Friday, 25 February 2011

"full of" a short study

As we approach another weekend where are hearts and minds begin to think upon the Saviour, let's share some thoughts together concerning the Lord Jesus. Recently I have been thinking about the little phrase "full of" and it's use in relation to the Lord Jesus and there is a nice train of thought that I would encourage you to follow up on as we consider these thoughts together.

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth."

This verse takes us back to his incarnation, and does it not amaze us once again to remember that the very Son of God came down into this sinful world? But John recalls the difference and uniqueness of this One, he was 'full of grace and truth' . As we examine that life, surely we can see abundant evidence of both grace and truth in equally perfect measure in that blessed life.

Luke 4:1 "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness."

When we consider this verse it reminds us that the Lord Jesus was always in the current of the Father's will as he was ever filled with and governed by the Holy Spirit. This directed his movements, actions and words. It serves as a challenge to our hearts - do we live our lives in constant reference to the Holy Spirit and seek to do God's will? We as believers should strive to live lives led by the Spirit and 'live by faith' dependant upon Him, or do we relegate God to the back of our minds usually?

Mark 8:19-20 "When I brake the 5 loaves among 5000 how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?"

[caption id="attachment_89" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The countryside by Galilee, a possible site for the feeding of the 5000?"]The countryside by Galilee, possible site for the feeding of the 5000?[/caption]

The baskets were FULL OF fragments, the Saviour is most specific in his words! The provision on that occasion we recall was 'super-abundant' (enough for their needs and far more!). How wonderful to note the compassion and provision of the Saviour, he never did things partially or 'just enough', he always fully met the need and exceeded expectations! How different from the world in which we live, which always seems to disappoint on so many levels. Of course this same Lord Jesus has promised his abundant provision to his believing people: "unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..." What a Saviour is ours!

Luke 5:12 "And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy..."

Just as the baskets were full of fragments, so was this man FULL OF leprosy, and what a wretched sight he must have been. Rejected by society, poor and destitute with a debilitating and terminal condition - until he met the Saviour that is! The question he asked was "if thou wilt" and the lovely answer was "I will, be thou clean". And the scripture records that that leper felt something that he had not felt for a very long time, the compassionate and kind touch of another human being. What a lovely touch by the Lord Jesus! Of course leprosy is a picture of sin that we use in the gospel so we can use this as a picture of ourselves, made destitute by sin with it's awful mark on our lives, destined for death and judgement - until the Saviour stepped in and saved us by grace and changed our lives forever, thanks be to God!

Mark 15:36 "and one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar... and gave him to drink..."

[caption id="attachment_92" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="An example of an ancient Roman sponge on a stick"]An ancient Roman sponge on a stick[/caption]

Finally we close our few thoughts by coming once again to Calvary. From reviewing our other points we see a life full of love and compassion, grace and truth and obedience to God. But when we come to the cross we see the Son of God hanging on a cross in agony and shame, despised and rejected by men and forsaken of God. At the height of his suffering, just when you would think there might be someone to offer relief or to show compassion upon one who had done so much good, what do they offer the very Son of God? A sponge full of vinegar (sour wine). How ironic to see that when we look at the life of the Saviour, we see the phrase 'full of' used to describe his lovely and wonderful virtues and characteristics, but when it comes to man it is used to show his wickedness and cruelty instead. How typical of the world, and still today they offer to Christ the disdain and rejection that they offered to him then - yet to all who repent and believe he will be their Saviour.

To us as believers as well, the world will never encourage, relieve or satisfy us as Christians, it will only offer us instead the proverbial 'sponge full of vinegar'. We should turn to Christ instead "in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" who is our refuge, an ever present help in time of need.

We trust these few simple thoughts will warm our hearts to worship and encourage us at the same time.

Yours in Christ,


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Jesus it speaks a life of love

The title is taken from a hymn love and hearts("Jesus! How much thy name unfolds")

These thoughts came to mind particularly last week when most of the world celebrated Valentine's Day, and it started me thinking about love and in particular in relation to the Lord Jesus. Of course as we review his life it should become abundantly apparent that it was characterised throughout by love and compassion. Let us encourage ourselves with a few devotional thoughts concerning the Saviour.

