It’s not all failure

It’s not all failure!
1 Thessalonians 2:1
I’ve never seen this before and I love it!
v1 “our visit to you was not without results”
Paul then continues to examine their time in Philippi.
Too many have walked away from things thinking they have failed and that it was a waste of time. The only failure is the failure to examine correctly their time.
Today will hold results.
A kind word.
A new thought.
A decision that was waiting to be made.
These may not be results that get the headlines but they are important results nonetheless.
Give God your today and you will see the results.

Be thankful

Be thankful …
1 Thessalonians 1:2
We always thank God for all of you …
Have you ever had one of those moments where you are just a little annoyed at someone?
Though this may not be good for my reputation I had such a moment last night! I had what could be described as an attack of grumpiness. I know I’m sure you can hardly believe it of me!
Then I read this verse ahead of this morning. Hmm!
So I did what Paul said he did. I decided to thank God for everyone I could think of. I thanked God even for the people who are reading this today, for you. After I had got through the thanking I had forgotten I was grumpy! It had worked!

As Paul thanked God for these Christians he remembered their faith, love and hope and what these traits had accomplished.

As Paul thanked God he remembered the past and his involvement with their lives.

As Paul thanked God he remembered what God did for and through the people.

Now I am hoping no one will be like I was. I hope you’re not grumpy today. But instead of whining about someone, thank God for them. In fact always thank God for them. See what happens …!

CHRIST our mystery!

CHRIST our mystery!
Colossians 4:3
The Apostle Paul uses this word often in his letters, but not as we do. We use it as something which is confusing and hard to understand.
For Paul however, he takes the word well known at the time as Greek mysteries which were hidden, secret truths, beliefs and practices within secret societies. The initiated persons are the only ones enlightened, everyone else is oblivious. Christ hidden, Christ secret, Christ unknown not to heaven but to earth. Yet now …! He is our mystery because we have been initiated and now we see.
So what do we do? v2-6
We pray for an open door.
We declare the gospel as clearly as we can.
We suffer for doing so.
We use wisdom.
We respond in grace
We do all this because others need to come in and know this mystery, this Christ!

Saturday 17th January

Folks sorry for the lack of devotion/blogs. Not sure why they haven’t come through these last few days. I have enquired but not getting any joy. Anyway thank you for your emails and texts asking where they are, that’s encouraging in a way! So I’m loading these separately. Cannot rely on computer systems it seems!

CHRIST above! Colossians 3 v1-4 What doe

CHRIST above!
Colossians 3
v1-4
What does it mean to set hearts and minds on things above?
1. It is not to be inactive on earth.
Setting our hearts and minds above means we have to go lower. It is here where our mission is. And so Paul says battle with your humanity on earth in relation to yourself and to that of others, v5-14.
Mission is lowering yourself to earth.
Whenever I am in a country like Africa or india I am watching people. And I am asking myself ‘how does it feel for these people when life is just how it was yesterday?’ Their earth experience is limited and sometimes disabled. But we are called to their earth to serve and to surrender but we do this from a place of a mind and heart fixed on above.

2. Mind means attitude
The DRC was the most moving time for my life. The community we visited were gripped with fear. The rape capital of the world, 48 an hour. It was easy to see how that statistic was possible as the women are taken from their homes and raped many times.
One thing was said to me time and again, “the enemy cannot take my eternity.” Their mind was resolute on Him above!
In lesser struggles of life, for our world, there are many who want a change of circumstances but not a change in their thinking.

3. Heart means attention
In the Pilgrims’ Progress, there is a man with a muck-rake who looks no other way but down as he rakes to himself the straws, the small sticks and the dust of the floor. There stands also one man over his head with a crown in his hand to offer the man that crown. But the man does not look up, but rakes the floor. To this man, heaven is nothing but a fable, and only things here on earth are counted substantial. Are we like the man?
Or is our heart and mind set on Christ above.

CHRIST the Divine! Colossians 2 He is no

CHRIST the Divine!
Colossians 2
He is not the 2nd most important person of the godhead. That’s how we imagine it though it’s unhelpful, because it is wrong! Father, Son and Spirit are equal in authority.
Why is He the Son then? Not because of inferiority nor that the Father preceded the Son in existence.
In the first century mind to have the son come in place of the father is better than a colleague or an associate of the person.
The New Testament writers are saying God cannot come because He hasn’t got a body. But Jesus has come and he is acting as a son. You see Jesus you see the Father. He is the Son not the way we see sonship but He is Son because He can speak as God for He is, He can act as God for He IS GOD.
In v 9 He is Divine.
*So don’t let man ask you to follow Jesus plus. Jesus plus man’s traditions. Jesus plus man’s desires and requests. Jesus is enough, He is divine, v6-8.
*Just as Christ contains the Godhead, so you contain Christ! You belong to Him, marked with His mark and having had your own resurrection into new life, v9-12.
*And this is why only Jesus can forgive sins, why only Jesus can give you life and why only Jesus has defeated the power that stands against you, v13-15.

