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"Love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my heart, my all"

Judges 11:11-40; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

Judges 11

27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the Lord, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites

Over the years, Israel had many judges to lead them. But Jephthah recognized the Lord as the people’s true Judge, the only One who could really lead them and help them conquer the invading enemies. This is still true today, the Lord is our only true judge and is our only leader and is the only One who can lead us and help us conquer our “enemies”.

Acts 15

16“ ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’18 things known from long ago.

Despite the compelling experiences of Peter, Barnabas and Paul. James turned to God’s Word as the ultimate test of truth. This should be how we evaluate events. We all have beliefs and experiences, and our tendency is to want to measure others by our yardstick. Ultimately, what matters is what God’s word says. The more we know God’s Word, the more we will be able to discern what is right and best.

Jeremiah 24

2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten. 3 Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. 8 “ ‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’ ”

 We may assume we are blessed when life goes well and cursed when it does not. But trouble is a blessing when it makes us stronger, and prosperity is a curse if it entices us away from God. If you are facing trouble, ask God to help you grow stronger for him. If things are going your way, ask God to help you use your prosperity for him.

Mark 10

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack“, he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

What does your money mean to you? Is money your servant or your master? Although Jesus wanted this man to sell everything and give it to the poor, this does not mean that all believers should sell all they have. Most of his followers did not sell everything, although they used their possessions to serve others. Instead, this story shows us that we must not let anything we have or desire to keep us from following Jesus. We must remove all barriers to serving him fully. If Jesus asked, could you give up your house, car, or level of income? How about your position on the promotion ladder? Your reaction may show your attitude toward money-whether it is your servant or your master.

God Bless

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Joshua 20, 21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

Joshua 20

They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.”

Ever needed a do-over? Or refuge from a really bad unintentional mistake? God gave the Israelite’s such a physical space. There were actual cities where you could go known as “refuge cities” and you were protected by the Levites there. We might not have physical places set aside for us for “refuge” but we do have the awesome knowledge that God our father is our refuge and strength in testing times.

Joshua 21

43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

God proved faithful in fulfilling every promise he had given to Israel. Fulfillment of some took several years but “every one was fulfilled”. Gods promises will be fulfilled according to his timetable, not ours, but we know that his word is sure!

Acts 1

After 40 days with the disciples Jesus was taken up to heaven boldly and visibly. Jesus will return boldly and visibly! Lets not be caught standing around “looking into the sky”, but working hard to share the gospel so that others will be able to share in God’s great blessing.

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Jeremiah 10

This is what the Lord says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
Have you ever been to one of those “fortune tellers”. You know those parked in a trailer along the side of the road or hidden between our houses proclaiming to be able tell your future? Can’t say I’ve ever been but always have wanted to hear which generic answer my future holds 😉
The people of Judah also wanted to know there future too. Jeremiah’s response  applies to us today. God made the heavens and the earth including the stars which people consult and worship. Only God knows our future and has promised to guide us and be with us every step of the way. I’d rather trust the God who created the stars than the stars themselves….
Matthew 24
OK, so you still want to know your future after reading the above? Well go ahead and read Matthew 24 several times. Tough to pick out any part as a discussion because this is our future. Every word and every promise and every action is what will happen no question. The truth of the future is scary but also reassuring for those who endure.
God bless


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Joshua 2; Psalm 123-125, Isaiah 62; Matthew 10

Joshua 2

1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

God directed the spies to Rahab’s house because he knew her heart was open to him and that she would be instrumental in the Israelite victory over Jericho. God often uses people with simple faith to accomplish his great purposes, no matter what kind of past they had or how significant they seem to be. Rahab didn’t allow her past to keep her from the new role God had for her. Just think what marvellous things he could do with us of little faith….

Psalm 123 – 125

124:7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken,

and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

 Do you ever feel trapped by overwhelming odds?  With God there is always a way out because he is the Creator of all things. We can turn to the Creator for help in our time of need , for he is on our side. God will provide a way out, we need only to trust him and look for it

Isaiah 62

1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication,

and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;  for the Lord will take delight in you and your land will be married. 5 As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

Isaiah prayed without resting, hoping that Israel would be saved. We should have Isaiah’s zeal to see God’s will be done. This is what we mean when we pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  It is good to pray persistently.

Matthew 10

7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

The Jews were waiting for the Messiah to usher in his kingdom. They hoped for a political and military kingdom that would free them from Roman rule and bring back the days of glory under David and Solomon. But Jesus was talking about a spiritual kingdom. The gospel  today is still that the kingdom is near!

God Bless

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Deuteronomy 21; Psalm 108, 109; Isaiah 48; Revelation 18

Deuteronomy 21

Life is made up of choices. Making good choices should be everyone’s no. 1 priority. There is a stark contrast between the blessings afforded us by God for obedience of his laws and the curses of disobedience. Ultimately it comes down to us making a choice. Choose a life of obedience and blessings will be afforded to you. Let’s live life to the full in obedience!

