Friday, 31 August 2007

I am not

“Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not”. - John 18v17

After Jesus’ arrest two of His disciples followed along. One was Peter and the other was a disciple know to the rulers. At one stage one of the girls who watched the door saw Peter and said, “You are one of His followers.” Peter’s response was simple, short, and to the point – “I am not.”

I wonder how Peter felt. Surely he remembered saying to Jesus, “I won’t betray You,” and only a few hours later here he is denying Christ. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in Peter’s sandals. I would like to think I would have done differently, but Peter though the same thing.

The truth is that we don’t have to verbally say, “I am not” in order to have that kind of attitude. We say, “I am not” every time we don’t stand for Christ is a difficult situation. We say, “I am not” every time we knowingly miss a chance to take a stand for him.

Before we are too critical of Peter, let’s look for our own “I am not” attitude.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Christ in us

“O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” - John 17v25-26

Christ summarised this amazing prayer with two simple prayer requests that summarise the entire prayer.

That the same love that the Father has for the Son would be in us

That He, Christ, would be in us

We have read a lot about love in the last few chapters. It is obvious that love is vital to all we do. In fact, it is the love that Jesus prayed about here that should motive, constrain, and compel us to do God’s work.

The last few words here are an extra special blessing. Jesus prayed, “that I may be in them.” This is tremendously powerful. Christ in me means that I face nothing on my own. Christ in me means that where I go, He goes. It means that the things I choose to do, the sites I choose to look at, and the thoughts that I choose to dwell on are all shared intimately with Him. It also means that the life we live in Him we n longer live alone, but that it is now “Christ lives in me!” It means that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It means, at the end of the day, that we are NEVER alone because Christ is in us.

Praise God for Christ in me!!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

I pray for all those who will believe

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” - John 17v20

Right in the middle of Jesus’ prayer there is an amazing statement. “I am not only praying for these here, but for all who are going to believe through their word.” When Jesus prayed these words He was praying for believers who are alive today! Jesus was praying for me!

Now, it is obvious that this whole prayer was for us, but the context of when He prayed this is interesting. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

What was His prayer her specifically? It was that we would be one and that as one we would be one with the Father and Son, and that “the world may believe that You have sent Me.” The purpose of our unity is that the world would truly believe that God the Father sent the Son!

Now we have seen that the world will know that we are saved by the love we have for each other. Here we see that the world will believe that Jesus was sent by the Father though our unity. Isn’t it obvious that God’s focus is at least partially on love and unity?

We cannot argue that there is a Bible concept of separation. But it sure looks like we had better be very sure and very careful before we take the step of disunifying within the body of Christ. The very cause of Christ is at stake.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Sanctify them through thy truth

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” - John 17v17

After Jesus prayed for unity in the body of Christ he prayed that God would sanctify us. To sanctify something is to set it apart for a special purpose or use. Obviously here He is talking about setting us apart for His service. Jesus prayed that God would set us apart by His own truth. In other words our sanctification is based not on our ideas, but on God’s truth. Where do we find God’s truth? Jesus made that clear for us too, God’s word is truth.

They have been many attempts through history to sanctify men by man’s standards. The Pharisees had created a whole legal system to see if man was sanctified or not. Religions and other groups even today try to set up some kind of sanctification system based on their own history of tradition. Jesus did not leave any room for doubt – there is only one way for sanctification to take place, “Your word is truth.”

There is only one way and one standard of true sanctification – God’s word. Anything and everything else is always going to fall short.

Monday, 27 August 2007

That they may be one

“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” - John 17v11

John 17 is what should properly be called the Lord’s Prayer. It is the last prayer that we know in detail and it is a beautiful picture of God the Son communicating with God the Father. The beginning of the prayer is so personal we can almost feel like we are privy to an intimate conversation.

Jesus then started to pray for the disciples. Indeed, according to verse 20, His prayer is for all those who will eventually believe. In the early part of His prayer He prayed this, “…that they may be one as we are one.”

What did Jesus mean by that? Did He mean that all who claimed to be believers would be carbon copies of each other? Did He mean that we would be unified at all costs? No, His meaning was clear. Although God the Father and God the Son are both God, they manifest themselves differently and they have different ministries. We are not all going to act exactly alike.

Jesus also does not pray for an absolute unity where anything goes. He prays for a unity like He and the Father have. It is a unity based on truth and purity. It is a unity based on holiness and godliness. There is no room in unity for an “anything goes mentality.”

