‘…before the throne of our merciful God… we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.’ Hebrews 4:16 CEV
When you pray, ‘Our Father,’ you define every other relationship in your life:
(a) You define your relationship to the material world. Since God is your Father, you’re not a stranger but an heir to the blessings of His universe (Psalms 24:1). But beware of the values of the world: ‘Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father’ (1 John 2:15 CEV). Nothing must take God’s place! (B-) You define your relationship to others. Everyone around you is your Father’s creation and as such you must accept, love and value them. We’re commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves regardless of colour, creed or distinction. We’re not to compete with them or strive for superiority over them or use them for our own ends.
(c) You define your relationship to yourself. God says He’s your Father; what a foundation on which to build your self-worth! Regardless of what’s been said or done in the past to make you feel inadequate or inferior, you can hold your head high. You’re not a nobody once God calls you His child. (d) You define your relationship to God. Because of your relationship to Jesus, the Father declares you ‘…accepted in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV). As He accepts Jesus, so He accepts you! ‘…As many as received Him…He gave the right to become children of God…’ (John 1:12 NAS). You no longer need to approach Him in fear. You can walk right up ‘before the throne of our merciful God [and] be treated with undeserved kindness and…find help.’ It doesn’t get any better!
Deut 30:1 – 32:28, Mark 6:14-29, Ps 57, Pro 12:15-17
…His…riches…in the saints.’ Ephesians 1:18 NKJV
Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus that they might know what God called them to do and understand the ‘riches’ He had invested in them.
Think about this: (1) God knows what He’s invested in you. He doesn’t redeem you one day and take you to Heaven the next. He calls and equips you to fulfil a certain purpose in this world. Christ taught that some of us are five-talent people, some are two-talent people and some are one-talent people (Matthew 25:15). That’s why it’s a mistake to draw comparisons. It’s not what you have that determines your reward, but what you do with what you have. It’s when you bury your talent because you’re afraid to risk and fail, that you get into trouble with God. (2) God protects what He’s invested in you. Do we sometimes disobey God? Yes. Does He discipline us? Yes. And your response to Him can either lengthen or shorten your season of discipline. But does God abandon us? Never! ‘…God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn’ (Romans 11:29 NLT). (3) God expects a return on what He’s invested in you. When you get to the end of your life, what will you have to show for it? God gave you time, talent, and treasure. Are you using them selfishly or are you using them to serve Him and bless others? ‘…We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive…according to what he has done, whether good or bad’ (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV).
The songwriter put it this way: ‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.’
Deut 22-24, Mark 5:21-30, Ps 44:1-8, Pro 12:7-9
Keep your tongue from evil…’ Psalms 34:13 NIV
Did you hear about the three women who decided to confess their weaknesses to each other? The first confessed to drinking too much. The second confessed to being jealous of a friend’s good looks. The third said nothing, so the other two pressed her and asked, ‘Ok, what’s your weakness?’ Finally she answered, ‘It’s gossip, and I can’t wait to get out of here and talk about you two!’
Now let’s get serious. The Bible has strong words when it comes to the subject of gossip: ‘He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin’ (Proverbs 13:3 NIV). ‘If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless’ (James 1:26 NIV). ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil’ (1 Peter 3:10 NIV). Gossip is like mud thrown against a wall – it may not stick, but it leaves a dirty mark. And that mark can last a lifetime! So before you take aim, check your target. Ask yourself how much damage you’ll inflict and how you’ll feel about it afterwards. Solomon said, ‘The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit’ (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Did you get that? You will ‘eat your words’. You’ll reap the harvest you sow, good or bad.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for faults, look in the mirror. When you work on your own shortcomings, you’ll have no time left to gossip about anybody else’s.
Deut 18-21, Mark 5:11-20, Ps 37:32-40, Pro 12:4-6
The Wonder of Easter
April 19, 2014
‘…Like a lamb to the slaughter…’ Isaiah 53:7 NIV
Journalist-missionary Pierre van Paassen tells how prior to World War II, Nazi soldiers arrested an aging rabbi, stripped him naked, and demanded that he preach the sermon he’d prepared for the following Sabbath. With great dignity the old man asked if he could wear his yarmulke and his captors agreed, thinking it added greatly to the joke. Then, while they jeered and prodded him, the elderly rabbi talked about what it means to walk humbly before God.
