Do we believe?

Jesus’ miraculous signs point to who he is.

“When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival, for they, too, had gone to the festival. Then he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’” (John 4:45-49 NRSVUE)

Jesus had spent time in Jerusalem and returned through Samaria. Finally he was back ‘home’ in Galilee and was welcomed by the people. They had seen “all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival”, which caused many to believe. Continue reading “Do we believe?”

Love or hate?

When we are doing the best we can for others, we are seen to be like our Teacher.

“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:11-15 NIV)

I think most Christians realise that love is to characterise our lives as followers of Jesus. Because we don’t often see love exhibited around us, we sometimes forget what love really is. How many times have you had someone say that they loved you and yet did all sorts of bad things to you? Continue reading “Love or hate?”

Taste and see

The evidence was in: David had tried God and found him to be good!

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV)

How do we know if something tastes good or not? You would think that the obvious answer would be to take a bite! But often this is not what we do. Continue reading “Taste and see”

Preparing for eternity

The forgiveness Jesus offers is available now.

As you read through the books of the Law you discover that the Israelites were introduced to a system of sacrifices. Animals were killed and offered to make restitution for something someone had done. Once each year the high priest entered the inner room of the tabernacle with blood of an animal to deal with his sin as well as the sin of the nation. The problem was that he had to do this each year. Why? Because the blood of animals, the sacrifices they made, were unable to get rid of the sin. Continue reading “Preparing for eternity”

Whatever happened to being good?

The political turmoil around us is spilling over into our lives as Christians.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no-one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle towards everyone.” (Titus 3:1-2 NIV)

As you read through Paul’s conclusion to his letter to Titus, the description of what Christians are to be stands in stark contrast to the world around us today. In fact, it is quite a contrast to many who call themselves followers of Jesus. Continue reading “Whatever happened to being good?”

The leadership of God’s people

Paul wrote is that this is something that a man must aspire to.

“This saying is trustworthy: ‘If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.’ The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.” (1 Timothy 3:1-7 NET)

There is very much a contrast between what we might call ‘worldly’ leadership and Biblical leadership. To be a leader of God’s people is not about positions of importance. It isn’t about authority. It isn’t about being in charge. Continue reading “The leadership of God’s people”

Put on God’s armour

Our armour consists of what our lives should be producing as Christians.

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. Put on God’s armour so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 CEB)

Armour was used in many ages in the past as protection in battle. We may think of a suit of armour standing in some castle and great houses now on display. We no longer use the type of armour that knights used for centuries although soldiers today still have protective armour. The Romans also wore armour which is what Paul goes on to describe here. Continue reading “Put on God’s armour”

Being wise and innocent

Knowing God’s word should not be a daunting task.

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:17-19 NIV)

Sometimes being a Christian can be a minefield. The reason is simple as well as sad: we deal with people and are influenced by people. It is sad because there are people who aren’t interested in building up and encouraging others but want people to listen to and follow them. Continue reading “Being wise and innocent”

Are we like Jesus?

I can almost hear Christians saying about what Paul wrote, “Do I have to?”

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal; be ardent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; pursue hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:9-13 NRSVUE)

The fruit that we are to produce in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23) is based on love. Love is something that people can easily say they have but for the follower of Jesus it must be more. It must be genuine. It means really caring for each other – and that love is reciprocated because we are all part of the body of Jesus and we are serving him. It means we take care of each other with helping in any way they need. It means our primary concern can’t be ourselves but we outdo each other in doing things for each other. Continue reading “Are we like Jesus?”

Stand Firm

Thank God for those who became Christians before we did and took the time to teach us the good news of Jesus.

“But we always must thank God for you, brothers and sisters who are loved by God. This is because he chose you from the beginning to be the first crop of the harvest. This brought salvation, through your dedication to God by the Spirit and through your belief in the truth. God called all of you through our good news so you could possess the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 CEB)

As the majority of people are no longer live an agricultural way of life, the first crop of the harvest, or ‘firstfruits’, is not something with which we are familiar. Obviously it has to do with the first of what was harvested. Continue reading “Stand Firm”