Still, Jesus did pray that we would be one. Godly, holy, truth-based unity in the body of Christ is His desire. In The Andy Griffith Show Barney once said, “I don’t have time to stand here and discuss trivial trivialities.” When we look at so many modern Christian publications the majority of the articles and issues are about what someone else is doing wrong. It all seems like an attempt to make our side look better. Fundamentalists attack New-Evangelicals for being too liberal in their worship and lifestyles. New-Evangelicals attack Fundamentalists as being legalists and worse. And so it goes… It seems like we are all just watching for someone else to slip up so that we can attack them. “Trivial trivialities” seem to the order of the day in the body of Christ.

Does this really honour God? Here, in what were to be His last moments He is praying for His body to be unified. We have an entire world to reach with the gospel of Christ. The job is immense. If we don’t work together we have no chance of getting the job done.

Yes, unity must be based on truth, holiness, and godliness. But let us make sure that it is, instead of being so concerned about what are, at the end of the day, trivial trivialities.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

I never promised you a rose garden

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” - John 16v33

Back in the 70s a singer named Lynn Anderson recorded a song with this as part of the lyrics:

I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There's gotta be a little rain sometimes

Now, you might ask, what does a pop country song from the 1970s (I just googled and discovered that Martina McBride has released it recently, so more may have heard of the song) have to do with a devotional thought?

At the very end of Jesus’ last lengthy discourse to the disciples He said this, “I tell you these this so that you can have peace. You are going to have struggles in this world, but I have overcome the world.”

The Christian life is not always going to be easy. In fact, all the world really has to offer us is trial and tribulation. Yet in the midst of that we are told to have peace. How is that possible? Jesus makes it clear, in the middle of the trial, tribulations, and difficulties we alone can cling to the One who has overcome the world already. Jesus never promised us an easy path, a rose garden if you may, but He did promise the guide us and be with us no matter what comes our way. Greatest of all, He has already overcome the world so we have nothing to fear!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

He will glorify me

“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” - John 16v14

One of the greatest blessings we have today is the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. Just think of what it would have been like if Jesus had ascended to heaven and left us all alone. There is no way that we could have made it.

There are some today who take that precious gift and elevate it to a point for which He was never intended. There are some who centre their focus on the Holy Spirit. There are some who even call these days the “time of the Holy Spirit” like He is some kind of separate entity.

There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is God and that He is worthy of our worship. Yet His purpose is to glorify Christ. Everything about Him is to point us back to Christ. In reality all of the word of God is about Christ.

Praise the Lord for sending us the Holy Spirit to point us to Christ.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Ultimate love

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15v12-13

Over and over again the topic of loving each other comes up as Jesus teaches the disciples. He says things like, “if you love me keep my commandments,” and “you are my friends if you do what I command you,” so it is clear that the evidence of us loving Him is our willingness to keep His commandments.

Time was running out on Jesus’ earthy ministry when He said “This is my commandment.” How that must have caught their attention! “Here it is, here is the test of whether or not you are my friends. Love each other like I have loved you.” Okay, we can do that, they might have said. After all they were no less self-centred than we are. They surely thought that it could not be too hard to love each other like Jesus loved.

Then He followed up with a description – greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” What is the ultimate test of love? Ultimately it comes down to a willingness to lay down our lives for each other. How do we know if we have that kind of love? I think a small measure is what we are willing to do. How doe we respond when we have a chance to do something? How are we when we are asked to run an errand, help out with a move, give someone a lift that is out of our way, or help with a task that is distasteful Often we do those things, but what is the heart behind it? Only we know that. Are we willing to lat down our lives for our friends? Let’s make it a little easier, how willing would we be to clean our friend’s toilets?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Full joy

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” - John 15v11

What kind of joy did Jesus have? According to Hebrews 12v2 it is was vital part of His earthly ministry, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It was the joy that was set before Him that allowed Him to endure the cross, despise the shame, and finally be set down on God’s right hand. It is this same joy that Jesus wants us to have. He said all of this so that we would keep that joy before us. It is only this full joy that will permit us to endure all that we are going to face here. It is not an earthly based joy, dependent on circumstances or situations, but a joy that is based on our eternal hope.

