Saturday, December 5, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion: Knowing the Truth (that Jesus is the Son of God and our Saviour (1 John 2:15-29).

#SaturdayDevotion: 5th December

In this book, John is writing to people in the church. He assumes that the readers would already know the gospel and would have also accepted the message of Jesus as our Saviour. He writes affectionately, calling us his “dear children” and his intention is made clear in verses 1-2; so that we will not sin. We have an advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the whole world. This is the key reference point for the chapter. 

Verses 15 – 17 warns us against worldliness and loving the material world and the worldly systems that ignore God. Loving the world means giving time, attention, loyalty and dedication to this worldly system. The sins and desires of the world; lust, greed and pride are not from God, but from our worldliness and attention to material things and society. We are strongly warned that if we love (pay a lot of attention to and dedicate ourselves to) these things, we will not have love for our Father God. It is not possible to have two opposing loves. To love one would mean we are unfaithful to the other.

Verses 18 – 19 warn us about false teachings and false prophets, but verse 20 reassures us that we have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to know the truth. We are warned against denying the truth and those people who would do this by denying that Jesus is the Christ. There is a strong warning that no one who denies the Son has the Father (v23). Therefore, to have God the Father in our hearts and lives, we must believe and acknowledge that he sent His Son Jesus to save us. We are encouraged to remember this at all times. If we do this, we are assured of what God has promised us, which is eternal life with Him in heaven.

Verse 26 warns us against others “who are trying to lead you astray”. This indicates that there will be people who will actively try to remove us from the truth and from our walk with God. We are reminded of the truth of our anointing in the Holy Spirit (v 27) and we are encouraged to remain in God so that we will be confident and unashamed when we meet Him. We are reminded that God is righteous and if we do what is right and follow His teaching, we have been “born in Him” and saved (v29). Godly behaviour is indicative of a close relationship with God. Our words and actions should show evidence of our close relationship with God.

Suggested Prayer

Father God, thank you for sending me your Son, Jesus Christ our saviour, to die on the cross for me. Thank you for showing me such great love and mercy. Help me to always remember this truth, that you sent your Son to die for my sins, so that I can be fully reconciled with you. Help me to withstand discouragement or distractions that may lead me away from you. Most of all, help me to love you steadfastly with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind (Matt 22:37).


Thursday, December 3, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: Greater Place (Psalm 84: 1 - 2, 4, 12)

 Greater Place

PSALM 84: 1-2, 4, 12

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”  (vs. 1-2)
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”  (vs. 4)
“O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trust in you.”  (vs. 12)

As we are getting closer to Christmas this season of Christmas is quite unique. Many of us we are going through Isolation – quarantine – being separated perhaps from those we love – long to be with – to be in the presence of our family and friends.   We have all experienced these feelings/emotions during these last 7-8 months.   As I was reading through the book of Psalms for today’s devotion preparation then the Lord spoke to me through Psalm 84. If we look at verses 1-2, 4 and 12 we can find the following…..

AN ATTITUDE OF “BEING HOME WITH GOD” – TO LIVE IN A CONSTANT ENVIRONMENT OF HIS PRESENCE

As I read though this Scripture – “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God”, my own soul longed to be in His presence.  The Psalmist here is thinking about being home with God.   Our deepest longing is to be home in the presence of our God. One commentary state “to be at home with God is to live in a constant environment of His presence”.   This was quite refreshing for my soul. The Lord brought me to a place of personal worship. The quietness of my room became my meeting place with God. A constant environment of God’s presence.

AN APPETITE FOR GOD – DEEP HUNGERING FOR GOD – “MY HEART AND FLESH CRY OUT FOR THE LIVING GOD.”

The Psalmist here was expressing an appetite we should have not only when we are worshipping corporately but personally as well.  He had an appetite for God – His hunger is clearly seen in the words; longs, faints, yearns, crying out to Him, “my heart and flesh cry out for the living God”. 

We need to have renewed yearning to be in the presence of God – growing desire – every day to spend time in the presence of God.

AN ACT OF DEEP TRUST – A REAL, DEEP GENUINE JOY IN TRUSTING GOD.   LEANING ON HIS GRACE, MERCY, FAITHFULNESS, GOODNESS IN EVERY SITUATION.

