No Mercy For Merciless

31st Jan – 1st Feb

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges you.”

James 2:13

Un-forgiveness spreads like cancer. It eats us inside, causing our hearts to become hard, bitter and resentful. Even when we are not in the same room as a person who has wronged us, we find ourselves arguing with them. That is a sure sign that there is un-forgiveness in your heart.

When Jesus uttered the words “forgive them as they know not what they are doing”, He broke the stronghold of un-forgiveness towards His executioners . In His death and resurrection He defeated any power that un-forgiveness had and liberated us to be free from its chains and bondages. Yet part of showing that same forgiveness to others comes from acknowledging you have been forgiven. If you have repented from your sins, there is no separation between you and your loving Father. God Himself has pardoned you. When we realise that, we can be set free to forgive others. With the same measure of mercy we have been shown, we should show mercy to others.

This weekend show mercy to someone. Release them from being held captive in your heart. Liberate your own hearts by letting go. If it’s too painful then ask The Lord, the greatest example, to help you and guide you through it. There is great joy in knowing that you are forgiven and that because of your forgiveness, you can forgive others.

“But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges you

Forgiven Much. . . Forgive More

30th Janaury

 “Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:34

So often the best lessons learnt are those that are taught by example. Here in today’s passage we learn one of the greatest lessons that can be learnt, taught by someone living it as He is being crucified.

Jesus had just been betrayed by one of His disciples whom he had invested in for the last three years. Judas in cold blood led the temple guard to Jesus in the dark of night, in the garden of Gethsemane, and betrayed His Friend, Rabbi and Master with a lifeless kiss. Moments later Jesus is being spat upon, called blasphemous, having His beard ripped out, hit with a staff, and judged by the false accusations presented against Him. He then is flogged to cowardly leaders who betray the just authority that was given to them by sentencing and executing an innocent man (who by the way had done nothing by the Roman law to deserve death). Then in Jesus’ darkest moment of complete vulnerability, when the crow cried out, Peter one of Jesus’ closet friends and disciples betrays Him by denying He ever knew His Master.

Yet here, after all of the above, Jesus cries through a beaten, broken and almost lifeless body, “Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” What love!! You almost have to double take. Did Jesus really just say that? After all He has been through? If anyone has the right to be angry, hold resentment, scream, shout and curse, then it’s Jesus! But He doesn’t do that at all. All the comes out of Jesus, even in His darkest moment, is LOVE..

If there is someone whom you are holding animosity towards, bearing a grudge towards or simply can’t forgive; look at Jesus as your example. He had every right not to forgive but He did so liberally. You are forgiven, so you must forgive yourself and with the same measure you have been forgiven, forgive others! Jesus showed us how to do it. Go and do likewise!

Now Go 。。。And Sin No More!

29th January

“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ”Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord, “ she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. GO AND SIN NO MORE.” 

John 8:1-11 (NLT)

Have you ever heard about the idea of the judgemental pointing finger? Every time you point a finger at someone, look at your hand. There are three fingers pointing back at you. Although this has a humorous undertone, there is a truth in that picture that’s highlighted in this story.

As we talked about yesterday there was only one person without sin and only one who had the right to judge and throw a stone at the adulterous woman: Jesus Christ! Yet He didn’t. He didn’t condemn the woman; instead He showed immense grace and mercy. However He didn’t leave it there. He leaves her with the most powerful words in this story, “Go and sin no more.”

The ‘GO’ symbolises a complete pardon from the sin…. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, ‘you are forgiven, Go, you’re a free woman’. He then says, “Sin no more”. This is an even deeper statement. When Jesus forgives us He wants our lives to be radically transformed though the power of the Holy Spirit. Repentance is walking in the opposite direction to the way you were living. God does have an unlimited resource of love, mercy and grace but He also will not be mocked. He wants our lives to change. In fact when we are saved, we become a NEW CREATION. Just as he commanded this adulterous woman to change her lifestyle, so He does with us.

When we think about what work Jesus has done in our lives and how much He has saved us from, when someone else does wrong to us, instead of pointing the judgemental finger or picking up the condemning stone to throw, remember the same measure of forgiveness you have been shown, is the same measure you should show to others. GO AND SIN NO MORE!

All Is Forgiven… Now Go And Sin No More!

28th January 

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 

John 8:1-11 (NLT) 

In today’s passage, John tells of the account of the woman caught in adultery.

