The Stack Game

6th December

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the time and died for us sinners.”

Romans 5:6

There is a new app now available on smartphones where the aim of the game is to see how high you can jump over oncoming platforms. The higher you jump, the more points you score. The tricky part is that the platforms come from both left and right and at varied speeds. As soon as you miss-time your jump, the platform knocks you off the tower of platforms you have managed to jump over and you start again from zero. Our lives can sometimes feel like that.

We sometimes feel undefeatable living in the fullness of God’s grace and mercy, when suddenly something knocks you off your feet and you feel like you are back at square one. That killer punch may be an unexpected circumstance, a stumble in our walk with God, a temptation that has popped its ugly head up again, or perhaps something out of your control. Whatever it is, let today’s verse be an encouragement for you. Get back up. We are never too far out of reach from God’s grace. His mercies are new every morning. He is the one that encourages us and picks us back up to keep pressing on. That is why Jesus came. He came so we might live. And He came at just the right time. Not only for when we feel like we are at the top of a huge stack of platforms, but especially, for when we feel knocked down, out for the count and ‘utterly helpless’!

Nothing You Can DO But Accept

 

4th December

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

The Gospel is simple, yet on the same hand, it is the most difficult thing. What do we mean by this? Well, the simple part is, through no endeavour of our own or good works or following a set of rules or any such like thing, we can be saved by simply believing and accepting that by God’s grace, our sins are forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and our confession and repentance of them. The hard and such difficult thing is accepting this.

As humans our natural instinct is to want to pay for something we have. We don’t go to a restaurant and expect a free meal. We want to pay for it, often out of appreciation. The same is with a piece of art or a service we may have received. Our natural reaction or expectation is that when we receive something, we feel we are obliged to either return the gift, service or item with an equal value: money or such like. Yet salvation is completely different. It is not repayable. There is no value on it. Moreover, the price has already been paid and our debt cleared by Jesus, Himself, the giver of salvation. Our only response to it, is not to try to pay for it by our good works, but simply in thanksgiving and rejoicing, receive salvation and let His salvation change us.

Friends, we can’t boast or take credit for our salvation because of the things we have done. On the contrary, we boast in what Christ has done and give Him the glory. This Christmas season, if you don’t know Jesus yet, receive His free gift of salvation. There are no strings attached, nothing is owed. Just accept, believe and receive His forgiveness and love. That is grace. That is true love. That is why we celebrate His birth.

The Way, The Truth, The Life

27th November

Jesus told him,“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really know Me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!””

John 14:6-7

Have you ever wondered how to get to Heaven? Well, the answer is simple; through Jesus. There is no special ticket or no trick questions to answer or no religious act you have to do. Just simply, through Jesus. If you don’t believe these words, then read Jesus’ own words. He said of Himself, ‘That no one can come to the Father except through Me’. He alone is the way, the truth and the life. He is the way to Heaven, He is the truth of God in His fullness, and He is the life beyond life.

Yet Jesus’ words were so much more than just simply directing us to Heaven. Jesus, above all, wanted and wants us to know God for ourselves. He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. That is why He said, ‘When you know Me, you know who My Father is’. Jesus said this, because He wanted to emphasize that He and His Father are One. He wanted His disciples to know who the ‘Father’ was, who ‘Elohim’ was, who ‘Yahweh’ was, who the ‘God’ that they and their ancestors had been worshipping all of their lives. He wanted to show them that the God of the Torah, of the stories of old, of Moses, Abraham and Isaac, was standing right in front of them, reaching out to have a relationship with them, both in the ‘now’ and ‘eternally’ in Heaven.

We too are presented with the same challenge today. Jesus presents Himself in front of us as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He wants us to have a relationship with Him now and forever more. Is Jesus the way, truth and life for you?

Dust Is So Annoying

22nd November

Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible…”

Ephesians 5:11-14a

Have you ever looked around at your house when the sun shines brightly through the windows. Although the sun rays are warming, almost comforting, its beams of brightness annoyingly and embarrassingly expose all the uncleaned shelves covered in dust. Quite comically, it also shows where you have been lazy and only done a ‘half job’ sometimes. There is no escaping the inspection of the sun’s rays. It is like when the sun shines, it magnifies what we have been avoiding dealing with. The same is with our lives. Sometimes we try to cover up our mistakes and sins, thinking that in the secret of darkness, they will be hidden and free from consequence. Yet as Paul says, eventually our ‘evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.’

