Thursday, December 31, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1 - 18)

John, one of the twelve disciples, brother of James and perhaps the closest friend during Jesus incarnate, earthly ministry, has written this gospel.

He invites us in verse 1 to look to Jesus, the Word who was with God in the beginning. In verse 2, all things were made through Jesus. This includes all people. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing we are at the centre of it all. We can be selfish and self-obsessed. Jesus, however, is at the centre of all creation. We are all created by Him and for Him. He is the ruler over all with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He was there when everything was created. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

When we commit our lives to Him, He is our Saviour and Redeemer. In verses 11-12 John describes the rejection by some people of Jesus. John also describes how those who accept Jesus become children of God. We are God’s children. God is our Heavenly Father. This is a very important privilege to consider. There are many people, with and without one or both parents, who live as orphans. That is, they struggle and fear, because they do not perceive a Heavenly Father who loves them. They are good at “looking after number 1”. They justify to themselves their selfishness and meanness to others. When Christians are living in the Presence of their Heavenly Father, we have faith and know He is concerned for our needs. We don’t need to be filled with anxiety or fear. We are excited and joyful in His Presence. We pray and meditate on the Word of God and love to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We listen to His wisdom and are guided to make wise choices in life that save us from the heartache of the consequences of bad choices. When we sometimes stumble into bad choices, we experience His forgiveness and restoration when we repent.

Verse 14 states: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus reveals His divine glory to us. He extends to us “grace and truth”. He forgives us our sins and opens the way for us to be with Him in heaven.

John, in verse 16 says:

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” We have access to rich blessings in our walk with Christ. With the grace and truth we receive, we can overflow into the lives of others too!


Suggested prayer: Dear Father in Heaven. We thank you for Jesus our Saviour and Lord. We thank you for caring for us and pouring out the fullness of Jesus, of His grace and truth into our lives. May we look to You more and be less distracted by the problems and pleasures of the world. We thank you for the privilege of Your Holy Joy by Your Holy Spirit poured out into our hearts. May Your children overflow with grace and truth into others’ lives too. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion

 Promises in 2020 and 2021

Devotion 29 Dec 2020

Luke 2:26-35

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace..." Luke 2:29

As we are about to end 2020 and enter 2021, there is a deep sense of uncertainty. Yet as a son or daughter of God, we hold on to God's promises.

In the verse above Simeon, a man of God, praised God for the fulfilment of God's promise to him, that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. For a long time this promise of the Messiah and salvation had not been promised. When would it be fulfilled? Or is it even real? Is it just a false hope? Yet God's promise is yes and amen because God is a faithful God and He never break His promise. He fulfilled His promise to Simeon. Let me repeat, God is a faithful God and He keeps His promises.

As the year end, would you take time to reflect on God's faithfulness and how He has fulfilled His promises to you. And as we enter the new year, what are God's promises in the Bible you want to keep in your heart? Take time to remember God's promises in the bible to you.

Prayer: Lord, I am grateful that You are great and faithful. I give thanks for your hand upon my life in 2020. Thank you that you do not break your promises. Not in 2020 and not any time. Thus I look forward to 2021 with hope because I have you with me. From a grateful son / daughter to you my Heavenly Father. Amen

Saturday, December 26, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion: Cost to bear Faithful

Matthew 10:16–33, Jesus is telling his disciples what it will cost to bear faithful witness and make disciples in the coming years and what blessings they can count on to sustain them. The text relates directly to the next forty years after he departs, but it is true in principle for the rest of the age. He says in verse 23, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” I don’t understand the “coming of the Son of Man” in this verse as the second coming of Christ. If it were, this text would be false.


Six Costs 


1. The cost of being arrested by authorities.


Verses 16–18: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.”


2. The cost of family betrayal.


Verse 21: “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death.” This is almost unbelievable: fathers and children will so be so opposed to the Christian faith, they will want each other dead rather than believing.


3. The cost of being hated by all.


Verse 22: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” Be careful that you don’t elevate friendship evangelism to the point where this text makes evangelism impossible. You will be hated by all does not mean: you can’t do evangelism.


