:19) – and the new beginning in fact – Christ’s resurrection – , there is worship (Matthew 28:9). The fact is not dependent on our feelings. ‘He has risen’ (Matthew 28:6-7) – the fact stands, even when many doubt and few worship (Matthew 28:17). As we worship, we are strengthened in faith, strengthened for our task. We are to invite people to come to the place where ‘they will see’ Jesus (Matthew 28:10). We are to ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19).

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Out of our past, into God’s future

We stand between the past and the future. What kind of people will we be as we move out of our past and into God’s future? God calls us to be His people. He calls us to do His work. Let us commit ourselves to being His people and doing His work. 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 (Lamentations 3:23). We need to look up – and see Jesus. He is our Saviour. He died for our sins. He gives us true and lasting joy. How does His joy fill our hearts? We return to Him. We are revived by Him. We rejoice in Him. His joy gives us strength for serving Him.
God loves us – and He wants His Name to be glorified. Do we want God to be glorified among us? He will be glorified when we commit ourselves more fully to Him. May God help us to move His future – ready to be the kind of people upon whom He has promised to pour out His blessing. How are we to enjoy His blessing? Before we can enjoy His blessing, we must see ourselves as we really are – and we must see Him as He really is.  We are sinners who need to be saved by God’s grace. God is holy. God is love. In His holiness, He shows us our need to be saved by Him. In His love, He saves us – setting our feet on a new pathway: “the High Way of Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8).

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Outstanding Love, Overwhelming Victory and Overflowing Peace

"… so outstanding is His love …”(Psalm 103:11)
"… overwhelming victory is ours …” (Romans 8:37).
“The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This is the overflowing peace of God – The peace of God in our hearts is an overflow from the God of peace, who, in Jesus Christ, has come to live in our hearts.
 * The overflowing peace of God comes to us from the outstanding love of God.
 * The overflowing peace of God comes to us from the overwhelming victory of God.
 – Let us receive the outstanding love of God.
 – Let us rejoice in the overwhelming victory of God.
 – Let us rest in the overflowing peace of God.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Jesus loves you. Let Him save you. Let His love change you.

Luke 10:1-37
Christ’s message – ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’(9) – calls for our response – hearing with faith or rejecting in unbelief (16). Where does this response of faith come from? – From God: He reveals Himself to us (21). Questions: Why do we ask them? – ‘to put Jesus to the test’(25), ‘to justify ourselves’(29)? You cannot come to Christ until you stop trying to justify yourself – Are you trying to test Him or learning to trust Him? (a) What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ (25): The law cannot save. It can only show us our need of the One who does save – Jesus (Romans 8:3-4). (b) ‘Who is my neighbour?’(29): ‘Passing by on the other side’(31-32) – This is not love. It’s nothing like the love of God for ‘sinners’(Romans 5:8). Jesus loves you. Let Him save you. Let His love change you.

Friday, 6 April 2018

The eternal God, His everlasting love and His gift of eternal life

Psalms 89:38-90:17

‘Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’(Psalm 90:1-2).
The Bible begins with the words, ‘In the beginning, God…’. Before the world began, there was God – ‘the eternal God’. He is ‘the high and exalted One’. He is the God ‘who inhabits eternity’. He is the God ‘who lives for ever’. He has no beginning. He has no end. He is ‘the beginning and the end’. Our life on earth has a beginning. It has an end. Trusting in ‘the eternal God’, we rejoice in His precious promises – ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’; ‘The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’(Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 21:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23).

How do we know that God loves us?

How do we know that God loves us?
‘Christ died for us’(Romans 5:8). This is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us. How can we doubt God’s love for us when we think of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the Cross for us as our Saviour? When we think of God’s love for us, we must remember that He calls us to love Him. We are not to take God’s love for granted – ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’. We are to appreciate God’s love – ‘God loves me. I will love Him’. God loves us. Christ died for us. How can we say, ‘I’ll do what I like’? How can we refuse to be changed by His love? ‘Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord. Let us open our hearts to God’ (Lamentations 3:40-41).

