Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. ‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1,19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). …

Continue reading Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

Don’t settle for “second-best.”

Fourth Sunday in Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 Don’t settle for “second-best”. ‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’ (1 Samuel 16:7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’- This …

Continue reading Don’t settle for “second-best.”

God’s grace is so great.

Isaiah 55:1-57:13; Ephesians 2:1-22; Psalm 110:1-7 Following the promise of grace (Isaiah 55:7), we have this great declaration by the Lord, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My …

Continue reading God’s grace is so great.

Everlasting love

Isaiah 51:17-54:17; Ephesians 1:1-23; Psalm 109:21-31 ’“With everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8). “In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5). This loving kindness has its origin in the heart of the eternal God. It continues for all …

Continue reading Everlasting love

Sing to the Lord, and listen to His voice.

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!" (Psalm 95:1) - what a great call to worship! "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts" (Psalm 95:7-8) - a much-needed word of warning! We're called to worship, but, sometimes, our hearts are far from …

Continue reading Sing to the Lord, and listen to His voice.

The “Mutch” theology – think “much” of the blood.

"In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). When I was in my early twenties, I worked alongside a man called John Mutch. I had known John before I worked with him - but I got to know him better when we …

Continue reading The “Mutch” theology – think “much” of the blood.

By the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us live as children of light.

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).  Does it feel like we're partly in the light, and we're partly in the darkness? Is this what God's word says about us? No. It's not. What does God's Word say? "You were once darkness, but now …

Continue reading By the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us live as children of light.

Learning from Ephesians and the 23rd Psalm (Part Two)

"He makes me lie down in green pastures" (Psalm 23:2) / Ephesians 1:15-23 Green pastures: Green is the colour of growth. Let's think about spiritual growth. The shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures. Paul, the pastor of God's people, leads the people of God to the "green pastures" which He has provided for their …

Continue reading Learning from Ephesians and the 23rd Psalm (Part Two)

Passing on the Lord’s message to the next generation

Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them (Deuteronomy 4:9). What are the best things we can pass on to the rising generation? In Ephesians …

Continue reading Passing on the Lord’s message to the next generation

Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We need grace, and we need knowledge. We begin with grace. This is where knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, comes from. It comes from grace. Without grace, we can have no real knowledge of our Saviour, …

Continue reading Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ

Where does our life of faith begin?

Where does our life of faith begin? Does it begin with our decision? or Does it begin with God's grace? "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4-5). We were dead. The …

Continue reading Where does our life of faith begin?

The Redeemed of the Lord

Isaiah 60:1-62:12; Ephesians 4:1-16; Proverbs 23:19-28 The grace of God is very great and very precious. Through His grace, we are “called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord” (Isaiah 62:12). We are “urged ... to live a life worthy of this high calling” (Ephesians 4:1). Following “the right path” is always a matter of the …

Continue reading The Redeemed of the Lord

The Lord’s compassion never fails.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). When we're hurting, we need more kindness, more compassion, more forgiveness. Where do these things come from? Do they come from within ourselves? Again and again, we fail to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. If we …

Continue reading The Lord’s compassion never fails.

Saved by grace, saved through faith, saved for good works

Ephesians 2:1-10  What we were without Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3); What God has done for us in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-10) Ephesians 2:8-10 - saved by grace, saved through faith, saved for good works By grace - but not without faith and good works Faith and good works - the fruit of grace Faith and good works …

Continue reading Saved by grace, saved through faith, saved for good works

The miracle of the new birth

Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord Almighty (Isaiah 8:18). Here, we read about "signs and wonders" (Amplified Bible). Our thoughts turn to the spectacular. Thinking about eye-catching events, events that grab our attention, events that make us sit up and take notice, there is something that we …

Continue reading The miracle of the new birth

The overflowing abundance of God

Isaiah 65:17-66:24; Ephesians 5:8-33; Psalm 113:1-9 We are to “drink deeply” from the “overflowing abundance” of God (Isaiah 66:11). We are to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This fullness of the Spirit leads to praise. “Praise the Lord” (Psalm 113:1,9). As “servants of the Lord”, we are called to praise His Name “both …

Continue reading The overflowing abundance of God

God has given us new life. Let us live the new life.