4. The cost of being persecuted and driven out of town.


Verse 23: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.”


5. The cost of being maligned.


Verse 25b: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” Jesus died in our place so that we might escape the wrath of God, not the wrath of man. He was called to suffer for the sake of propitiation; we are called to suffer for the sake of propagation.


6. The cost of being killed.


Verse 28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” So they can kill the body. And sometimes they do. Don’t ever elevate safety in missions to the point where you assume that if one of our missionaries is killed we have made a mistake. Jesus said plainly in Luke 21:16, “Some of you they will put to death.”


So this morning I would like to ask you all these question Are you willing to pay the cost? and endure to them 


May the lord bless you all.

Friday, December 25, 2020

#ChristmasWithSAC: Reason for Christmas

Hello, church!

Let us come and celebrate the birth of Christ together this blessed morning. Have a blessed Christmas with your loved ones and stay safe. God bless.

Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 24, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: A Prophetic Voice (Luke 1:67 - 79)

John the Baptist was a miracle baby born to two elderly parents who were not able to have children. He was destined by God the Almighty to be the forerunner for the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. In the conclusion of Zechariah’s prophecy of the coming messiah, the “horn of salvation”, he spoke of John as the “prophet of the Most High who will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him.”

It is said that after the arrest and death of John the Baptist, Jesus declared him to be the greatest of prophets because he was faithful to the one thing that was expected of him, to prepare the way of the Lord! John was the prophet for the first advent.

What does this mean for us?

When I read Zechariah’s prophecy, I can’t help but grow with anticipation of the coming of the Lord in His second coming and we, the Church are now positioned as “prophets” to prepare the way of the Lord, and to give the people the knowledge of salvation.

Friends, John’s ministry of the proclamation of the Gospel did not stop after his death, but is still in effect today. The difference between John and the Church is that he was a prophet of the Old Covenant waiting for the coming Messiah, whereas the Church is a “prophet” of the New Covenant waiting for the return of the Messiah and King.

You and I are called to be prophetic in a world in need of God’s Word, Jesus Christ. You are the prophetic voice in the spiritual wilderness declaring, “prepare the way for the Lord.” My hope is for the Church to rise up in this Christmas season as a force of truth and hope to many who are living in darkness. May we be prophetic – proclaiming Christ to the World.

Hallelujah! Emmanuel! God is with us!

A very blessed Christmas to you.

 

Additional questions to assist you.

What do you understand by the term “prophetic”?

Do we still have “prophets” and “prophetic gifts” today?

What does it mean for you to be a prophetic voice in this generation?

What message is the Holy Spirit instilling in your heart to proclaim?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: Luke 1: 46-56

This is Mary’s song of praise to the Lord after she was visited by the angel Gabriel who revealed the amazing news to her that she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1: 30-35). Mary immediately submitted herself to God’s will (v38) and rushed to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with a baby who would grow up to be John the Baptist. Elizabeth and her baby were filled by the Holy Spirit when they heard Mary’s greeting to them. Elizabeth spoke words of faith and blessing into Mary’s life and she believed that Mary was about to bear a special child. She recognised that Mary had faith that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her that were told by the angel Gabriel (v41-45).

Mary then sings a song to glorify God. This song is also known as the Magnificat, meaning Mary’s hymn of praise to God. Mary believes God’s word and her immediate impulse is to praise God. This is in contrast to Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel earlier in this chapter (v18) after he is told that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son who would bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God (v13-16), and who would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (v17). Zechariah speaks in doubt and disbelief to the angel and because of this, he is struck silent and unable to speak until the day of the baby’s birth (18-20). I suspect that Zechariah was struck silent to prevent him from speaking any more words of disbelief. In contrast, Mary chooses to speak words of faith and praise. She rejoices in “God my Saviour”, she recognises God’s power and mercy, she knows that God will look after the humble and poor. Mary understands that this miracle that is about to happen, is part of God’s merciful plan for all the generations.