“O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
‘I will exalt You, O Lord’(Psalm 30:1). God is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted: ‘He is exalted, for ever exalted, and I will praise His Name’(Church Hymnary, 437). How do we come to the point where we say, ‘I will exalt You, O Lord’? We realize our need of Him – ‘when You hid Your face, I was dismayed’(Psalm 30:7). We look to Him for mercy – ‘To You, O Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy’(Psalm 30:8). God hears and answers our prayer – ‘You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy’(11). God calls us to worship Him – ‘Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy Name’(Psalm 30:4). ‘The joy of the Lord’, His ‘unutterable and exalted joy’, gives us ‘strength’(Nehemiah 8:10; 1 Peter 1:8). We worship God: ‘O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever’(Psalm 30:12).

How are we to be ‘cheerful’ in giving ourselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 9:7)?
How are we to be confident that ‘God is able to provide us with every blessing in abundance’(2 Corinthians 9:8)? Before we ever think of giving ourselves to God, we must look at all He has given to us. We look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…’(2 Corinthians 8:9). We look at Him, and we say, in our hearts, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’(2 Corinthians 9:15). Can our giving to Him even begin to compare with His giving to us? We give to Him as those who have first received from Him. In his giving, we see His love. Our giving expresses our love, our response to His love: ‘We love because He first loved us’(1 John 4:19). Rejoice in His love. Thank Him – for ‘every blessing in abundance’!

God loves us …

God loves us. He comes to us. He calls us to come to Him.
The call of Samuel is a vivid example of what God can do in the lives of children. Samuel’s early response to God set in motion a whole process of events leading Samuel to become ‘a prophet of the Lord’ through whom ‘the Word of the Lord… came to all Israel’ (1 Samuel 3:10, 19-4:1). Let us ground our children in Christ, encouraging them to have great expectations of what God can do in and with their lives as they grow up, loving Him. The people of Israel were ‘defeated’ by the Philistines. The greatest tragedy of this defeat was the ‘capture’ of ‘the ark of God’: ‘The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured’ (1 Samuel 4:10-11, 22). We may lose ‘goods, honour, children, wife’ (Church Hymnary, 454). The glory of God among His people – We must not lose this!
God loves us. His love for us inspires our love for Him.
Obedience is grounded in salvation. The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’who brought you… out of the house of bondage’ (Deuteronomy 5:6). He has redeemed us. We are to live for Him. The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (Deuteronomy 5:27). We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him. The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation. Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us. His love for us is always prior to our love for Him. Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger. Forget, and you love will grow weaker. Loved by God, let us love Him – more!

God loves us. He has called us to salvation. He has called us to service.
God has called us to salvation – ‘God has shone in our hearts…’ (2 Corinthians 4:6). He has called us to service – ‘having this ministry by the mercy of God’ (2 Corinthians 4:1). We receive salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). We are not to keep our faith to ourselves. We ‘believe.’ We are to ‘speak.’ This is God’s way of reaching ‘more and more people’ with His ‘grace’ (2 Corinthians 4:13-15). Our experience of salvation and our empowering for service are both grounded in one great gift from God: ‘God… has given us the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 5:5). We fail our Lord often. Our faith is weak. Our witness seems so ineffective. When you feel such a failure, remember the Spirit. He will not fail you. He is our ‘guarantee of heavenly and eternal glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5).

Walking in the Light with God

God is calling us to walk in the light with Him.
* He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His love.
Go back to Genesis 1:3 – “Let there be light, and there was light.” Go back beyond the created light. Go back to the eternal God – “In the beginning, God” (Genesis 1:1). What do we find when we go back to the eternal God. We find love, eternal love:  “He has loved us with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). This is light of God’s love.
* He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His Word.
What is it that brings us out of darkness and into light? It’s the light of God’s Word – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
* He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His Son.
What a great Saviour we have! Jesus is His Name. He is “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). Let us walk with Jesus – in the light of God’s love, in the light of God’s Word.
* He’s calling us to walk with God in the light of His Kingdom.
What do we see when we look on to the end of time? We see the light of God’s Kingdom: “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
The darkness shall not prevail over us. How can darkness triumph over the light of God – the light of His love, the light of His Word, the light of His Son, the light of His Kingdom?
May God help us to look beyond the conflict. May He give us faith to look on to His victory, to rejoice in Him and be strong in Him.

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us.