Think of his love for those who came to him looking for help and blessing, the countless miracles he would perform often on the poor and needy. Those who were among the lowest of Jewish society the Saviour would take the time to help them and transform their lives, because he loved them. On a number of occasions we see the love of the Saviour specifically mentioned towards an individual, a group or a multitude.

1. Think of his love for that man who came to him asking what he should do in order to inherit eternal life:

Mar 10:21  "Then Jesus beholding him loved him"

Here the Lord Jesus beheld that young man, so pious and eager to live a righteous life and because of this the Lord Jesus beheld him and loved him! But there was part of his heart that the Lord could see would never be his, as he loved his wealth and possessions.

2. Think of his love for the multitudes:

Mat 9:36  "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."

So often the Saviour would look out onto the multitudes and have love for them, and it was this that would motivate him to provide for them, both physically and spiritually.

3. Think of his love for his friends:

John 11:5+36  "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus"

In the town of Bethany, there was a little home that was close to the heart of the Lord Jesus. He loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, how lovely that the scriptures record this! His love for them would cause him to teach them, have fellowship with them but also to correct and rebuke them as in the case of Martha in Luke 10. The Saviour calls us his friends (John 15:14) an so he will have fellowship with us, teach us, bless us and correct us as he will! The Saviours love was visible and tangible though, as on this occasion visible evidence of his love was demonstrated as he wept by the graveside of his dear friend Lazarus. It caused the Jews to proclaim "behold how he loved him!" Surely his love touches our hearts, and also challenges us with regard to our fellow believers; do we love our fellow believers like the Lord loves us? Do we demonstrate it as the Lord did? Is it manifested and visible to all?

4. Think of his love for his disciples:

John 13:1 "...having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

The phrase 'unto the end' does not mean as you might think 'to the end of his time here on earth', but rather the meaning is 'to the limit or to the uttermost'. The idea is that he could not have loved them more! What a lovely thought to encourage us. Are we feeling low? Discouraged? Unloved even? For the believer in the Lord Jesus we can say that we are his disciples, and he could not love us more. This would point us towards his sacrificial death at the cross, and brings us nicely to our last consideration...

the cross of calvary against the setting of a sunrise5. Think of his love for us individually:

Gal 2:20 "...the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"

We remind ourselves of his love for us, matchless, boundless, unmerited, freely demonstrated for us in that perfect and complete death at the cross of Calvary. The scriptures put it best:

John 15:13  "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Let us ever be mindful of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for us sinners saved by grace!

"It was for me, yes all for me,
The love of God, so great so free!
Of wondrous love, I'll shout and sing,
He died for me, my Lord and King!"
Yours in Christ,


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Three things found in David's youth... (part 3)

Today let us look at the third and final instalment in this mini study concerning 3 things found in Davids life as a young man that influenced and characterised his entire service for God. They are very simple but immensely practical and challenging and I hope they are of benefit as we share them together.

3. The Staff

Remember that it was as a youth that David took his staff in his hand and marched out to meet the giant Philistine Goliath! 1 Sam 17:40"and he took his staff in his hand..." The staff I would judge to be a symbol or a picture of the presence, support and guidance of God. Just look at the confidence of David: "this day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand and I will smite thee... for the battle is the LORD's" David clearly lived close to God and enjoyed intimate and meaningful fellowship with his God. This was to his infinite advantage as it gave him a wonderful confidence to accomplish a great work for God! Let us too, like David, live close to God and read his Word, speak with him in prayer and gather with his people to worship and learn more of him.

[caption id="attachment_78" align="alignleft" width="191" caption="A middle eastern shepherd with staff and rod"]A middle eastern shepherd with staff and rod[/caption]

Of course, such confidence and faith in God (symbolised by the staff) provoked ridicule from the enemies of God: "And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him... Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" Here the very symbol of the presence and guidance of God is the object of scorn and ridicule, and I'm sure you will agree that not much has changed today! The world will laugh at us for trusting in God and having confidence in him but we know from the Word of God that "it is better to trust in God than to put confidence in man" Ps 118:8 Our faith in God is constantly under attack, and we will always be mocked for trusting in God rather than following the so-called 'wisdom' of the world.