We all know how this story ends. John the Baptist was born and he preached to the people in order to prepare them that Jesus was coming (Luke 3:1-18). Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, who grew up to preach throughout the land of Israel and He was crucified for our sins. He was raised up from death on the third day and was taken up to heaven to join His heavenly Father (Luke 24: 50-53). In this way, He took away the burden of our sins and exchanged them for salvation! This is God’s mercy for all the generations.

This Christmas, we can choose to believe God’s promises spoken to us through His Word in the Bible. We can choose to recognise who Jesus is and rejoice in God’s power and mercy. We can choose to believe the miracle of His birth. We can choose to speak words of faith and thanksgiving into our lives and into the lives of the people around us. Mary is an example to us all of how someone who was supposedly powerless and insignificant, became known as “blessed by all generations” (v48) because she was fully submitted to God’s purpose.

Suggested Prayer

Thank you, God for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us to save us from death and sin. Thank you for choosing to be merciful to us. Help us to trust you and to believe the promises that you have given us. Help us to choose to glorify you and to speak words of faith and blessing in all our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

#SundaySermon Emotionally Healthy - Hope

#SundaySermon Emotionally Healthy - Hope
Date: 20.12.20

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


Saturday, December 19, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion: Luke 1:5-25

 #SaturdayDevotion: Luke 1:5-25

Date: 19th December 2020


Gabriel meets Zechariah

What can we learn from Zechariah in this passage?

God had a plan. A really big plan. The people of God in Israel were a cowed and conquered people, as the land was under Roman occupation. God however, had a plan to bring salvation to the world. 

Zechariah was likely an older man in his sixties. He was a priest. He practiced the habit of worship. He and his wife were godly and sincere. Verse 6 says:

“Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” 

If we were to be described in the Bible, would the Holy Spirit says this about us? Are we obedient to the word of God in our lives?

Do we want God to speak to us? Do we want a fresh supernatural revelation of God in our lives? If the answer is no, then why not? If the answer is yes, then we should like Zechariah get into the worship and Presence of God. But unlike Zechariah, during worship, we should perhaps be a bit more expectant of God speaking to us. Although he was blameless in observing the Lord’s commandments, verses 18-19 make clear he seems to not believe Gabriel the archangel when he was promised he was about to have a son. Maybe he thought it was too difficult for God to do? We now know with hindsight that God was doing

far more than giving an old man a son. He was preparing the mentors for Mary the mother of Jesus. Verse 17 states He was also bringing the prophet who would prepare the way of the Lord, who in the spirit of Elijah “would reconcile the fathers to their children.” See Luke 1:17.

Zechariah’s son would be known as John the Baptist. A man who is described by Jesus in Luke 7:28 as the greatest man born of women under the Old Testament dispensation.

Gabriel is one of the few named angels in the Bible, alongside Michael. He describes himself as standing in the presence of God, and is therefore an important figure. Zechariah should have taken his message more seriously. Despite Gabriel making clear it was Zechariah’s own prayer that was being answered, Zechariah failed to believe, he just saw his lack and failed to see how mighty God is. 

He stated in verse 18: “

How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.” 

Whenever God includes us in an important outpouring of the Kingdom of God in our time, like He included Zechariah, do we believe Him and are we ready? Try to honestly answer this question.

The truth is as we read in this passage about Zechariah, it is easy to look at our own lack and give up and say it can’t be done. But God needs people of faith. God through Gabriel did not take Zechariah’s lack of faith and allow it to sabotage His Will. He disciplined him and restored his speech later when he moved in obedience to God’s revelation. See Luke 1:62 - 63. As Jesus taught, He expects us to be ready, for He will come at a time people do not expect. Although the context is the second Coming, it was also true when He works in the world both at that time and now. For other example See Mark 11:12-14 where Jesus looks for fruit on the fig tree and there is none, and see Matthew chapter 25 verses 1-13, in the parable of the foolish virgins who did not bring enough oil and were not ready for Jesus.

Suggested prayer:

Heavenly Father, may we be a worshipful people that are faithful and obedient to Your Word. May You help us to be ready in Your timing to act in faith. We desire to work where You are moving in our generation as You pour out Your salvation.

