God of mercy and power

In today’s message I want at two verses from Deuteronomy 10. They are two verses that are not usually verses would would quote or memorise, but there is a lot of truth in them that can speak to us today.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18 says, “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. [18] He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.”

Four truths are found in these two verses.

1. God is above all other gods

Moses spoke these words at a time when the people had many local gods they worshiped. Moses spoke about the one true God who is all powerful and above all others. The Lord God of the Bible us truly is great and mighty in power.

2. God shows no favorites

God is equal in His love and concern for all. He loves all His children the same and shows no partiality. It doesn’t matter if you are a Mum or Dad at home with your kids, a greater preacher on the world stage, a homeless person or a Mother Theresa type. God loves us all the same and we all hold the same value to Him.

3. God oversees the rights of orphans and widows

God looks out for those who can be the most venerable is our society. In ancient times a widow often had no source of income or protection. The same goes for orphans. They were often at the mercy of others. God says He ensures they will receive justice.

4. God lovingly provides for foreigners

In a world that often does not care for people who have been displaced by war or economic problems, God shows love and provision for those foreigners in our midst. This inspires me to help others in this way because if it important to God, it needs to be important to me.

These two verses are packed with truth about God and His interactions with the world. He is above all other gods, He has no favourites amoungst His children, He watches over the rights of orphans and widows and He care for those who are foreigners in our midst.

Finding rest in our relationship with Christ

There is an interesting passage in Matthew 11 that I really enjoy reading. It is a short prayer that Jesus prayed in verses 25-30. It says…

25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased You to do it this way! 27 “My Father has entrusted everything to Me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Just before this passage Jesus is talking about the places He went and performed miracles and how people still did not repent. The miracles showed His power and that He was from God, but people still did not believe in Him.

As I reflected in this. three things comes to mind.

1. We approach God simply

Verse 25 tells us that God often hides things from those who think themselves wise and learned. I have met people over the years who have been full of their own wisdom and impressed themselves by how much they know!

However, God wants us to approach Him like a child. He wants us to be curious and humble. He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and full of ourselves. People like that can’t learn, they know it all! Our job is to approach God with the simplicity of a child. Be open and inquisitive because it pleased God for it to be that way (v26). We can learn when we are open to learn, and we don’t think we know it all.

2. Knowing God is about relationship

In verse 27 Jesus talks about His relationship with the Father. He says that no-one truly knows the Son except the Father and vice versa. Then He says that no-one knows the Father unless the Son reveals Him. John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus is the way to the Father.

Knowing God is all about relationship. It is about trusting Christ for our salvation and living in relationship with Him. When we pray, we connect with God. When we read the Bible, we learn more about Him. When we are obedient to His Words, we live in tune with the Holy Spirit. This is all about relationship.

3. We find rest in Christ

In verse 28 Jesus stretches out His hand and asks us to come to Him. He invites us to exchange our business and burdens for His rest and peace. In verse 29 He asks us to take on His yoke. Like an ox with a yoke pulling a plow, we join in with Jesus in His work. This work, however, is free from the burden of the obeying the Old Testament law and it is also free from the directionless living of the world.

We also find rest in Jesus in the discipline of being His disciple. As we learn about Jesus and as we grow in Him, we find rest for our weary souls. He is a good teacher as He is gentle and humble. No longer do we have to strive and strain for approval from God, we have it in Christ. We can just focus on Christ and following Him. We can rest in His finished work on the cross.

I really enjoy this short prayer from Jesus. In it we learn a lot about how God wants us to come to him, how He wants us to live in Him and how we can find peace and rest in Christ.

God Bless,
Dave

The Apostles healed many

In the Book of Acts 5:12-16 there is a section titled, “The Apostles healed many” in the Bible. It says…

“12 The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. 14 Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. 15 As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. 16 Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.”

In this section we see that the Apostles healed many people who were brought to them at Solomon’s Colonade. It even says people were brought to them from surrounding villages.

Why was healing an important part of the early church? It seems there are miracles happening all the time. A number of people have asked me why over the years. Here are a few reasons I believe.

1. People sought God – there was an atmosphere of people really seeking God. They wanted to know the Lord and His will. There was a real hunger for the things of God.

