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 …

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Yield not to temptation.

Away from me, Satan!... Then the devil left Jesus (Matthew 4:10). When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until an opportune time (Luke 4:13). Jesus' temptations in the wilderness were over, but there would be more temptations, coming his way. As we read the words, "until an opportune time", we are reminded that …

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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 …

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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." …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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). …

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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. …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 - …

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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 …

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Always seeking, never finding

"The word is very near you" (Deuteronomy 30:14). Some people are always searching - but never finding. They look here, there and everywhere ... and, then, they start again ... and so, the search continues ... always searching, never finding. They tell us, "It's all about the search." Jesus tells us something very different. He …

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The Kingdom Of God: The Prison Letters – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon: These letters are known, collectively, as the prison letters. They were written by Paul during his time of imprisonment in Rome. In Philippians, we see God's kingdom as a kingdom as a kingdom of joy: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and, again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). When the Lord …

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What power there is in the written Word of God!

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It …

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Never to be forgotten

In 1996, Willie McDonald died at the age of ninety. I had only known him for a short time. I will always remember him as a man who loved the Lord deeply. He was small of stature, but he was a man of “strength”: real, spiritual strength (Psalm 90:10). He was “strong in the Lord”, …

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God’s salvation – for us, in us, through us

For us: "In Him we have redemption through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). "Through His blood": Never forget this. In our salvation, everything comes from this: Jesus died for us. In us: "I pray... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Our salvation is more than remembering that Jesus died for us. Paul prayed …

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Follow God’s example… walk in the way of love.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2). God's love for us always comes before our love for Him. His love is eternal. It has no beginning. It has no …

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Our great privilege and our great responsibility

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). These verses speak to us of our great privilege …

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We were “far off.” Now, we have been “brought near.”

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). We were "far off." Now, we have been "brought near." "This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). Each and every one of us were like the prodigal son - …

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Learning from the prophets and apostles… Saved by Jesus Christ, our Saviour

"You are ... 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).  We give thanks to God for the prophets and the apostles. In their own day, they were faithful servants of the Lord. In our day, their words continue to speak to us with power and love. We …

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A revelation of love… A revolution of love…

The gospel begins with a revelation of love - "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us" (Ephesians 1:7-8), and it leads to a revolution of love - "When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth …

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Waiting On The Lord, We Renew Our Strength.

Luke 11:13, 24:49, Acts 1:1–14, Ephesians 5:18 Waiting On The Lord, We Renew Our Strength. Jesus tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the …

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