In Jesus Name. Amen

Thursday, December 17, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: Psalm 86

Date: 17th December 2020

How do you see God in times of trouble? In this Psalm, we see David praying to God with a proper perspective. David cries out a number of requests to God and you can sense from this Psalm that David is in a place of great need and urgency. Despite being in a difficult situation, you also can sense from this Psalm just how much David trust and has confidence in our Almighty God. God is the only one who has control over our world.

When life gets tough, the human tendency is to solve the problem by their own ways and when all else fails, they will turn to God. God is the furthest thing from our minds when we are in difficulty. Oswald Chambers said this:

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours.”

The goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him and trusting that He will answer in His own way and time. Waiting on the Lord is not easy. We often want God to be like our fast food, we want God to answer our prayer in 10 mins. We are impatient people. When God does not answer, we start to doubt and find fault with God.

Psalm 86 provides a helpful lesson on prayer. Throughout the entirety of Psalm 86, David gives glory to God. He praises Him throughout the prayer in the most humble and reverent adoration. He recounts that God is gracious, God is good, God is forgiving and abdundant in lovingkindness to all who call on him. Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through whatever circumstances we are in.

Reflection:

In times of trouble, do you focus on your struggles or do you focus on God?

Is turning to God in prayer the first thing you do or is it our last resort?

Prayer

Father, you are my refuge and strength and ever-present help in times of trouble. Teach us to trust you and surrender to your will. Teach me to see difficulties in my life from Your perspective. I know You will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: Matthew 21:28-32 (Parable of the Two Sons)

This parable is the first of the 3 parables told by Jesus when His authority was being questioned by the chief priests & elders. The other two parables are the Parable of the Tenants found in Matthew 21:33-45 and the Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22:1-14. 

Briefly, this parable is about a father asking his 2 sons to go and work in the vineyard. The 1st son said “No,” but later he changed his mind and went to work. However, the 2nd son said “Yes,” but he did not go at all. From this, it is clear that the 1st son obeyed his father, but the 2nd son did not. Continuing from that, we read that Jesus rebuked the chief priests and elders for not believing in John the Baptist who came to show the way of righteousness. But those who were despised and unwanted by the society such as the tax collectors and prostitutes believed in John’s message. They repented and did what God wanted them to do, thus Jesus said that they will be entering the Kingdom of God ahead of those who did not believe.

Today’s parable is telling us that it is better to obey without promising than it is to promise and not obey. Words mean nothing if there are no deeds or actions to back them up. It is easy for us to admit and agree the truth, but God also demands that we act out the truth as well. In other words, what we do (which is our action) is more important than what we say we will do (which is our speech). We cannot be “no action, but talk only.”

For example, Jesus tells to “love our neighbor”. This command challenges us to put our love in action, and this may mean going beyond our comfort zone to do what God has called us to do. But if we say we “love our neighbor,” but never do anything about it (ie no action at all), then basically we are like the 2nd son in the parable who says ‘yes’ but, in the end, did not go and do what his father called him to do. He did not do his father’s will.

Action does speak louder than phrases. In James 1:22, it teaches us that “we should be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” Thus, we should be obedient to God, not only in words, but also in our actions. Our words without actions are useless.

Suggested Prayer:

Jesus, we confess that sometimes we say, "Yes," but our actions say, "No." Help us to be faithful to do what You have called us to do. Help us to live a life that is pleasing to You, and that we will honor You not only with our words but also in our deeds. We pray that we will obey You whether it is convenient or not, and that our lives will reflect who You are. We pray that our lives will glorify You and continually attract and lead others to You. Help us to be wise, not foolish, and to be aware that we are ineffective Christians when we “talk the talk” but do not “walk the walk”. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

#SundaySermon Present to God & The fruit of Joy

 #SundaySermon Present to God & The fruit of Joy

Date: 13.12.20

Shalom Church!

Come and join us for this week's Sermon! Have a Blessed Sunday and Stay Saf


e! God Bless!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion : 1 John 5: 13 - 21

1 John 5:13-21


What does it mean that you believe Christ?