What is important to note, is the God’s light doesn’t want to expose us to embarrass us, but rather to gently correct us and protect us. For sin has power in secret, in darkness and when not spoken about; yet when exposed, sin’s power is broken. Half of the battle is bringing it out into the open. This takes confession on our behalf. Yet when we confess our sins to God or to our accountability partners, His comforting and love is like the warmth of the sun’s rays. Although our sin is exposed before Him, we can also soak in the warmth of His forgiveness and restoration. He is faithful and just to forgive us from all things we have kept in the dark and forgive and clean us up with the warmth of His loving grace.

His Kindness And Love: Part 2

20th November

Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.”

Psalms 63:3-4

The writer of Psalms understood the wonderful height, depth and width of the love of our Heavenly Father. He knew how much he was loved and it showed through his writing. This knowledge ultimately dictated his life and choices. We too have this same choice. Do we let the knowledge that we are loved by God pass away as an interesting and good point of our faith, or do we let His love radically change the way we live and think? Think about it, if you know you are so loved by a God who gave His only Son for your sins, doesn’t that make you not want to sin. If you know you are so loved by a God who forgives unconditionally and blesses unreservedly, doesn’t that make you live a life of gratitude?

We mustn’t let the knowledge that we are radically loved by our Heavenly Father just be words on paper or ‘academic’ love. We must let this knowledge change us completely. Let’s join the Psalmist and praise our God for as long as we live. After all, His love is better than life itself.

What Do You Want From Me?

13th November

Crowds of sick people – blind, lame or paralysed – lay on the porches. One of the men laying there had been sick for almost thirty eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, He asked him, “Would you like to get well?””

John 5:3-6

Sometimes, situations in our lives can be dictated by someone’s opinion. It could be a doctor’s opinion, bringing bad news of a permanent sickness or such like. That opinion can begin to define your day to day life routine. It could be a boss or co-worker who says you will never amount to anything or get that promotion you deserve. You then start to feel useless and under-perform because of the ‘nothing’ label you carry. Furthermore, it could be even closer to home. Perhaps a spouse or family member is constantly putting you down. If that is you. Then read Jesus’ words to the man who had been sick for thirty eight years!! ‘Would you like to get well?’

The man who had been sick for thirty eight years let his circumstance and others opinion become a normal part of his life because he knew nothing else. His hope was that he could enter the pool of Bethesda and be healed, but because of his situation, he couldn’t reach there in time. Jesus, having compassion on this man, offered the words of life and hope that this man desperately needed to hear. ‘Would you like to get well?’ Today Jesus is saying the same words to us. What do you need from Jesus? What is that situation that is totally out of your control and needs a miracle? Perhaps you also have been carrying around a ‘sickness’ or ‘burden’ for many years. Is so, then Jesus is knocking at your door today, asking the same question to YOU, ‘WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET WELL?!’

Our King

9th November

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.”

Psalm 47:1-2

We serve a King who was not voted in, did not have to go through any publicity to make Himself more popular and certainly doesn’t need people’s approval to prove that He is rightfully KING! He is King by default. He created the world. He is King because He won the ultimate battle against sin and death. He is King because He is King. He is the One, as the book of Romans says, that gives the authority to earthly kingdoms; ‘For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.1’ God is even in control of those in authority.

There is no power higher than God. There is no equal nor opposite to God. He is, the psalmist says, ‘the great KING of all the earth.’ Not just of the earth, but the entire universe. There is no corruption in Him, no scandal, no falsehood, no lies, no racism, no sexism, no rudeness and no division. In Him is life, peace, joy, and acceptance; a fountain of grace and mercy that never runs dry. There is unconditional love for those who accept it. He is the greatest leader of all time; from the beginning to the end of time. He is the King that created time. All things were created by His words. The earth and the universe, the sun and the moon, all listen and obey His voice. He is the King of the animals, the birds, the sea, the land and everything that is! He is the King, that is greatly exalted and worshipped throughout the world, in every language and by every culture! He is KING! Come on! Everyone! Clap your hands, shout for joy! This King is our King!

In a time of global and political uncertainty, it would be wise to put your trust in Him and let Him calm your fears. WE can trust Him because He is the great King!!

1Romans 13:1