"No one pours new wine into old wineskins... They pour new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22). In John's Gospel, we read about Jesus turning water into wine (chapter 2), and, then, we read about Jesus, telling Nicodemus that he needed to be "born again" (John 3:3). Here, he speaks about new wine. He's telling …

Continue reading God has given us new life. Let us live the new life.

Christ is always greater than our thoughts about Him.

"Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). Paul was deeply conscious of his own inadequacy. He was profoundly grateful for the great privilege of being called to preach "the boundless riches of Christ." …

Continue reading Christ is always greater than our thoughts about Him.

Kindness, compassion and forgiveness

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as, in Christ, God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). How are we to become kind, compassionate and forgiving people? Again and again, we must remember this: "in Christ, God forgave you." This is where our kindness, compassion and forgiveness comes from: the kindness, compassion and forgiveness …

Continue reading Kindness, compassion and forgiveness

Jesus is taken up into heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to us.

Ascension of the Lord: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 or 93 or Daniel 7:9-14; Psalm 24:7-10; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53 Jesus is taken up into heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to us. We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified.’ Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken …

Continue reading Jesus is taken up into heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to us.

Out of the shadows of our past, into the light of His future

Micah 5:1-7:20; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Proverbs 21:17-26 God wipes out the shadow of our past - He “pardons sin” (Micah 7:18). He shines in the light of His future - “We will be “clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:4). From this standpoint of privilege, we are called to fulfil our responsibility: to be soldiers of …

Continue reading Out of the shadows of our past, into the light of His future

Let the light of Christ shine.

Season of Epiphany: Epiphany of the Lord – Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Let the light of Christ shine. ‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1, 19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not …

Continue reading Let the light of Christ shine.

Fulfil your vows – in the strength of the Lord.

Nahum 1:1-3:19; Ephesians 6:1-24; Psalm 114:1-8 “Fulfil your vows” (Nahum 1:15). “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In all the vows we have promised to keep, we must remember the strength of the Lord: “Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10). …

Continue reading Fulfil your vows – in the strength of the Lord.

The good news for sinners: our Saviour is greater than our sin.

 "Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless (or unsearchable) riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). This post continues on from an earlier post, which contrasts Paul and Jesus. You may find it helpful to read that post before reading this one. …

Continue reading The good news for sinners: our Saviour is greater than our sin.

God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do" (Matthew 11:25-26). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, …

Continue reading God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is calling us to grow in our experience of his salvation.

Ephesians 4-6 In these chapters, the emphasis shifts from God's provision of salvation to our calling to grow in our experience of salvation: "lead a life worthy of your calling" (4:1). The kind of life we live is what marks us out as the people of God, walking in fellowship with him: "be very careful …

Continue reading God is calling us to grow in our experience of his salvation.

The deep things of God – and the deep love of Christ

"'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' — the things God has prepared for those who love him — 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).  "I pray …

Continue reading The deep things of God – and the deep love of Christ

Not by works… for good works

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We look back - and we remember. What do we remember about Jesus? We …

Continue reading Not by works… for good works

The apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers… and Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord

"Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no …

Continue reading The apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers… and Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord

All glory to the Lord – the God of eternal love, the God of our eternal salvation.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" (Ephesians 1:3-4). We sing praise to the Lord. He has blessed us so much - …

Continue reading All glory to the Lord – the God of eternal love, the God of our eternal salvation.

What does it mean to be blessed?

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:7). What does it mean to be "blessed"? Sometimes, the words, "happy" and "blessed", are taken to mean the same thing. Is there a difference between being "happy" and being "blessed"? The word, "blessed", makes us think about the question, "Where does the blessing come from. It invites …

Continue reading What does it mean to be blessed?