Without referring to the answers below, take a moment to answer the question. Possibly write down as many as you can think of.

And now compare your list to the list from 1 John 's concluding words. Consider whether these are part of your answers.

 

1. Deep assurance of salvation (v.13), not fear.

2. Confidence in approaching God in prayer  (vv 14-15), not insecurity or doubt.

3. Live as keeper of my brother and sister in Christ (vv.16-17), not adopting the attitude 'I mind only my own business'.

4. Stay away from sin (v.18), not having a relationship with sin.

5. Know that we are children of God (v.19), and God is the perfect Father.

5  Know God personally (v.20), not distance or aloof.

6. Keep yourself from idols (v.21), giving no room in my heart to them.


Can you identify with this list?

Which in this list is missing on your life as a believer? Take time to reflect on them, and ask God to restore in you what John himself experience as the beloved disciple.

Prayer: God, I believe in you. And make me the kind of believer you want me to be, and the kind John was. In your Name. Amen

 

 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion Trust in His Love

 Date: 10th December 2020

Trust in His Love

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”

1 John 4:16 NLT

 

Love has always been a major theme in the Christian faith for without love there can be no hope for salvation. The Apostle John who wrote this epistle was perhaps the most credible witness of God’s love since he was the disciple that was at the very foot of the Cross when Jesus was crucified, and who was said to be the one loved (of Christ) (John 19:26-27).

 

In his assertion “we know”, John was insisting that God’s love is knowable and tangible. Not only is His love experienced, but His love was manifested in Jesus Christ and is now within us by the Holy Spirit. But why must the apostle remind us of God’s love and put our trust in His love?

 

Well, we need reminding because we are fickle creatures who are often seeking for other experiences and expressions of love. We pursue them in people and try to earn it from them? Yet, one thing is certain in all human experiences - our love is finite and often very conditional. Human love is not trustworthy for it is not eternal nor consistent. God is eternal and He is love! Thus, His love is trustworthy as He is. Sadly, we “forget” His love for us, and once again we need to know this love.

 

When it comes to love, we are like little children that need regular affirmations of love. No matter how long we have been as a believer of Jesus Christ, we continue to desire and need these affirmations. God who is love ensures that we get these affirmations regularly firstly by His Spirit that witnesses to us that we are His children and calls Him “Abba, Father” (Ro. 8:14-16). Secondly, we are affirmed of His love when we abide in His word (John 15:7, 9-10). And thirdly, God affirms His love to each of us through our fellow believers (1John 4:7-8, 11-13). God is constantly affirming His love to us.

 

Brothers and sisters, you will have days when you will feel unloved and unwanted. Often these are projections of our spiritual emptiness caused by the fallen human state, a life burdened by sin. The effects of sin is death - a separation from God, His presence and His love. And since we are still living in a sinful world awaiting for our redemption when Jesus Christ comes in glory, our struggle to know God’s love is going to be a constant challenge. But, you have the Holy Spirit living in you. He will continue to keep you in His love and remind you that you are His beloved in Jesus Christ.

 

Trust in His love.

 


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: Characterized by LOVE!

 #TuesdayDevotion: Characterized by LOVE!

Date: 7th December 2020

We are in a season of love, joy and peace and today’s devotion-passage fits in well for this. Even as I have been reading the Epistles of John, I understand that Love is a major theme in 1, 2, and 3 John. You could go as far as to say that John believes love is THE distinguishing mark of a Christian. God showed us His love by sending Christ. Jesus showed His love by giving His life for us.

John begins this teaching by exploring the relationship between love and hatred, John refers, of course, to the ancient and familiar story of the brothers Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-8) Cain was angry and jealous that God favors the sacrifice of his righteous brother Abel. In a fit of jealousy Cain slays Abel. God created Adam and Eve to be a blessing, but the couple hindered and blamed each other, for committing the first sin. Next, their children hated and killed each other. Then came generations that rebelled and disobeyed God. Laws of God were rejected and disobeyed. God had to take the decision to do it differently.

