A Saviour Will Be Born

1st December

For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

There are so many examples of prophecies like today’s verse throughout the Old Testament. Jesus’ coming to the earth was not a mistake. At exactly the right time in history, God became flesh (whilst still remaining fully God) and lived a completely human life.

For many, December is an extremely busy month. Staff Christmas parties, numerous carol services to attend or to lead, presents to buy, Christmas day feasts to think about and prepare, and of course putting up the Christmas tree. In our busyness, we can so often not give enough time to the amazingly wonderful news that Jesus gave up His Heavenly privileges to enter this world, knowing that 33 years later, He would end up giving His life at the very hands of the people He created. Yet this was not a fluke or spontaneous decision. It was planned even before time began. It was planned so that you can live in all that God has for you, so that you could personally know the God who made you and the world you live in.

In the busyness of the December month, let us take a moment every day to remember and thank Jesus, for planning to come to this earth and give Himself for us so that we could have life and life in all its fullness. He truly is Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Friends Closer Than Brothers

30th November

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24

There is no stronger bond than that between family members. Family relationships cannot be rivalled. Family are there for you through thick and thin. As the saying goes ‘blood is thicker than water’. Family are there to celebrate with you, to cry with you and to journey with you through life’s up and downs.

Friendship can be much the same. Jesus had 12 friends (disciple’s) that also journeyed with Him through His life. They were there to support Him, learn from Him and look out for Jesus. Moses had Aaron and David had Jonathan. These were friends who stood by each other and stuck closer than brothers.

Friends and family are so important in our lives. Let us re-kindle lost family ties, forgive family feuds and get in touch with friends who have hurt us. Let us rebuild broken relationships, give grace where it is needed and express our gratitude for those we love. May we appreciate those brotherly and sisterly loving friendships we have and not take for granted the purity of true friendship.

A Personal Note

28th -29th November

Weekend Edition

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

Have you ever had someone say something to you to ease your fears and bring peace to your anxiety? It is such a great feeling right? Yesterday, as I was pondering over a few stressful situations in my life, God lead me to notice this verse again. It is a very familiar verse and one which I am sure many Sunday school children have grown up to memorise. Yet it’s the simple truth that powerfully spoke to me yesterday. Stop worrying, give your anxieties to God, and let Him take care of them because He cares about you.

The words are so simple, yet so deep and profound. When we take the focus off our situation and hand our worries and anxieties to God, it seriously feels like a massive burden being lifted off our shoulders. Every time our worries try to creep up again, we can take courage that they are at the foot of the cross and that they are in our God’s loving and kind arms.

It is a simple passage that we should never forget. They are not just empty words or a verse to make us feel good about ourselves. They are words of truth and power. We really do not have to worry about anything. If we give our worries to God, then we must also trust that He will take care of them and that He is in control. This weekend, if something is worrying you or causing you stress, cast your cares to Him, know that He cares about you and wants to take your burdens from you!

 

Your Fruit

27th November

A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. …. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Luke 6:43,44a – 45

Have you ever been to an apple orchard or a grape vineyard? Supposing you had been, and when you arrived you saw bananas hanging off what was supposed to be an apple tree.. What would you think; Impossible right? That is exactly the same imagery Jesus paints for us here in the Lukan version of the beatitudes. It is as simple as that. Jesus gives a clear distinction between the treasury of a good person’s heart and an evil person’s heart; one produces good things and the other evil things. It almost feels like there is no middle ground.

Yet before we start identifying ourselves as evil if we ever said or done bad things, lets just clarify that ‘evil’ is an association with everything that is not good. It is a conscious decision to rebel against God and to live a life opposite to how He wants us to live. An evil heart denies there is a God and lives in a way that reflects no morality or submission to that higher power. On the contrary, a good heart, only produces good fruits. We may have days where our fruit looks more organic than the nice polished fruits on sale in high end supermarkets, yet the point is, that the treasury of a good heart, is good fruit and that good fruit is GOOD.

It is only by the mighty grace of God that we can produce good fruit. It is by the mighty love of God that He has changed our hearts from evil to good. And it is by the mighty power of God, that He sustains us and causes us to produce good fruit in accordance to the Spirit’s continual work in our hearts. May our fruit bring glory to Jesus Christ.

The Rich Fool

26th November

Then He said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own”………“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Luke 12:15,21

What is your priority in life… Is it like modern day rappers…..’Get rich or die trying‘? Or is it as Jesus encourages, to have a ‘rich relationship with God‘? Jesus never condemns people for having earthly wealth. In fact it is a Godly principle to be a good steward of what God has given (not just financially but in the talents and gifts He has given us also!). However, what Jesus does address is the issue or greed and a people’s love of money when it takes the place of God in their lives.

As Jesus was preaching to the crowds two men called out to Him and asked Jesus to help them settle a family dispute about an equal divide of their father’s estate. Jesus warned the two brothers to guard themselves from greed. He added that life is not measured by how much wealth you have or own. To highlight this message, Jesus shared a story about a very rich man who had so much wealth, he had nowhere to store it. That night as he was pondering on building bigger storehouses for his investments, God said to him “You fool! You will die this very night..!” Yet the issue Jesus was addressing, was not how the man could be a good steward of his wealth, but what he said after… I’ll sit back and say to myself…you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink and be merry!”

Life is truly not about what we earn or own. Yes, there is a huge blessing if we have been given wealth but our joy and happiness should never be dictated by material possession. True joy comes from having a ‘rich relationship with God’. Our investments here on earth should first be investing in the Kingdom of God, in our individual relationship with Him and in partnering with God’s work on this earth to extend His Kingdom. As we are quickly approaching the end of another year, may we reflect on our lives and analyse our Spiritual investments. Where is your priority?