I am saddened that far too often my joy has been based on how things are going for me at the moment. When things are going well I am full of joy, when they are not going well I struggle to be joyful. The problem is that I am looking the wrong place for joy. If I am loving, serving, and abiding in Christ His joy will reign, and that alone is the joy that will let me experience daily fullness of joy.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Abide in Me, and I in you

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” - John 15v4

Jesus was the Master Teacher. At the end of chapter fourteen he said, “let us go from here,” so we get the impression at least that He and the disciples were walking along as chapter 15 opens. All of a sudden He teaches uses grapevines as an illustration. I can see them walking past some grape vines when Jesus stopped and said, “I am the vine, My Father is the vinedresser, and you are the branches. Your job as the branches is to bear the fruit.”

I love this picture. Sometimes we can get the idea that somehow it is just us, out on our own, trying to do God’s work. Sometimes it feels hopeless and we feel helpless. Yet here we have a great picture of what it is really all about. We do not serve alone, we do not serve in our own power, and we are not in this alone. We abide in Christ as He abides in us. He supplies and nourishes us to bear fruit as we depend on Him. He has chosen to give us the fruit bearing job. Does the fruit we bear evidence us abiding in Him and Him abiding in us?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” - John 14v27

Peace. What does that little word conjure up? Some think of a time if no war. We are peace talks and peace treaties. We remember calls for “peace in our time.” Those of us who remember the 60s remember peace rallies and peace symbols. On this little island we are excited that there seems to be peace for the first time in hundreds of years. Peace is a wonderful thing.

Sadly though, man’s peace is a fragile, unstable, and untrustworthy state. Eventually peace is broken and there is conflict once again. All it takes is one violent or senseless act and peace breaks down once again. I just finished a book where the author contends that the world has been at a constant state of war since Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. All over the world there are wars and conflicts that may not make major news, but are very real to those involved.

Conflict seems to be a constant part of our lives, yet as Jesus prepared for the end of His earthly ministry He told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you.” Notice that He said that His peace would not be the same as the world’s peace. His peace was a whole different kind of peace. What could He possibly mean by that? What kind of peace could He be offering? In the Old Testament one of the names of God is “Jehovah-Shalom – the LORD is peace.” God’s very nature is one of peace. Jesus promised us peace. Why then does life seem so un-peaceful at times?

The problem is, I think, that just possibly we misperceive peace. One author put it this way, and I think this really captures the essence of God’s peace:

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled.

As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd.

A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.

Berit Kjos, A Wardrobe from the King, pp. 45-46

Monday, 20 August 2007

He will teach you all things

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” - John 14v26

The disciples must have been overwhelmed by the teachings that Jesus was giving them. There was so much to remember, and then He told them that the true test of whether or not they are His disciples is whether or not they keep his commandments. “How are we going to do all of this?” must have crossed their minds.

Did Jesus miss this concern on their parts? Of course not; instead He addressed their concerns with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit. There are two things specifically here that Jesus says about the Holy Spirit: 1) He will teach you all things, and 2) He will remind you of all that has been taught.

Praise God that He doesn’t just leave us directionless when it comes to following Him. He has given us the blessing of the Holy Spirit Who will teach and remind us of what We have been taught. Praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Because He lives

“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” - John 14v19

How do we keep on going in spite of trials and challenges? In order to do that we must have the solid hope that there is a purpose behind it all. If we did not have some kind of confidence that it was worth it all we would just give up, quit, and go back to the world.

Jesus gave the disciples that hope when He said. “Because I live, you live.” We have all of our hope for living, both here and in eternity, because Christ lives in us. We would have no hope in ourselves. Bill Gaither captured this idea in song with these words:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Because He lives there is nothing to hard for me to face. Because He lives I have life in Him and I can face whatever life throws my way today. Thank God that He lives and I have life in Him!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

I will not leave you without comfort

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” - John 14:v8

As I am reading through theses chapters of John this time I am amazed a the concern Jesus had for His followers. They did not even know what was coming, yet Jesus did and He was so concerned that He comforted them before they even knew they needed comfort.

He knew that they would panic when He went to the cross. He even knew that they would be concerned again when He ascended into heaven. His love was so deep that He reminded them that even when He left they would not be without comfortless. His comfort would be in the form of the Holy Spirit, Who would be sent by the Father as another Comforter for them. He also comforted them with the words that He would one day come again.

Look at the great comfort we have. We have the Holy Spirit Who abides with us forever and we have the promise that one day He would come again. We must never allow ourselves to feel like we have no comfort. We indeed have all the comfort God can offer.

Friday, 17 August 2007

If you love me

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.- John 14v5

What is the test of how much we truly love Jesus? Some would say that because of our liberty in Christ we have total licence to do just about anything we want and everything will be grand. Since we are saved by grace and free from the law our behaviour doesn’t really matter.