So, God created a new family in Christ—His church. “Christ-like love” is the spiritual DNA marker now; love is the language we as God’s children are taught, from the time we are dead to sin, “This is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11)

It was God’s love that made us His children (1 John 3:1), and the most wonderful and most challenging truth is this, unlike Cain, we need to respond in love where there is hatred!

No one can rightly claim God as their Father when they fail to love His children, whoever they maybe! We are dead to sin, and are alive to God in Christ. Indeed “we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers”. Conversely, each act of love deepens our confidence that we have “eternal life abiding” in us (3:14 &15).

Love is exquisitely defined by John, he writes, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (3:16). The ultimate was laying down His life because of HIS LOVE FOR US. Practically, there is nothing more that Jesus could have done to validate that love! God so loved us that He had to give His one and only Son to die that painful death, so we can experience grace and enjoy eternal life. He chose to demonstrate the love.

Yes, love must go beyond “word and talk” into practical “deeds” (3:18). We ought to open our eyes to see the needs of people around us, it is the only way we can show and know that “God abides in us” (3:17). Expressing genuine, practical love for God’s family is what identifies you and me as God’s child.

In James 2: 15-17 we read, "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

This is the most natural thing that love can do; this is loving "with actions and in truth" (3:18).

However, once the mind understands Christ-like love, the conscience begins to wrestle with whether we are doing the right thing every now and then. I am amazed how John thought of this, like a crisis of guilt, our heart condemns us sometimes. John is telling us that when we live the way God tells us to, we aren’t riddled with guilt. “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." (3:19-20) What a confidence we have in HIM, that He knows EVERYTHING!

We don’t always measure up to God’s standards, but we do have this confidence and that when we obey and please Him, the most basic being, loving others like the way Christ loves us, then, we can be assured we will receive anything we ask Him. Furthermore, “the one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them”. We can know that God lives in us by the evidence of the “Holy Spirit within us” (3:24).

Let love be the hallmark of our lives as we continue to follow Christ.

Suggested Prayer

I thank Thee, Lord, today, for Your unfailing presence. I pray that we would be so in tune to the great love of God at work in us and around us. I’m so thankful for your love, a love that left THE throne, to come down just to save me. I pray that I would hear Your whisper of love each and every single day, through all the noise of this world. Transform me Lord, so I can show this love you have shown unto me, to others too. Remind me of ways I can demonstrate love to someone who needs it, especially in this season of celebrating your birth.

Fulfill in me the perfect purpose that you created me for.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

#SundaySermon Be Still - Peace

 #SundaySermon Be Still - Peace

Date: 06.12.20
Shalom Church!
Come and join us for this week's Sermon! Have a Blessed Sunday and Stay Safe! God Bless!


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

Sunday, November 22, 2020

#SundaySermon Emotionally Healthy Series: Present to God & Present to People

 #SundaySermon Emotionally Healthy Series: Present to God & Present to People

Date: 22.11.20


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 21, 2020

#SaturdayDevotion: Submission, Equality and Reciprocity (1 Peter 3:1-12)

 Date: 21st November


This passage can be difficult to read in these modern times. Verses 1 to 6 instruct wives to submit to their husbands. In today’s world of individuality and self-determination, this can initially feel like a backward step for women’s rights. Let us try to understand what Peter is telling us. The context for this passage is the early church. People were becoming new believers at times separately from their families. Some marriages would have a spouse who became a Christian whilst the other spouse had not. Peter was giving advice to women who had become Christians, without their husbands having already accepted the new faith. In the Jewish culture at the time women had no rights in comparison to men. Women were essentially owned by their fathers and then by their husbands. Wives who became Christians before their husbands were therefore in a difficult position. If a husband became a Christian, he would automatically take his wife and children into the church with him. A wife however, had no such power. This was a very real domestic problem. What should a woman in this position do?