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us.
‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations’(Psalm 89:1). Many years have passed since these words were written by the Psalmist. Many generations have come and gone since Jesus Christ came to our world. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time. There is something which must never change. The Lord is to be praised ‘for ever’. He is to be praised ‘through all generations’. We must look back and remember. Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Jesus Christ has risen for us. This is the Good News which inspires our praise: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever…’

Let’s receive strength from the God of our salvation.
By the grace of God we are called to salvation – ‘saved through faith’ – , sanctification – ‘for good works’ – , and service – ‘according to the gift of God’s grace… by the working of His power’, we are enabled ‘to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:7-8). When we consider all this, we say in our hearts, ‘To God be the glory’! (Ephesians 3:21). We are ‘strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being’ so that we might live as those who are saved, sanctified and serving. Even when we are deeply conscious of our own great weakness, we draw encouragement from this: God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:16, 20). We grow in grace as we share in fellowship – ‘eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:3).
Strengthened by our Saviour, let’s share His love with others.
Christ saves – and satisfies: We feed on Him and we are ‘satisfied’(Mark 6:42). Apart from Him, the human search ends in this: ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’. In Him, there is satisfaction – He is the Saviour. Saved, satisfied and sharing – this is what we are to be. To His disciples, He still says, ‘You give them something…’ (Mark 6:37). We say, ‘We don’t have enough’. He says, ‘I am more than enough’(2 Corinthians 3:5). Many are ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. We must not fail them. We must ‘teach them many things’(Mark 6:34). The storm is raging: ‘they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them’(Mark 6:48). Jesus draws near, and there is peace: ‘the wind ceased’(Mark 6:51). Another ‘storm’ continues to rage: ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders…?’(Mark 7:5). How did Jesus respond to this ‘storm’ of criticism? – He exposed the hypocrisy of those who made the tradition of men more important than the Word of God (Mark 7:7-9,13). He invited ‘the people’ to come ‘to Him’, to ‘hear’, to ‘understand’. His Word was addressed to ‘all’ of them (Mark 7:14). Jesus emphasizes this point: ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’(1 Samuel 16:7). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Which will it be? – ‘Their hearts were hardened’(Mark 6:52) or ‘Loving the Lord your God with all your heart’(Mark 12:30).

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Do You Love God?

