Wednesday, September 26, 2018

You Can Be God's Light

Light is sown like seed for the righteous And gladness for the upright in heart. Ps 97:11 (NASB) 

  • Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God's people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. Ps 97:11 (MSG)  

When God created the trees and the flowers, He put seeds in them, so they could produce offspring.

And he said, "Let the earth burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant, and fruit trees with seeds inside the fruit, so that these seeds will produce the kinds of plants and fruits they came from." Genesis 1:11 (TLB)  

When you received the New Life of Jesus, God changed your dead, dark spirit. God turned on the lights inside you and you began life all over again.
  • By God’s mercy, love and life giving power, you became a new person, a new creation.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Cor 5:17 (NLT)  

Sometimes this change is dramatic and obvious from the outside. 

An evangelist drives demons out of a dangerous and evil person and the tormented soul believes in Jesus. The new believer is  suddenly happy and shines with the goodness of God.

Other times a person seems to change gradually. 

A prostitute came to church and believed in Jesus but returned to her old life. She kept coming to church and started to be more gentle and kind but still in the context of her life of prostitution. 

Then she began to give money to the church from her earnings. Finally she reached the point where she had the courage to walk away from prostitution and learn to live a normal life.

  • Exactly when was she saved? God knows.

God uses believers to sow the seed of light and truth in the souls of men and women. 
The faith, hope and love that come with the message of light are given to you as seed. 

What will you do with the seeds of heavenly life? 

  • Will you cultivate the garden of your new heavenly life, so your life becomes like window with a view of heaven itself?
  • Will you sow the good seeds God gives you, so your life becomes a gateway to the garden of God, so others can find blessing and truth?

Whatever seed you sow will be multiplied in your own life and in the lives of others around you.

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Gal 6:7 (NLT)  
  •  If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; Gal 6:8 (TLB) 

  • but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life that the Holy Spirit gives him. 

I am sure you would love to shine with the glory of God, so if your heart is hungry for the glory of God, be like the insects that come to the light. 
The light of God will not burn and destroy you if you love Jesus. 

Come into the wonderful presence of God and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His life giving words. 

When God Himself speaks, it changes the way you understand the Bible.

  • We cannot be a blessing to others if we teach the Bible with a dry religious spirit.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 (NIV)

When we receive the light and joy of Jesus, we know Him as the light of the world.


... Jesus said to the people, "I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path." Jn 8:12 (TLB)

Then we ourselves can shine from the life of Jesus within us.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. Isa 60:1 (ESV)  

Monday, September 24, 2018

God Loves Rejected People

The Father gave His only son Jesus for all mankind. In return, the Father wants to give all mankind to Jesus. 


Why do not all come to Jesus? 


All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)  


Does God only draw some to Himself and to His Son?
  • No, no, no.

Jesus said:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 (ESV) 


Jesus was lifted up from the earth on the cross, when He willingly died to pay the penalty for our sin, to receive the punishment for our rejection of our loving God because we chose to live as though He did not love and care for us.


Jesus died but He did not stay dead.

  • After three days in the grave, He was bodily raised up from the grave by the Holy Spirit.
  • He spent 40 days encouraging and teaching His followers before He was raised up from the earth again. 

While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. Luke 24:51 (ESV) 


The heart of the Father is to save every one of His lost children. 

  • Without Jesus in your life, you are separated from God by your own choice because you have chosen not to live in the Father love of God. 
  • You have lost your right to be called a son or daughter of God.
  • God is the source and giver of all life and goodness. 
  • If you die without Jesus, you will still exist and you will experience the darkness and emptiness of death for ever.

If you are not enjoying the love and forgiveness of God but you are reading these words, God is speaking to you calling you to come to Jesus.

  • God sent His son into the world to restore everyone to Himself but He was rejected and put to death.
  • It is the same today. 
  • He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:10,12 (ESV) 


Why did God do this? Because God is Love. 


He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NKJV) 


God’s plan is that you would find His love in a church but sadly this sometimes does not happen. 

  • If you have not found the love of Jesus in a church, don’t give up on God. 
  • If churches have rejected you, Jesus has not stopped loving you.


All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)  


If you come to Jesus by watching Christian TV or reading the Bible alone, God is loving you and not casting you out. If you are an isolated believer in Jesus, God wants something better for you.


And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Genesis 2:18 (NKJV) 


If you are a man or woman who is following Jesus alone, God is proud of you for not giving up on His Son but He wants you to have human companionship. 