I am sure that this experience in the Valley of Elah stayed with David for the rest of his life and that he treasured the lesson of coveting the presence, comfort and guidance of God as he would later reflect: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

David clearly valued the presence and guidance of God throughout his life as his writings in the Psalms would also clearly bear out, but he learned this valuable character trait as a youngster and I draw this simple application for us today: As believers we should seek to cultivate the guidance and presence of God in our day to day lives. As with David this may mean coming out of our 'comfort zone' and facing confrontation, standing up to the enemies of God and maintaining a bold testimony for God, but it is at those times that we most realise and appreciate the presence, comfort and guidance of God in our lives. This is what I learn from the staff.

I trust these simple thoughts on things in David's youth will be a blessing and of practical benefit to fellow believers.

Yours in Christ,


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Three things found in David's youth... (part 2)

[caption id="attachment_76" align="alignleft" width="210" caption="An aerial view of the valley of Elah from the west"]An aerial view of the valley of Elah from the west[/caption]

Continuing our mini series of useful lessons in the life of David, we come to our second post where we will be not now looking at 'sheep' but the sword.

2. The Sword

David's first experience with the sword was an unusual one! We are now going back to the valley of Elah and David faces the Philistine giant Goliath, whom he slays with a sling and a stone. We remember that the scripture records that "there was no sword n the hand of David" so in order to demonstrate to all that the 'champion' was dead, David decapitates the big man with his own sword. As a side note here I have heard in the past people say that this was how David killed Goliath but I feel that this is wrong and somewhat detracts from the triumph and victory that was won - the scripture says that the stone sunk into his forehead and that David "slew him" without the help of the sword.

Now we fast-forward a few chapters and we see a stark contrast here, David is now on the run! He is fleeing from Saul (1 Sam 21:9) and once again we see that the sword of Goliath comes back into David's life. We read in the narrative that David is once again without a sword and he eagerly collects the sword of Goliath from Ahimelech the priest at Nob - he says "there is none like that; give it to me". I believe that this was a moment of weakness on David's part, a lapse of faith if you will. He has forgotten the lessons of the valley of Elah! Back then his confidence was in God, not the sword: "thou comest to me with a sword... but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts" (1 Sam 17:4) And so here we see David grasping desperately for the sword of the giant, lying to protect himself by feigning madness and seeking refuge amongst the enemies of God's people (ironically he was in Gath a city of Philistia - and Goliath's home town!). David would learn once again that it is God who wins the victory and not our own strengths or efforts that we should rely on: "neither shall my sword save me... In God we boast" (Psalm 44:6) Of course there is a simple lesson for us here, we should trust in God and not the things of the world, no matter how mighty or dependable they seem!

We as believers should make good use of the spiritual sword - the Word of God. Of course we have good scriptural backing for this picture:

  • "the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph 6)

  • "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12)


The simple lesson is this; we must use the power of the Word of God in our lives! We must know it, study it and get to grips with it and meditate upon it. We must let it infiltrate our lives. Only by applying ourselves to the study of the Word will we be better prepared to take on our enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil!

Tomorrow we will look at the final of our 3 things that are found in David's youth that influenced his life.

Yours in Christ,


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Three things found in David's youth... (part 1)

[caption id="attachment_67" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The hill country around Bethlehem"]The hill country around Bethlehem, Judea[/caption]

I first thought about this mini study a couple of years ago for a Friday night youth work, but I honestly believe there are some practical lessons for us all here in this study and I share them with you now for our mutual benefit. As there are three things this will divide neatly into a three part post over the next few days, so keep hitting the site for the next instalment!