The story starts with Jesus teaching in the temple. As He was teaching the Pharisees and Scribes bring in a woman caught in the very act of adultery. This was fresh off the press. They threw her down at Jesus’ feet and then laid down the law. Interestingly they quote the Law of Moses to Jesus (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22). They knew that Roman law prohibited the death sentence unless decided by a Roman court. So if Jesus let people stone her, then they could report Him for treason and get Jesus arrested. On the other hand they knew that if Jesus went against the Law of Moses (their law), then He would be classed as blasphemous or even at worst, a false prophet.

Yet Jesus in His wisdom and grace, turns to the crowd and says to them, ’sure you can stone her, feel free, but let the one without sin throw the first stone!’ Amazingly one by one they all left because no one was without sin and no one had the right to condemn. Well not everyone left. One person remained. Jesus. Why? Because He was the only one without sin. He had every right to stone her yet the words that come out of His mouth were words of acceptance, forgiveness and kindness. ‘I don’t condemn you either’.

Jesus did not come into this world to waggle a pointed finger at everyone who had broken the law and sinned. He knew no one could keep it. That is why He came: To live a sinless life, as an example to us and by doing so set us free from the law and the power of sin. Remember today that Jesus came to save you and not condemn you!

 “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him!”

Forgiven…Period!

27th January

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are like red crimson, I will make them white as wool.”

Isaiah 1:18

Sin is serious. Sin has consequences. Sin leaves scars. Yet there is no sin that’s too big for God to forgive, to heal you of or to set you free from.

In today’s passage taken from the first chapter of Isaiah, God is communicating with the people of Judah. They had abandoned Gods laws, God’s righteousness and purposed to live a life in opposition to Him. The first few verses in this chapter are almost like a conviction statement being read out in a court. The verdict was guilty. Even Jerusalem, once so faithful is now branded as a promiscuous prostitute. The situation was looking bad.

Yet in the bleakness of utter condemnation, a light shone in the darkness… Gods never ending, unlimited resource of grace, love and mercy. The judge and prosecutor slams down the judgement… “Let’s settle this”. The next sentence absolutely blows the readers mind.. “Though your sins are like scarlet”..”though they are red like crimson”, “I will make them as white as snow”..”as white as wool”. What a promise. God promised to not only forgive their sins, but to wash them completely clean in His love.. What love is that!

The interesting thing is that although God would and did forgive them, the fullness of that complete personal washing was only fully fulfilled at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was made complete when the sinless Son of man, both fully human and fully God, came and gave His life as a sinless, spotless lamb, bearing our punishment on the cross. He had a clear conviction statement that declared we were guilty, yet in His goodness, presented Himself in our place, as our replacement.

Jesus’ words in Luke 4 are so ever true today, “He has sent Me to proclaim that CAPTIVES WILL BE RELEASED, THE BLIND WILL SEE AND THE OPPRESSED WILL BE SET FREE!” Take your healing, claim your forgiveness and be free. We are no longer prisoners, our ransom has been paid and our crimson stains are washed clean.

Don’t Look Back

26th January

 “Another said, ”Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plough and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

 Luke 9:61-62 (NLT)

 In the last few verse of Luke chapter 9, Jesus educates three keen men in what it means and costs to follow Him. In summary, Jesus highlights to these men that in order to fully follow Him, they have to surrender their hearts, even if it means there is a great cost. So often our response to Jesus’ call is, as the man Jesus is talking to said, … “BUT first let me…” However, Jesus wants our whole heart, no part of it.

In verse 62 Jesus answers the “but first” statement with a profound statement of His own. “Anyone who puts a hand to the plough and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

If we are to fully surrender our lives and follow Christ, then we simply cannot afford to live in the past. Looking back, after you have your hand on the plough, implies that you are still living in the past. A farmer cannot plough a field if his eyes are not fully focused on the task. The plough would simply loose control and not dig up the fields evenly. And when he distributes the seed, the harvest will also grow unevenly. So it is with our lives.

What is hindering your today and your future? Are there things that you need to let go of in order to move forward in and with Christ? Experiences do build character and persevering through tribulations grows us as men and women of God, however if we let them, negative experiences also bring us down and make us loose focus in our lives.

Looking forward may not always clear, we may not always know where to go or what to do, but it encourages us to trust in God and lean on His guidance and know that our past is forgiven and that there is healing in His Name.

Fix your eyes on Jesus, follow Him, and you wont get lost.

It starts with Love

24th-25th January

Weekend Edition

 “Love your God with all you heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:4 (NLT)

 Today’s simple truth is to love God with all of your being.

The Israelites are just about to embark on a new adventure into the long awaited Promised Land (although that does eventually come a long time after). As they are preparing for this new journey their fearless and humble leader gives them a commissioning command.. LOVE GOD WITH EVERYTHING.