Phil Yancey writes: ‘When I read of the torture and execution of Jesus, I think of that naked rabbi standing humiliated in a police station. And I can’t fathom the indignity and shame endured by God’s Son…the bullying game of Blind Man’s Bluff in the high priest’s courtyard…the professional thuggery of Pilate’s and Herod’s guards…the catcalls of spectators up the long road to Calvary, and finally the cross itself…I marvel at the self-restraint God showed throughout history, allowing the Genghis Khans, the Hitlers, and the Stalins to have their way. But nothing compares to the self-restraint shown that dark Friday in Jerusalem…Legions of angels awaited His command. One word and the ordeal would end.’
Isaiah said, ‘He was “led like a lamb to the slaughter, and…He did not open his mouth.”‘ Jesus could have appealed to His Father, and He would have provided ‘more than 80,000 angels’ (Matthew 26:53 AMP). Instead He chose to endure the cross and its shame to save you. That’s the wonder of Easter!
Acts 8-9, Matt 27:57-66, Ps 130, Pro 10:24-26
‘…Everything I have is yours.’ Luke 15:31 NIV
The older brother couldn’t rejoice about his younger brother’s homecoming because he resented it. He said to his father, ‘You threw a party for him, but you’ve never thrown one for me! I served you faithfully for years and you never once acknowledged my service or celebrated my accomplishments’ (Luke 15:29-30).
We learn three things from the older brother. The first is about attitudes. Even though he was invited to the party, his anger kept him away. Why are you angry? You won’t talk to anybody, or forgive anybody. You’re afraid to love anybody, or reach out to anybody, or learn from anybody. You’ve blamed everybody for everything; now you’re blaming God. Don’t let anger lock you out, rob you of blessing, poison your spirit, and destroy your joy. Forgive, celebrate your brother, and walk in fellowship with your Heavenly Father. The second is about abundance. ‘…My son…everything I have is yours’ (Luke 15:31 NIV). Note the word ‘everything’. God is a God of abundance, and if He blesses your brother and sister, He will bless you too. Indeed, when He blesses them, He still has more than enough left to bless you. The third is about access to your Father. As a redeemed child of God, you can approach Him at any time, ask for what you need and be confident that He will respond to you. ‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). You say, ‘When will God answer my prayer?’ He replies, ‘In your time of need.’
Jer 28-30, Matt 25:24-30, Ps 72:1-11, Pro 9:1-6
‘…There was a man who had two sons.’ Luke 15:11 NIV
The real star in the Parable of the Prodigal Son is the father. He had two boys. One was rebellious, the other was religious. But he loved each of them. And because they were his family he refused to give up on them. While the younger brother was away wallowing in sin, the older brother was at home wallowing in self-righteousness. One was guilty of the sins of the flesh (the obvious ones); the other was guilty of the sins of the spirit (the not-so-obvious ones). Only when the younger brother lost everything did he discover that living in submission to his father’s rule was the safest, most fulfilling place you could be. Only when the older brother discovered the difference between rule-keeping and relationship was he able to understand his father’s words, ‘…Everything I have is yours’ (Luke 15:31 NIV). One was a miserable rule keeper; the other was a miserable rule breaker. (Which are you?) The problem was neither boy really knew the heart of their father because they were self-centred. But that changed when they discovered that he loved them in spite of their flaws, and planned to bless them.
Understand this: you can read the Bible, go to church, keep all the rules – and not really know God’s faithfulness, His love and His plan for you. Until you really know God, you’ll have no anchor in life; you’ll be tossed to and fro by every circumstance, emotion and temptation. But when you know Whose you are, you’ll begin to understand who you are, what you’re supposed to do, and where you’re supposed to be.
Jer 18-21, Matt 24:37-51, Ps 69:19-36, Pro 8:30-31
UNSTERSTANDING THE WONDERS OF KINGDOM STEWARDSHIP (ZEAL OF THE LORD)
What is zeal? Zeal is the intense, tireless, passionate devotion for a course. The zeal of the Lord is an unquenchaple fire that continues to burn in the soul. One thing we fail to know is that “Your love is intertwined with the love of God” and once you recieve Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal saviour, you are called into the ministry of reconcillation”
PROVES OF THE ZEAL OF THE LORD;
1) Desire for revelation (Psalm 42:1&2,63:1)
2) Passion for the word of God (Psalm. 119: 136 & 139)
3) Desire for revival (Isaiah 64:1 – 12, 63:15)
4) Denial to sin (Psalm 51:1-17)
5) Desire to stand in God and pray (1 Timothy 2:1-8)
GAINS FROM SOUL WINNING
1) Long life (Mathew 5:3, Psalm 41:1)
2) Prosperity (Psalm 112:1-3)
3) Crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:5)
N.B “Your prayer as a righteous person in Christ can change this world”.