1. Sheep

Of course we remember that it is as a young shepherd that we are introduced to David, and we find him caring for his father Jesse's flocks (1 Sam 16:11). It is here that David learns a lot of the skills and characteristics hat will prepare him for service. He is caring, feeding and protecting the sheep, engaged in profitable activities that will serve him well throughout his life in relation to being a leader for God in Israel. This is a challenge to us - those of us who are young or not long on the Christian pathway, what habits and traits are we learning and picking up as young people? What activities are we engaged in and how are we spending our time? I challenge myself with this as I myself struggle with managing my time and often find myself being distracted by frivolous and worthless things!

Of course sheep were to come back into David's life at other stages and I thought of Nathan's parable in 2 Samuel 12. The prophet paints a vivid picture and chooses something that David will understand, a picture of a lamb. Of course we remember that the purpose of the parable was to rebuke David for his sin with Bathsheba and this gross sin would cost him greatly. But recovery and forgiveness was possible and David would repent of his sin and be restored once again. The lesson for us is that we should strive to live holy lives well-pleasing to God - "be ye holy". However there may be times when we fail, yet we have the promise of the Word of God; "if any man sin he has an advocate with the father" There is always forgiveness and restoration with the father, we can never be cut off from him! However we should keep short accounts with God, repent when we fail and ask God to forgive us. Our failure should be the exception rather than the rule however, and it should not be so that are lives are constantly marked by repetitive sin and failure.

I would consider one last mention of sheep in David's life, this time in his old age at the inauguration of his son Solomon as king in 1 Chron 29:21. David sacrifices 1000 rams and 1000 lambs on this auspicious occasion. Here we see the sheer extravagance of David's praise and worship and this is something that marked David's life, his abundance in worship and thanksgiving to God. Remember when the ark was brought back, he danced and praised God! Of course this too should mark us as believers, both when we gather together publicly and in our own lives we should be ready and abundant worshippers! The father seeks for worshippers, (John 4:23) he deserves our praise and like David, we should be happy and willing to offer it.

I trust these simple thoughts will have been a challenge and encouragement to us. Later we will look at the second of the three things found in David's youth that influenced and characterised the life of this great man.

Yours in Christ,


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lest we forget...

Yesterday we took our little boy Jacob to a small farm nearby run by a group of Christians. It is a lovely place and good for an afternoon visit to see the animals and to get some fresh country air! The couple who run the farm are keen on a strong gospel witness around the place and over by one of the gates there is a large wooden cross, an imposing sight to all the visitors passing through. There is a sign next to it informing visitors that this is to remind us all of God's gift to us in giving his son Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross. There is a tub next to it full of large nails and visitors are invited to take two nails, hammering one into the base of the cross and keeping the other in their pocket to remind them of the death of the Lord Jesus for them.

[caption id="attachment_70" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The cross at Highfields Farm"]The Cross like Calvary at Highfields Farm, Derbyshire[/caption]

Personally I liked the simplicity and visual impact of this gospel witness, the cross was covered in nails, and everyone I saw took note of the spectacle. As a believer it reminded me of the importance of remembering the cross and the Saviour's death there for me. It challenged me as to how much the cross affected me day to day, it is all too easy to become over familiar with these things and for them to lose the impact they have on our daily lives. Let us never lose sight of the cross or forget what the Lord passed through at the hands of men and a holy, righteous sin-hating God for us there at the place called Calvary.

I was reminded of the words of the hymn:

"Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony, lest I forget thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary."

May the Lord bless our meditation and consideration of him.

Your in Him,


Friday, 11 February 2011

Top 5 Bible Study Aids...

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Another important study aid; a good cup of coffee..."]Open Bible and a cup of coffee[/caption]

Hopefully this will spark a bit of constructive debate/feedback! I thought it might be useful to offer to you all my recommendations on what I consider to be my own choice of top 5 Bible study aids. Of course everyone will have their own thoughts on what works best for them, but these are mine, feel free to put your comments on your own views below the post! Joking aside, I have no doubt that if these 5 things were to find a place in your Bible study that you would appreciate the benefit they bring. So in no particular order...