In chapter 5 Moses has just given the 10 commandments to the Israelites and now here in these verses in chapter 6, gives them a command that precedes all others. Moses knew that if they love God with everything, then they were less likely to move away from God’s holy commands.

Our hearts, minds and souls are our very being. To love God with everything doesn’t merely mean that we have a fuzzy feeling towards God when we hear about Him. It is a choice that says, God I love you more than I love sin, more than I love myself. It is a choice that says I will not compromise. I will set my set my sights on living as You want Lord. If we love God above all else, then living to please Him will come naturally.

Today choose to love God over all things. Then it will be well with you soul.

Stop And Look Up!

23rd January

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you what path to take.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) 

Above is one of the most famous passages of timeless truth, written in the book of Proverbs. It is a reminder that we need stop doing and trying and trust God to lead us where His Spirit takes us.

As discussed yesterday, we live in a culture that expects us to know our life plan from an early age. We are becoming less reliant on God and more on ourselves and in our own plans. The great thing about grace is that even when we mess up, it’s never too late to give our lives and plans to Him.

The writer of proverbs encourages his readers to “trust in the Lord with ALL “of their hearts. Trusting is not a passive mentality of, “I am not going to do anything but just let God do it all.” On the contrary God gives us a brain and expects us to use it. Trusting is when you may not understand the whole picture but instead of trying to put the puzzle together all at once, you stop, look up and allow God to lead your next step. This is a promise. When we trust in God and not in our own understanding, He will direct our paths.

When we are thirsty, God gives us the means to grab a glass, go the tap and fill up the glass with water to quench our thirst. Yet so often we wait for God to supernaturally quench our thirst and miss the blessing of God’s guidance and provision. This is not trusting in God. Trusting is taking that step of faith to say, today Lord, I know that you will provide all my needs; I trust in your provision. The key is submission. Knowing that in all things we must seek His will and He will show us the right path to take…

When you get stuck, STOP and LOOK UP!!

Stay on The Straight Path

22nd January

 “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”

 Proverbs 4:25-27(NLT)

Life is full of uncertainties. We have so many questions about our futures. We even question our present. What, why and when are so common in our vocabulary! We live in a culture and mindset where uncertainty is frowned upon. We almost feel that we need to have all life’s plans and questions answered by the time we leave university. However, what do we base our plans and visions on? Is it business aspirations, plans for a new family, a new house or a new job? All these are admirable and not un-wise to plan for. However, do we include God in all that we do? How do we keep Christ at the centre of our plans to keep us on that “straight path”?

In James 4:13-15, he reminds his readers of how frail life is. We are like a vapour of air, or as the NLT puts it “like the morning fog-its here a little while, then its gone.” Sometimes we need to have perspective and ask ourselves, if life is so short, then what I do with it, has great significance and importance! Again it is important to plan for our lives but planning without God is like the morning fog “here for a little while and then gone”.

The simple truth is found in James’ words in verse 15 “what you ought to say is ‘if the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that’”. How do we keep our path straight and our eyes fixed ahead in a life full of uncertainty? By including God in everything you do and following His direction for your lives. Block out any distractions that keep you from His plan for your life and live as the “Lord wants us to”. Let your prayer today be “Not my will but Yours O Lord.”

Pray, it’s the best way!

A Sweet Smelling Aroma

21st January

 “Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. ….To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.”

2 Corinthians 3:14b-16(NLT)

 There are some songs when you listen to them, that give you a warm fuzzy feeling. I experienced that yesterday when I heard John Ireland’s “A Downland Suite – 3rd Movement – (minuet).” It was such a warm, relaxing, feel good melody. It is the kind of song that helps you cast all of life’s problems to one side and just be a peace.

 As I pondered how a song could do that, I was led to these verses in Corinthians. What are we like to those who don’t know Christ? Does our song, smell (not literally), or conversation warm peoples hearts or do we push them away by our pushy, untactful and cold approach? Do we bring love, hope and peace into peoples lives or despondency, sorrow and discouragement?

In these few verses, Paul encourages not only the church in Corinth but also today’s reader to be a “sweet” and “life giving perfume”. The challenge is this: That whoever we meet or talk to, we rub off that sweet fragrance through the way we live our lives and the words that come out of our mouths. The reality is that to some we may be a “dreadful smell of death and doom” but that should not change the way we live our lives as Christ’s ambassadors on this earth. The great thing is that for those “who are being saved”, we are a life giving perfume. Our lives are to be “a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)