Proverbs Day Sixteen | Bags

By | Blog, Death, Doctrine, Foundational, Revelation, Suffering, The Bible, The gospel, Wisdom

The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. Proverbs 16v11 (NLT)

A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. Proverbs 16v11 (ESV)

This proverb strikes me as a beautiful description of the sovereignty of the cross. The justice, mercy, love and wrath displayed on the cross – God’s chosen means to administer justice and apply forgiveness through the sacrifice of the second Adam (Jesus) in order to deal with the sin of the first Adam.

  • The cross is right
  • The cross is just
  • The cross is His work not ours

Let us boast in the bag entitled “the Cross of Christ” not the one with our name on it.

Proverbs Day Thirteen | How to get rich?

By | Band of Brothers, Bible memorisation, Blog, Character, Church, Connection Groups, Discipleship, Foundational, Holy living, Life change, Membership, Preaching, Revelation, The gospel, Wisdom

This afternoon I spoke on how we keep growing in maturity – emotional and spiritual. Things like:

Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Proverbs 13v11 (NLT)

Some people want to grow fit, rich and important. We want to grow in wisdom, stature and grace. The principle from Proverbs 13v11 applies to both.

In the talk I mentioned a little survey that I have used, and found helpful, to help me take a snapshot of my overall emotional maturity. You can access it here. How am I (Emotional and Spiritual Health.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Proverbs 13v11 (ESV)

Dull Devotional

By | Life change, Revelation, The Bible, Whispers

I led a little session at a connection group gathering last night on engaging with God through the Bible. It was a very honest session and one of the many common experiences amongst the group (including myself) was that we can read the Bible sometimes (maybe often!) and think “what does that mean?” or “what was all that about?”, whereas other times (perhaps far less than many feel happy to admit) you read it and think and feel “wow!” and it’s like a light has switched on. The ‘light switched on’ metaphor is quite good, because everybody knows it is harder, and discouraging, to read in the dark!!

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The rich list for the rough

By | Doctrine, Persecution, Provoked Within, Revelation

Following the talk on Sunday regarding Rough Faith, here are some true riches we have even on the hardest, lowest and roughest days:

12 For there is no distinction between anyone; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. Romans 12

The riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience (Romans 2v4)
The riches of his glory by the riches of his mercy (Romans 9v23)
The riches of knowing a infinitely wise and knowledgeable God (Romans 11v33)
The riches of his speech and knowledge (1 Corinthians 1v5)
The riches of not needing possessions to be or feel rich (2 Corinthians 6v10)
The riches of being generous in every way (2 Corinthians 9v11)
The riches of his grace towards our trespasses (Ephesians 1v7)
The riches of a glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1v18)
The riches of his mercy, flowing from his rich love for us (Ephesians 2v4)
The immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ (Ephesians 2v7)
The riches that we will never exhaust… the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3v8)
The riches of the Holy Spirit in us, strengthening us with power (Ephesians 3v16)
The riches that will meet every one of our needs (Philippians 4v19)
The riches of the mystery of Christ in you (Colossians 1v27)
The riches of the full assurance of understanding the glory of Christ (Colossians 2v2)
The riches of the Word of God (Colossians 3v16)
The riches of enjoyment (1 Timothy 6v17)
The riches of his grace (Titus 3v6)
The riches of faith (James 2v5)
The rich inheritance we shall receive (James 2v5)

9 “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! Revelation 2

Cross roads on a Greek Island

By | Holy living, Holy Spirit, Life change, Preaching, Revelation, The gospel, Worship

We have begun our series on Perfect Church?

As we do so I am aware of a risk to our spiritual health. This blog entry is intended to help us head in the right direction.

When Jesus speaks to the 7 local churches in the book of Revelation, he ends each message with a plea for them to listen to what he is saying. Time and time again he urges them to change their direction completely (repent) otherwise they will face the consequences of their actions.

This means that a teaching series on the local church from these messages may result in some pretty tough words for us all. When those words fall upon our ears, we have a choice to receive or to reject them. Jesus makes it clear that listening is the only option.

But what do we do once we have heard Jesus speak to us about the state of our hearts?

At this point we are faced with a choice – condemnation or conviction. Let me explain how we can spot the difference and choose wisely… Imagine each choice is a road we can travel down. Conviction leads to reflections on the sacrificial work of our Saviour. Condemnation leads to reflections on ourselves. The first road ends at Jesus, the second road ends at self.

The fork splitting the two roads is the Cross.

Whilst reading the Bible or listening to teaching, Jesus pins some stuff on you or I about our lives. We know he is right and we feel remorse and the need to change.

The road of condemnation

It feels like conviction by the Holy Spirit, but it is actually a human-driven remorse, guilt and sorrow. It sends us in the wrong direction and we end up in a place where we wallow and drown in the world of ‘me’. This reminds us of what Paul said:

22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Romans 7

The road of conviction

This may also arouse emotions of remorse, guilt and sorrow but there is a subtle difference. This time the feelings have been given to us by the Holy Spirit and he sends us on the right road. The place we end up this time is worship of Jesus.

You see Paul did not finish his his letter at verse 24 of Romans 7. He continued…

24… Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Choose the road of condemnation and we end up looking at ourselves, in a state of entrapment, idolatry, guilt and a hopeless resignation at our behaviour.

Choose the road of conviction and we end up at the Cross, in a state of freedom, worship, hope and the power to change.