Peter advised women to submit to their “own husband”. This does not mean that women should be subjugated to men throughout society. Peter was providing women in a specific marital situation with advice on how to keep the peace in the house and how to hopefully bring their husbands into the Christian faith. He encouraged women to behave in a manner that is good and pure, that there may be no criticism of their new faith. He warned against pride or distraction from God. He also encouraged women in this situation to do what is right and not to give way to fear. I imagine that many women may have become discouraged and fearful when facing the completely unprecedented challenge of having their own faith, which was different to their husbands. Peter was acknowledging that women could choose their own faith and have confidence in their hope in God. This may have been the first time that this was acknowledged in this culture.

Peter then gave another unprecedented instruction in verse 7. He introduced the concept of reciprocity in marriage between a husband and wife. Remember that in this culture, a wife had no rights at all and was owned by her husband who could treat her however he wished. She had no say in anything. Peter instructed husbands that in the same way (as he had instructed wives), they should be considerate as they live with their wives and treat them with respect. He reminded husbands that their wives are physically weaker. This was a society with no household equipment, very limited legal protection for women, arguably no health or childcare services. Peter gave husbands the responsibility to look after their wives with care and respect. He reminded husbands that women are co-heirs (equal heirs) of the gracious gift of life (the eternal kingdom of God). Women and men are equal spiritual heirs in God’s plan. Peter warned husbands to behave in a considerate and respectful manner so that nothing would hinder their prayers to God. This is how important the instruction is. If you do not treat your wife well, you will damage your relationship with God.

Now, the potentially tricky issue of submission in a marriage. God’s plan for Christian households is for there to be love, unity, consideration, peace and order. Have you experienced a family where there is strife or lack of respect? It is likely that there will be very little peace or security. God has established the structure of authority in a family with the father as the head. Being the head does not mean being a bully and having your way all the time. Quite the opposite. Have any of you ever been in leadership? 

You will probably have realized that good leadership requires sacrifice and a willingness to serve others. In 1 Ephesians 5: 21 – 33, a marriage is compared to the sacrificial relationship between Christ and the church. Verse 21 starts by instructing all parties in a Christian household to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. Christ submitted himself to God’s will in order to die on the Cross to save us. In turn, we submit ourselves to Christ when we accept his sacrifice. Using this comparison, wives are instructed to submit to their own husbands and husbands are instructed to love their wives sacrificially, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy. Husbands are instructed to love their wives, to feed and care for them as their own bodies. The Bible therefore provided some groundbreaking marital advice! Husbands are instructed to look after their wives sacrificially, to treat them with consideration and respect and love them like they love themselves. Wives are therefore advised that they can have full confidence in their husbands’ decision making and submit to their husbands’ decisions, provided that they do not dishonour God. These are instructions for Christian households, where both parties in the marriage are in full obedience to God.

1 Peter 3: 8-12 wraps this lesson up by instructing all Christians to be united and to love one another. We are told to be like-minded, sympathetic, compassionate and humble. Unity is the key instruction in these scriptures. We should not repay evil with evil or insult with insult (in other words, do not fight), but instead to repay evil with blessing because this is what we are called for; to bless people. We are promised a blessed inheritance. We must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue this (instead of division and strife). We are reassured that God will always keep watch over us and his ears are attentive to our prayers, but he will turn his face away from us if we do evil. In summary, these scriptures provide us with instructions on how to live well with our spouses, families and church fellowship. Some of this teaching can be very challenging, but we can trust in God’s wisdom and in His perfect plan.

Personal Reflection

Spend some time in prayer as you meditate on this scripture. Pray with someone if you can. Ask God to help you and the people in your fellowship to show a greater measure of love, respect and compassion towards each other. Pray for greater unity and understanding. Pray that God may use you and the people in your fellowship to bless others. If you are married, spend some time praying (together with your spouse if possible), for God’s protection, peace, grace and blessing over your marriage and household. Ask Him to show you areas in your marriage that may need further prayer, understanding, thought and effort.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

#ThursdayDevotion: 1 Peter 2:1 - 10

#ThursdayDevotion: 1 Peter 2:1-10
Date: 19.11.2020

The main thrust of this entire passage of verses 1-10, is an imperative - and it reads, “Long for the pure milk of the word.” Everything in this passage supports that. It is a command to desire Scripture, to desire the Word of God. This has always marked those who have a love for God, who are in Christ. The psalmist said that the godly man is blessed because “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” He also sings that the words of God are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than the drippings of the honeycomb.

