He Threw Down His Coat

29th September

Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. The come, follow Me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions….Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus..”

Mark 10:21b-22, 50

Why did Mark see it fit to include the portion of the story where Bartimaeus threw his coat aside before coming to Jesus? Is it relevant to his healing or to the power of this story? Well, if compared with the earlier story of the rich man, then absolutely. If we look again at the story of the rich man, asking what he should do to get eternal life, Jesus, having compassion on him, noticed an area of his life he was not willing to give up or to give to Jesus; the area of wealth. He was a very rich man, and Jesus saw that the love of wealth was the hinderance of their relationship. Quite simply, his wealth meant more to him than his relationship with Christ. Bartimaeus on the other hand, freely threw aside the only thing he had of value, his coat, when Jesus called him.

We too, have a choice. Do we give up what we hold valuable, and fall at the feet of Jesus, or do we allow it to become a roadblock in our relationship with Jesus? Notice Jesus’ words to the rich man, ‘go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN.’ God never asks us to give up something to make us poor or to suffer unnecessarily. He is our provider, protector and shepherd. Yet He does challenge the things in our lives that take His place. We are promised that if we give up our life for His sake and for the sake of the Good News, we will be saved (Mark 8:35 paraphrased). Whatever we give up on this earth, we will be rewarded with so much more in Heaven, here on this earth and most importantly, an uninterrupted and unhindered life and relationship with Jesus Christ. Will you throw your coat aside or cling on to your wealth?

What Do You Want From ME? Part 2

28th September

As Jesus was starting out on His way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”… “What do you want Me to do for you? Jesus asked.”

Mark 10:17, 51

Jesus always looks at our heart. In today’s key verses we see a clear contrast between Jesus’ attitude and man’s attitude. Yesterday we read about the story of blind Bartimaeus, who humbled himself before Jesus, cried out, disregarding the shame, and asked Jesus for mercy. Jesus, seeing his faith, was moved with compassion and stretched out His hand to heal him.

In today’s verse, we read of someone, who seemingly humbly comes before Jesus. In a complete contrast to the Bartimaeus story, instead of asking for mercy and grace from Jesus, he instead wants to earn or even pay his way into God’s Kingdom. He was obsessed with the ‘doing’, obeying God’s laws etc. Yet his issue was about his heart condition, and his love for money. He couldn’t give everything up for Jesus, and rather felt like he could earn a place in Heaven, by asking Jesus, what ‘he should do’ to get into Heaven.

Yet when mankind says, ‘what must I do’, Jesus, still has mercy on us and says, ‘my child, I have already done, WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?’. Jesus has already ‘done’ so we don’t have to. He flips the question on us, and says what can I do for you!!

What Do You Want From ME?

27th September

What do you want Me to do for you? Jesus asked.”

Mark 10:51

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar, rejected by society and left begging for food and money to survive. Yet there was one man who didn’t walk past him and leave him for dead: His name was Jesus. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was in town, presumably He had heard of Jesus’ healing from people around him, knew that when Jesus passed near them, that was his chance for healing. So with a loud voice, he cried for mercy to the prophesied Messiah from the lineage of King David, despite others around him trying to shut him up.

Even though Bartimaeus may have annoyed the people around him with his loud cries for mercies, he caught Jesus’ attention. Jesus stopped what He was doing, went over to Bartimaeus and said, ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus was not stupid. He knew what Bartimaeus’ needs were, but Jesus wanted to show him, that He was the healer and hear from Bartimaeus’ mouth, his needs and problems.

Today, Jesus calls you too with this same question. Yes He already knows what we need, but He wants us to lean on Him completely for everything. Don’t let pride stop you from asking God for anything. Be like Bartimaeus who laid himself completely open, knowing that it was Jesus alone who could save!!