Jesus set a whole different standard. When He was teaching He said that in Him our behaviour and attitude would reflect true holiness. No longer was it enough to not commit adultery, but even to think about adultery is an affront to God and a clear act of disobedience. It is no longer good enough to just not commit murder, but even to hate someone is disobedience. We are no longer bound by the Law, but now we prove our love by obeying Jesus. Love, give, serve, have a right heart, and so on are the things He wants us to do.

We can sing “O How I Love Jesus” but do our thoughts, words, and actions reflect a life of loving obedience to Him?

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Let not your heart be troubled

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” - John 14v1

I am constantly amazed at Jesus’ closing teachings. At the end He was not reminding them to earnestly contend for the faith. He was not telling them to search out the false teachers. He was not telling them to separate from the world. He had three major themes at the end of His earthly ministry. He taught them to serve each other, He taught them to love each other, and He comforted them about the future.

In this section He told them not to be afraid. He knew what was coming, but He wanted them to know that His purpose in leaving was to go and prepare a dwelling place for them for all eternity. Jesus has a heart of love and compassion. It seems like He held His most important messages for the end. When you read this section it almost seems like Jesus is trying to cram in as much vital teaching as He can before the end.

Let’s make sure that we heed His words to love each other, to serve each other, and to find comfort in His words.,

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

By this will people know

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” - John 13v35

How do people know that we are followers of Christ? What makes the biggest impression on people? Jesus made it clear what will make the difference. He didn’t say that when they see our vast amount of Bible knowledge they would know that we are His followers. He didn’t say when they see our marvellous church facilities with gyms, family centres, and coffee shops. He didn’t say when they heard our conservative/contemporary/modern music styles they would know. He didn’t say when they saw our strict sets of rules orour expressions of liberty from rules they would know.

What then is the evidence? Jesus made it simple – when they see the love that you have for each other. I wonder what people see when they see our lives. Love is the one thing that we can offer and that we can practice that no one can argue with. According to Jesus’ standard do people really know that we are His disciples?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Washing feet

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.” - John 13v14

Just think for a second how dirty feet got in Jesus’ day. You would have worn a pair of very flimsy sandals that covered very little of your feet. It would not take long for your feet to be covered in muck, mire, dust, and worse. Don’t forget, animals wandered the streets freely. Feet were nasty, dirty things and the job of washing feet was one of the most menial tasks that servant could have.

When Jesus sat down to dinner with His disciples no one had washed their feet, as unheard of as going to an Irish home and not being offered a cup of tea. Not one of the disciples would lower himself to take up a towel and bowl of water to wash feet. Surely that was far beneath what would be asked of them.

Imagine the looks on their faces when the Master Himself took off His outer garment, tucked a towel into his waist, took up a bowel of water, and began washing feet. Apparently only Peter attempted to protest that the Teacher was washing their feet, the lowest task in the household. Laying aside the Biblical lessons He had for them; just consider what was really going on. The Son of Man was washing the feet of those whom He was about to die for! Here was the physical manifestation of Philippians 2 where Jesus took on the form of a servant.

Well and good. But what did Jesus say next? “I want you to go out and do what I have done. As I have washed your feet, wash each other’s feet.” Jesus was teaching that the greatest task for His followers was to serve. His last great instructions, His farewell message, His closing teaching was about serving.

How do we do? What is important to us? If Jesus told us to wash feet, should we not jump at the chance to make a cup of tea, drive a friend someplace, comfort a hurting friend in their time of need, open our homes to others, or cut the grass of a neighbour?

How are we doing when it comes to washing feet?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” - John 12v42-43

All people love praise. Often those who most vocally proclaim that they don’t love praise are the ones who crave it the most. We just like to praised for who we are or what we do, or just praise in general.

Sadly, too often we seek this praise from the wrong source. We all love men’s praise because it is so close and so “real.” It is tangible and “here” so it can be more appealing than God’s praise which can seem distant, in the future, and somewhat vague.

Some of the rulers of Israel were in the same trap. The believed Jesus but they would not confess Him. They would have the praise of those around them than the praise of God Himself.

We can be critical all we want, but how often do we do the same? How often are our actions based on man’s praise instead of God’s praise? I wonder how our lives would be if we decided to always act in a way that would get God’s praise and not worry about how man would respond?

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Three days on the road :)

Thursday, 9th August, 2007

My sheep her my voice, and follow

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” - John 10v4

I love this illustration because it is one I can really understand. A few years ago we had friends who owned some sheep and they asked for some to move them to their wintering sheds. My job was simple, all I had to do was scare the sheep away from a place they should not go. The sheep would not listen to me, but followed every instruction by their owners.

