Today’s Worries

20th October

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Matthew 6:34

Jesus, in His wonderful ‘Sermon On The Mount’, shared a lot of key gems to help shape the disciples spiritual lives. The ‘Sermon On The Mount’ also encourages, provokes and challenges believers worldwide to this day and most assuredly, in many more years to come. Jesus’ simple teachings are straight to the point and highlight our need for Him in all we do, in our everyday lives. Perhaps the simplicity and directness of Jesus’ teachings is why they are so popular and often used in sermons worldwide.

One of the gems found in this sermon, is today’s key verse. Jesus highlights to His disciples, the need for trust in Him, for all their provision, and the lack of need to worry. He encourages the disciples to not worry about anything. We too are encouraged to not worry about tomorrow’s problems, however, why is that? Is it because our lives our completely in Jesus’ hands, so therefore we don’t need to worry about anything? Well, yes, for sure. Jesus is our burden carrier, our provider and our hope. But on an even simpler level, which Jesus highlights too, is that “today’s trouble is enough for today”. In other, why further burden yourselves with things that are out of your control today, and with things you haven’t even reached to yet. It is almost like Jesus is saying, ‘yes tomorrow may have many worries, but take each day at a time. Give your burdens daily to Me and let’s work through them day by day’.

Isn’t that a refreshing perspective. If we look at today’s worries and tomorrow’s worries, of course our stress levels will rise, and our Godly perspective on them will start to become blurry. Yet if we take one day at a time, each day giving that day’s worries and troubles to Jesus, don’t our worries become less stressful?! Moreover, when we give our daily worries and struggles to Jesus, the load becomes manageable as we invite Jesus into all we are doing, giving Him our daily worries and stresses for that day.

Raising The Dead:

 

The ImPossible Miracle

7th October

When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” He said. Then He walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” He said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

Luke 7:13-15

There is nothing that is too big for our God. As well as healing Lazarus from the dead, as we discussed a few weeks ago, Jesus also healed this widow’s only son by raising him from the dead. What is impossible with man is possible with God. Of course the healing of the widow’s son is an absolutely incredible story, yet Jesus’ reasoning for healing him is also worth noting. Luke tells us in verse 13, that it was because of Jesus’ compassion for the widow that He healed her son. Maybe Jesus could relate to being an ‘Only Son’, or maybe it was because this woman had already lost a husband and now her only son? Yet whatever it was, it moved Jesus to heal the boy and raise him from the dead.

Jesus shows us that miracles are not just reserved for special ‘miracle’ meetings or ‘prayer nights’ although these can be effective, they were part of Jesus’ everyday life and so should be in our lives too. We too can have overwhelming compassion for people and ask Jesus for healing in their lives; whether that be physical, spiritual or mental, we can have the same compassion for people as Jesus did. In fact, maybe that is something we should pray for in our own lives; to have the same compassion Jesus had for people and act on it in the same way Jesus did, knowing that nothing is impossible for our God!

Fasting From Food: Feasting On Jesus

14th September

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty…..So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.”

John 6:35, 53

For many, fasting has the connotation that you are depriving yourself of food or other comforts to almost twist God’s arm into giving you what you want or to answer your prayers. Of course this is not the case, but it is an important spiritual discipline. So why do we do it and what is the significance? Well first of all, it is mentioned as a spiritual discipline throughout the Bible, and also goes hand in hand with Jesus’ teaching about prayer, just after He taught us the ‘Lord’s Payer’ in Matthew 6. Notice that Jesus says, and “when you fast…”1, almost implying that it is normality and is expected of a believer. Yet what is the significance of fasting?

Well, fasting is a discipline not to get God’s attention, but to put your attention back to God. We already have God’s attention. We are His children. Fasting is for us. It helps us to re-focus and re-align our thoughts and put Jesus back at the centre of our prayers. Yet fasting was never meant to be just giving up something and carrying on with our lives. Fasting is feasting on Jesus; Giving up food or other comforts and replacing that ‘time’ or ‘meal’ with feasting on Jesus by spending time with Him.