Jesus was speaking to men who practised a a very high-brow kind of religion. As far as they were concerned, they did all the right things. They regarded themselves as the people of God. From this high vantage-point of religious observance, these men became proud and arrogant. They looked down on others. Rather than looking deeply into their own sinful hearts and confessing their own sin to God, these men were preoccupied with outward appearances and insisted on passing judgment on the lives of others. Although these men had plenty of religion, Jesus hit the nail on the head when He said to them: "But I know that you have not the love of God within you" (John 5:42).
Jesus' words, in John 5:42, begin with the word, "But." Jesus is saying to these proud, religious men, "I know all about your religion, all about your religious traditions, all about the power and the glory of your religion, all about your knowledge of the Scriptures, but there is something else I know about you - "I know that you have not the love the love of God within you."
How did Jesus know this - because He sees what is in the heart. He sees what is in our hearts!
We really need to hear Jesus' words as a personal challenge. They put before us a serious question: Do I love God or do I not love God?
The Lord Jesus Christ knows all about our church membership and church attendance.He knows about our outward profession of the Christian religion. He knows how often we have sat at the Lord's Table. He knows how often we have heard God's Word. Yet, the Lord, who looks not at outward appearances but at the heart, persists in asking us a most disturbing and extremely challenging question; Do you love God or do you not love God?
Let's think together about this most important question. Let's look deeply into our own hearts, examining ourselves closely in the presence of God, who searches our hearts with the all-seeing eye of His holy Word. Let's think about our attitudes - attitudes towards the creation of God, the blessing of God, the people of God , the Word of God and, above all, the Son of God. We're not speaking here about outward appearances, which can be very deceiving. God looks at the heart. What does He see? Does He see that He is not in all our thoughts, or does He see a real hungering and thirsting for God and righteousness? does He see an attitude which says, "I'm content with a self-centred life, or does He see a God-centred commitment which is determined "to be the best that I can be for truth and righteousness and God"? These are very personal questions. I cannot answer them for you. You cannot answer them for me. Each one of us must answer them for ourselves. we must give our answer to God.
(1) The creation of God
Do we take the created world for granted - hardly ever thinking of God the Creator? When we look at the created world with our own eyes, we see nothing but the things which are seen, the things which are temporal. When we look at God's creation with the eyes of faith, our hearts go out to God in praise and worship, giving thanks to Him that He, the God who created all that we see before us, should come to us in love, giving His Son to be our Saviour.
A modern song, entitled, "I can't wait to get to heaven", expresses well what it means to look at the created world with believing eyes: "Seaside, sunset, silver lining round the clouds; Birds fly, singing, making such a joyful sound. Thoughts of heaven somehow seem to fill my mind. I can't wait to get to heaven. Deep green forest, mountains reaching for the sky; Grasslands and deserts, Your creation fills my eyes. Thank You, thank You, Jesus! though this beauty is just a taste of all Your glory I'll see when I pass through these gates - I can't wait to get to heaven" (Keith Green).
The Lord Jesus Christ is preparing a place for all who love Him. Don't let the earthbound thinking of this present world keep you from loving, trusting, thanking, praising and following Jesus.
(2) The blessings of God
There's an old song which says, "Count your blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done" (Johnson Oatman Jr,). How often do you think of the many good things the Lord has done for you? How often do you give thanks to Him? The Lord's blessings are so many and varied that we could never manage to count them all. One thing we can say is this: Thank You for Jesus.
When you hear Jesus' words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My words who sent Me has eternal life", is your heart filled with joyful thanksgiving? Don't let the "take it for granted" attitude of today's society keep you from thanking God for the greatest blessing of all - Jesus.
(3) The people of God
Before Jesus the Saviour, there was John the Baptist. Jesus gives us a great description of John: "He was a burning and shining lamp." John was a man of God, a man on fire for God. How did the proud, religious men of Jesus' day respond to the preaching of John? Jesus tells us that "they were willing to rejoice for a while in his light" (John 5:35). The important words here are the three words: "for a while."They rejoiced in his light for a while, but now they had given up on rejoicing in the preaching of this faithful and fearless man of God. The proud, religious men of Jesus' day were willing to give a hearing to a new preacher. No doubt, they said, "Great preacher! Great sermon!" They said this for a while - but, when the initial enthusiasm wore off, it really wore off, and, then, there was nothing left but an arrogant rejection. Wherever we see that there is a faithful and fearless stand taken for Christ, we must say, "Yes, I will stand with you, I will encourage you. Together, we will serve the Lord."
Remember, commitment to the Lord and to His Church belong together. We cannot live in a wee world of our own, We must be faithful in encouraging others to serve the Lord.
(4) The Word of God
It is the Bible - God's Word - which teaches us the truth of God
We began by asking about our love for God. As we think about our love for Him, we must never forget that our love for Him is grounded in His love for us. We love Him because He has first loved us. All who truly love God will love His Word and will spend time reading His Word. If we neglect the Bible, this is a sure sign that we are neglecting God. When God is truly at work in a someone's life, there will be a real love for the Word of God. Look at your life in the light of the Bible. What do you see? Do you see how much you have failed God, how often you have let Him down? Do you not see how little you love God, how little praise and thanksgiving there is in your heart? Do you not see your weakness? Do you not see your sinfulness and disobedience? Yes! we see all of these things, but - and this is absolutely amazing - in the midst of all this, we see Someone who loves us. As we think about our love for God, we must never forget that our love for Him is always grounded in His love for us. We love Him because He first loved us.
(5) The Son of God
Jesus says, "He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him" (John 5:23). How can there be love for God where there is no love for Jesus? we should be humbled and alarmed by our lack of love for Jesus. we must rejoice that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6).
You have heard God's Word. Make sure that you don't refuse to come to Christ who alone can give you eternal life. he invites you to come. He promises you eternal life. He loves you. He died for you.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Let's Help Each Other To Preach God's Love.

