No Judgement For Those Who Believe

5th December

There is no judgement against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”

John 3:18-19

For those who believe, there is no judgement from God. If you like, we are let off the hook. We are free from the wrath of God because we believe and accept that Jesus was and is God’s one and only Son, the light of the world, that revealed our sinful condition, forgave us, restored us, renewed us and made us whole in Him by taking our place. It is like a court case, with God being the Great Judge, when the evidence is presented, our record of wrongdoing is empty because Jesus cancelled all our debt and wiped away the evidence. Because our records are empty, there is nothing to judge us on. We are free. We are made righteous (right before God). We are made innocent. Of course this does mean that we can live reckless sinful lives because we can always run back to Jesus’ grace as a get out clause. Rather it is because we are made right before God, because we have been greatly forgiven, that we want to live lives worthy of God’s holy standards. It is because we love God that we don’t want to sin and because we are loved by God, we can daily ask Him to cleanse us from all our mistakes.

The only judgement we will receive, is how well we have served God and what we have done for Him to extend His Kingdom (otherwise known as our ‘good works’). Our salvation, or our position in Him is not determined by what ‘good works’ we have done. God loves us regardless of our ‘good works’. But one day we will stand before God and give an account of how we have served God with the gifts He has given us. We will be judged according to our good deeds1.

Friends, may we rejoice in the free gift of salvation we have received and pray that others too may not reject the light and carry on walking in darkness, but rather walk in the truth and in light. May we serve God with the gifts He has given us and rejoice daily in His grace.

1cf. Romans 2:6/2 Corinthians 5:10/Matthew 16:27

Hidden In Christ

12th –14th August

Weekend Edition

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:1-3

Since the great divide has been healed and the gap between God and man bridged by Christ, our identity has been transformed as we become new creations. We become children of Christ and heirs to the inheritance of eternal life. Yet above all, our lives are hidden in Christ. When God looks at us, because we are hidden in Christ, He doesn’t see how we used to be, a sinful, wretched man, but instead He sees Christ and see us in Christ, redeemed, renewed and restored. He sees purity and holiness. We have been raised to new life in Christ. Our past is gone, forgotten about and dealt with by God’s grace shown and displayed through Jesus.

We need to set our minds on these truths. We need to stop looking back at the past and letting the past define us. We are forgiven. We are a new creation. We will never move forward if we are always looking backwards at the past. We need to set our minds on the things of heaven; What has God got in store for me? How does God see me? How can I be used to extend His Kingdom? Friends, today, may we remember that we are hidden and enveloped by the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. That is who we are, that is our identity. Start your day with remembering this precious truth.

God’s Grace In Afflication

2nd August

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

Psalm 119:71

We have grown used to unboxing new digital appliances and using the “trial and error” method to discover how they work. Most of these tools and toys don’t even come with instruction booklets, opting instead for built-in “Help” menus. When we do eventually read the directions, we usually wish we had done so sooner.

Trials can drive us closer to God’s “instructions.” The psalmist learned that lesson, saying it was good to go through trials in order to learn more of God’s ways (Psalm 119:67, 71, 92). Throughout Scripture the same message is repeated: Trials build godly character (James 1:2-4), drive us to call on God for wisdom (James 1:5), build our faith (James 1:6), and give us the opportunity to display the character of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). For those reasons and more, we should “count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials” (James 1:2). But only if we want to discover more of God’s Word, will, and ways, and be conformed more to Christ’s image (Romans 8:28-29).

Don’t try to figure life’s trials out on your own. Read and follow life’s biblical instructions. You’ll be glad you did.1

None of us can come to the highest maturity without enduring the summer heat of trials.

Charles H. Spurgeon

 

1Taken from David Jeremiah’s Turning Point, Daily Devotionals

God’s Grace In Salvation

1st August

The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promises, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.”

2 Peter 3:9

God is so gracious. He is patiently waiting until the opportune time to once again come back to this earth and reign forever; to set up His Kingdom here on earth to rule for eternity. Yet until that time, He is pouring His grace out to all mankind so that people may have an opportunity to encounter the resurrected King Jesus. God wants all men to be saved. He wants none to perish. That is why He has not yet come. He wants everyone to have an opportunity to repent and turn back to Him. Yet once we have accepted our wrongs and repented of our sins, we have a responsibility to also share that same good news of Christ’s love, acceptance and forgiveness to others, so that they too may be saved. God is patient for our sakes. He will return one day, so let us get our relationship with Jesus right, so that we can wait in anticipation of His coming and not in fear of His judgement.

The Grace Of God Leads To…

13th June

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”

Titus 2:11

Grace. Grace is one of those words, that even when you say it, it sounds loving, kind and accepting. And that is all grace is. It is the loving, kind and accepting gift of God, to turn us from our sins and lead us to His everlasting life. It is God’s revealed grace that leads to salvation.

God’s grace is unlimited and is always available to those who call on His Name. God’s grace says, you get what you don’t deserve (salvation and forgiveness), and don’t get what you do deserve (punishment). God’s grace says yes you have messed up but here, have another chance to put it right. God’s grace says, I have chosen you to be my child. It is God’s grace that sustains the universe and everything surrounding us. Yet above all, God’s grace is birthed from His love for us.

Friends, God’s grace is readily available. It is never too late to turn to Him. His grace is impartial and not dependant on if you deserve it or not. Let God’s grace lead you to salvation and fill your heart with love, kindness and acceptance.