Vs. 12 –“O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”   the sum of it all essentially it comes down to a matter of trust.  “A real, deep, genuine joy of trusting in God; of believing there is a God, confiding in His character; leaning on Him in every situation in life; relying on His mercy, grace and faithfulness. Here in this verse, God’s goodness and greatness lead the psalmist to experience and declare the blessedness of trusting in God.

As we meditate on Psalm 84, may you be renewed, refreshed in your yearning and desired for the Lord.   My prayer is that – “Lord, give me a heart that longs to be in your presence – to gaze into your loveliness and worship You!”    May it be so for you all today. Amen.

 

 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: 2 Peter 2:12-21

#TuesdayDevotion: 2 Peter 2:12-21

Date: 1/12/2020

Peter tells us not to be a dog returning to its vomit. Peter talks about bad people in the church. Some of these bad people claimed to be leaders.  Peter appears to be struggling to stop the church being spoiled. They came into the church but wanted the world. Peter says they were greedy and were experts in seducing people. They wanted money, sexual immorality, they were gluttons, thinking they were so spiritually superior they could make judgments about angelic beings they knew nothing about.  See 2 Peter 2:10-11.

In verse 12 he says: “They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.” Peter describes them in verse 17 as “springs without water.”

Have you met Christians who claim to be alive and spiritually mature, who claim to be Spirit filled and they say many things and don’t follow through? They join ministries but are not faithful, they make excuses. They want people to give them money, attention, praise. They want followers to boost their egos. They are lacking in concern for God’s approval. Jesus says in John 5:44: “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

We need to take God’s approval seriously. If our ambitions are all worldly, if we only seek more status, money, or sexual immorality, we displease God. James in chapter 4 verse 4 says we stop being His friend and become His enemy when we choose such worldly ambitions. In 1 Peter 4:2 he exhorts us not to live our lives for evil human desires but rather for the will of God.

Are there desires in your life contrary to the will of God? Take a few moments to think how you spend your time. Is it more for evil human desires, or for the will of God? Consider your thoughts, words and deeds that indicate your choices.

Peter says in verse 12 these evil people will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Choosing sinful lusts will result in punishment from God. Galatians 6:6 says: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” In 1 Peter 2:24 we are reminded about Jesus: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.’

God takes sins very seriously. Jesus had to sacrifice Himself to cancel our sins and cancel the punishment in our lives for sins. If we allow ourselves to be hardened by sins’ deceitfulness and do not repent, we should consider verses 20-21 of this passage afresh: “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”

Peter states in verse 22, our sins appear to God as repulsive as a dog returning to its vomit. This is a disgusting metaphor for sin. It is not nice considering this mental picture. Peter is talking about Christians going back to sinful behaviour that they already have been set free from in Christ.

Suggested prayer: Father God, may I seek Your approval over the approval of others. May You help me to live by Your Spirit and not according to the sinful nature. Forgive me for the times and ways I have lived according to the flesh. Help me to change my mind and live from today by Your Holy Spirit. Lead me in prayer, worship and meditation on the word of God. May I grow in the fruit of the Spirit for the glory of Your Name. Amen.

 


Sunday, November 29, 2020

#SundaySermon Emotionally Healthy Series: Forum

Date: 29.11.20
Shalom Church!
Come and join us for this week's Sermon on Emotionally Healthy Series! Have a Blessed Sunday and Stay Safe! God Bless!


Saturday, November 28, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion: Firmly Established in Truth

Firmly Established in Truth (2 Peter 1:12-15)

12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

Truth. What is truth? In this day and age, the truth of God is under attack. In fact, many people no longer believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. They claim that all truths are “truths”, subjective and relative. By saying that all truths are “truths”, it demeans the power of the Gospel. This is a demonic attempt to disillusion humankind from the reality of God and Jesus Christ.

Everything that Christians claim to be truth, in terms of the nature of humanity, sin and human redemption, is established by the witness of the Holy Scripture and those that proclaim it. Most importantly, Jesus himself claimed in John 14:6 to be the Truth. However, even Jesus’ personal claim to be “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” is being contested.

Humans simply do not like to have one absolute truth because it eliminates choice and diminishes the human “free will”. So, it is according to our human nature, we renounce absolute truth and embrace the “pantheons” of truths that are made available to us. We will claim Jesus is truth but so is Buddha. Jesus is truth but so is Marxism. Jesus is truth but so is Democracy. Jesus is truth but so is Darwinism. But to claim that there are many truths implies that there is no truth – that everything is a lie. This cannot be!

