I Will Sing About Your Power

1st and 2nd July

Weekend Edition

But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my Refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.

Psalm 59:16-17

David amazingly wrote these words when King Saul, in a jealous rage, sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. He wrote this in the valley. He wrote it when going through pain. Yet his sure foundation was God. It always was. He only ever put his trust in God. He knew that there was no other place where he could find safety than in the presence of Almighty God, in the refuge of His loving arms. Moreover, David daily reminded himself of this fact. Daily, each morning, he would sing about the power of God’s unfailing love. God, was his refuge and strength.

We too can follow the lead of David. When the storm rages around us, even if the storm is from our own doings, let us remember that God our refuge and strength is full of unfailing love. Our world might shake, yet below our feet is an unshakeable foundation than cannot be moved; we just need to stand on it in faith! Let us daily remind ourselves through songs of praise, that God is full of unfailing love, a refuge in times of trouble and firm foundation in whom we find strength and safety. Let those words not just be empty words said out of repetition but rather let us believe with our hearts that God is truly where our help comes from.

God Gives Wisdom Liberally

30th June

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5-6

What do you do when faced with tough decisions? Do you try to find a solution for yourself or do you get down on your knees and give it to God? Giving our fears, worries and decisions to God is one of life’s hardest challenges. We naturally want to take and feel in control; to be in charge and have it all worked out. Yet that is not God’s best plan for us. He wants us to give our cares to Him, and seek Him in all we do. That is not to say that God will wave a magic wand and everything will be ok. Indeed, sometimes God does want to use us as part of the solution, but it is the Holy Spirit and God’s wisdom that empowers us and leads us, not of our own strength.

James tells us that when we ask for wisdom, our generous God will give it. We must, however, make sure that our faith is in God alone when we ask. There should be no doubt that God will give us wisdom from His generous store-house. We should trust 100% that His wisdom, is above all human wisdom. We should know that His wisdom always leads us to make choices in line and in tune with His will. Let’s put our faith in God alone. Don’t waver but trust Him completely.

Who Is Like Our God? There Is No-One

29th June

There is none like You, O Lord: You are great, and Your name is great in might.”

Jeremiah 10:6

Seriously ask yourself this question this morning: who really is like our God? There really is no-one! Nothing created or any other god can come close to our God. In the words of the Hillsong Song ‘What A Beautiful Name’1, He has no rival, He has no equal, now are forever our God reigns, His the Kingdom, His is the Glory, His is the Name above all names’. Friends there is more. He has no opposite, He has no fear, in Him is only victory. He doesn’t know defeat, because He is victorious. He has no sin, because He is perfect. There is none like you, O Lord!!

Jeremiah, establishes this fact by almost mocking the followers of false pagan gods, ‘Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor is it in them to do good.’2 All other gods are just imitations of the One true God, our God, our Saviour, Healer and all powerful God.

Do you need reminding who it is you serve? Know He is above every problem, situation and need! He is our God. He lives in our hearts. No really is no-one like Him.

2Jeremiah 10:5

Undeserved Grace OF God

28th June

““We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.””

Acts 15:11

As Paul and Barnabas faithfully traveled around, preaching the word of God wherever they went, they encountered a troublesome theological issue. Some of the Jewish believers thought that the Gentiles (non-Jews), needed to be circumcised, in order to be truly saved, as written in the Jewish Law. Even though Paul and Barnabas disagreed, it was decided that they would go back to Jerusalem to discuss this issue with the other Apostles and disciples.

Peter, the one to whom Jesus chose to reveal His heart, for not just the Jews but for all men, stood up among his brothers and boldly reminded them that God had saved Gentiles too and had even given them the gift of the Holy Spirit. He then said, that all men, are saved, not through their outward works, but through ‘the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus’.

Peter’s bold and courageous words remind us too, that we are saved, not because of anything we have done or deserved, but solely through the grace of Jesus. We have been blessed with the free gift of grace, that has the power to not only forgive our sins but change our lives. No outward work, circumcision or such like, can lead us to salvation. It is only through the grace and mercy of our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, that we are saved, forgiven, and restored. This is the simple truth of the Gospel, that we all too often need reminding of. Even the great Apostles and disciples needed constant reminders of this too….