1. Wide Margin Study Bible

I really believe in Bible marking, it helps you to remember good thoughts/meanings/structures about a passage whether they are gleaned in private study or in a teaching meeting. It also helps to have them their on the Bible page in front of you (rather than strewn around in notebooks all over) so they are readily available when referring to a passage in future meetings and can really help you build up a good knowledge of a section as these notes grow over time. I have an Oxford wide margin that I have tentatively started to mark, their are other suitable Bibles to use, just make sure the paper is thick enough and the margins big enough to be useful! Best pens for marking? I haven't found better than Pilot G-Tec C4's yet at the time of writing, they don't bleed through my Bible pages, the nib is tiny for small writing and they are just a couple of quid each.

2. Vines Expository Dictionary

You've got to have it, you just have to. My grandad gave me mine when I was a teenager and it has been invaluable to me over the years. Want to learn more about a word? Look it up in Vines and he will shed light on the meaning and different shades of meaning in relation to the word. Even looking up simple words that you think you know the meaning of can produce further benefit and understanding, which is the wonderful thing about the Word of God.

3. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

Again, an essential Bible study tool. This is really how I started doing little studies, by looking up a word, noting down the references of interest and then trying to link them and build something from it. This is a very satisfying way to study the scriptures and it has stayed with me and provided me with lots of satisfying mini studies over the years. With Strong's you can also look up a word and it will give you the word in the original language and it's root meaning, this too can also be helpful in your understanding of a passage.

4. Online Bible/e-Sword etc...

Of course if you don't like big books for some reason, or if you are too young and trendy and love your computer then a good alternative to the 2 books above is to use a good online Bible, or if you are like me you can use it in conjunction with the books! I always find it handy to have as it is so quick to look for references and copy and paste into other documents. Also it comes with Strong's built in so you can just hover over a word and it will give you the Strong's number and tell you the original word and meaning. Super. You can also often get other study aids, books and resources that come with an 'online' Bible. The other great plus point is that they are often free (I use e-Sword and I believe this is still free, although donations can be made) so it is great value.

5. Morrish's Bible Dictionary

The title is a little confusing, as it's more of an encyclopaedia than a dictionary really. Just look up what you are interested in and you get a neat summary of the subject, with lots of references and helpful insights. Want to know more about the history of the Philistines? Want to do a character study on John Mark? Want to learn about Ephesus? Then use this book, it's a useful and invaluable study tool.

Bonus Item - Jensens Surveys

Ok so my 5 items are up but the online Bible was kind of an optional extra... The other study aid I have found very useful was Jensens Survey of the Old and New Testament, 2 books that have been very useful for me. The survey encourages you to speed read a book, then reread more carefully and pick out main sections of a book, themes, chapter divisions and such like. The guide also includes many useful charts, maps, tables and diagrams all designed to encourage a wider understanding of a book, hence the term 'survey'. The occasions I have used this to compliment my study it has been very useful and I have enjoyed studying this way.

So there we have it, a list of helpful books and aids that I offer as they have formed the mainstay of my Bible study for years now. Of course many other things could have been mentioned, commentaries and such like but I feel the best study aids are the ones that encourage self-study rather than actually giving you the teaching on a plate. Far better to get it yourself, although it's always nice to couple your own study with some wider reading from other gifted teachers of the Word.

Feel free to add your own Top 5 in the comments section, we could well revisit this topic soon!

Yours in Christ,


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Three stages of life...

Baby hand holding an older hand

On Tuesday we spoke about 'special days' mentioned in scripture, thoughts that were prompted as it was my baby's first birthday. To further expand on thought I thought we might look at 3 phases of life that are specifically mentioned in scripture. Again as with Tuesday I have used this in relation to the gospel primarily but you could quite happily adapt the framework and develop a line of practical teaching from it I am sure.

"Baby" - Psalm 51:5

"Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me"

The word 'shapen' means to writhe/twist or bring forth, the idea of pain is also carried with it so the picture is of a mother in labour as she brings her baby into the world. Those of us who are parents will acknowledge that it is a sobering thought to look at a newborn baby and realise that their new addition is a sinner that needs to be saved! This verse teaches us this and also that we don't have to sin to be a sinner, we are born with this serious problem. It doesn't take very long for sin to manifest itself in the life of a young baby, as a new parent I can testify to that! The practical point is that we need to emphasize the problem of sin in our gospel preaching and witnessing - sin is universal and endemic in each and every person brought into the world, and we need to have this dealt with and get right with God.