Close to 2000 years ago, the Apostle Peter wrote to the believers scattered among the nations to be firmly established in the truth that they already know – that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God, and that who believes in Him will received eternal life. The apostle’s personal encounter with Jesus at the Mountain of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8) gave evidence of the Truth Claim. This truth has been set in stone and should not be tampered. The believers were to remember this Gospel truth, and to disallow doubt or other “truths” to rob them from the joy of experiencing their salvation.

Friends, as you consider this, please bear in mind that not all things that seem to appeal the mind and the heart are necessarily the truth of God. The best way to attest truth is to study the Scripture and test every truth claims against the Word of God. Ask yourself, “is what presented as truth aligned to the Bible and the attitude of Christ?” If they are, we may consider them further. However, whenever there are contradictions against the Biblical claims, it is wise to resist them.

Finally, ensure that you are anchored in the Truth – Jesus Christ. Continue to daily establish yourself firmly in the truth so that nothing can shake you from the foundation that has been set for you.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: 1 Peter 5

Date: 26th November 2020

This is such a meaty passage - so much to chew on! The verses that I want to touch on are 8 -10:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

The devil wants to take us out.  I remember years ago a family member told me about a vivid dream they had.  They dreamt they were on a beach watching a lion walking.  Thinking they were safe,  they were alarmed when they realised the lion had started stalking them and cut off their way of escape.  I remembered this passage and shared it with the relative.  God was showing them an area of temptation in their life that they thought they had control over, that it wasn't such a big deal, but God was showing them it was. Not because it hurt God, but because ultimately it was harmful to the person.

How do we resist the devil? We do God's will.  There is no point in praying spiritual warfare if you are still sinning.  When we choose to distance ourselves from the temptation and focus on loving God, we are resisting the devil.  If we haven't yielded authority to him through disobeying God, he cannot hold onto us.

I love how Paul reminds us that many others have experienced the same suffering, and that with the suffering there is a promise. After we have suffered a little, God will perfect is, establish us, strengthen us and settle us.  We are settled when we have His peace.   This is such a beautiful thing - to he able to put our head on His shoulder and rest.  We have an awesome God who walks with us and wants our best. 

God bless you.



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: 1 Peter 4:1-10

 #TuesdayDevotion: 1 Peter 4:1-10

Date: 24 November 2020

As Christians, we often find it difficult to avoid evil human desires and to live in a way pleasing to God. We often feel the tension between living an earthly life and a Godly life. How do we overcome this? As I meditate on this passage. There are a couple of things that I stood out for me: Jesus’s attitude going towards the cross was one of submission. Verse 1 tells us to “arm ourselves with the same attitude because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin”.  Verse 2 tells us we are to live a life of submission to the will of God and if we do, we will avoid evil human desires. But we struggle with submission, let just think about submitting to authority: your parents, your teachers and your bosses. Is it easy? The answer is no. However, as Christians, through renewing of our mind through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can submit to God’s will. The Christian idea of submission is not one of coercion but out of our love for Christ and our gratitude for his gift of salvation. Living a life of submission also means we must be focused and committed to do all things pleasing to God. In Jesus’ ministry, he was committed even to his death on the cross and he lived a life showing submission to the will of the Father. We submit and obey because Jesus submitted himself to our Heavenly Father for our sake. He laid down his life for us so that we can enjoy a relationship with Him.

Second thing that occurred to me was the seriousness of sin that Jesus Christ had to pay an awful price so set us free from the bondage of sin. Jesus "died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Throughout the Bible, sin is mentioned so many times and the Bible has warned us that the punishment is death (Romans 6:23). Sin can simply mean anything that takes the place of God in our lives. Money, power, lust and pride to name a few are somethings that ‘knock’ God off his rightly throne in our lives. Those who live a life of sin must face the reality that one day, we will be called to account to God. But thankfully, those who are in Christ are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life victorious over sin. Our sinful nature has passed away though we will still have sinful habits in which we have to be aware of. We live in appreciation focusing on the gift of righteousness given by God. Hebrews 12:1-2, it tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Those who fix their eyes on Jesus, will be occupied by His Word, His Ways and purposes.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, teach me to be submissive and obey Your will. Help me through the process of surrendering my all to you so that my life will be pleasing to you. Give me a heart that is open to receive and ears to hear from Your Word. Holy Spirit, strengthen me to defeat any areas of sin I may have. Amen