What a great illustration! Jesus says that His true sheep will obey Him and they will follow Him. Sheep do that, they follow their master. The sheep I worked with ran from me, I think that is a great picture of how we should respond to the false shepherds that we encounter.

Friday, 10th August, 2007

They shall never perish

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” - John 10v28-29

I am not certain about a whole lot when it comes to some of the fringe theological issues. I don’t think that any thinking person who is honest and thinking could say that they were dead sure about everything. There are some issues that I can see both sides of. There is one area that I am as sure as I can be.

Jesus carried the sheep illustration on out to explain an important truth. He says the following about His sheep:

They hear His voice

He knows them

The follow Him

He gives them eternal life

They shall never perish

No one can snatch them out of His hand

God the Father gave them to Him

No one can take them out of God’s hand, and He is greater than all

It seems obvious from this that Jesus’ sheep are His sheep and no one is going to change that. They have eternal life, they are not going to perish, no one can take them from either the Father or Him. My eternal destiny in Christ is secure. I am in Him and no one can change that fact. I need not fear somehow losing my salvation for He holds me wrapped up in the palm of His hand.

Praise God that once I am in Him I never need fear losing that gift!.

Saturday, 11th August, 2007

If any man serve Me, let Him follow me

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” - John 12v26

It really only seems to make sense that a servant follows Him master. Where the master leads, the servant always follows, or he is not a true servant. Jesus pointed out that this is not only the case with physical, literal masters and servant, but that it also applies to those who choose to follow Him. It is obvious that the ones who herd Him though that it made sense that they would follow Him. After all He was their Master and Teacher.

Yet they could not yet possibly know what followership would entail. They all committed to follow Him, but they thought they were following Him into power as Israel would overthrow their Roman oppressors. Despite what He had been telling them, they could hardly have imagined that it would involve suffering, hardship, and for most of them death.

We sing a song called “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Sometimes that song sings real easy, when things are going well and coasting along. Yet if we are truly His followers followership may not always be easy. Sometimes it is tough to keep on following Him no matter what.

Jesus says His servants will follow. Are we willing to follow no matter where He leads?

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Going to be away

I am not sure how regular the posting of Roger's Reflections will be over the next week or so since I am going to the States for our son's wedding. At worst I will post all of the days reflections when I get home.

Lord, I believe

“And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.” - John 9v38

If we went around the world. asking people what they needed to do to go to heaven we would get all kinds of answers. “You need to good works, go to church, be baptised, wash in this or that river, always be on guard, give, etc, etc.

After the blind man was healed he and Jesus discussed what it meant to know the Son of God. The healed man asked Jesus who the Son of Man, or the Messiah was. When Jesus told him that the He was the one He told him that all he had to do was believe. “Do you believe?” Jesus asked. “Not do you commit to do certain works, will you be baptised, will you do this or that?” but simply, “Do you believe?”

The man answered, “Lord I believe,” and he worshipped Him. That’s all it took simple faith. The faith was indeed followed by worship which proved his belief was true, but all it took was faith.

Praise God for the “Lord I believe” kind of faith.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

One thing I do know

“He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” - John 9v25

Very few events caused as much theological turmoil and debate as Jesus healing the blind man on the Sabbath. Nobody could really tell what to do. Who is this man? How could He heal on the Sabbath? Who sinned to cause the man’s blindness? What was He up to? Was it is trick? Was the man really blind? They talked it over, they talked to his parents who sent them back to the blind man.

When they went to him and questioned him his response was pretty simple. We might paraphrase it with something like, “I don’t know all about this theological debate. I don’t know if He is a sinner or not. I do know one thing – I was blind and now I can see.”

We may not have all the answers. We might not know all of the theological fine points, but there is one thing we can know for sure. Before we were saved we were spiritually blind. Now our spiritual eyes are opened. At the end of the day, with all the confusion and debate there is one thing that we can always rest on, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.”

Monday, 6 August 2007

The night comes

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”. - John 9v4

Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus set patterns and examples for our own service. In this case Jesus was referring to the blind man and God receiving the glory. He said that the time was soon coming when no man could work, so He had to do the work now. The work was pressing, it was vital; it had to be done while He had the opportunity.

Jesus knew that His ultimate purpose was to go to the cross and die for our sins. He had a work to do for His Father and He knew His time was limited. Jesus taught us that as the Father sent Him, so He sends us out to do the work for Him.