Jesus Christ is God’s beloved Son – the Saviour sent to us by the God of love.
‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:15-21).
These words turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ.
At His baptism, we hear the voice of the Father – ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ At His baptism, we see ‘the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him’ (Matthew 3:16-17).
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’ (Luke 3:6).
After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…’ (Matthew 28:18-20).
Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.
Never take God’s love for granted. Let us be deeply appreciative of His love.
Read about God’s ‘steadfast love’ and rejoice in Him: ‘Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens…How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! …O continue Your steadfast love to those who know You…’ (Psalm 36:5, 7, 10).
Rejoicing in the Lord’s ‘steadfast love’ is quite different from taking His love for granted.
We dare not say, “God loves me. I can do what I like.”
We must not become like the wicked – ‘there is no fear of God before his eyes’ (Psalm 36:1).
Where there is true rejoicing in God’s ‘steadfast love’, there will also be ‘the fear of the Lord’ which ‘is the beginning of wisdom’ (Psalm 111:10).
A real appreciation of God’s ‘steadfast love’ brings with it a real awareness of our own sinfulness.
Knowing how much God loves us leads us to pray, ‘Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away’ (Psalm 36:11).
Through Jesus Christ, the God of love gives to us His wonderful redemption.
God gave His promise – ‘I will make a new covenant’ (Hebrews 8:8-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34).
God has fulfilled His promise. There is now a ‘new covenant in Jesus’blood’ (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).
The old covenant cannot even begin to compare with the new covenant. It is only a ‘shadow.’
The new covenant is the real thing. It is ‘much more excellent’. It is ‘a better covenant’ (Hebrews 8:5-6),
The old covenant is ‘outdated’ (Hebrews 8:13). It has seen its day. Now, it’s past its ‘sell by date’!
We look at the old covenant and we say, ‘There must be more than this’.
There is more – ‘much more’.
Through ‘the blood of Christ’, ‘our hearts and lives’have been ‘cleansed’. Now, we can begin ‘to serve the living God’ (Hebrews 9:14).
‘What a wonderful redemption!’- ‘eternal redemption’ (Mission Praise, 765; Hebrews 9:12)!
Through Jesus Christ, the God of love gives to us His victory over Satan.
The Pharisees are developing their wicked plan. God is fulfilling His saving purpose (John 11:49-53).
The voice of ‘common sense’ is not always the voice of the Lord (John 12:4-6).
There is a higher wisdom than ‘common sense’. We are to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He leads us to put Jesus at the centre of our lives.
Jesus is not suggesting that the poor are unimportant. He is emphasizing that we must not lose sight of Him.
If our concern for the poor is not truly grounded in devotion to Christ, it is not the obedience of faith (John 12:8).
The Pharisees are lying in wait for Jesus. They say, ‘The world has gone after Him’ (John 12:19). They are going after Him too – in a different way!
The crucifixion draws near. God is to be ‘glorified’ in the defeat of Satan and the salvation of sinners (John 12:28, 31-32). Jesus had ‘come’ for this ‘hour’ (John 12:27).

The Story Of God’s Love

Jesus tells us a story of God’s love. Jesus is the Story of God’s love.
In the preaching of God’s Word – the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), we have a story told By Jesus. It’s a story of God’s love.
In the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, we have the Story of Jesus. It’s the story of the perfect Son. Jesus is the Story of God’s love.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

God Loves Us. He Calls Us to Be His Faithful People.

Malachi 1:1-2:17  –  God looks upon us in our sin. What does He see? He sees ‘the Wicked Land. He sees ‘a people always under the wrath of the Lord’ (1:4). He looks at what Christ has done for us – ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’; ‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). God looks upon us in Christ – and everything is so very different: ‘God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). There, at the Cross of Christ, we hear God’s Word of love – ‘I have loved you’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (1:2; Jeremiah 31:3).      

Malachi 3:1-4:6  –  God calls us to be His faithful people. He says, ‘Return to Me’. He promises to bless those who return to Him: ‘I will return to you’. God calls us to honour Him with our ‘tithes and offerings: ‘Bring the whole tithe (tenth) into the storehouse…’. When we honour the Lord, He has promised that He will honour us: ‘Those who honour Me, I will honour’. When we honour the Lord with our obedience, He promises that He will honour us with His blessing. He promises to ‘open the windows of heaven and pour down for us an overflowing blessing’. Satan – ‘the devourer’ – will be defeated. We will ‘serve God’. He will take ‘delight’ in us. We will be His ‘treasured possession’ (3:8-12,17-19; 1 Samuel 2:30).     
An additional note on tithing
After this article was posted, I received an important comment from
Dr Russell Kelly. Rather than posting Dr Kelly’s detailed comment on this blog, I have decided to add my own note. Dr Kelly has discussed, at length, the question, “Should the Church teach Tithing?”. He has reached the conclusion that “Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine”.
Also of interest is Stuart Murray’s book, “Beyond Tithing” (Paternoster Press, 2000). Murray adopts a similar position (though his exposition of Scripture is less detailed than Russ Kelly’s). In his discussion of Malachi 3:8-12, he writes, “Tithing is an important, although somewhat obscure component in the worship life and social legislation of the nation of Israel. Nothing more. … It is not a fundamental principle that can or should be transferred from its Old Testament context into the experience of Christians and churches today.” (p. 88).
I appreciate the work of Russ Kelly and Stuart Murray. I hope that, by adding this note, I have indicated that I am aware of the importance of taking great care in our interpretation of Malachi’s words regarding tithing. Whatever our answer to the question, “Should the Church teach Tithing?”, I hope that all of us will hear the words of Malachi as a call to consecrate ourselves fully to the Lord our God. 

