Saturday, 13 January 2018

A New Beginning To A New Year!

Joshua 1:1-17

Joshua is facing a new beginning now that his predecessor Moses is gone. He faces a future full of uncertainties perhaps, but rather than dwell on this he is exhorted by God to look back and reflect. The same is true for us as we look forwards to 2018 with all it's uncertainties and potential problems and challenges for us as Christians, but we do well to reflect on God's goodness to us and be encouraged as we go forwards with Him!

Joshua could look back on a history of God's tremendous goodness. In fact God had reminded them previously "Ye have lacked nothing" (Deut 2:7).
Yes the way had been hard at times, but the Lord had always been there for his people - "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee" - Note that neither his ability nor his presence are in doubt here!

There are TWO exhortations from the LORD for Joshua:

  1. Be Strong and Courageous - this is repeated several times in these verses. God reminds us that the Christian pathway is not a cake-walk but requires us to respond to the challenge and be strong and of good courage! Paul offers similar words to Timothy to embolden him and encourage him to stand fast and be ready for the challenges and responsibilities ahead. As we enter a new year we need similar exhortation, God asks us to be strong and courageous in 2018!
  2. Love and Live God's Word - The encouragement is to meditate upon it night and day, to depart not from it... that God's Word should be upon our minds and our mouths continually! If we do this in 2018 we are assured of "good success wherever you go". We are reminded of the similar words of Psalm 1 -
"Blessed is the man... his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Surely as we look towards 2018, we can be encouraged by remembering and recalling God's goodness previously and rise to the challenge of a new year by being strong and courageous in our Christian lives, and loving and living God's Word.

I can't think of a better mindset with which to embark on another year! :0)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Lovest thou me?

I was looking at John 21:15-17 recently at the end of the year and was challenged by looking at these verses slightly differently to how I normally have done.

Concentrating on the words spoken to Peter, there is a question ot be answered, followed by a 'call to action'. When viewed simply we can be challenged in the same way; Do we truly love Him? If so then we need to respond with action!

Three times over the question is posed to Peter, so this was clearly something the Lord wanted to hit home - If you love me, prove it and do something! In Peter's case it was to 'feed my sheep', but for us it could be any number of things that we can change in our lives, in order to manifest and evidence our sincere love for Him.

It may be that as we look back over 2017 we realise we have had a 'mixed' year, full of ups and downs, and it may be possible that we haven't been everything we could have been spiritually, I know this is certainly true of me! But I take heart as this was also true of Peter! He had recently denied his Lord three times, but nevertheless the Lord was still interested in Peter, his love for Him and his potential to serve him going forward. The same is true of us, so we should take heart and carry on!

It is very easy for us to pay 'lip-service' in the matter of our love for the Lord Jesus. We often quote verses such as "we love him because he first loved us" and "whom having not seen we love", but in reality, is this love for Him backed up by actions in our lives? Do we say we love him when we sporadically attend our local Church meetings, seldom read our Bibles, and make decisions in our lives that put the Lord low down our list of priorities and therefore show a lack of love for Him?

John will again revisit this challenge later on in his first epistle;

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)

The Lord is looking for actions and choices to be made if we say we love Him, not mere good intentions and well-meant statements! If we say we love Him then let us follow up in deed and in truth!

It would be a great start to the new year if we were to make a change in our lives, make a sacrifice, do something differently and demonstrate our love for Him!

"Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep."

1 Kings 19: Elijah and God

I was listening to a podcast the other day which was speaking about 1 Kings 19 and it reminded me of how very relevant this passage is to ou...