The Director Of Our Steps

26th September

The Lord directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way……..So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What we will we drink? What we will wear?’…your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

Proverbs 20:24, Matthew 6:31, 32b

When things don’t always go as planned, having an attitude of trust in Jesus, leads us to peace in the midst and throughout the storm we may have to go through. If we know that God is directing our steps, has our today and tomorrow at the forefront of His thoughts, then we can be at peace knowing that we don’t have to have all the answers or solutions for everything life throws at us, or when things don’t go to plan.

Not worrying, is not laziness or not being pro-active, but rather actively trusting in God, therefore we don’t need to worry. Everyone has big decisions to make in life. Jesus’ list of examples were just some of the few things that can cause us to worry. But surely the list is longer right? Who will I marry? Where will I live? Will I get that promotion? And so on. Not worrying about these things is having a pro-active attitude that says, ‘God is in control, that’s why I don’t worry’.

The Lord is directing your steps. Actively trust Him, that although they may not always lead where you think is best, God does have our best at hand. Be at peace knowing we don’t have to try to fix everything, organise everything and have everything regimentally planned out; Trust Him, He is in control.

The Kingdom Above ALL

25th September

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father… Of the greatness of His government and peace, THERE WILL BE NO END! ”

Philippians 2:9-11, Isaiah 9:7a (NIV)

When we think of great empires, we can look back at the history books and see all that they achieved and be in awe of all they accomplished. We may even perhaps be able to see the works and fruits these empires achieved to try to make the world a better place. Roads, Mathematics, Astrology and great architectural achievements for example. Yet their legacy is just that, in the history books, or rather limited to the history books. Their empires, their great kingdoms have come to an end, their leaders eventually defeated, and know only remembered through history books.

HOWEVER and that is a big however, there is one Kingdom, that has survived oppression, the execution of its leader, slavery, persecution and so much more, YET still lives on; That is the Kingdom of the resurrected, perfect, sinless, Lamb of God, Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. His Kingdom will never end, will never be limited to history books, is alive and active today, and will continue to be forever. Whatever is done to try and stop it, it cannot be defeated. Jesus’ Name is the Name above all other names. He has no rival, no equal and nothing can stand in His way. His Kingdom, however, does not bring fear, dictatorship or bondage, but rather brings freedom, justice, love, mercy and grace and the best news is, you can be part of it.

Don’t you want to join the winning side!? His Kingdom is eternal, and we can be part of it!!

We Are Not Home Yet

22nd– 24th September

Weekend Edition

For we live by believing and not by seeing..”

2 Corinthians 5:7

We know that one day we will all come to an end in our physical bodies. Yet, for those who believe in Christ, have repented of their wrong doings and live with Christ in their hearts, it is not the end. The best is yet to come. One day we will have a new body and live in a new world, where there is no pain, suffering, sadness or tears. This is the promise of eternal life in Christ. If we look around us, however, we can so yearn for that better place and body now.

Many can look around at the world in its present state, wars and rumours of wars, terrorist attacks and so on, and soon become discouraged, believing that there is not more to life than what we see in the physical. Yet, just as Paul encouraged the Corinthian church with today’s key verse, so we too must take encouragement from these words. We, as believers, do not live by what we can see in the natural and our faith is not built on this temporary world. We believe not by seeing, but by having faith in God’s promises and His eternal hope, revealed to us by His Holy Spirit, in-spite of what is happening around us in the physical.

We are not home yet. That day will come, but until then, keep living for Him, praying in His Kingdom and devoting yourself to Him daily.

The Greatest Dreamer

21st September

…Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding the shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.”

Hebrews 12:2b

Our great God was also a dreamer. He dreamt of a world, a people who can freely have a relationship with Him. Not through twisted and forced behaviour. Not through ‘communist’ style leadership. But because people wanted too. Yet there was one hurdle to this dream. SIN. So God took on human flesh Himself, became like one of us, lived a perfect life, then sacrificed Himself for us to make the ‘sin’ problem no longer a hinderance for us humans to have a relationship with Him.

