The Bond Of Love

 

23rd February

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself. In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:2-3

Paul suffered greatly during his time of ministry. He was imprisoned and beaten and persecuted constantly. Time and time again, throughout his letters, Paul made his objectives very clear, through the chains and suffering. It was never for his personal gain or so he could boast in himself. His passion to share the love of Christ, the unity of Christ and the forgiveness of Christ was his driving force. It gave him an unwavering desire to continue for the church’s sakes and for the lost’s sake.

We too can enjoy Paul’s revelations as found in his writings and be encouraged to live with the same objectives he had; that all would know Christ. We can have full confidence to boldly share this message as he did. Paul’s actions were always coupled with and from a heart of love. He wanted that love to permeate throughout the church, to all believers everywhere: that includes us. When we share the Gospel, or meet with our brothers and sisters, let love be at the heart of your actions and thoughts. Not your own love, but the love that comes from God the Father, that all will be tied together with this bond of love.

Who AM I?

22nd February

…You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received with you heard the Good News…”

Colossians 1:21-23a

Today’s verse is such a wonderful and confirming truth about who we are in Christ and our position in Him. Once enemies of Christ, now we stand in His very presence. When we stand before God, He doesn’t see someone who just lied, thought or did something bad, or a miserable sinner. No! He sees His child; His child that is free from the stain of sin, without a single fault, because Jesus Christ has paid our penalty and cleansed our sin by His sacrifice. Perhaps we need to hear that again. We stand before Christ without a ‘single fault’. Isn’t that incredible. He has completely forgiven us, completely washed us clean and completely made us new.

Of course this does not give us the license to live reckless lifestyles or negate asking God daily for forgiveness when we mess up. What it does do is affirm, that even though we do mess up, our position as children of Christ doesn’t change. His love for us stays the same. His sacrifice, once and for all doesn’t change. And our position in Him and how He sees us, doesn’t change. This knowledge releases you from condemnation. Stand firm in it. Don’t drift away from it. Let this truth give you hope and courage. Let it make you steadfast and un-wavering in your faith. And finally let it fill you with joy. You are God’s blameless child.

Keep Going – Don’t Give Up: Re-Visited

21st February

 

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.”

Hebrews 10:35-36

If you are stressed, out of hope and ideas, low, depressed or sad, then today’s verse is for you. Friend, don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. Trust in the Lord. Trust in His promises. Trust that whatever you are going through, a promise of great reward is waiting for you. These are God’s words and God’s promises. In John 14:27, Jesus again promises us His peace through the power of the Holy Spirit, ‘I am leaving you with a gift’ Jesus says, ‘peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’

Throughout God’s word we are encouraged to keep going, to endure all things. The reason; because we have a glorious hope that awaits us. A promise of an end to our suffering, pain and circumstance: in this life or the next. As you battle on, may you find strength to persevere and endurance to keep going. Don’t give up. God is with you and on your side.

The Help Of God

 

20th February

Commit everything you do the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.”

Psalm 37:5

Sometimes the ‘believing’ that God can do the miraculous in our lives isn’t the reason why we don’t have peace in our situations. The problem is not the ‘believing’ but the ‘letting go’ that hinders our ability to fully trust God. We naturally want to take the lead and do things our way. But God says to us, ‘Let go, commit it to Me, trust Me and I will take care of it.’ Part of trusting God, is committing things to Him, then letting go. Don’t try to keep one hand on it but fully give it to God, and He will help us. It’s a promise. It’s in His word. Trust Him, and He will help us. Let go. Trust Him. And watch His promises be fulfilled in your life. It is in the place of trust that we can fully have peace.

It’s The Sick That Need A Doctor

19th February

Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honour. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teacher of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Matthew 5:29-31

There is something so dangerous about self-righteousness. It is like a blindfold that blinds us from the reality of truth. It narrows our vision to see only what we want to see. It negates any responsibility from our actions or thoughts. And furthermore, instead of leading us to Christ, it leads us away from Him. You see, when we think we are perfect, righteous and have no wrong in our lives, we start to become more independent and less dependent on Jesus. We begin to forget that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation and rather focus on doing. We become critical of others and start to judge their ‘unrighteousness’.

Look at the story in today’s passage. Isn’t this exactly what the Pharisees and teachers of the law were doing? Yet Jesus issued a stern warning that we too can take heed of, ‘I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent. When we realise that we are in need of saving, that is when our hearts are open to accept Jesus’ salvation. When we admit we are sick, that is when we can be healed. If we don’t realise we are sick and lost without Christ, then we will just live in a bubble of ‘me’ and never know or experience Jesus’ love and mercy.

Don’t beat yourself up thinking you are a terrible sinner but equally don’t think you are perfect and have no need for Jesus. Admit that we need saving but then rejoice in the salvation that has been given.

I once was lost, but now I’m found. I once was blind, but now I see!’

The Fruit Of Your Salvation

16th February

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”

Philippians 1:11

Before you read this devotion and feel burdened by the weight of having to be a ‘good Christian’, re-read the verse again and pay special attention to the words ‘produced in your life by Jesus Christ’. Notice that our characters, are transformed by Jesus Himself. It is not our special or good behaviour. It is not segregating yourself from society and away from worldly temptations in order to pursue inner purity. NO. It is Jesus Christ, alive in us, who transforms us into His likeness. The more we spend time with Him, however, the more our characters take on His. The more we ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up, the more we are filled with His glory and produce the kind of fruit that glorifies God.

Paul’s words tell us that the fruit of our salvation, is having a righteous character. This is completely the work of Christ. We are not made right by what we do, but by what He has done. Moreover, the work of Christ in you, brings God glory. Isn’t that incredible. It is the work of Christ in you that transforms you and in-turn brings glory to God. There is nothing of me or I in this. It is the work of God. Our responsibility is to spend more time with Jesus and ask Him to fill us a new daily and allow Him to transform us from the inside out. That is how we are to ‘always be filled with the fruit of our salvation’!

Where Are You Casting Your Nets?

15th February

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish. “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!”

Luke 5:4-6

So often when we pray, we have a picture or image of the way in which we want or expect our prayers to be answered. ‘Lord, please do this and this, in this and this way,’ we cry, yet when the answer to our prayer does not look like we imagined, we think God hasn’t listened to us.

Imagine the scene in today’s key verse from Luke’s Gospel. Peter, a seasoned fisherman, had been out all night trying to catch fish, yet here he is, being told by a carpenter to cast his nets again, in the middle of the day. Peter could have easily said, ‘Jesus, I am the fisherman, let me fish my way’. But he didn’t. Instead of insisting that his ways were better than Jesus’, he obediently obeyed and cast his nets out again, and the catch of fish was so great, his ‘boat was on the verge of sinking.’ Again, in John 21, Peter is fishing after the resurrection of Jesus, and once more was struggling to catch fish. Jesus tells Peter to throw his net over the other side of the boat, and again, miraculously the catch was so big, they struggled to haul in the nets.

Friends, perhaps this morning, Jesus is saying to us too, to cast our nets of prayer once again, into the deep, into the darkness that might represent hopelessness for you, into the empty space of waiting, then watch and see the haul of answered prayers coming your way. Perhaps we too, need to cast our prayers into the other side of the boat, not expecting answered prayers our way, but trusting that His ways are higher than our own. He knows the right answer, at just the right time, in just the right way. Trust Him, just as Peter did, and see the haul of answered prayers and blessings coming your way; so many and so much you can’t contain it.