Peter’s reminders to the people

One of the key things I believe we should do as Christians is remind each other of the great things the Lord has done for us and to encourage each other to keep growing in our faith. I believe it should pervade all of our teaching, preaching and general conversations.

In 2 Peter 1:12-15 the Apostle Peter says, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things“.

In this short passage of Scripture we see that Peter used words like “remind you of these things”, “refresh your memory” and “remember these things” several times.

So what was it that Peter was reminding the people of? In the previous verses (v3-11) we see that he was reminding them that Christ has saved them and to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love to their faith (v5-7). In short he says: remember what Jesus has done and keep growing.

What is the result of this? Verse 8 gives us a clue. It says, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. That is good reason…to keep being effective for the Lord.

So let us remember  that when we get together as Christians to remind each other of the great thing the Lord has done in saving us and to encourage each other to keep growing in our faith.

God Bless,

Dave

Appointing a king

I was reading Deuteronomy 17:14-20 this morning. This passage talks about Israel appointing a king. As I read I found three things really interesting.

1. It was a future appointment – In verse 14 we see that it is talking about a future time when the people have entered the promised land. God knew they would ask for a king to be like the nations around them. We see this actually happens in 1 Samuel 8:4-9. It was no surprise to God that the people would demand that Samuel would appoint a king.

2. The king had restrictions – In verses 16-17 we see that the king was to have restrictions. This goes against the norm of society. The king could not own too many horses because it was a sign on wealth and power and could cause him to rely on his own strength. He could not have too many wives either. This would mean his loyalties could become divided. God wanted the king to rely on Him and keep his focus on Him.

3. He needed to have his own copy of the Law – Verses 18-20 talks about the importance of the king having his own copy of the Law (Bible) to read and reflect on. Having his own personal copy would mean that he could learn about God, learn to keep His commands and keep his perspective of himself correct. Verse 20 finishes with a promise for a long reign for him and his descendants if he honours God’s word.

In this passage we see that God knew Israel would ask for a king. And when they did He wanted to ensure that the king relied on Him and not wealth, and that he led the people correctly because he revered the Lord and followed His ways.

God Bless,
Dave

Signs of the end of the world and some encouragement

In Luke 21:5-36 there is a passage that the NIV titles, “Signs of the end of the age”. In this passage the Disciples ask Jesus how they will know when the end of the world is coming.

In His answer Jesus lists a number of things that must take place before the end and He also lists nine things to encourage His followers to remember.

1. Do not follow false leaders. Jesus warns that in the last days many will come in His name and for His followers not to be decieved and follow them (v8).

2. Do not be frightened by the events associated with the end times. Things like earthquakes, wars and famines will happen but He encourages not to be frightened. These things will happen first (v9-11).

3. Jesus says that when people are persecuted because of their faith, that He will give them the right words to say. He even says that you will be a witness to the people as you speak (v12-16).

4. Jesus encourages that when all are against you, that you will be protected and will gain life by standing firm in your faith (v17-19).

5. In verse 20 Jesus says that when the armies suround Jerusalem we will know that its destruction is near. He says to flee the city if you are in it or not go back if you are outside (v20-24).

6. When the final apocalyptic events take place Jesus encourages His followers to take heart as your coming redemption will be complete when He returns (v25-28).

7. Jesus reminds that all of these things point to the coming of the kingdom of God. We must not forget that despite these events that God is ultimately in control and His plans will come to pass (v29-31).

8. Be assured that throughout the apocalyptic period the Lord’s words endure. Jesus says that even though the heavens and the earth the pass away, His words will never pass away (v32-33).

9. Jesus says to be watchful and pray so you will be able to escape all that happens. Jesus also encourages us not to let our hearts be weighed down by these things and look forward (v34-36).

In this passage we see that Jesus speaks of the things that will happen before the end of the world comes, but He also encourages us to stand firm and not lose heart. He is coming back for us and we will spend eternity in His glorious presence.

God Bless,

Dave

My favourite Bible book is Luke

The Book of Luke is my favourite Bible book. It was the first book I read as a new Christian many years ago and it is the one I recommend to to new Christians today. Here are a few reasons why I love Luke so much.

1. Jesus’ whole life – Luke starts with the announcement of His birth and ends with Him ascending to heaven. It covers Jesus life, ministry, teachings, relationships, miracles and commitment to the Father’s will all the way through.

2. God’s love for the one person – Luke is the only gospel that records the parables of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), the good samartian (Luke 10:25-37) and the lost son (Luke 15:11-32). This shows us God’s love and concern for the single person. It shows His heart to restore them to wellbeing and to fellowship with Him.

3. Prayer – Luke shows how important prayer was to Jesus and how often Jesus prayed. He prayed after being baptised (Luke 3:21), before chosing the disciples (Luke 6:12) and from the cross (Luke 23:34, 46). Jesus also taught three times about prayer in Luke 11:5-9, 18:1-8 and 18:9-14).

4. The Spirit – Luke mentions the Holy Spirit more than the other NT writers. He emphasises the Spirit was with John from birth (Luke 1:15), the Spirit’s role in Jesus’ conception (Luke 1:35), Jesus following the Spirit’s prompting (Luke 4:1, 14, 18, 10:21) and that Jesus taught the Spirit was God’s gift to us (Luke 11:13).

5. The poor – Luke shows Jesus’ concern for the poor. We see the gospel is preached to them (Luke 4:18, 7:22), they recieve God’s blessings (Luke 6:20), they are invited to the great feast (Luke 14:13,21) and Lazarus being taken to heaven by Angels (Luke 16:20,22).

