Zechariah 14:9 NLT – And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD-his name alone will be worshiped.
This verse talks about a day when all false gods that people worship and all false religions will be no more. There will be no cults, no worldly charismatic leaders who deceive people and no doubt who the true God is. It will be a day when only He is worshipped and He will rule and reign over all the earth. As a Jesus follower I look forward to this day. How about you?
Dear God, I thank You that You are the one true God who reigns supreme. You are far above all other false gods and worldly leaders. I look forward to the day when You come in power and glory and You alone are the one who is worshipped. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
I have found over the years it helps to have good people around you. Having family, friends, workmates who have your back makes a big difference. As today’s passage says having people around you can help you to succeed, help you up if you fall down, keep you warm in cold trying conditions, and even fight with you if needed. It reminds us of the importance of having good people around us by using the image of a triple-braided cord being stronger. Three interwoven cords are way stronger than a single thread.
Lord, I pray that I will always have good people around me. I thank You for the good people who are now in my life. I pray that You will help us to help each other and as we follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT – All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
In Hebrews 11 it lists some of the heroes of faith. It talks about people like Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Abel, Moses, Jacob and Joseph and the amazing faith they showed.
In verses 13-16 it gives us two tips that helped them to be heroes of faith.
1. Firstly, they had a great hope. They were looking forward to all the things God had promised. They believed what God said was yes and amen.
2. Secondly, they held firm to end. Even though they felt nomads and foreigners in this world, they held firm. We know this because it says they died still believing.
All of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11 did amazing things. If you haven’t read it in a while, I would encourage you to re-read it slowly and take it all in.
Two things that helped them was their great hope and decision to hold firm until the end.
Because of their commitment, we are reading about them thousdands of years later!
Prayer is so vital in the Christian life following Jesus. It helps us to know Him and spend time with Him. It also gives us our strength and wisdom to live this life.
Over the years I have spoken to a lot of Christians who struggle to have a regular prayer time. Life just seems to get in the way and squeezes it out.
One thing I have learned over the years is to have a routine in place. I use an acrostic to help – S.T.A.R.T.
Set – set a regular time for prayer. I have to do mine first thing in the morning. Otherwise the day gets away from me. I find doing it first thing sets my day up with my heart and mind on God.
Take – take your time. Don’t rush it like another item on your to do list. Take time to stop and be with God. I read the Bible, pray through my prayer list, listen to God and just sit with Him. Some days it is 15-20 minutes, some days an hour.
Allow – allow God to speak to you. Prayer is a two way thing. God might prompt you to look at a verse, ask you to do something or ask you to pray for someone. I just ask if there is anything He wants to say and I listen.
Repeat – repeat the process every day. Get into a habit and keep aiming to spend this focused time each day. Find your time of the day and repeat, repeat, repeat! I find the people with the most vibrant faith are the ones who have this time every day.
Try – try again. If you have tried before and not got a regular pattern for prayer, try again. It is ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Like any habit, prayer takes a while to get a rhythm. Ask God to help too!
Prayer is a wonderful thing. It helps us to spend time alone with God (TAWG) and gives us our strength for daily living. It changes our lives as we spend time with God and it changes the lives of those around us as we pray for them.
If you have been struggling with prayer. S.T.A.R.T. again!
I love this simple image and what it says. It talks about the process of working out our lives and finding our place in this world.
I know for me it took longer the first time to work things out and find my place.
Then over time life throws curve balls and your cube gets mixed up a bit again. But the cool thing is it is easier to fix over time as you learn the pattern like with a real rubik’s cube.
One key for me was walking with Jesus. Once I came to know Him, I found that I could see a future where things would be clearer.
I also found I didn’t always have to work out the next moves myself. I could pray and ask for help or wisdom. And Jesus always came through.
If you are going through a time where the colours are all mixed up, I would encourage you look to Jesus and ask Him to help you sort things out.
In Matthew 11:28-30 He encourages us to come to Him. He says…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus invites us to Himself. He wants to give us rest, He wants to teach us, and He wants to help us make sense of our lives.
Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that You will help me unscramble my life. I pray that You will give me wisdom and understanding and help me know what to do next. I pray that You will take my weariness and heavy burdens and exchange them for rest and peace. Teach me Your ways so I can follow You. Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT – Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When we look at the Great Commission we see there are five “ALLs” in this passage.
1. ALL authority is heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus
2. The great commission to go and make disciples of ALL nations
3. Baptise the new disciples in the name of ALL of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
4. We are to teach new disciples ALL the commands Jesus gave us
5. Jesus promises to be with us ALL-ways
I like the way the Great Commision has bookends. Jesus starts by telling us He has ALL authority and He finishes with He will be with us ALL-ways.
In between that He tells us what we need to do – go to ALL nations to make disciples, baptize them and teach them ALL of what Jesus commanded.
For me seeing the five ALLs helps me to remember what I need to do as a Christian and it keeps the Great Commision in the forefront of my mind.
Here is a great video from Francis Chan.
Online preaching or podcast sermons is something I have been thinking a lot about over the last six months. I have found that I have had way less desire to speak in church than I do preparing podcasts for my website. There are a few reasons for this.
1. More relaxed – preparing and delivering a sermon for a church audience is quite stressful. There is also a lot of time and effort that goes in to it too. Preparing a sermon for podcast is a lot more relaxed and as there is no timeframe, you can take your time and get it just right. And if it doesn’t sound quite right the first time, you can re-record it and go again. This makes a lot more relaxed.
2. More fruit – Another reason is when I preach in our local small country church context is there is only usually 20-40 people present. While this is a good thing to do and people are encouraged, a podcast sermon reaches way more people. A simple podcast sermon might reach hundreds of people in the first month and it continues to encourage people over the years.
3. More people – Over the years I have met a lot of Christians who do not attend church any more. For one reason or another they just don’t go. These people often still love the Lord and want to grow in their faith. As a result they search the internet for sermons, podcasts and other resources. They listen to sermons, read blogs and interact via social media. They might not attend church in person, but they are connected to the Body of Christ – the global church.
This is why I am shifting my focus over to online podcast sermons. It seems like the next progression for me in my journey. I may still preach in church occasionally, but it will be much less than in the past.
If you are interested you can find my sermons here and find our Podcast page here.
Here is a two week Bible reading plan on the life and teachings of Jesus. It includes all references and links. Please enjoy…
Day 1 – Luke 1:1-80 – Preparing for Jesus’ arrival
Day 2 – Luke 2:1-52 – The story of Jesus’ birth
Day 3 – Mark 1:1-45 – The beginning of Jesus ministry
Day 4 – Mark 9:1-50 – A day in the life of Jesus
Day 5 – Matthew 5:1-48 – The Sermon on the Mount
Day 6 – Matthew 6:1-34 – The Sermon on the Mount
Day 7 – Luke 15:1-32 – Parables of Jesus
Day 8 – John 3:1-36 – A conversation with Jesus
Day 9 – John 14:1-31 – Jesus’ final instructions
Day 10 – John 17:1-26 – Jesus’ prayer for His disciples
Day 11 – Matthew 26:1-75 – Betrayal and arrest
Day 12 – Matthew 27:1-66 – Jesus’ execution on a cross
Day 13 – John 20:1-30 – Resurrection
Day 14 – Luke 24:1-53 – Jesus’ appearance after resurrection
Vision Christian Radio shared this on social media today. I thought I would share it too…
This statue shows a Christian woman who is old at death’s door. As she passes from this life to the next, she is no longer sick or old and does not carry the burdens of this mortal life. She is welcomed by her Saviour into eternal life whole and strong to live forever in heaven.