“Love Is God” Or “”God Is Love”?

Some people begin with their own idea of “love” and then say, “That’s what God is like.” They may dip into the Bible, reading their favourite passages. They will not take the trouble and make the time for reading the whole Bible. They say, “Why bother putting a lot of time and effort into studying the Bible. We already know what God is like.” They quote the words, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). What they really mean is, “Love is God.” When the Bible says, “God is love”, it doesn’t encourage us to start from our own idea of “love.” It encourages us to begin with God. We learn of Him as we read His Word. As we learn of His love, we learn that it is a holy love. God’s love is a holy love because God is a holy God. The difference between “love is God” and “God is love” cannot be overemphasized. To say “All you need is love. Love is all you need” is not the same as saying, “We need God.” When we say, “We need God”, we will not say, “all you need is love.” We will say, “We need God’s love and we also need His holiness.” Where do we learn of both God’s love and His holiness? – It’s from His Word that we learn of His holy love. We bow before Him in worship, echoing the words of Isaiah 6:3 – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord … ” We rejoice in the wonder of His love, giving thanks for the great words of Isaiah 6:7 – “Your sin is forgiven.”

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Couldn't care less! Can't be bothered! ...

Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered!
Many people have this attitude toward Jesus Christ and His Church.
Perhaps, it’s your attitude right now as you begin to read this invitation.
God’s attitude to you is exactly the opposite.
He cares for you! He is bothered with you!
God’s care! God’s “being bothered”!
Doesn’t that make you think, “What right have I to say to God, “Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered!
Take time to read this invitation carefully.
It may change your life.
 * Perhaps, you’re thinking, 'Why should God care about me?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the love of God.
Look at yourself honestly. God should really have given up on all of us a long time ago – but He hasn’t!
God sent His Son – Jesus Christ – to seek and to save the lost. God patiently waits for those who have lost their way in life (that’s all of us!) to come back to Him through trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour.
 * Perhaps, you’re wondering, 'How do I know that God cares about me?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the death of Christ.
Look at Jesus Christ honestly. He is so unlike us. He did everything God wanted Him to do. He didn’t deserve to die a criminal’s death – but He did: death on a cross.
Why did He die in this way? – “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
It should have been me! It should have been you!
Jesus Christ suffered “capital punishment” for us!
The cross of Christ turns our questions around – “How can we doubt that God cares for us?”
 * Perhaps, you’re asking, 'Can I – a ‘couldn’t care less, can’t be bothered’ type of person – be changed?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s be honest. The story of your life and mine is a story of failure. Don’t let failure hold you back from coming in faith to Jesus Christ.
Do you think that God will turn you away? – He sent His Son to save failures.
Do you think that Christ will look down His nose at you? – He died on the cross for failures.
Why do you say, “I can’t become a Christian. I’d be a failure”? 
A Christian is simply a failure who has received from God – through faith in Christ – forgiveness for the past, strength for the present and hope for the future.
Why don’t you receive this great gift – a new beginning with God – by receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Don’t wait till tomorrow! Don’t wait till Sunday! Trust Christ right now!
We look forward to meeting you at Church this Sunday, as we thank God for Jesus!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

God’s “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and God’s “everlasting salvation” (Isaiah 45:17)

‘His love endures for ever’. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It’s a message worth repeating – over and over again! God’s love is an everlasting love – ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is an unfailing love – ‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken’ (Isaiah 54:10). Let us ‘give thanks’ to God for His love (Psalm 136:1-3,26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us ‘an everlasting salvation’. His ‘salvation will last for ever’ (Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord – ‘Pharaoh… great kings… mighty kings …’ (Psalm 136:15,17-20). Those who reject God’s love will not receive ‘eternal life’. Their future will be very different – the ‘raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).

Featured post

The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us.

We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of ...