Saturday, 17 March 2018

Ego Patrocius peccator

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3.23

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, - Ephesians 3:8

‘My name is Patrick... I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to do a St Patrick's Day devotion repeat today. I think I did one the last couple of years, but today is a good chance to look at the testimony of our brother in Christ.

Reading The Confession is a great challenge for believers today.

  • Patrick believed that man is a SINNER who violates God’s law and justly deserves His displeasure:
  • Patrick believed that it is THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST that we are saved:
  • Patrick believed we are saved by God’s GRACE, not by ourselves:
  • Patrick affirms the second coming of Christ to judge the world in righteousness:

Patrick was a man much like us. He felt like he was called ‘to the uttermost parts of the earth’ because at that time there weren’t many places more uttermost than Ireland. He was deeply burdened to the Irish people and their need of the gospel. He was looking for the ‘soon return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’

Patrick was a saint. He didn’t need a special designation. He was a saint just like all Christians are saints – sanctified and set apart by our salvation.

So let us as Christians enjoy a day set apart to honour our brother in Christ and let us do so in a way that honours the Christ who saved him and us.

Ego Rogerius peccator – My name is Roger, I am a sinner - what a great reminder.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Jesus' family

While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.  – Matthew 12.46-50

We don’t get a lot of insight into Jesus and His family. We get a few brief glimpses, but not enough to tell us a whole lot. We know about His mom. We don’t see anything about His foster dad after the trip to Jerusalem. We know He had brothers and sisters. We suspect none of them accepted Him as the Messiah until after the resurrection.

We also know that His family thought He was mad and were worried about Him. They went to talk to Him to try to convince Him to back off and take it a little easy. He was going to get Himself into trouble. They were right of course; He was going to get Himself in trouble. These are not bad people. They were genuinely concerned for their son and their brother.

They came to Jesus. Someone, probably a disciple, intercepted them and told Jesus that His mother and brothers were there to talk to him. When Jesus was told that they were there and wanted to talk to Him He did something that must have been unexpected. He waved toward the disciples and said ‘these are my mother and my brothers. These are my family.’

What that means for us is that today we are part of Jesus’ family. His Father is our Father. We are brothers and sisters of Christ. We are the family of God.

What a precious position that puts us in. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus is our big brother. All of the cares and troubles of this world pale in comparison to the truth that through faith in Christ and we somehow share in His relationship with Father. It’s almost more than I can grasp. It is more than I can put into words.

Thursday, 15 March 2018


When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.  – Matthew 12.43-45

This an interesting lesson. Jesus tells the story here of a man who had been possessed by a demon and then had the demon cast out. The image is of the demon wandering about and finding no place to remain.

Meanwhile the man does nothing about himself and the demon finds seven other demons and comes back to dwell in the man who is clean, but still empty.

This sounds like a strange kind of story, but I think there is a principle here that we can apply.

As Christians our lives change. We see things in our lives that are not pleasing to God and we slowly and surely over time strive to get rid of them. When we do that it is important that we replace the evil with good and godly pursuits. If we don’t replace the bad things with good things we are liable, like the man in the story, to go back to our old ways. This principle of replacement is vital for us not to slip back into sin. We can’t be just be empty vessels and hope we don’t turn back. We must take an active role in replacing evil with good so there is no room for the evil to return.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. – Matthew 12.39-40

This section kind of caught me by surprise. In the middle of Jesus’ charge to the disciples about their service for Him someone asks the question ‘Lord, show us a sign.’

I am not sure what they meant. Was it a sign that He really was Messiah? Was it a sign that He really was sending them? Was it something else?

Because of Jesus’ response I think they were asking for a sign that He really was the one and true Messiah. Plenty of false messiahs had risen up and fallen away. They did not want to be taken in again.

But Jesus would not give them a sign. He told that only an ‘evil and adulterous’ generation seek after a sign. He said no sign would come other than one they already had in the Bible. The proof of His messiahship would be that just as Jonah had spent three days in the heart of the whale He would only be three days in the earth.

I can’t imagine what went through their heads or what that meant. He goes on the say that after that the city of Ninevah would repent but that after He spent the three days in the earth He would still be rejected.

That’s it. Nothing spectacular. No dreams or visions or bright lights or anything. Just check your Bible and see what happens. We have the full word of God.

The word of God is all we need.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. – Matthew 12.33-37

Everyone knows the phrase ‘by their fruits you shall know them.’ Even most people who have never picked up a Bible know that one.

But what does it mean? What kind of fruit are we talking about here?

In this context the passage is all about the fruit of the tongue. You know a man by the words he speaks. It is from the abundance of the heart that our mouths speak. Our words eventually reveal the real us. A good man with a good heart says good things and an evil man with an evil heart says evil things.

Then we see just how important words really are. God says that on the day of judgement that for every wasteful word we speak we will one day have to give account and be justified or condemned.

Now, I realise that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin, but He has done that for all our sins and it doesn’t mean we go blithely along sinning. The important thing here is to note that the wasteful worse of words is sin and judgeworthy and punishment worthy.

We must be careful with our words. Social media can be a curse or a blessing, but it is a place where we must be careful about out testimony. Our words reveal who we really are.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Take up your cross

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

Matthew 10:38

Nobody said this was going to be easy. The choice to be a follower of Christ is not one to be taken lightly. Deciding to follow Christ is a serious step. One must count the cost, be willing to carry the burden, and put his own life after Christ’s life. Just as Jesus took up His cross of suffering for us we need to be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. It means that we give up our life for His. Just like He gave up Himself for us we need to give up ourselves for Him.

This idea is seen in place like the Sermon on the Mount and in Peter’s word to the scattered church. It may mean, for some people, a radical change of life where we give up all we have for Christ and dash off across the world to share His word.

It may, and sometimes does. But more often it is notion of living where we are and shining the light of Christ and shaking the salt of the word of God to people we already know and who already know us. It means that we be the best citizens of our land, submitting to our government and its leaders. It means that we are the hardest workers on our job and seek to please our bosses. It means that we be the best husbands and wives because our homes are the surest way of showing the world what salvation looks like. It means that we are the best neighbours, always seeking to put the needs of others above our own.

It means that it is not all about us.

Sunday, 11 March 2018


But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  – Matthew 12.7

For most of human and in most of human culture religion has involved sacrifice. Some required human sacrifice or even sacrificing children. Even the Jews required animal sacrifices. Of course our salvation depended on Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross.

But here Jesus is talking about sacrifices in religious practice. The Jewish leaders though that everything would be okay if they were diligent about their legalistic sacrificial system. If you did that right nothing else mattered. This despite the fact that over and over in the Old Testament God talks about love and mercy and caring and compassion. How did they miss it?

Somehow they did, so Jesus makes it clear here. ‘I would rather you be merciful than have all the sacrifices in the world.’

Jesus’s message is clear. Our hearts are more important than our religious actions. When God watched our lives what really joys His heart to see His people pouring out the mercy He has shown them to others. That means that people are more important that our religiosity. God desires merciful people more than religious people. Those who have received mercy should bestow mercy.

And of course, on the other hand, ‘blessed are the merciful for they will keep receiving mercy.’