We don’t know how long we really have to do the work He calls us to do. It is just as vital that we do the work that He sent us to do while we have the opportunity. The time is coming when we will do be able to do the work. We need to grab the chances while we can.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

That the works of God might be seen

“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” - John 9v3

Sometimes things happen that we don’t understand. When Jesus and His disciples came across a blind man they asked Him why the man was blind. “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” We went through a situation a few years when everything we had done in Ireland seemed to fall apart. The church fell apart and we were back to nothing again. Someone asked us at that time if there was some sin that needed to be dealt with that possibly God was punishing us for.

Jesus answered that no one’s sin had caused the man’s blindness. The man was blind so that the hand of God might be seen through him. He could do nothing about his blindness, if it was going to be fixed only God could it. We were far from sinless when the church here fell apart at that time, but I am beginning to see what was going on. We were at the end of our ropes; we could do nothing to see a work started here. I believe with all my heart now that God allowed that situation so that the works of God might be seen. The work that God is building here is clearly and purely His work.

Why do hard times and challenging situations come? We don’t always know. But we do know this, sometimes they happen so that the works of God might be seen through them.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Before Abraham was, I am

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” - John 8v58

“Who is this Jesus?” This question must have been on the hearts and minds of the people of Israel, Judea, Samaria, Capernaum, and all the regions round about. Was He a rabble-rouser? Was He going to lead Israel to a great military victory over their Roman oppressors? Was He simply a new Rabbi? Could He possibly be the promised Messiah? Was He a false teacher? Or was He simply a religious lunatic of some sort?

In a discussion with the Pharisees He answered all those questions with two short words. “Before Abraham…I AM.” Amazingly, in the presence of the Pharisees He claimed to be God Himself. His words prompted anger and they wanted Him stoned. In their minds He was now a blasphemer.

What does it mean to us? It means that the creator and sustainer of the universe is my Saviour and Friend. It means that the God Who spoke to Moses in the burning bush is alive today and living in me.

There is nothing in life that is going to be doing difficult for the great I AM to handle.

Friday, 3 August 2007

The servant of sin

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” - John 8v:34

There is no more cruel master than sin. Sin demands absolute control. It is a tyrant, it is vicious, it is hurtful and harmful. It is not satisfied with partial control, but wants total control on lives. The Pharisees had just told Jesus that they were not in bondage to anyone. Jesus told them that anyone who lived a lifestyle of sin was its servant.

The hope for freedom is found in Romans 6. Those who have accepted Christ as their Saviour are no longer under sin’s mastery. Sin no longer has mastery for those who are in Christ. When we sin it is not because we are enslaved by it, but because we willingly choose voluntary servitude.

Those who practice a life of sin show that they are its slave. Those who have been freed from sin need never serve it again. Does that mean perfection? Of course not, but it does mean we serve our new Master with joy and freedom!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The truth shall set you free

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” - John 8v32

Man’s quest for freedom fills the history books. There has been a constant yearning for freedom. Wars have been fought and countless people have died with a desire to be free. Their quest has been a noble one and millions live in political freedom today as a result of their efforts.

In the sixties there was another quest for “freedom.” People sought “free love” and “free sex.” They wanted freedom from conformity and laws. Their quest was not quite so noble and today society is suffering the repercussions with the breakdown of the family and millions killed through abortion.

There is an answer in the quest for freedom. Jesus gave us the hope for real freedom and He said it comes in His offer of truth. What kind of freedom does Jesus offer? It is freedom from the bondage to sin and the flesh. It is the freedom from the pressures of the world. It is freedom from the hopelessness, emptiness, and despair of the world. That is true freedom – the freedom to enjoy life with Christ. It is freedom from the anxiety in this life and the fear of death and eternity.

Praise God for the truth that sets us free!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Constantly abiding

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” - John 8v31

There is a real blessing available for God’s children which is also the greatest evidence of whether or not we are truly His. The real mark of a Christian is continuing in Christ.

Some claim that one must “continue on” in order to stay saved. The wonderful truth is that if one is truly saved he will continue on abiding in Him. “Constantly abiding” is the greatest evidence of “Jesus is mine.”

This is such a wonderful blessing. Abiding in Christ means that I can constantly depend and rely on Him instead of myself. Abiding in Christ means that I don’t have to do it all myself. Abiding in Christ means that I do have a source and a strength so much greater than myself.

Constantly abiding – indeed Jesus is mine!