Sunday, January 31, 2021

God does not deceive people




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 Scripture Reading

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked:

for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Gal.6.7


I think it would be fair to say that no one likes to be deceived. We feel cheated and manipulated when someone has misled us and wilfully abused our trust. We know inertly in our hearts that this type of behaviour is unacceptable.

As a Christian, I am confident of this. God is absolutely trustworthy; He never deceives us. In our podcasts recently, we have been considering some of God's characteristics that make him dependable and worthy of our trust. He cannot lie, He does not break promises, and He can do everything except sin. 

Let me talk to you for a moment about self-deception. It is possible to deceive yourself. Our verse today warns us of this possibility. We could ‘stick our head in the sand’ and try to pretend that we can do what we like and get away with it. However, this verse states that this would amount to deceiving ourselves, and the end result would be personally damaging. There is a principle at work here - you reap what you sow! This principle works in all spheres in life. The gap between sowing and reaping may vary depending on the situation. It is most vividly seen in the agricultural world. However, it is also true in relationships, in business and financial matters. Why then would it not be true in the spiritual world? If we give time to God, invest in things that are of spiritual value, give priority to our spiritual health, then we will reap the benefits in the long term. 

Invest your life in the things of God for His glory, and you will reap the results. If not in this life, in eternity. What a wonderful person our God is. We should praise and give glory to His name!

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Do you need a miracle In 2021?








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It is an amazing fact that the Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter 8 says that the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but that He had nowhere to lay His head! When we just pause and think about that it is almost unbelievable, yet we must believe it because it is true. The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son said it and we know that God cannot lie!

When we just begin to think about the statement it is amazing, the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth of every mine was here and had no home. Yet it is more amazing that the Son of God was here for us! When He was here, He made an impact on so many lives, He healed and transformed people. 

One family that felt the transforming power of the Lord Jesus was a group of siblings in a poor village just outside Jerusalem called Bethany. Mary, Martha and Lazarus became followers of the Lord Jesus and He knew that their home was always open to Him. When He visited, He knew that there was always a meal, always a place to stay and that they would sit with Him and listen intently to his teaching. This was because they believed in Him, they knew that He was the Messiah, sent from God and that He had the power to forgive and through belief they knew that forgiveness of sin.
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Thursday, January 28, 2021

God can do anything except sin.



All photos courtesy of Unsplash


Scripture Reading


James 1:13
 
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; 

for God cannot be tempted by evil

nor does He Himself tempt anyone


If you were debating morals and ethics with your peer group and someone said ‘I have never done anything wrong’ you might be quite surprised and I am sure a discussion would develop. Morality and ethics are complex issues from any angle but especially when we approach it from a subjective point of view. We all have our opinions and are influenced by our ‘worldview’. 

As a Christian, I realise that my world view is often incomplete and inaccurate. Hopefully not because I am stupid but because without the word of God, I do not have access to all of the information that I need to understand the world, past present and future.

In the Bible, God has communicated to us about things that we could not know about from any other source. One amazing revelation God gives us about himself is His inability to sin. The word of God says that God has a flawless character.

This means that God is right in every respect. This covers how he acts, why he acts, matters of motive, intention etc. He is eternally without defect.  This is difficult for flawed human beings to grasp but it is true. Even when we are doing good things and behaving well a sense of pride and superiority can creep into our thinking. Even in His perfection, God is uniquely majestic and noble and yet without conceit.

We naturally find that we react and respond when tempted by sin. There is nothing in the character of God that responds to temptation. Like wood shavings set beside a magnet, there is no pull towards evil. 

It is God’s desire that we replicate His holy character in the way that we live. Give God a chance to make you like him. Spend some time with Him today. 

 

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

God cannot lie!

 



                                            All photographs courtesy of Unsplash


                                    Scripture Reading

 

Titus 1.2

 

‘In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began’

 

 

What a bizarre statement from a human perspective. I lie, you lie, and we all do so why assume that God would be any different. There is a core issue that we are facing here as we look at the topic of God’s total truthfulness. The issue is that God is everything that we are not. He is pure, He is perfect, He always acts within his character and He is unique compared to you and me.

 

If you like to compare versions of the bible you will see that when translating this verse some of the more modern versions say, ‘God does not lie’ (NET, LITV, NIV). Interestingly the older versions usually say he ‘cannot lie’ (RV, Darby, Wuest, Rotherham). Which is correct you might be asking. Have a look at a Strong’s Concordance’ on your phone or laptop to see what Mr Strong says about this phrase. He says that the word for a lie has a negative particle in front of it to indicate that God is not capable of lying. If you look up ‘Robertson’s Word Pictures’, he tells us that the statement really means that God is the ‘non-lying God’. God is not in the business of lying; it is out of character for Him and he just does not do it.