The exciting news is that you are part of God’s dream. He wants to have a relationship with you and paid a great price to get there. Yet, throughout all the pain and suffering, before this dream came to fruition, Jesus had to suffer, be beaten and endure a gruesome death. But, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, it was His joy. The end point was salvation for all. Sometimes we too, have to go through tough times to wait until our dreams our realised, but what joy awaits us. Endure the hard times. There is in end. Joy is coming. God is in control.

God Intended It For Good

20th September

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God has intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

Genesis 50:19-20

Even in spite of hard situations, trials and tribulations, God can still be glorified. We don’t always see the end result, but God does. He knows that although you may be going through a hard time, there is good at the end.

Joseph is a perfect example of this. Through his gift of interpreting dreams, not only was his own family saved, but also all the people of Israel and Egypt. It was because of Joseph’s interpretation, that Egypt knew a famine was coming and could prepare adequately. It was because of his wisdom, that he could create storehouses of grain and wheat to survive the famine. It was because of all this that Joseph’s own family were saved. Even though his brothers sold him into slavery, God had a plan of blessing for his life. Trust God, even in the valley, new life can be birthed. Don’t give up, God intends your situation for good.

Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

19th September

Although Joseph recognised his brothers, they didn’t recognise him. And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before….”

Genesis 42:8a

Sometimes when God gives us a dream, things can often feel like they are getting in the way and suffocating the dream we feel we have so clearly had. Yet, if Joseph’s life is anything to go by, then trust, that if it is a God breathed and birthed dream, then it will come to pass; we just have to wait for His perfect timing.

Joseph was a beloved son of Jacob, one of the forefathers and Patriarch’s of the Israelites. “One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.” (Gen 37:5) In a symbolic prophetic dream, Joseph dreamed that all of his brothers and family would bow down to him. Of course his brothers didn’t exactly want to hear that they would bow down to their youngest brother and their father’s favourite son. Yet Joseph’s dream was a real picture of future events.

Yet to get to the point of the fulfilment of that dream, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, accused of rape by his owner’s wife and thrown into prison. It was only God’s favour and the ability to interpret dreams, that Joseph was saved from the dungeons and promoted to the 2nd in command in the whole of the Egyptian empire. It was there that Joseph’s dream came to pass, and his brothers and family did eventually bow down to him, all those years after the dream had been given.

Friends you may too have been given a dream by God. Don’t let it slip through your fingers by bad situations or tough times. Hold on to it, for a the proper time, God will bring it to pass. If it is God breathed and birthed, for God’s glory, He will make it happen. Just wait, trust Him and keep praying into your dream. It’s going to happen. Trust Him.

What Does Jesus’ Sacrifice Mean For Me? Power

18th September

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

Romans 8:11

Did you know that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead after His gruesome and treacherous death, is the same power that lives in us if we have accepted the gift of salvation in our lives.

The book of Romans describes the power that sin had over our lives before the great exchange happened, when Jesus our Lord and Saviour, willingly gave His life as an exchange for our sin, and paid the debt that we owed. Before we accepted this outrageous act of love, we were what Paul describes as dead: dead in our sins (spiritually dead). Yet when we accepted Jesus into our lives, we agreed that the resurrection power of the Spirit of God would come and co-inhabit our lives. Yes, that same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and made us ‘new creations’. WOW.

The One who made the very breath that we breathe has given us new life. We are alive in Christ because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us! What an awesome opportunity to get to know the person of the Holy Spirit. Yet why does His power live in us? Is it just so we can have a happy life, see signs and wonders, or is it more than that?

Well the answer is all of the above. The Holy Spirit lives in us to open our hearts and minds to what Jesus did for us on the cross and help us to accept the gift of salvation that is freely presented to us, enabling us to have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Yet salvation was never meant to be a secret. In fact you are not saved to be an individual locked inside a cushioned room. If the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and resurrected you from your sin, then use that power to tell others. Show them that God is real and is longing for a relationship with them!