2. Apostles teaching – people were really interested in the Apostles teaching. They wanted to learn more and more about God. In previous chapters we see the people were devoted to it.

3. Prayer – the early church was a place of constant prayer. We often read of people meeting together regularly at the Temple or in homes for prayer. They understood prayer is our lifeline to God.

4. Validation – the signs, wonders and miracles validated the Apostles teaching and preaching. They spoke of God’s plan for salvation through Christ and they backed it up with miracles to show God was with them.

5. God’s compassion – All the miraculous healing showed God’s love and compassion for suffering people. When miracles are taking place we see a God who is alive and active and cares for people in need.

6. Faith – there was a general atmosphere of faith. People were looking to God and believed that God was working through the Apostles. This is why they brought their friends and family for healing.

7. Salvation – this is ultimately why God is involved in our lives. He wants us all to be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to salvation. He wants us to know Him and spend eternity with him.

These are just some of the reasons why healing was such a big part of the early church. It is a big part of why signs, wonders and miracles still happen in some churches today.

God Bless,
Dave

Four devotions, seven results

In Acts 2 there is a section of Scripture that talks about a new community of believers that formed after Christ returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit came. It talks about the things they focused on and the results.

Acts 2:42-47 – All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity– 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

What are the four things they focused on as a new community?

  1. The Apostles teaching – this would have been the Old Testament, the teachings of Christ that they had heard, and the way they believe the new community of believers should live.
  2. Fellowship – this is about doing life together as a new community of believers. It would include helping each other, worshiping and praying together, getting to know each other, and being one in Christ.
  3. Sharing meals – this means everyday fellowship and sharing meals with one another including sharing communion. This is about deeper relationship more than just seeing people in church once a week.
  4. Prayer – prayer is our lifeline to God. When we pray alone we become closer to God. When we pray with others we get closer to each other and seek God’s blessings, help and direction together.

As a result of doing these four things, we see a number of results or blessings.

  1. Sense of awe – they were in awe of what God was doing in their midst.
  2. Signs and wonders – the Apostle performed miraculous signs, wonders and miracles.
  3. Regular meetings – the new community met together regularly in homes and at the Temple.
  4. Shared – they shared money and possessions and regularly shared meals.
  5. Worship – they worshiped together daily in the Temple.
  6. Favour – they enjoyed the goodwill and favour of the people around them.
  7. Saved – more people got saved and were added to the church.

The thing I find interesting is when we as Christians focus on the right things and are fully devoted to them, great things happen. Devotion to God and His Kingdom, brings blessings and all types of Divine favour.

Let us purpose in our hearts to devote ourselves to the things of God. Things like the Bible, fellowship, sharing and prayer.

God Bless,
Dave

God told Joshua six things

In the beginning of the Book of Joshua God told Joshua six important things to do. This happened just after Israel’s great leader Moses had died.

Joshua 1:1-9 – After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you– 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. 6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is My command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Here are six keys from Joshua 1:1-9…

1. God told Joshua to lead the people (v2) – Moses had just died and they needed someone strong to lead them to the promised land. Joshua was the one God had chosen.

2. God told Joshua of the promise (v2-5) – God promised He would give them land, help and victory. In verses 3-4 God spoke of the promise of land and in verse 5 He said “no-one would be able to stand against them”.

3. God told Joshua to be strong (v 6, 7, 9) – Three times in four verses God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. He would need to be if he was going to fulfil all God wanted him to do.

4. God told Joshua to obey Moses (v7) – Moses had been a great leader and Joshua was his close to him. Now Joshua had to remember all Moses’ instructions and to not deviate from them.

5. God told Joshua to study the Book (v8) – A key to Joshua’s success would be to study the Book – God’s Word. He was told to study it and reflect on it deeply (meditate). This is a key to being successful.

6. God told Joshua of His presence (v9) – The final things God said in this passage is that He would go with them. He would not have t be afraid because God would be with them wherever they went.

In this short passage of nine verses is everything Joshua needed to know and do to lead the people well. If we are in leadership or taking on a new venture, they are good things for us to remember today.

God Bless,
Dave