God’s Smile

25th November

May God be merciful and bless us. May His face smile with favour on us.

Psalm 67:1

When you think of what God’s face looks like, do you picture a stern and serious looking face or a face that is smiling? Interesting question and one there is not a definite answer to. However today’s verse gives an indication that maybe God is not the serious and stern face we might imagine.

Although many other versions of this verse say ‘may God’s face shine upon us..’, the principle is the same. God loves us. So much so that He sent His only Son to be our ransom. In fact when we don’t deserve favour He freely blesses us and is merciful to us. Moreover, it is His joy to be merciful to us. The Psalmist acknowledges that God is a merciful God, a kind God and a God that wants to bless His children. In asking that God’s face smiles on us with favour, is implying that God is a God that delights in His children and a God that wants to shower His joy over us.

If God is smiling over us, then we should smile too right? If the creator of the universe is smiling with favour on you then surely there is a reason to smile? Smiling both indicates joy and contentment. A smile can defuse a bad situation, can bring cheer to someones day and bring favour to someones life. A smile can say so many words. It can show love, appreciation and acceptance. Lets forward a smile and see how God can move.

This is a short video from a man I know who is forwarding God’s love with a smile. Please join him in prayer and bless his ministry. We too can forward a smile

Victory Over Sin And Death

24th November

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Today’s devotion is a simple reminder that Jesus has overcome sin and death. We do not need to be a people and body who live in the darkness. We are children of light. We are children who have the resurrected Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. It is in Him that victory is found. Moreover, it is because of Jesus’ victory that our lives are transformed.

It is no wonder that Paul encourages us to ‘be strong and immovable’! We live the power of Jesus’ victory. May God, this morning, grant us all an understanding of what it means to live in that power. May we understand how we can live strong and immovable lives for Christ and in Christ. May we fully understand that we don’t need to give into sin, but we can stand firm in Jesus!

Lord, may You fill our lives with a deeper understanding of Your power and victory over sin and death. Lord, guard our hearts and minds to be strong and immovable in You. Amen

Live Wisely

23rd November

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Colossians 4:3-4

As believers and followers of Jesus, we have a great opportunity to show God’s goodness to all we meet. Some people we meet may have never even heard of Jesus or experienced what His character is like. Some may have been hurt by the ‘church’ or had a big disappointments in their lives when things have not gone their way and blamed God for the result of bad circumstances. Yet if we as individuals, don’t take every moment of meeting these kinds of people, to share who Jesus really is, how will they ever know?

Our responsibility on this earth is to imitate Jesus in both word and deed. Yet how can we do that if we haven’t met Him ourselves? Our first assignment is to spend time with Jesus and get to know His character through talking to Him, listening to Him and reading about Him (through His Word). The next step is to, in His power, live like Him in all we do; Show the world that God is good, Jesus is love, and in Him there is fullness of joy.

Once we understand these things, we then begin to realise that every encounter with people or ‘non-believers’ is an opportunity to introduce Jesus to them. It is in those moments, that our gracious and attractive conversations and our gentle,wise and Christ-like lifestyles, will show people who and what Jesus is really like. You might be the only believer that that person will meet in their life. Let us remember what a privilege it is to bring glory to Jesus and live lives empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.

At My Worst, God Gave His Best

21st – 22nd November

Weekend Edition

But God showed His great love for us by sending His Son Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8

Last week I stumbled across these wonderful song lyrics by a band called Rend Collective. They are taken from a song called ‘One and Only’. It is a song about the goodness of God and His glorious grace. As I listened to the song in the car, one of the verses just jumped out at me.

Who is this man upon a cross?
Who left His throne to ransom us?
Who died to save us at our worst?
And rose to give us Heaven’s best

These wonderful song lyrics really do summarise the grace of an amazing God who pours liberally showers His grace over us. For it is while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. God saved at our worst, ransomed us from death and rose on the 3rd day to give us eternal life and an intimate relationship with God the Father.

May we rejoice today in our resurrected King, in His incredible grace and His free gift of salvation. It is, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:6, only by Jesus Christ our Lord “through whom all things were created and through whom we live.” Rejoice, His grace has saved you at your worst, giving you Heaven’s best. It is by Christ’s grace we are saved and Christ’s grace we are sustained. He created all things and it is through Him that we live.

 

 

The Presence

20th November

The one thing I ask of the Lord – the one thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

In the Old Testament days, many Jews believed that God’s very presence was only found in the Temple. It was at the Temple that people could make their sacrifices for their sins, it was there that they could pray and there they could seek an answer from God about various issues. However, David knew that God’s presence was so much more than being limited to a man made tabernacle or place of worship. Yes the temple, in Old Testament times was God’s tangible presence on earth, but David wanted more, he knew more of what intimacy with God was like. He knew that in God’s house, he would be safe, hear from God, and be able to sit in the very presence of the Almighty.

We, living in the age of grace, have been given an even greater opportunity to be in God’s presence. Why? Because He lives in us. We became the temple and home for God Himself. Our heart is God’s home. As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” Because we have the amazing gift of grace, we don’t have to go to a ‘temple’ to seek God’s presence, because His very presence lives in us. Moreover, God’s presence is available all the time. The doors are never shut, God is never asleep and His ears are always attentive.

David knew the beauty of God’s holiness, he knew the beauty of God’s temple and the privilege and security that His presence brings. Do you know what an incredible privilege it is to be able to call upon the Name of Jesus wherever you are, whatever the circumstance and whatever the time?