Stand Firm

25th February

““But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then chose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

Currently in the UK, there is an ongoing court case where a famous football player is being convicted of grooming an underage girl for his pleasure. Although he has not been convicted yet, the most likely verdict will be guilty. Yet what leads a man with a successful career (and a family) to fall so deeply into the enticement of sin? Is it because he didn’t have God in His life? Well, sadly in the church too, we see the same trend, whereby great men and women of God have also fallen into sin with great repercussions. What caused them to stumble? A lack of accountability? A lack of of moral consciousness? Moreover, if people even in the church can stumble, where do we find our source of inspiration from?

The Bible. Of course the obvious answer is Jesus, the sinless and perfect Saviour who faultlessly gave us the prime example of how we should live our lives. Yet there are also many other characters in the Bible, where we can draw inspiration from, such as Joshua. Joshua was a man commissioned by God to lead the people of Israel into the promised land after the passing of Moses. He faced a huge task, firstly to lead so many people and also because the journey into the promised land was full of enemies that had to be defeated; take for example the city of Jericho and the crossing of the river Jordan.

Joshua, in chapter 23 and 24, gives a final ‘last’ speech to the people of Israel, encouraging them to stay faithful and not to compromise by worshipping other gods. Joshua himself had led a blameless and holy life before God. In his final words he shouts out to the people with these words…But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. In other words, ‘I have led you to follow the Lord, set you an example with my life, and now whom will you serve… I don’t know about you but as for me and my family, we have made a choice to serve the Lord!’

Friends, in a world full of compromise, will you be counted among those who stand strong and commit to serving the Lord. Let us remember that no sin is to great for grace and no distance to far for God’s love. Stand up once more and keep fighting the good fight! But as for you…..??

Restoration

19th January

But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatten calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:22-24

Jesus in Luke 15 tells 3 separate parables, highlighting the joy of when something lost is found. The most famous of these is probably the story of the prodigal son, who left home taking with him his portion of his father’s inheritance. He squandered all he had on prodigal living and ended up feeding pigs in the fields. He eventually came to his senses and decided to go home and ask for forgiveness from his father.

As the son approaches home, incredibly the father rushes out to greet his once lost son, throws his arms around him and declares that his ‘dead’ son is now alive. Moreover, he restores the son by giving him three items. The first a robe, to symbolise status, a ring, to symbolise authority and sandals, to symbolise his liberation from slave like living and to affirm his status as a son of his father‘s household.

Much has been made of the true meaning of this parable by commentators and scholars alike. Is this a parable depicting the journey of a Christian who was once fallen away from the church, and God the Father waiting patiently to reconcile that person back to Him? Or is it our daily relationship with Father God; our daily sins and rebellion, forgiven by a loving Father, full of grace and mercy? We could probably argue for both viewpoints, yet what is key to this parable, is truly the grace, mercy and love of a compassionate Father, who is in the business of restoring broken things, ie.. US. Our Heavenly Father does beckon us back when we fall away from Him, when we sin and rebel against His holy standards. He does adorn us with royal robes and give us the status of being sons and daughters of His Kingdom. He does restore us and give all the benefits of His inheritance for us, even when we don’t deserve it. That is grace. That is love. That is our God.

He Is Faithful and Just

8th January

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1 John 1:9

Confession of sin is multifaceted, but there is a core principle. It is not sorrow, guilt, or shame. It is agreement. The Greek translation for “confess” is made of two words: homos means “same,” and lego means “say or speak.” So, to confess means “to say the same thing as.” As who? As God! We don’t inform God of our sins by confessing them. He already knows what we have done. Our greatest need is to humbly agree with Him: “Father, You call what I did ‘sin’ and I agree with You.”1

Yet it doesn’t end there. We don’t confess/agree with God so He can tell us off or make us feel bad. We do so, because we have full confidence that God wants to make right our wrongs and ‘cleanse us from all wickedness’. God is our loving Father, who freely wants to pour His grace upon us and set us free from the things that separate us from Him. As John says, ‘He is faithful and just’.

Yes we acknowledge and accept that what we have done is wrong according to God’s holy standards but we also acknowledge that He has the power to forgive and the love and grace to release us from the condemnation that our sin brings. Praise God for His grace. He knows when we sin, but loves us nevertheless. Thank you Jesus for Your gift of forgiveness.

1Taken from Turning Point Daily Devotional (7/01/2016)

Second Chance Jesus

18th December

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sins, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21

Today’s message is very simple, but contains a truth that if accepted, could transform your life. They are not my words but God’s words through the Apostle Paul written to the church in Corinth and applicable for our lives too. The truth is this..

God sent Jesus to this world, to be an offering for our sins, so that we could be made right with God….THROUGH CHRIST.

How incredible. That blessing includes you and I. It includes all who believe in it. Friends, that is why Jesus came. He came to give us another chance, and to redeem and restore our relationship with God. He wants us to succeed. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have sent His Only Begotten Son to suffer at the hands of the very people He created. Moreover, it is not a second chance He gives, but a third, fourth, fifth…. In fact His grace is unlimited for all those who call upon it. Jesus radically stepped into this world for us for our sakes.

Even more amazing, is that He didn’t wait for us to become good before He became an offering for us. He died while we were still sinners. He rose again victorious and patiently waits for us to accept His love, grace and forgiveness through the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit. And even after we accept it and still stumble into sin (or sometimes even purposefully sin), He still is waiting patiently to forgive and restore us until we call on His Name and ask for forgiveness. This is the nature of the man (and God!), Jesus Christ, who came to this earth over 2000 years ago. And if He had to do it just for you, He would have!!

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.