Ask Him to lead you into Christian friendship. 

  • This is more important than marriage. Marriage can be a blessing or a curse.
  • This is more important than going to church or joining an organisation.
  • Churches can be loving or they can destroy love.

But one great truth remains. 

Jesus is with you if you love Him and He is very powerfully present when two or three believers come together because they love Him.

  • I pray that you will know the love of Jesus.
  • I pray that you will find a loving church.
  • I pray that you will enjoy loving family life.
  • But even if you do not find a loving church or family, I pray that you will discover the blessing of believing friendship.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)

Friday, September 14, 2018

God Still Heals. Do You Need Healing?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell how the Son of God lived on this earth for 33 years. 

  • In his last three years on earth, Jesus preached and taught the people of Israel. 

    • One of the most prominent features of His teaching was the way He consistently performed miraculous healings.

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT) 

  • This is how the Apostle Peter summarised the healing ministry of Jesus. 

    • He makes no distinction between exorcisms and healing physical sickness. 

      • Jesus saw demon possession, deafness, blindness and physical sickness as manifestations of evil.

When John the Baptist was in prison, he was tempted to despair of his faith. He sent his disciples to Jesus, seeking reassurance.

Mt 11:4-5 (ESV)  And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 

  • the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

Clearly Jesus also saw Healing as a central feature of His ministry.

  • When Jesus appointed His Apostles, the first thing He did was to give them authority to heal.

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. Mt 10:1 (ESV) 

If we look at church history and examine the practices of many churches in the Western World, we see only some churches emphasise healings and miracles.

  • Many other churches consider this unbalanced and yet they read the same Bible that shows Jesus was a healing evangelist. 
  • For Jesus and the early church, healing the sick was an essential part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

Where did the Western church go wrong? 

Why have we strayed from the ways of Jesus so clearly presented in the New Testament?

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the Europe, most people were poor and illiterate. 

  • Faith the Word of God was replaced with faith in religious traditions including prayers to saints and bathing with holy water. Healing and miracles became associated with very unbiblical practices.

When Luther and Calvin restored the Bible as the only source of spiritual authority, they rejected the papacy. They also condemned faith in miracles obtained by prayers to saints or touching sacred objects. This was idolatry.

  • However they made the mistake of rejecting all healing miracles. 

    Calvin taught that the miraculous ministry of Jesus and the Apostles were not a model to imitate.  

    • He taught they did miracles to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and to confirm the truth of the Gospel of salvation. 

      Once the church and the gospel were established, they considered miracles were no longer necessary but were counterfeit miracles associated with Roman Catholic idolatry. 

Once the miraculous element was banished from much of Western Christianity, faith in scientific materialism was blended with biblical belief. 

  • Faith in human reason began to supplement and then replace faith in the Word of God.

This is why many Christians in Britain, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand find it difficult to receive divine healing or to exercise faith for miracles. 

Our whole culture has been corrupted by systematic unbelief in God’s supernatural power.

  • Faith is a personal matter but it is also corporate. Faith is contagious but unbelief is also contagious. 

Conservative Protestant tradition and academic theology  have made unbelief respectable in in Europe and North America.

  • The result has been a catastrophic decline of faith amongst professing Christians and the abandonment of Christianity by the majority of Europeans.

But God has not changed and the Bible has not changed.

God loves you. 

He knows you are broken and wounded in many ways. We all are. 

  • We all have emotional issues that cause us pain and prevent us from being all we could be. 

  • We all get sick from time to time and many of us have bodily functions that don’t operate as they should.

God wants to heal you, to change your life, to set you free of the painful limitations that stop you fulfilling your potential.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Time for Courage

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) 

Many times in the Bible, God says to His people: “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”

  • In some texts, God is telling His people their fears are imaginary, that there is nothing to be afraid of at all.

In Matthew 14, the disciples were in a boat in rough weather. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought He was a ghost.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Mt 14:27 (NKJV) 

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he reassured her.

Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Lk 1:30 (NKJV) 

God’s people have nothing to fear from supernatural manifestations of heavenly glory.

On the other hand, there are situations where we have real reasons to be afraid but God calls us not to be afraid anyway.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Mt 10:28 (NKJV) 

Here Jesus is saying Do Not Fear even though you face savage persecution and possible martyrdom. It is a call to courage and faith in God’s salvation. 
  • It is also a warning to remember God’s punishment for cowardice.

God Is Love

As we read the Bible, we see again and again, that there are two essential aspects to the love of God. 