"Youth" - Ecclesiastes 12:1

"Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth"

It is while we are young that the Word of God exhorts us to repent of our sin and put faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. There is no better time to get right with God than when we are young and can devote the majority of our life to God and our youthful energy to his service. With that said there is an important word here regardless of our stage of life - NOW. Even if our youth has long gone, the scriptures always emphasize  the need to get right with God now, and we must stress this point when preaching to both young and old. It is also interesting to note that this verse refers to God as the creator. This of course is perfectly true and teaches us that we should never shy away from referring to him as such either from the gospel platform or in our personal witness and testimony. The Word of God teaches it, it is true and we believe it, no matter what the world says!

"Old age" - Genesis 27:1-2

"Behold now, I am old..."

We referred to this verse in Tuesday's post and it fits in nicely here as well. In relation to the gospel we can emphasize the brevity and uncertainty of life and the need to settle our eternal destination in time. There is however plenty of scope to apply this to ourselves and our relationships with our older brethren and sisters. In my lifetime I have been privileged to have known older saints either in my family or in my local church that have taken an interest in me and encouraged me to go on in the things of God. Some of them have since gone home to glory and it is now that I miss their fellowship and warm encouragement. My application is this - we should cultivate and value such older believers and seek to spend time in conversation with them and encourage each other together. They have been on the Christian pathway for far longer than us and can pass on their experience and wisdom to us if we are willing to listen and learn.

These are only simple thoughts, maybe viewers of the blog can offer their comments and suggestions for further growth of this study in the comments section below for our mutual benefit?

Yours in Christ,


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Important Days...

Calendar with date circledDear fellow believers, today is an IMPORTANT DAY (for me anyway), it's my son's first birthday! Needless to say we have marked this important occasion with lots of celebrations, as you do on a special day.

It put me in mind of some thoughts I had regarding 3 important days that the Bible speaks of. I think I found the references on a laminated text card one day and it made for the foundation of a simple gospel message, no doubt you can add your own thoughts and maybe even think of ways to expand the framework by adding other 'days' you may think of! Feel free to add your comments and suggestions underneath this post.

A Day of Death - Genesis 27:1-2

"...I know not the day of my death."

These sombre words were spoken by Isaac when he was an old man and of course Isaac was intimating that because he was old his death was imminent, but the statement is true of all men and women - life is uncertain and brief at best! Generally speaking no one can truly know the day of their death. God however has numbered our days, he knows our beginning and end! The lesson here is that death is certain, as the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death and all have sinned. We must be prepared for eternity, we must get right with God while we have the opportunity!

A Day of Salvation - 2 Corinthians 6:2

"...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

This is good news - men and women are living in a day of opportunity today! The Lord Jesus Christ has made possible a way of salvation by dying for sin on the cross of Calvary. The Bible would tell us that "neither is there salvation in any other" God's so great salvation is found exclusively in a person, the person of his son the Lord Jesus. What an encouragement for those of u that share the gospel, we are living in a day of salvation, made possible through Christ and found exclusively in him. No confusion, no grey areas, if we want to get saved we must have dealings with the Lord Jesus Christ! As with all days though they came to an end, and so we must preach the gospel with urgency and sincerity as we know the day of grace will one day close.

A Day of Judgement - Acts 17:30-31a

"...Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world..."

The Word of God makes it very clear that God will one day judge the world, and for the purposes of such a message I view it simply as man being held accountable for his sin. Make no mistake about it God is righteous and must judge sin, let us always be clear with that in our gospel preaching! Let us never water things down or preach an unbalanced gospel where we focus almost exclusively on the love of the Lord Jesus and that we should "ask him into our hearts" - let us never forget that Christ died for sin and God views sin very seriously. He hates all iniquity and if we are to be saved we must repent of it or God will judge us for it as our verse makes clear. God's Word consistently labours the holiness and righteousness of God and the Lord Jesus certainly spoke a lot about the judgement of sin, and for good reason such is the awfulness of that judgement. Let us reflect this in our gospel preaching!