6. Jesus was really raised – Luke is the only gospel to point out that Jesus ate some fish after He was raised to life (Luke 24:42,43). This was done to show that Jesus was not just raised spiritually or was a ghost. He was raised back to life.

7. It has a sequel – Like any good story it has a sequel. Luke’s sequel is found in the Book of Acts. If you are wondering what happened after Jesus returned to heaven and what His followers did, you can turn to Acts just two books later. This records the story of the early church.

So there you have it. My reasons why I love the book of Luke so much. Looking back now I can see how it has shaped my life and ministry so much. Many of those things mentioned above have been imparted into my life and changed me forever.

If you don’t have a Bible and would like to read Luke you can find it here on Biblegateway.com.

God Bless,
Dave

15 truths about Jesus

Many years ago when I was searching for more to this life I began to read the Bible. As I did I began to find out about Jesus. Discovering who He is changed my life forever.

Here are 15 truths I learned about Jesus – who He is and what He has done for us.

  1. Jesus forgives sins (Mark 2:10)
  2. Jesus is one with the Father (John 10:30)
  3. Jesus performed miracles (John 10:32)
  4. Jesus came from the Father (John 16:28)
  5. Jesus is the Christ (Mark 14:61-62)
  6. Jesus is the Messiah (John 4:25-26)
  7. Jesus came to give spiritual life (John 10:10)
  8. Jesus gives us the right to become God’s children (John 1:12)
  9. Jesus bestows eternal life (John 10:28)
  10. Jesus keeps us in eternal life (John 10:28)
  11. Jesus is fully God (Philippians 2:5-11)
  12. Jesus became fully man (Philippians 2:5-11)
  13. Jesus’ death was a ransom for our sins (Matthew 20:28)
  14. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)
  15. Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 2:24)

As I said these truths changed my life forever. Since Saturday the 21st of July 1989 at 7.10pm things have not been the same…and they continue to get better and better each day. All because of who Jesus is and what He has done for us…what He has done for me.

If you would like to experience the same life changing moment that I did in 1989, you can visit my salvation page here.

The churches in Revelation part 7

The final church mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three is the church in Laodicea. This church receives a blunt assessment and an invitation.

The blunt assessment is found in verses 15 and 16. It says, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!“

The interesting thing about Laodicea is that it was located between two other cities – Colosse and Heropolis. It had no fresh drinking water of its own and water was piped from the two other towns. Herolpolis had therapeutic hot springs and Colosse had cold refreshing mountain water, so the water that arrived there was lukewarm and undrinkable.

Lukewarm as it describes in this passage is talking about being indifferent to the things of God. They are not really committed to follow God or are they against Him. They are apathetically sitting in the middle. Bible scholars tell us that they had become this way because of the wealth the Roman Empire had brought them and they felt they had it all and lacked nothing.

But in verses in 18 and 19 we see that they are being rebuked or corrected because of the Lord’s love for them. In verse 20 we see it is not too late for them to turn from their indifference and truly return to Him. The invitation says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends“.

So what can we learn from the church at Laodicea? Well I think for us as Christians we can all get comfortable and become apathetic to the things of God. Maybe we have a great job, a nice house, two cars in the garage, food in the fridge, a large screen TV and a nice family. We can feel like we have it all and as a result our hearts can grow cold or indifferent to God. We can become lukewarm!

The key for us is to remember the invitation that the Lord gave to the church at Laodicea out of his love for them. He wanted to return to the intimate friendship they once had. I believe this call is to us today too if we have become lukewarm or indifferent. We just need to simply pray and open the door of our hearts back to God and invite Him in. God is always ready to welcome us home, just like the father welcomed the prodical son home in Luke 15.

It is my hope and prayer that if you have grown cold to God, that you will ask Him back into your life today. I pray that you will be on fire for God and live each and every day for Him.

God Bless,

Dave

The churches in Revelation part 6

The next church mentioned in the Book of Revelation is the church at Philadelphia. This church has some good news delivered and a reminder.

In chapter 3 verse 8 it says, “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me“.

Verse 10 goes on to say that because of their faithfullness under duress God will “protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world“.

This would be great news to hear that, even though bad things are coming, God will shield you from them. It sounds very much like the passover in Egypt!

This section then finishes with a reminder to stay true to God. Verses 11-12 tell of the reward for those who stay faithful until the end…

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God“.

What a great promise. If they stay faithful to God until the end, they will become pillars of God’s Temple and they will never leave it! They will become citizens in the City of God!

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to stay true to God and live my life in a way that honours and serves Him always.

God Bless,

Dave

The churches in Revelation part 5

The next church mentioned in the Book of Revelation is Sardis. In chapter three we see that it sounds like a church that is in decline.

In chapter three verse one it says, “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead“. From this description it sounds like it was once an alive and vibrant church that “burned” brightly. Now it sounds like a former shadow of itself.

In verses 2-3 they receive some advice from the Lord. It says, “Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again“.

This is a clear call to awake from their slumber. To go back to the things they once did and to return to God. In many ways it sounds like they were in auto-pilot or perhaps they were resting on previous achievements.

In the midst of this though, we see that there are some who have “not soiled their clothes with evil” and that this is important as they “will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (v4). If they endure until the end they will receive their eternal reward.

For me this passage is not only a clear call to check ourselves and how we are going as churches, but a call to make sure we don’t rest on our laurels and simply go through the motions of “doing church”. We need to be alive and active and constantly loving and seeking the Lord in all we do and say.

God Bless,

Dave