These are comfort and challenge.

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  

Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Mt 4:18-19 (NKJV)

What a blessing, to be invited to live full time with Jesus and to be given the power to get men and women saved, to rescue them from damnation! 

  • But what a challenge to leave the security of a successful family fishing business and to live by faith in God’s daily provision!

I have a friend who was once a committed Muslim in Saudi Arabia. 

  • Muslims have no assurance of salvation. They live in the hope that they might be good enough to escape hell fire. 

When George came to know Jesus, he had the comfort of knowing the God who really loved him as His dear son. 

Some Muslims desire such a personal relationship with God but their sacred writings offer no hope for such a fulfilment.

  • But it was a challenge to be rejected and persecuted in his own country. It was a challenge to flee to Australia as a refugee.

God called him to study for a doctorate at an Australian university where there are a lot of Arab Muslim students. Not one of them escapes Georges personally targeted preaching of Jesus.

Once George spoke to an Arab Muslim missionary on campus, one of many militant Muslim missionaries sent around the world financed by oil rich Arabs.

“Why do you preach Islam?” asked my friend.
“Because I want to go to heaven,” replied the Muslim missionary.
“That is very selfish!” said George. “I know I have a home in heaven. I preach Jesus because I want OTHER PEOPLE to go to heaven.”

We have the comfort of knowing God has prepared a home for us in heaven.

We have the challenge or reaching others with the Good News of God’s kindness.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The God of Impossible Miracles

Are you in an impossible jam? Is there no way out?

Many years ago I was a 20-year-old student travelling alone in Europe. 

Shortly before my flight back to Australia, I was enjoying a walk about Rome. It was mid-afternoon when I put my hand in my jacket pocket. 

No passport! No plane ticket! My flight was the next day!

I must not panic. I retraced my steps. 

I enquired here and there, in a shop, at a kiosk. Then I went back to the cashier where I had changed some money that morning. 

The cashier immediately gave me my passport, my plane ticket and my vaccination certificate.

God watches over us, even when we are completely stupid. I was not even a Christian yet but if you are a believer, God knew you before you were born.  

But there are much more serious problems when we need God to do the impossible.

I know a woman who was saved from certain death in her car. 

Another car ran a red light. There was no way to avoid a fatal collision but instead of crashing into her, the other car passed right through her like a scene in a science fiction movie. 

All the woman experienced was a searing heat but no impact. 

Perhaps you are reading this and grieving. It is no comfort to read of miraculous rescues when your loved one has died. It is too late for miracles.

Be assured there is another world. Heaven is real. 

I know a faithful Christian woman who prayed for her family. She had a favourite nephew who was a rebellious teenager. 

One day this believing woman was sick in bed. She had a very dark dream about a gloomy cave. She saw and felt the shadow of death. In her dream she heard a voice which urged her to pray because someone in her family was in danger of death. 

She cried out to God and prayed until she felt at peace again. Later that day she heard that her much loved nephew had died in a freak car accident.

God hears our prayers. 

So many young and old people experience supernatural encounters with God in the last moments of their life on earth. Many meet Jesus, the Son of God who died for them on the cross. 

Jesus hears the heart cry of lost ones as they die. Many turn to Him at the last.

You must never give up. Love believes all things, never stops hoping. God is at work.

It may be that your faith has been weak. Your prayers have been hindered by doubt. When we pray weak prayers from a sincere heart, God can whisper to a strong believer to pray for your loved ones. He does these things.

I once knew a nurse who told me of a very old woman who was dying in hospital. She was very lonely because she couldn’t speak English, but she knew German. Since I am fluent in German, I asked permission to visit her and I was allowed to read to her from the German bible. 

I read her bible passages about heaven, about faith in Jesus, about the free gift of forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

I was allowed to see her a few times, and she always listened intently.

The last time I visited, she seemed to be seeing things that I could not see. I thought she was just demented but perhaps she saw angels.

Then I read the words of Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26 

“Do you believe this?” I repeated.

“Yes, I do believe!” she answered with a firm clear voice.

My next visit was to her burial.  People were weeping. They didn’t know she was in heaven but I knew.

If your situation seems hopeless, it may not be the end.

‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’ Jer 33:3 (NET1) 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rejected Christians. Judge them or help them?

There are so many lost sheep and Jesus wants to restore them.

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. 

Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 

And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders. Luke 15:4-5 (NIV) 

This parable is ignored in practice by many but when it is taught, it is used to encourage evangelism. This is not wrong but it misses an important point. 

