Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." - Matthew 2:1&2

It's Christmas time again, incredible isn't it? 

Time again to ponder anew the true meaning of Christmas and acknowledge that its not about all the commercial nonsense and soppy sentimentalism we see on typical Christmas TV shows!

The Star rose in the east, that cosmic sign testifying to the birth of God the son in the flesh down here on earth, that only the wise men recognized. No one else was mindful of what really happened, thousands of years later, it seems that the vast majority are not mindful of who Jesus is or why he came to earth. He did not come 2000 years ago so we can fill our shopping baskets to overflowing he did not come so we can stuff our bellies with food, he did not come so we could give and receive gifts either.
He came to live a perfectly sinless life in all he said and did, he came to die an awful death on a cross so that our sins can be forgiven. 
The joy at Christmas relates to our amazement and wonder that the God of all glory could and would condescend to come to earth to die for sinners!
Yes we rejoice at the baby Jesus birth, but that joy is vastly overshadowed by the joy of his death, and the joy of his resurrection. 




Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give Thanks


Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  - Psalm 95:2

It's thanksgiving time in the USA, yes it is true we can and should thank the Lord every day for all our blessings, but setting a special day apart is also a good idea, it's a time we can slow down from our usual fast paced lives and contemplate all that we have been blessed with in the last 12 months. Many will travel this weekend to be with family, almost everyone will stuff themselves with the traditionally deliciously roasted turkey and all the accompanying trimmings. 
Let us just spend some time thanking the Lord for everything that has happened, both the good things, the bad things and the ugly things, ultimately God's permissive will has allowed all these to come our way for our good, to be a benefit to us. 
Just in the last few weeks I have had an ongoing and persistently painful bout of shingles which I am still struggling with. How can I give thanks for shingles? When I consider that I could have had it far worse than I have endured, I can thank God for sparing me in His Grace. a few weeks ago my father died suddenly in South Africa, how can I thank the Lord for that? He died peacefully in his home, which is on a farm in a rural area which he loved dearly. I thank the Lord for the incredible peace he gave me in my heart on hearing of his death, I thank the Lord for the strength he gave me to preach the Gospel at my fathers funeral. I thank The Lord for the family I grew up in, the friends and family that gave me support, and prayed for me all the way to South Africa and back to the USA.
This devotion has been of a very personal nature, but I have learnt, or rather been reminded that giving thanks really is possible in every situation and in every circumstance imaginable, I hope my sharing will encourage everyone to thank the Lord for His many blessings.
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18







Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Who can ever forget?


"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  - Isaiah 49:15

I very recently and rather embarrassingly forgot an appointment that I had with a brother, thinking back in my life to the first time I forgot to do something like that,  was back in Grade Three (Standard One, in South Africa in 1971). What I forgot caused considerable public embarrassment to myself, and a great deal of anger from the School Headmaster, a certain Mr Doug Sumner. It was my turn, and it was my first turn ever to read the Bible passage at the School assembly time in the morning. When he called for me to go forward to read, I realized I had not prepared and I had failed to bring the reading with me. 
I'm so glad the Bible tells us most re-assuredly that our great God cannot and will never forget us, there are not many things that the Lord cannot do, one of them is He cannot forget His family, He cannot forget His children, He died for us, how could He forget?
When you are having a black spot, a dark time spiritually, when you feel you are in a dry and dusty desert place in your spiritual life, and when you feel lonely, deserted and even when you may feel unloved and forgotten, remember this passage, there is One who knows, and whom cannot forget! What a great comfort. May the Lord truly be your comfort today!




Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Refreshing service.

I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people. - 1 Corinthians 16: 17-18 

Paul gives us the names of three people that were important to the work of the Gospel, and he compliments them tremendously for all they have done and were doing. He does not list any actual work but states that they themselves were a great refreshing influence to himself and the church. 
Just think about that for a moment, what we do to serve the Lord in Church is very important, but what is more important is what kind of person you are when you serve. 
Are you a reluctant servant that has to be begged and pleaded with? Do you serve with utmost reluctance and constant complaining, griping, and are you always treading on everyone else's toes, or is it always they who are treading on yours? 
Is your area of service your pet project, your little empire? In short are you a drain on everyone else? 
Or are you refreshing to those that you work with, with your fellow servants, is your service and outflowing of gratitude for the sheer pleasure of serving the ultimate Servant -Savior? Is our service done in love, compassion, gratitude and with thanksgiving? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

The unborn!

Psalm 139: 13-15
For you formed my inward parts; 
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; 
my soul knows it very well. 
My frame was not hidden from you, 
when I was being made in secret, 
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 

How shamefully millions of unborn babies are treated, the inhumanity, the indifference of so many so called modern societies. Then compare these societies to the Eternal Word of the Living God, the Creator of the universe. What does God have to say to modern man about the unborn?
He is the one forming us already while we are in the womb. We are a work of art to God in our mothers womb, as tiny as an unborn baby can be, the baby is a masterpiece of creation, the mystery and the wonder of the growth of the unborn.
Surely the Lord sees every unborn baby, He sees he knows their names, he knows them not as a disinterested observer, but knows their very soul, He knows everything about them, and yes God loves them! 
Jesus died for every unborn child as much as he died for anyone else. Amazing love, how can it be?
Yet it is, God loves every mother who bears a child, and every child that is being carried by its mother. The Lord is loving and protective, how unwise are those murderers who plot and carry our a genocide everyday, oh, how terrible is God's wrath going to be to them on judgement day. His love and tender mercy will be equally and oppositely wonderfully gracious to all unborn children who are taken from this world before their time.
Mothers do not fret about the baby in your in your womb, the Living God has His eye on you and your future son or daughter! Our God is gracious, merciful and tender-fully loving in all His ways, place your trust in Him, and in Him alone.



Monday, July 6, 2015

A willingness to listen.

Ezekiel 3:4-11 NIV
[4] 4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. [5] You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel--- [6] not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. [7] But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. [8] But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. [9] I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. ” [10] And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. [11] Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says ,’ whether they listen or fail to listen .”

God has placed us in the country that we live in, He has placed us where He wants us to be, and our task is the same as Ezekiel, to go and speak the Word of God to our own people. These people speak the same language, the same dialect, the same idiom as ourselves. So why is it so difficult to get through to them? It is simple, they are actually unwilling to hear what God has to say to them, in fact people naturally, due to sinful natures do not want to hear God out!
What is the solution, we who are His servants by grace, have to become as equally persevering in our efforts to communicate the Word as the world is stubbornly resisting God's Word! 
Our part is to not give up trying, the Lord will do His part, only He can break down a lost sinners stubborn heart to the point that they can hear Him speak. We must go and do as we have been told and must leave the results to our Lord.




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sheep

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  - Psalm 100:3

It is a wonderful grace to know that the Lord is indeed God, God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and everything in it.
He made us, we are not a product of random actions, we were created by our Lord, we belong to Him, he made us, he bought and paid for us, he paid the price in full for our sinfulness. We are his sheep, the unworthy objects of his eternal loving protectiveness!