We who are believers however can rejoice in the goodness and grace of God as he has "delivered us from the wrath to come" Praise God!

We trust these thoughts will be a blessing to us, please add your comments as you feel free below.

Yours in Christ

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Site Update...

Hello all, I trust you have had a time of blessing today, that the remembrance of the Lord has been fresh and sweet and that the gospel has once again been faithfully preached in our respective gatherings.

I just wanted to give you a brief update now that the site has been up for 2 weeks! The site is getting more hits than ever, so I thank you for that. Please keep hitting the site and be encouraged to leave your comments or observations under the posts or drop me an email using the contact form, I will be very pleased to read and respond!

Please keep telling your other Christian friends about the site, I would love to see the site continue to grow. I am currently developing a couple of other ideas to widen the scope and depth of the site - stay posted!

Yours in Christ,


Saturday, 5 February 2011


Quill with ink pot and paperAs we approach another Lord's Day and look forward to another time of collective worship tomorrow, let us once again turn our thoughts towards the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was thinking about "writing" and the Lord Jesus, as there is a lovely line of thought to explore.

Consider his coming into the world, our minds would turn to the following verse: "Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me..." It was prophesied hundreds of years before that Christ would come, in fact so many details concerning his coming, his life and his manner of death were written about him before he came, showing the world that this was God's divine plan. The scriptures all speak of him, and every prophetic statement is true. All that God's Word has said would happen has, so we can rest assured that the rest of prophecy yet to be fulfilled will indeed come to pass!

Now think of his perfect life of service, ever bringing glory and pleasure to God. It was such a busy life, there was tireless service and so much activity for God! Then surely this an amazing statement at the end of John's Gospel; "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." How much more there must be that we don't have recorded regarding the life of the Saviour! How many kind and gracious acts of love and compassion, how many more gracious and wise words there must have been to cause the disciple whom Jesus loved to say such a statement... of course all that is needful is recorded in God's Word, it is perfect and complete, but it's certainly an interesting statement that causes us to wonder at it's implications.

Closely linked with the previous scripture would be John's other statement concerning what he had written for God; "These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Son of God". As we mentioned in a previous post, John's Gospel is written very much as a record or account of the Son of God. What strikes me about this verse is that it reminds me that the Word of God tells the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and it tells us of his saving work on Calvary and that we must repent of our sin and believe on him for salvation. We do not need persuasive arguments, scientific reasoning, any sort of evidence or the backing of any popular figureheads or celebrities! All that is needed is God's Word, it speaks clearly of Christ and the way of salvation, so when we preach and talk to others about him let's always turn back to the Word of God as it is this that will speak to people and challenge them.

Now let us close by thinking of what our response should be as we think on him. We might refer to the words of the psalmist; "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer." The word 'indite' doesn't do much to convey the meaning here, it means to gush... so the idea is that our hearts are overflowing and gush forth a torrent of praise and worship and thanksgiving as we think about the Lord Jesus!

Our tongues should be the pens of ready writers, and sometimes as we gather together to remember the Lord there can be a feeling of indifference in our hearts, as if the waters or the inkwells have dried up! Let us spend time meditating upon him and preparing our hearts for worship before we gather, and surely we can then in perhaps just a simple way offer praise and thanksgiving as we remember him.

I trust these  simple thoughts will warm our hearts and also challenge us as well!

Your in Christ,

Thursday, 3 February 2011


megaphone blaring

As the title suggests, this post is about the word MEGA. Or rather the Greek word 'megas' which means 'big, strong' (not 'brilliant' as we sometimes use it!)

On 3 occasions in the Gospel's it is used of the voice of the Lord Jesus, with the Greek word 'megas' interpreted as our word 'LOUD'. So when did the Lord Jesus speak with a 'big, strong voice'?