True Spiritual Renewal

27th June

So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped up to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!””

Acts 14:10-11

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He healed many sick people, cast out evil spirits and even raised the dead to life. Yet not all of Jesus’ miracles led people to believe He was God. Paul and Barnabas experienced the same thing in Lystra. Having just healed a man with crippled feet, the people of Lystra, instead of giving praise and honour to the one true God, tried to enthrone Paul and Barnabas, as gods in the flesh. Paul and Barnabas, to their dismay, tore their clothing as a sign of grief and utter shock. They must have thought, ‘these people are missing the point’! Sadly for Paul in particular, things didn’t go well at all, and Paul ended up being stoned, almost to death.

Reading this story, really does remind us, that just seeking the supernatural for evidence alone, really is not enough. Yes, God does support our words and preaching with His miracles (as seen in Acts 14:3), but more than being caught up in an eagerness to see only the miracles, signs and wonders, we should never lose sight of the One who gives them, God Almighty. He should always be the focus. Of course, when God’s word is boldly and powerfully preached, the miraculous does happen, but it is never for human gain, but so that men might experience Heaven on Earth.

While our emotions can be touched or moved by spiritual renewal, miracles, signs or wonders, we must make sure that our faith is built on the truth only; the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord of Heaven and Earth, He lived, died and rose again for us, and stands forever, as our eternal ransom. When you understand this truth, nothing can sway you from it.

Encourage Us With The Gospel

26th June

After the usual reading from the Book of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.””

Acts 13:15

Paul and Barnabas, after leaving Cyprus, arrived in Antioch of Pisidia, for the next part of their missionary journey; to preach the Gospel to all people. On the Sabbath day, Paul and Barnabas went to the local synagogue to take part in the service and to hear the word of God. Incredibly, and very unorthodoxly, those in charge of the service asked Paul and Barnabas if they had any words of encouragement for the people. Paul, eagerly responded, and beginning from the call of Abraham, to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s promised Saviour of Israel and all mankind, he showed the people how salvation had come for all men to be saved, forgiven and declared righteous through Jesus Christ. “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God – something the law of Moses could never do” (v 38-39).

Friends, Paul’s message of encouragement, the words he chose to speak, is also an encouragement for us today: The truth, that our sins are forgiven and we are made right through Jesus’ Christ finished work on the cross. Paul, purposefully chose to show people that by doing, ‘the law’, we will never be righteous. It is only through what Jesus has done, ‘His death and resurrection’, that we are forgiven, made whole and made right before God. This is our encouragement. This is our hope. This is the reason we live. And this should be the message we share with others too.

The Gospel Can’t Be Chained

24th & 25th June

Weekend Edition

““Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.”And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered… Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders has planned to do to me!””

Acts 12:7b-8, 11

As Peter was awaiting trial for disobeying the Jewish leaders and continuing to preach the Gospel, an angel woke him, ordered him to put on his clothes and led Peter out of jail to freedom. The remarkable thing, is that not only was Peter chained between two soldiers, his prison cell was also guarded by two sets of guards, plus the prison, was closed in by a huge Iron gate. There was no way Peter could have escaped, bar a supernatural miracle. Even the disciples couldn’t believe he had been led out by an angel, after Peter had revealed himself to them whilst praying for his release. “Rhoda….ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” “You’re out of your mind!” they said…(v13-15).

Herod and the Jewish leaders had plans to stop or even silence Peter’s voice once and for all, but God had other plans. Jesus commissioned Peter to share the Gospel of Salvation to all. He empowered him with the Holy Spirit, equipping him with boldness and courage. There was no prison cell, or no plan of man that was going to stop the message of Christ, spreading across the world.

The same is true today. The message of Christ lives on. It is like a train with no breaks, moving at full speed momentum. There is no stopping the Gospel. Yes we might be persecuted, sadly physically in some countries. Yes there are many ‘closed’ countries in the world, but the Gospel lives on. God always makes a way for people to hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Be encouraged. The Gospel can’t be chained. Just ask Peter.