Jesus said of Himself that He is the ‘Bread of Life’! In order to aid our spiritual growth, we must feast on Him. Of course Jesus “isn’t endorsing cannibalism..,” but rather “….using ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ as a metaphor – as symbolism – for believing in Him – for faith in Him.”2 “Feasting on Jesus means turning to Him, trusting Him, hoping in Him, following Him, and loving Him. Feasting on Jesus means NOT feasting on alternatives to Jesus to satisfy the eternal hunger of our souls.” Just as we need to feed ourselves with physical food to survive, so we need to feast on Jesus for spiritual lives to grow and prosper. As you fast, remember to feast on Jesus!!

1Matthew 6:14a

2Quoted text taken from article http://creekroad.org.au/feasting-on-jesus/

Only Jesus – Our Comfort

19th – 21st August

Weekend Edition

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Jesus is the source of our comfort. The Holy Spirit is given the title ‘comforter’ but His role is leading us into the very presence of Jesus Christ. Comfort is found in Jesus. Peace is found Jesus. Strength and security are all found in Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. It is because He suffered that we can be comforted because He can understand our pain. Moreover, it is because we are comforted, that we can comfort others who are troubled too.

May we share each others burdens in Holy and righteous living. May we share our troubles together through the power and strength found in our relationship with Jesus. We are loved, we are blessed and we are God’s vessels to share His love with others. Only Jesus can provide the comfort we long for. Only Jesus can empower to strengthen and encourage others. Only Jesus…..!!

Light Switch

2nd June

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

In the beginning the world was dark and void until God’s words flipped a switch and there was light. While it may be hard to imagine a world without light, we have experienced other types of darkness: discouragement, disappointment, and sorrow to name a few.

Trusting God in the darkness is difficult. We pray for Him to instantly change our circumstances; and while He sometimes does, we often find ourselves waiting for Him in a hard place. Paul was familiar with waiting and challenges. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, Paul describes being persecuted and struck down. Instead of requiring God to intervene with a bright light from heaven, which he had experienced before on the road to Damascus, Paul patiently relied on God to sustain him. Although unseen, God’s goodness, presence, and strength were at work. Paul knew that having God in his life was enough. God was all the light he needed.1

Even in the dark times, God is still the light that leads us to safety and hope. May we trust in His guidance, trust that He is the light of the world, and trust that His light live in our lives.

1Taken from David Jeremiah, Daily devotions, 1st June 2016

A Mere Speck : Revisited

27th May

The Lord is KING. Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad….The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”

Psalm 97:1,5

It has been said that Mountain’s make up 70% of Japans land mass. Everywhere you travel to around the island, you probably are not far from a huge mountain range. These mountains and are not glorified hills but huge tall mountains, 2000 or 3000 meters tall. They bask in the sun’s glory in the summer and decorated with snow in the winter.

Yet in all of their glory, they are still nothing compared to the enormity of Almighty God. A human standing next to or even attempting to climb one of these mountains, has to pale into sheer humility at the size contrast. But compared to God, even these huge mountains are minute. Even if we could compare the earth to God’s greatness it would still be a “mere speck” in His eyes. Our planet is just one of millions of stars and planets in the thousands of solar systems in the known universe. David, in today’s Psalm, also comments on the greatness of God and how even these mighty mountains melt like wax before the Lord’s Majesty. The whole earth sings of God’s greatness.

Today, let us put our problems into perspective. The size of our problems to us might seem huge but to God they are not. God is far far greater than any of our problems. Seriously nothing is too big for Him. Nothing surprises Him, nothing scares Him and nothing makes Him worry. The best part is, is that God cares for you individually. He cares for us all individually. He knows every single hurt, pain, disappointment, financial need, and family need and HE CARES. Even if He is so much higher, bigger and greater, He still cares personally for each of us. God doesn’t look at our problems, even if they are small for Him and dismiss them. Rather He is there fighting with us, walking by our side and holding our hands through the darkest valleys, fighting to make a way out.

If you are waking up to a whole heap of problems this morning, put you life into the perspective of God’s eyes and know that He is with you. God, the creator of everything in the entire universe…

is on your side.