We all know that, everything about a baby is wonderfully soft, cuddly and inviting, except their crying when craving for milk. This is the singular focus that draws the illustration that Peter chooses.

Do we have anything even remotely like that kind of craving for the Word of God? Do we get to the place where we desire it more than anything else in life? This is something that should rise out of our hearts; the way that longing rises out of a baby, a compelling discontent when we have no time to read the word of God.

Peter then writes “put aside all malice, all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” In light of new love given, the ugly, old hindrances need to be thrown off; they need to be shed. Spiritual growth is marked by an increase in biblical understanding and a deeper delight in the word.
 
Believers are to come to Jesus “as living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5). 1 Peter 2:5 Peter explains that all believers are stones that God uses to build a spiritual house-is His Temple. Second, the cornerstone of this structure is Christ, the “living stone” (1 Pet. 2:4) Peter reminds us that Christ, the cornerstone, was rejected. We likewise may be rejected. However, Christ is the promised saving stone from Isaiah and the Psalms. Though we may be rejected like Christ, there will be no shame when the ultimate judgement is. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

What an assurance we have in Christ! He is the cornerstone and foundation of our faith and ever lives to make intercession for us.

Suggested prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, which has all we need for life and godliness. May we sincerely desire the Word so that we may grow in grace, mature in the faith and become increasingly conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus, In His name I pray, AMEN.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

#TuesdayDevotion: 1 Peter 1:1-16 (Living in the Presence of our Heavenly Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

#TuesdayDevotion: 1 Peter 1:1-16 Living in the Presence of our Heavenly Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Date:17th November 2020

 Peter is writing to Christians in what is now the nation of Turkey. In verse 2 he states we are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.

We should take note that we are in relationship with all the Persons of the Trinity. Chosen by the Father before we knew Him, having the Holy Spirit sanctifying us, and living in obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkled by his blood. Think about this for a moment. Is this not amazing?!

Because of the Presence of God in our lives, in verse 2 Peter gives a blessing. He says to us: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

What quantity of grace and peace do you have in your life? If not an abundance, then something is wrong! We have all three Persons of the Godhead involved in our lives. We have access to the full riches of the Presence of God! Take time now in prayer and Scriptural meditation of these verses to fix your eyes on Jesus.

We live “in his great mercy” (verse 3).

Verse 4 says, He has birthed us into a living hope through Jesus’ resurrection in heaven, into an inheritance that cannot be stolen or spoiled. 

Verse 5 states our faith is shielded by God’s power. Peter, in vs. 6, states we should: “greatly rejoice”.

We should often give thanks and remember all the privileges of having the love, mercy and grace of God poured out in our lives.

Peter changes tone in verses 6-7, to discuss the grief of suffering in all kinds of trials. Why do trials come? Peter states, in verse 7, we are refined, so our faith is proven genuine. This occurs so praise, glory and honour are given to God when Jesus returns.

We love Him and have His joy in our lives, because He gives us His salvation (verse 9).

If you have ever wondered why we as Christians also have the Old Testament books in our Bible, Peter provides a very succinct summary in verses 10 to 13. He states that the Old Testament prophets were looking forward to: “the grace that was to come to you.”

This “you,” means us! The prophets spoke by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, of the appearing and sufferings of Christ and: “the glories that would follow”

Peter finishes verse 12 stating: “Even angels long to look into these things.”

In verses 13-16 Peter states, as a consequence of these amazing revelations of the grace and Presence of God, these should be a positive impact on our attitudes and behaviour.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled, set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.”

We are called to obey the Holy Spirit and not the sinful nature. God wants us to be holy because He is holy. He wants us to live a life of love and goodness with the anointing of His Holy Spirit.

Suggested prayer: Dear Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We thank you for working in us to make us better people as we become more like You. May we love you more and more. As Your love overflows in our lives, may we live in obedience to Your commands and in love for others. In Jesus Name. Amen