She Gave Everything She Had

23rd June

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. ..“I tell you the truth, this poor woman has given more than the others…. she, as poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.””

Mark 12:41-44

Jesus, upon visiting the temple, decided to sit down and watch how people gave their contributions. He noticed that many rich people came in and gave lots of money. Yet what caught His eye, was not the large amounts given by the rich people but the two small coins given by a poor widow who had nothing else. The rich people only gave out of their surplus of wealth, yet this poor widow gave everything she had.

However, what struck Jesus, wasn’t particularly what they gave financially but the condition of their hearts when they were giving. Jesus highlighted to His disciples a key area in Spiritual growth and discipleship. This poor widow demonstrated a genuine love and desire for God; by giving all she had, she completely put her trust in Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides). In Jesus’ time, a woman who had lost their husband, more often than not, lost their only source of income too. Widows would have have been very wise and astute with what they did have, so it would last longer. This further demonstrates the sacrificial giving of this poor widow as she gave all she had. Furthermore, Jesus comments that this poor woman, because of her sacrificial giving, had given more than all the wealth of the others.

It is so important for our lives to know firstly that God looks after our every need, but more importantly, God is interested in our heart condition above anything else. Jesus praised this poor widow’s giving because she exercised complete trust in God. God doesn’t want part of our hearts but all of it, even when it may seem a sacrifice to give your whole heart. We can be comforted that when we put our whole trust in God, He will always look after us and bless us even more.

Jesus’ Plan For Salvation For Cornelius

22nd June

He told me, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been noticed by God! Now send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore. So I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.””

Acts 10:31-34

Cornelius was a good and faithful man. He regularly prayed and supported the poor even though he was a centurion, a commander in the Roman army. He commanded great authority but when Peter entered his house, Peter was more worried that he was a Gentile, rather than a commander of an army. “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you…..”(v28)

BUT God in His grace, uses the most wonderful ways to bring about His will in people’s lives. By using Peter to bring the gospel to Cornelius, Jesus showed that, like we learned yesterday, no-one is exempt from hearing and receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, Jesus, by saving a Roman army officer, the very same people group who crucified Him on the cross, to become the first Gentile Christian, shows us that His ultimate grace not only has the power to save but to restore and reconcile anyone to Him, regardless of their past.

Finally, by using Peter to share the Gospel message with Cornelius, Jesus demonstrated His personal love for every individual. He could have just used the angel that appeared to Cornelius, to share the Gospel with him, but He didn’t. He chose to make it personal. He chose to use Peter to show that His love knows no boundaries, is not subject or hindered by earthly authority, cultural or religious barrier, and is personal..

Today, Jesus wants to reach you too with His radical, cultural and boundary breaking love. His love knows no limits. You are included in His call to receive His love, and we, as receivers of His love, are also included to share the message of Jesus Christ to all too.

The Gospel Is For All

21st June

The Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favouritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right.”

Acts 10:34-35

As Peter was resting, waiting for his lunch to be prepared in the home of Simon the tanner, God showed him a vision of a sheet hanging by its four corners, containing all kinds of meat and food that was prohibited to be eaten in Jewish law. God was showing Peter, through this vision, that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, all things were now made holy through Him. He showed Peter that there is nothing un-clean that He has made clean. In simpler terms, as spoken by the disciples after Peter shared his testimony with them, ‘We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.’

God was showing Peter, and the other Jewish Christians, that salvation, was freely available to all people; that it was not limited to a people group, a denomination, or language. Of course this caused great controversy in the early church, as they thought salvation was from the Jews and for the Jews, but through this vision, God was telling them, that He does not show partiality and salvation is a free gift available to all.

Friends, that same message is for us today. God shows no partiality, has no favourites and accepts all people into His family. Wherever you have been, whatever you have done, you are welcome to be called His child through the repentance of your sins and acceptance of His love. Even the most hardened criminals are welcome into His Kingdom. If God welcomes all, then so should we. Forgiveness is available for all. It is His love that changes us.