Tuesday, 22 January 2019

What is truth? ...

"What is truth?" (John 18:38).
This question can be asked in a cynical way, suggesting that searching for truth is pointless, because there is no truth. The sceptics may say to us, "If it's true for you, that's okay by me - but it's not true for me." 
It can also be asked as part of a sincere search for truth. Where will such a search lead us? The question was put to Jesus - and the question leads us to Jesus. He described himself as "the truth" (John 14:6). 
Do we believe that Jesus speaks the truth? Do we believe that Jesus is the truth? Do we believe him when he says, in prayer to God the Father, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17)?
If we believe that Jesus speaks the truth, and that Jesus is the truth, will we not stand, with him, in the confession of faith - God's Word is truth?
How much sense does it make to speak of Jesus being true for one person, and not true for someone else? Surely, that is to reduce faith to feelings - the way we feel about things. 
If our faith is to be more than feelings, we must build on the facts of the gospel - "Christ died for our sins ... he was raised on the third day ... " (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 
Is faith in Christ, crucified and risen, something we can take or leave? - if it gives you a good feeling, take it, and if it doesn't you can just leave it.
That may be the way many people, in today's world speak about Christ, but it's not the way Paul spoke about him. This is what Paul said, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile" (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Take away the resurrection of Christ- and you have nothing left - no gospel, no faith. 
In a world in which so many people are turning away from faith in Christ and his gospel, may God give us the grace and faith that we need to continue to take our stand with Paul: "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

Great Fear, Greater Faith - In The Great God

"Even when I am afraid, I still trust You" (Psalm 56:3).
There's a battle going on. Fear is threatening to take control of us. Faith is rising up. It's challenging fear. It's saying, "Is that the best you can do?" What is faith? It's facing our fears. It's saying, "Fear: you are strong  - but the Lord is stronger."

More Than A Prophet!

 “The Lord your God  will raise up for you a Prophet … to Him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
We read these words, and we think of the words spoken by God on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). There is a difference. Jesus is more than a Prophet. He’s God’s Son. He’s greater than Moses. He’s greater than Elijah. They were God’s servants. He’s God’s Son. When we realize that we have a Saviour – more than a prophet!, we will listen to Him, we will give ourselves to Him, and we will thank Him for giving Himself for us.
Why do we listen to Jesus? It’s because He speaks the Word of the Lord – “I … will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).  It’s more than that! He is the Word of the Lord (John 1:1,14).
We give ourselves to Him because He has given Himself to us. We do not think much of our great devotion to him. We think much of His great love for us.
 As I was reading about “the Prophet”, I found my attention drawn to these words – “you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22). As I read this verse, I noticed that it’s telling us that we do not need to be afraid of the false prophet. Satan has no authority over the Lord’s people – “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper … ” (Isaiah 54:17). “you shall not be afraid of him” – I thought a bit more about this verse. I found my thoughts turning to Jesus, our Saviour. We don’t need to be afraid of Him. He loves us. In fear, we come to Him. We know that He is holy. In love, He comes to us. He shows us that He is our Saviour. “His perfect love casts out our fear” (1 John 4:18).

Go With The Wind Of The Spirit - And Be Blessed By The Lord.

"They were in a lot of trouble ...because they were going against the wind" (Mark 6:48).  We make a lot of trouble for ourselves when we go against the wind of the Spirit. John 3 and Acts 2 compare the Spirit to the wind. We need to go with the wind of the Spirit if we are to be blessed by the Lord."They didn't understand ... their minds were closed" (Mark 6:52). Where does understanding come from? It comes from the Lord. How does understanding come to us? It comes to us when we open our minds - "Lord, show me what this means."

Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us ...

Genesis 27:1-40
Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us - more than we want to be blessed by You. We don't deserve to be blessed - but You keep on blessing us. Help us never to forget to say, "Thank You, Lord." Help us always to treasure Your blessing - and to keep on praying that it will grow and grow and ...

Kept!

 * “His feet do not slip … They will be kept safe forever” (Psalm 37:31,28).
Our  feet are slipping. Things are getting out of control. Out of whose control? – Out of our control. Not out of God’s control. He keeps us safe. He keeps our feet from slipping.
 * “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way” (Psalm 37:34).
How do we keep on walking in the way of the Lord? It is the Lord who keeps us walking in His way. Before we can “keep His way”, we must “wait on Him.” If we are to keep on walking with the Lord, we must keep on waiting on Him. “Wait on the Lord” – This is faith. It is looking away from ourselves to the Lord. Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the way of the Lord. We are not left to our own devices. We can “wait on the Lord and renew our strength” (Isaiah 40:31). As we keep our eyes on Him, looking beyond our present situation to His eternal salvation, He will keep us walking in His way -“kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

When, Lord, we are challenged by Your Word ...

Jeremiah 12:1-17
‘“If any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it”, declares the Lord’ (Jeremiah 12:17). When, Lord, we are challenged by Your Word, help us not to look out to the world and say, ‘That’s what’s happening “out there.”’ Teach us to look into our own hearts. Help us to ask, ‘What’s happening  “in here”?’ Teach us to pray, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart’ (Psalm 139:23). When the searchlight of Your Word begins to shine on our lives, it becomes clear that ‘all is not as it seems’: ‘They speak well of You with their lips, but their hearts are far from You’ (Jeremiah 12:2). Our situation seems hopeless. We cannot change ourselves: ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil’ (Jeremiah 13:23). We thank You, Lord, that You speak to us Your Word of hope. We can be changed. You can change us: ‘I will give you a new heart’ (Ezekiel 36:26).

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What is truth? ...

"What is truth?" (John 18:38). This question can be asked in a cynical way, suggesting that searching for truth is pointless, b...