CHRIST the Creator! Colossians 1 In the

CHRIST the Creator!
Colossians 1
In the next 4 days our sole focus will be on Jesus being the Son of God and the second person of the trinity!
This is important as people are reading books by Dan Brown and the like who claim that Jesus was a mortal prophet, made divine by a vote at the council of Nicea in 325AD. What they don’t realise is that the Council was answering the Arians belief that Jesus was created. Even before this date there is much evidence to show that people believed in the divinity of Christ.
We have just come through the season of carols such as:
God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
Very God, Begotten not created.

The word ‘begotten’ carries 2 truths:
The Father God is not God the Son and vice versa.
The Father and the Son are one God not two Gods.
CS Lewis wrote “We don’t mean there are 2 Gods, we mean there is 1 God. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind of things. When you make or create, you make some thing different to you.”

For all eternity the Father has seen the mirror of Himself in His Son and the reflection of Himself found in the Son. There was never a time when the Son did not exist and when God could not be seen in Him.

In fact Jesus Christ is the Creator! v16
And because of this:
Jesus is the one who can wipe your past away, v13-14.
Jesus is the one who can create new things out of nothing, v16.
Jesus is the one who can keep your life and situation going, v17

One day when all is revealed, every one of us will bow our knee and confess in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Lord of all creation to the glory of the Father.

CHRIST can do everything! Philippians 4

CHRIST can do everything!
Philippians 4
Why focus on helplessness?
Why blame people?
Why stop searching for the answer?
Why stop working on it?
Why skirt round the issue and not go for the centre of the problem?
Why be initiated by the circumstance and not be the initiator of it?
Why complain?
Why make excuses?
Why slow down?
Why only go so far?
Why accept the acceptable and not pursue the wildest dream?
Why not finish the race instead of dropping out of it?
Why?
Because Christ can do everything and so can someone else, v13.

CHRIST is everything! Philippians 3 Ever

CHRIST is everything!
Philippians 3

Everything is a loss compared to knowing CHRIST, v8.
Because Christ is everything!

Gain has become an important part of the Church’s ministry ethos and strategy. If only this was in the Western Church alone. But I see this on every continent.
A church struggling to attract numbers does everything it can to bring people through its doors. Getting people into the building becomes a great achievement. The danger is that the church gives up the gospel for games in order to gain people. Some of the best Christian entertainment businesses are the churches, catering from babies to the elderly.

“If you come to this church you’ll get …”

We pamper to the needs of the masses – we supply what they need. We christen, wed, bury them and along the way sell them church.

After they attend for a while, they are dumbfounded to hear the church talk about sacrificial giving and serious commitment.

We hope they may say, “I came here for the music and what the church could offer my children, but because I’ve met God, I will now give up my rights and wants, I will deny myself”

Sadly, so many say “That’s not what I came here for – I’m going somewhere else, the church across the road better suits my needs.” Or “I’ve done church now, bye”

Churches are not car showrooms enticing people to buy their products. People still need to come the way of the old rugged cross.

In 1738, evangelist George Whitefield preached a sermon titled ‘The Almost Christian’. He contrasted ‘almost Christians’ with ‘altogether Christians’. “Tell them of the necessity of mortification, fasting and self-denial and it is as difficult for them to hear as if you were to bid them cut off a right hand or pluck out a right eye.”

In every century the church has faced this struggle with the element that want to gain from Christ and not lose all things for Him.

Christ is everything and to have Him is to lose everything.

CHRIST is exalted! Philippians 2 v6-11 H

CHRIST is exalted!

Philippians 2

v6-11

He is high and exalted, He is in the highest place. The Lord is over your pain, rejection, fear, intimidation, blindness and confusion. Because He is over it He can fix it. He can touch your situation today, pick you up, dust you down, remodel you, release the gifting in you, take away all your guilt and send you again. He is exalted and He will exalt.

But our attitude should be the same as that of Him: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing …

Let’s stop bullying our way to the front.

Let’s stop manipulating our way to the top.

Let’s help others to get there before us.

Let’s be like the exalted Christ.

Of all that is in heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, part of the Godhead, He is exalted! Around the throne are cries day and night “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.”

Have the same attitude as Christ: who from his position of who He is and His power said: Today, its not about me!

When faced with temptation., Jesus didn’t say because of my position, my experience, my title, its okay for me to fall a little here cos I know my Father will command his angels concerning me to guard me carefully; they will left me up in their hands, so that I will not strike my foot against a stone (Luke 4:10-11). No, He said, Today its not about me.

When faced with trial and taken down a path that was marked with difficulty and danger. He didn’t stand and say “Im not having this. I will call on Father who will put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels, Matthew 26:53. No, he said, Today its not about me.

Christ was exalted. He laid that down. He was exalted again.

We do well to remember that.