What does this mean for me? I can trust everything he has ever said! You’ll have a good day after thinking this one through.

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

God cannot break a promise


 




Scripture Reading


2 Cor.1.20


‘all the promises of God in him are 

yea, and in him Amen’,

 

This is a tremendous statement but how can I be confident that it is true. 

 

At a very simple level as a Christian, I accept that the Bible is the word of God and if it says that God cannot break His promises, well that’s good enough for me. 

 

My second reason for believing this statement is the evidence of what God has done to date. In Romans chapter 15 verse 8 we learn that the Lord Jesus ‘confirmed the promises made unto the fathers’. In other words, He did what God had promised He would do. We find a similar statement in Titus chapter 1 verses 2 & 3. God promised ‘eternal life’ and the Lord Jesus provided it. If God has never broken His promises to date, why would I assume that he will break them in the future?

 

If you happen to be reading this and are not saved you should find this truth quite disturbing. If God never goes back on His word, then you are in big trouble. God has promised to judge the world in righteousness by the Lord Jesus. God will always do what is right and just and justice will always be carried out in the end. 

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Death or Life?

 



All photographs courtesy of Unsplash

For weeks now we watched the statistics about coronavirus deaths and infections mounting up. They are terrible to think about, and we long to hear of the numbers reducing and eventually disappearing. Worldwide, it is hard to take it all in, and what the eventual totals will be is hard to imagine.

 

The authorities need the statistics to map out the progress of the disease, and from their viewpoint, it’s the numbers that matter. But behind the numbers, there are mountains of grief because each one in that total was someone’s close relative, someone’s dear friend, a life cut short unexpectedly. 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The British Museum - Preserving the Bible



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In the British Museum in London is one of the most wonderful of ancient manuscripts and it is a copy of the Bible known as Codex Sinaiticus.  Today it is carefully preserved by the experts of the Museum but during its history, it was very close to destruction.  

A German scholar named Tischendorf discovered it and incredibly he spotted the Codex amongst waste material that was being used for lighting fires in the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai in 1844 and he saved it from being burnt and destroyed. The monastery presented the codex to the Czar of Russia in return for certain favours and decorations.  Later it fell into the hands of the Soviet government following the Russian revolution. As an atheistic regime, they had no interest in Biblical material and were prepared to sell the codex and so it was purchased for the British Museum through public subscription in 1933 for £100,000.  

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Seeing is believing!




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‘Seeing is believing’ — or so some say. But try asking someone who is blind whether theirs is just a virtual world. God cannot be seen with our eyes but it does not mean God is not there and that He cannot see us. Actually, God knows everything about us.

One day, Jesus saw a man who had been blind since his birth. He could not see Jesus, but Jesus could see him, and soon actions and words revealed His presence. As Jesus’ disciples looked on, they wondered how such a condition had arisen. Could this man somehow have committed wrong before his birth? Or perhaps it was because of some blunder on the part of his parents? 

Whilst it is true that our mistakes can have repercussions both to ourselves and others, Jesus said that this was not the case here. The Bible says, ‘Jesus saw’ him. He not only saw the man’s physical condition but his spiritual state too. The man’s physical blindness gave Jesus the opportunity to perform a miracle that would show God’s power at work.

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Have a look around you - what can you see?

 



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David the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 8, "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth." When we look around at the world that God has made it is amazing! Whichever way we look we see the wonder of creation. We can look up at the grandeur of a huge snow-capped mountain range and the views are amazing. 

I can remember as a child sitting in a train that was climbing slowly on a Swiss mountain railway, sat in the same carriage was a group of excited teenagers. They talked and laughed loudly as we went higher and higher. Their noise spoilt really the sense of awe that I was feeling looking around at the scenery.

The train came to its destination, it was a station cut out of the rock and as we alighted from the train we had to walk through a tunnel to a platform with a panoramic view. The view was truly awesome snow-covered mountains in every direction. I felt small and, in my head, I rehearsed the words of the famous hymn, "How great Thou art!" 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

God be with you!



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The question asked by many people after Christmas is “How did Christmas go?” For the Christian, every day is like Christmas in that God is with us every day. That is the true meaning of “Emmanuel: God with us” and, even better, God is for us; on our side. 

But, remember that God’s Son has another name – Jesus. Every name has a meaning and Jesus means “He will save His people from their sins.” After His resurrection, before returning to His Heavenly Father, Jesus spoke to His disciples with these reassuring words: ”…and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. This is how Matthew ends his gospel. These words offer great comfort to every Christian. Jesus has promised to be with His disciples “even to the end”. Are you living in the good of Christ’s promise? Do you face tough times with the certainty that God is with you throughout? I truly hope so. 