My mind went to John 11:43, remember when the Lord was at the graveside of his much loved friend Lazarus? Remember the Saviour weeping there which causing even his critics standing by to proclaim "behold how he loved him!" And we recall how that the Lord Jesus could demonstrate his power over death and the grave by issuing that command with a strong, powerful voice "Lazarus, come forth". On this occasion the result of the loud voice was life-bringing, with life and joy coming in where death and sorrow was.

The second reference I thought of was Mark 15:34 when the Lord was on the cross he could cry with a loud voice; "Eloi Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Please notice that the Saviour here was forsaken by his God, not his Father and also notice that the word sabachthani is quite strong, it means left alone or deserted. Sometimes our hymns convey the idea that the Father merely 'turned his face away', but this doesn't quite carry the real meaning. What a solitary experience Calvary was for the Saviour as a holy and righteous God judged the sin of the world, borne by the person of his well beloved Son!

Finally lets go further on to Luke 23:46 when the Saviour cried with a loud voice in giving up the ghost. How wonderful that the Saviour was in full control of his death even in the extremity of his situation here. He would say; "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." Here the cry with a loud voice is closely associated with a life given as opposed to life-bringing. I like the word 'commend'  as it means 'present or place alongside' which is a lovely picture of the Saviour's death as he placed his soul into the hands of his Father. The Saviour's death was purposeful, deliberate and entirely in the mind and will of both the Father and the Son. What a foundation upon which to preach the gospel!

I hope these simple thoughts about when the Saviour used "a loud voice" will encourage us in our worship of him. Please feel free to add your own comments below or offer any feedback on any of our little posts!

Yours in Christ,


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Care... and careth...

[caption id="attachment_42" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A "little ship" on a calm Sea of Galilee..."]A small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee[/caption]

Today we are stepping away from Marks Gospel to think briefly about a lovely scripture in 1 Peter 5:7 that has been on my heart recently. We live in a stressful world where it is all too easy to be beset by anxiety and worry which can rob us of our Christian joy and our enjoyment of the things of God.

"casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you"

Before we look at the 2 words in the title a quick point about the first word here - casting. The word implies " to cast upon" so not simply to cast away  but to actually cast it upon something or in this case someone. The same word is used in Luke 19 where they cast their garments upon the colt for the Lord to sit upon. It's easy to cast away our care sometimes, and we temporarily forget our worries but before too long they return with a vengeance. We are encouraged to cast our burden of worry and care upon the Saviour, he bore our burden of sin upon Calvary's cross and he continues to bear our daily burdens as our Lord and Saviour!

The word care in our verse is a Greek word that means 'anxiety' or worry. The word care in our modern speak doesn't really convey this meaning, but I am sure we are all familiar with worry, anxiety and stress in our lives today! The Lord used the same word in relation to Martha in Luke 10:41 along with the word 'troubled' which means to disturb or agitate and this is what worry can do to our minds, it can paralyse us spiritually as our minds our agitated and crowded with other things. Martha had many good qualities but she was a worrier and this caused her to pick fault in others and also crucially to mis-judge the character of the Lord Jesus which was spoiling her enjoyment of the Lord.

Finally we come to the word careth which does not now have anything to do with anxiety or worry! It means that something is an object of care, concern, of forethought and interest. What a wonderful word to describe the Saviours attitude toward us! The same word is used by the disciples on the sea of Galilee in Mark 4 when during the storm they would cry to the Lord "carest thou not that we perish?" The implication was therefore, "is this not of interest to you?" Of course the Saviour was interested in the experiences of his people! He is not anxious or worried like we are however, as he knows all things, he is in control of all things and knows all outcomes. This may mean that we are called to pass through stormy times but the encouragement is found in bringing our care and worry to the Lord and leaving it in his gracious and mighty hands.

I think Peter perhaps recalled his experience in the storm and what they had said to the Saviour when he now pens these words; "...for he careth for you" Peter had realised this for himself and he would never again doubt it! Let us all experience the loving-kindness and care of the Saviour in our day to day lives as we cast our care upon him.

We trust these simple thoughts will be of mutual encouragement and blessing to us all as we serve him together.

Yours in Christ,

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