Jesus was talking to Jews, who were God’s chosen people but many had become spiritually lost.

When we apply this text to evangelism, we must not overlook the lost sheep, the children of Christians, the church members who have left and not come back, the Christians who have been bullied and escaped into the wilderness. 

The wonderful pastor of our church died last year. 

He loved his church people and he was passionate about evangelism but he also had a big heart for lapsed, neglected or isolated believers in no man’s land. There are so many!

So often pastors preach against the church leavers and unattached Christians. This helps nobody.

Some time ago my wife and I kept chickens in the back yard. 

We saw how hens bully their sisters but when we adopted a chicken of a different breed, we saw how brutal and racist chickens can be. 

The odd hen out had feathers on her head instead of a red comb. 

She was tormented and driven away. 

She hid behind bushes or stood lonely at the other end of the yard. Her life was a misery. When I fed the chickens, I put some grain behind a bush, so she could eat in isolation.

Jesus is like that. Pastors tell us to come to church to be fed but Jesus also feeds the outcasts through Christian books, the Internet and Christian TV.

Certainly some Christian loners are over sensitive deserters but many are victims of abuse and bullying, bullied in Christian families and churches.

  • A teenage girl in church becomes pregnant. The gossip and condemnation is savage and it is the girl who is blamed.

  • A young man is a smoker when he is converted and his zealous evangelistic church tolerates his habit for a few months but before a year is out, he is ex-communicated for his sinful habit.

  • A woman shows great dedication and gifting in bible teaching to children and women but she is condemned to second class ministry status because she is a woman. 

Traditional legalists are good at quoting three or four proof texts, just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, but how many women have had their hearts broken like this?

  • There are churches which teach that the husband is the boss and the woman must always obey. This often encourages brutal oppression, soul destroying psychological control and even escalating violence. 
  • When an abused woman complains to pastors in authoritarian churches, she is often not believed, not taken seriously or told to suffer for Jesus because divorce is a terrible sin.

There are Christians whose lives are torn apart by Pastors who claim to be God’s representatives who cannot be questioned. This happens in Catholic churches but also some Pentecostal and strict Fundamentalist churches. 

I know Christians who have suffered this and been more helped in psychiatric clinics than in the churches where they were mistreated.

  • Some suffering Christians are not destroyed by direct bullying but are simply abandoned and ignored. A man leaves his wife and disappears. His wife becomes depressed and disturbed and no longer goes to church. The church forgets her.

Persecution of non conforming Christians also happens in respectable traditional churches. 

  • A Lutheran minister in Germany preached that Islam and Buddhism were incompatible with the Bible. He was the target of a witch hunt because he dared to preach Bible truth instead of political correctness. 

Bullying happens everywhere, in the workplace, in schools, in Mosques and football clubs. 

But it is so terrible when people are torn to pieces by bullying in Christian families and sadly in some churches.

What can you and I do to seek out and help broken sheep?

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

God is with you in your Trouble

This life can be hard. 

You and I did not ask to be born. You could not choose where or when you would grow up. 

Did your parents separate when you were young? You felt abandoned and insecure. In your child’s mind, you thought it was your fault, but it was not.

Was your home a battle ground when your parents were fighting? 
It was not your fault.

People often cry out for God but feel He is far away.

"Where was God when I was bullied and beaten up?"

God looked down and saw our suffering and He felt our pain. 

He wanted to help, and He had a plan. We humans have made a mess of this planet but we did not take God by surprise. 

Before the creation of the world, God saw everything that would happen and all the bad choices we would make. He knew how tough it would be and He decided to go ahead and create the world. 

4  Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 

5  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Ephesians 1:4-5 (TLB) 

When you trust in Jesus Christ to give you a new life, He forgives all the wrong you have done, all the pain you have brought on other people and He gives you a new start in life.

Does God take away all your troubles and give you a life without problems? 

Sometimes we wish it was like this but it is not. But God is with you in all your troubles

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 

who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

These words were written by the Apostle Paul. He knew what he was talking about.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (TLB) 
24  Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. 

25  Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. 

26  I have travelled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers and from robbers and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. 

27  I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 

Jesus never promised us a life free of suffering but He promised to be with us forever and to save us from all our troubles.

Every time Paul was beaten and broken, God healed him, raised him up and gave him the strength to go on. 

If you love and serve Jesus, He will do the same for you.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26 (NIV)