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Farming Life in East Sussex





There is a Christian farmer in East Sussex who has spent years planting and pruning thousands of willow trees to create a Bible verse that can be read-only from the sky. The farmer started this incredible task in the 1990s on his farm near Whitesmith, East Sussex.   He chose John chapter 14 verse 6 to patiently cultivate. The willow trees spell out words spoken in answer to the question, ‘How can we know the way?” Jesus replied, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. As well as a message, his carefully spaced “many thousands” of willow trees form a maze. 

 

The maze has been used by friends and members of his local church and although the farmer knew that his maze was well set out, it was only after a number of years he was shown a picture of it taken from above from a helicopter. Now every time he sees a plane going over, he offers up a little prayer that people will see the verse and it will help them to trust in and follow Jesus. So, close up it is a maze with people trying hard to find their way through, but from above it is an easily read message. 

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lessons from Lockdown?




All photos courtesy of Unsplash
What Was Meant for Evil, God Uses for Good’
The story of Joseph is an amazing take on tragedy and triumph? This young Hebrew man flourished in the midst of tragedy? Twenty years after his brothers sold him into slavery the roles were reversed. Joseph had become Vice Regent of Egypt and his brothers are pleading with him for food and ultimately for their lives. Once they realised that he recognised them they approached them with dread. They were terrified that he would settle old scores and throw them into a pit of their own making. But Joseph didn’t. In his explanation, we find insight into understanding the way that God operates.
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Saturday, January 09, 2021

Did you have 20/20 Vision in 2020





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In mid-2019, an eye-catching advert appeared: "Get 20/20 vision before 2020". It was from a company offering eye surgery, encouraging readers to have the operation before the end of 2019, so that by the beginning of the year 2020 they would have ‘normal vision’. It is now too late to have it before 2020, but doubtless the same business, and others, will continue to offer it in this New Year.


In John chapter 9 we read about a man who received a transformation in eyesight far greater than that offered by any surgical procedure: instantaneously he went from being totally blind, to seeing clearly. This miraculous change took place because the Lord Jesus Christ had pity on him and healed him.

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Thursday, January 07, 2021

Are you being deceived?








Photos courtesy than Unsplash 

None of us likes to be deceived, yet we may be subject to some kind of deception almost every day. Perhaps you have been deceived in the purchase of some commodity; for example, if the car you bought was ‘clocked’. That means the milometer (the device recording the number of miles the vehicle has travelled) had been turned back to give the impression that the distance travelled was a lot smaller than the true mileage. Along with this, the price was increased because supposedly you were buying ‘a very nice low mileage car’. Sometimes a soccer player is tackled and the tackler hardly touches him but he rolls around the turf so that the referee is deceived into awarding a ‘free kick’. Many people have been deceived by politicians who promised lots but delivered little.


We remember, when we were at school, the excuses we made because we did not have our homework done. We deceived the teacher. One of the worst deceptions was when we deceived our parents by lying to them about places we had been and the company we were with. As we look back over the past our cheeks blush and we feel most uncomfortable.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2021

6 things we cannot do without





 


Somehow this coronavirus has changed nearly everything for us - working life, family contacts, church activities, shopping patterns and much more. We are really missing some of these, but we are learning to cope and are adapting remarkably well. When things get back to (more) normal, will we still benefit from the lessons we are learning just now?

 

We are learning that there are many things we can do without, and that many other things are more important than we thought, things that perhaps we have been taking for granted. For example:

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Monday, January 04, 2021

Your PPE for 2021 (Believers take note)






Used by permission of Unsplash 

 
Provision of personal protective equipment for people who are dealing with coronavirus cases has been a big problem in many places. It is a shame that for lack of it, some dedicated medical staff and carers have been more at risk.
 
The three letters, PPE, have become the quick way to describe things like face masks, visors, gloves, overalls and so on – you hear it all the time! But if you were not ‘in the know’ you might wonder what PPE was! However, we use abbreviations (acronyms) like these all the time. For example, we refer to CT scans at hospital, we take precautions to avoid UV light, traffic police talk of RTAs, there are SVQs in education and training, we have MPs and MSPs, and one of these nights (a bit later on!) you might have a BBQ. I’m sure you can add a few more to the list, but can’t forget the NHS!

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Friday, January 01, 2021

As you start the New Year consider this!










All photographs courtesy of Unsplash

In the Bible the Psalmist reminds us that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made" so here are some amazing facts about some of our body organs.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, covering it from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. In a full grown adult, it weighs about 11lb. Its thickest point is on the soles, at up to 5mm thick (0.2in). Its thinnest point is on the eyelid at only ½ mm. 1 square inch of skin may hold 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels and more than 1,000 nerve endings.

The heart will beat 2.5 billion times in an average life of 72 years. It beats at around 60 times a minute with each beat pushing blood around the body 1,440 times every day.  It can increase to 200 beats a minute when running.
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