Christ Is All That Matters

20th May

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.”

Colossians 3:11

In today’s world there is so much trying to create disharmony. Be that political elections, a rise in racism and sexism, and a massive increase of disharmony and dis-unity; even in the church! Yet it is in the church that unity should be increasing. We so quickly forget that if Christ lives in us, then we are brothers and sisters of the same family. There is no separation. As Paul rightly says, ‘it doesn’t matter who or what you are….Christ is all that matters!’

Yes we may have different worship styles, we may speak different languages, we may have completely different characters and views about life, but we should be united because of Christ. Our prayer should be that we can love the bride of Christ, Jesus’ body, the church. Not the four walls that make a building, but the people that worship inside. Christ is all that matters. Our prayer should be that we can live in harmony with all types of people and be united in our worship to and of Jesus. Friends, brothers and sisters, let us put to death feelings of dis-unity and disharmony and allow Jesus to bond us and bind us together for His Kingdom. He is all that matters.

The Lord’s Prayer

11th May

Father, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield into temptation.

Luke 11:2b-4

In Matthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus purposefully expands on the necessity of forgiving others before you come to the Lord in prayer. Although the Lord’s prayer is a model prayer, it is still a good basis for how we should structure our own personal prayers. If Jesus saw it fit to repeat the message about forgiveness, then surely we should be paying attention too! In the Lukan version of the Lord’s prayer teaching, the emphasis is on God being our Heavenly Father, our protector, sustainer and provider.

Jesus in Luke’s account of the Lord’s prayer, alludes our relationship with God to that of a good father and son relationship or a good neighbour/friend relationship. Luke’s version is personal. It shows the personal relationship between God and man. It shows that God is not some far away supreme being that doesn’t take notice of our cares and needs. Jesus highlights that God does care. God wants to provide our needs. However, above all, God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to pour out our needs before Him. He wants us to live pure and undefiled lives because He knows that is best for us. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and make us right before Him…

All praise to God our Father. All praise to Jesus His Son. And all praise to the Holy Spirit. All work in harmony for us to have a personal and intimate prayer life with the creator of this world, just as a son would talk to his father. God always has ears to listen!

Victory Over Temptation

10th May

..and don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one….For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and authority. Forever and ever. Amen (some manuscripts do not include the last part)

Matthew 6:13

When we come to our Lord in prayer, we come to Him in the victory that He has won for us. We come as inheritors of that victory. Yet victory doesn’t mean you are immune to temptation. After all, we are living in a fallen world, surrounded by fallen people and things. The thing that separates us from the world, is the fact that because Christ lives in us, we can have the victory to swim against the ‘norm’ of sinful living and walk in victory over temptation. Jesus did exactly that when He lived on this earth. He was tempted but did not sin.

It is because Jesus conquered the enemy that we can pray these things. Temptation will come, but in Jesus, we have the victory to not yield to it. Jesus’ ‘model’ prayer helps us to realise that praying for strength over temptation is essential in our spiritual growth and our walk with Christ. In Christ we have the power to walk away from temptation, to not yield to its lies and to live in the opposite spirit of our sinful nature’s cravings. Let us rejoice in Him. Let us run away from anything that causes us to stumble and walk in complete victory in Jesus.

What Does Jesus’ Sacrifice Mean For Me? Being Born-Again

20th April

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead…”

1 Peter 1:3a

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at all of the benefits we can participate and rejoice in, due to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we continue with this theme as we celebrate our lives, as born-again children of God.

Put plainly, being born again is not a physical re-entry into the mother’s womb to be born again, but it is an inward death of your old lifestyle and a new beginning in Christ. When Jesus enters our lives, we are given a new life. This new life is in tune with God’s heart, aware of right and wrong and free to live fully in the freedom that God has always desired for us His children. We are created to worship, to rejoice, and to live life in all of its fullness. Being born again is like you have come alive again.

Because Jesus was raised again on the third day, we can rejoice in His resurrection and we too can be resurrected with Christ. Our sinful lives put to death when Christ breathed His last breath and our new lives resurrected with Him. So rejoice, we have been born again.