Monthly Archives: June 2016

Mark 2:27

“Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).

Sometimes people make the Sabbath day of rest into a firm, harsh rule to be obeyed. But Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was given as a gift for man. It is a blessing to obey. As we do obey we not only renew our energy but we also know that this world will go on without our constant strivings. Actually God is in control so it’s ok to have a day of rest.

If our lives are constantly busy doing and achieving (for ourselves, our families, or for God) we start to form the idea that God is our boss, always wanting His work done with us as His slaves. But when we know He is our Father, then we can work with Him joyfully in whatever we do. And we can take time out to rest with Him as He is more interested in shaping us to be His children than our work output and ‘KPI’s.

Hebrews 4 tells us that by believing the Gospel we enter into God’s true rest. This world continually plagues us with busyness and achieving impossible ideals, but when we trust in Jesus we can rest. Our anxiety, striving, stress, frustration, failings, dreams and expectations can be put aside that we can enjoy peaceful rest along with the good works God has prepared for us.

Mark 2:27

“Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).

Sometimes people make the Sabbath day of rest into a firm, harsh rule to be obeyed. But Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was given as a gift for man. It is a blessing to obey. As we do obey we not only renew our energy but we also know that this world will go on without our constant strivings. Actually God is in control so it’s ok to have a day of rest.

If our lives are constantly busy doing and achieving (for ourselves, our families, or for God) we start to form the idea that God is our boss, always wanting His work done with us as His slaves. But when we know He is our Father, then we can work with Him joyfully in whatever we do. And we can take time out to rest with Him as He is more interested in shaping us to be His children than our work output and ‘KPI’s.

Hebrews 4 tells us that by believing the Gospel we enter into God’s true rest. This world continually plagues us with busyness and achieving impossible ideals, but when we trust in Jesus we can rest. Our anxiety, striving, stress, frustration, failings, dreams and expectations can be put aside that we can enjoy peaceful rest along with the good works God has prepared for us.

Romans 5:5

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5).

Hope looks forward to the future. To have hope is to believe or know that something in the future will be good and secure. The western world suffers from a crisis of hope. They have none and therefore live in the meaningless routine of ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’. Lack of hope makes ‘no-hopers’.

At election time politicians build a case for how they alone can offer a substantial hope but in reality they have little to offer of any real or eternal value.

But the hope that comes to us from God through Jesus is firm and secure – an anchor for our souls. It is not based on vain promises and maybes. It is based on fact and truth. Jesus has died for all our sins, and then He was raised from the dead. All who believe in Him have an assurance of eternal life which is worth more than a thousand truck-loads of the pathetic promises this world offers.

As we believe, God pours His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and we have a secure hope. A hope that flows from God Himself, a hope that the world both longs for and rejects.

Romans 5:5

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5).

Hope looks forward to the future. To have hope is to believe or know that something in the future will be good and secure. The western world suffers from a crisis of hope. They have none and therefore live in the meaningless routine of ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’. Lack of hope makes ‘no-hopers’.

At election time politicians build a case for how they alone can offer a substantial hope but in reality they have little to offer of any real or eternal value.

But the hope that comes to us from God through Jesus is firm and secure – an anchor for our souls. It is not based on vain promises and maybes. It is based on fact and truth. Jesus has died for all our sins, and then He was raised from the dead. All who believe in Him have an assurance of eternal life which is worth more than a thousand truck-loads of the pathetic promises this world offers.

As we believe, God pours His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and we have a secure hope. A hope that flows from God Himself, a hope that the world both longs for and rejects.

Isaiah 43:23-25

“You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences.” (Isaiah 43:23-24).

God’s people were not worshipping Him as they should have been. God had not laid on the people harsh and difficult burdens. He had always been their Father and yet they treated Him like a harsh task-master. But the natural outworking of their wrong view of God was that they turned to all sorts of sin. Naturally when people refuse to see God as He is they end up in all sorts of addictive sins, idolatry, violence and evil.

They wearied God with their many sins and offences, but what was His response? “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25). Our wrong view of God doesn’t change Him one bit! Even if we imagine Him to be a harsh lord He is still the gracious God who, while we were still sinners, sent His own Son to die for us and save us! ‘Who is a pardoning God like Thee?’

Isaiah 43:23-25

“You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences.” (Isaiah 43:23-24).

God’s people were not worshipping Him as they should have been. God had not laid on the people harsh and difficult burdens. He had always been their Father and yet they treated Him like a harsh task-master. But the natural outworking of their wrong view of God was that they turned to all sorts of sin. Naturally when people refuse to see God as He is they end up in all sorts of addictive sins, idolatry, violence and evil.

They wearied God with their many sins and offences, but what was His response? “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25). Our wrong view of God doesn’t change Him one bit! Even if we imagine Him to be a harsh lord He is still the gracious God who, while we were still sinners, sent His own Son to die for us and save us! ‘Who is a pardoning God like Thee?’

John 7:3-5

“Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No-one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:3-5).

Jesus’ brothers were encouraging Him to put his miraculous power on display for all to see. They knew that everybody loved a good show and that Jesus could greatly increase his ratings if He ‘went public’. But John tells us that by saying this they were showing that they did not believe in Him.

We easily think that the way God would be made known is through great acts of power, impressive acts of generosity, or an outward display of goodness. But Jesus knew that the way that He was to be shown in his glory was through a cross. Through seeming failure – cursed by God and rejected by men.

But Jesus also knew that this cross was God’s way to save this world from sin and to give righteousness to all who would believe in Him.

Through the cross God deals with our true problem: sin which separates us from Him. Let us never become distracted by the outward show.

John 7:3-5

“Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No-one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:3-5).

Jesus’ brothers were encouraging Him to put his miraculous power on display for all to see. They knew that everybody loved a good show and that Jesus could greatly increase his ratings if He ‘went public’. But John tells us that by saying this they were showing that they did not believe in Him.

We easily think that the way God would be made known is through great acts of power, impressive acts of generosity, or an outward display of goodness. But Jesus knew that the way that He was to be shown in his glory was through a cross. Through seeming failure – cursed by God and rejected by men.

But Jesus also knew that this cross was God’s way to save this world from sin and to give righteousness to all who would believe in Him.

Through the cross God deals with our true problem: sin which separates us from Him. Let us never become distracted by the outward show.

John 8:34-36

“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36).

When we sin we become slaves to that sin. We think we are free to choose and to live as we please but in actual fact we are trapped and enslaved by our addictions, habits and pathetic attempts to gain ‘life’.

Slaves have no place in God’s family. His family are all those who reflect His image but we have rejected that image and decided to proudly live in the precious emptiness of our own ways.

Jesus is the perfect Son of God and He always lived in the image of His Father. He was never a slavering anyone but joyfully obeyed His Father. He bore the guilt and shame of our slavery to sin so that we could be restored to being children of God – perfectly in His likeness again.

Do you live in slavery, feeling like this world rules over you and that you are trapped and stuck? Come back to Jesus the Son. Put your trust in Him again for ‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’.

John 8:34-36

“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36).

When we sin we become slaves to that sin. We think we are free to choose and to live as we please but in actual fact we are trapped and enslaved by our addictions, habits and pathetic attempts to gain ‘life’.

Slaves have no place in God’s family. His family are all those who reflect His image but we have rejected that image and decided to proudly live in the precious emptiness of our own ways.

Jesus is the perfect Son of God and He always lived in the image of His Father. He was never a slavering anyone but joyfully obeyed His Father. He bore the guilt and shame of our slavery to sin so that we could be restored to being children of God – perfectly in His likeness again.

Do you live in slavery, feeling like this world rules over you and that you are trapped and stuck? Come back to Jesus the Son. Put your trust in Him again for ‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’.