Psalm 108

13 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

 My prayers almost always end with requests for help through stressful situations. Prayer requests for help to survive. David didn’t just pray for rescue, but for victory. With God’s help we can claim more than just survival, we can claim victory.

Psalm 109

David was angry at being attacked by evil people slandering him and lied. When this happens to us let us follow David’s example. Remain a friend. Love everyone and hate the evil. Only through Gods strength will we be able to follow David’s example.

4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.

 Isaiah 48

17 This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.

 Like a loving parent, God teaches and directs us as we obey his Word. Refusing to pay attention to Gods commands invites punishment and threatens that peace and righteousness.

Revelation 18

11“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

14“They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn 16 and cry out: “ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’

“Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. 18 When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ 19 They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out:  “ Woe ! Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’

God’s people should not live for money, because money is worthless in eternity. We should guard against greed. God wants us to work and provide for our families, and he commands the right use of money. Don’t be enslaved by the desire for wealth. Don’t let money become a false god.

God Bless

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Numbers 28; Psalm 72; Isaiah 19, 20; 2 Peter 1

Numbers 28

Numbers 28 is clear instructions concerning offerings for those days. These offerings had to be brought regularly and according to prescribed rituals. Following these instructions and preparing everything must of taken an age but must also have given the people the opportunity to prepare their hearts correctly. The act of giving or offering is an act of worship and if our hearts are not correctly prepared, this worship is meaningless. It is so much easier to give and make offerings if our hearts are prepared with thankfulness.

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’ 

Psalm 72

1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.

2 May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.

God desires all who rule under him to be righteous and just. With our leaders and politicians in the news every day we get a front row seat to their “righteousness and justice”. If only all the world leaders would commit to these two qualities right? Pray for our leaders that they might realize their need for the Lord and that He would help them rule with righteousness and justice.

Isaiah 19

Egypt was well known for its wisdom, but here its wise men and officials were deceived and foolish. True wisdom can come only from God. We must ask him for wisdom to guide all our decisions, or we too will be uncertain and misdirected

11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counsellors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings”? 12 Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the Lord Almighty has planned against Egypt. 13 The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. 14 The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. 15 There is nothing Egypt can do— head or tail, palm branch or reed.

 Isaiah 20

2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

God asked Isaiah to do something that seamed shameful and illogical. At times, God may ask us to take steps we don’t understand. We must obey God in complete faith, for he will never ask us to do something wrong.

2 Peter 1

Peter lists several of faiths actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance , doing God’s will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically or naturally, they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We have a great responsibility so ask God to empower and enable you to learn and grow.

God Bless

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Numbers 12, 13; Psalm 49; Isaiah 2; Hebrews 10

Numbers 12

My wife and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this week. In the grand scheme of things this may not be a long time but in 9 years we have had many a “discussion” when in disagreement. Often afterward we can’t even remember what the disagreement was after getting so distracted by “arguing”. When you are in a disagreement, stop and ask yourself if you are arguing over the real issue or if you have introduced a smoke screen by attacking someone’s character. If you are unjustly criticized, remember that your critics may be afraid to face the real problem. Don’t take this type of criticism personally. Ask God to help you identify the real issue and deal with that.

1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.  2 “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”  And the Lord heard this.

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!” 14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 

When we criticize and attack others wrongfully we too may ask for forgiveness and God will be merciful.

Numbers 13

Many times when I face a tough decision the negatives cause me to lose sight of positives. Weigh both sides carefully. Don’t let the potential difficulties blind you to Gods power to help and his promise to guide

25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.

Psalm 49

10 For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they named lands after themselves. 12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. 14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.

The rich and the poor have one similarity. When they die, they leave all they own here on earth. The only riches they have are those they have stored up in heaven. To have treasure in heaven we must place our faith in God, pledge ourselves to obey him, and utilize our resources for the good of his kingdom. This is a good time to check our investments and see where we have invested the most.

Isaiah 2

Isaiah also touches on material investment when he writes:

8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands to what their fingers have made. 9 So people will be brought low and everyone humbled—do not forgive them.

Though very few people worship carved or moulded images today, worshiping objects that symbolize power continues. Cars, homes, sports stars, celebrities, money etc. Idol worship is evil because it insults God when we worship something he created rather than worshiping him, our confidence is placed in something else rather than in him and causes us to rely on ourselves rather than relying in him. Let’s fix our eyes on him.

Hebrews 10

Hebrews is a wonderful description of Christ’s sacrifice for us and a call to persevere. Often I am reminded of my sin and feel very guilty. I am reminded here I have been given forgiveness through Christ’s incredible sacrifice. It’s permanent, powerful, sin destroying forgiveness we have from Christ and once we have confessed our sin to him, we need never to think of it again. Christ has forgiven us….

God Bless

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Leviticus 25; Psalm 32; Ecclesiastes 8; 2 Timothy 4

Leviticus 25

In April 2015 my wife and 11 month old daughter and I left our “home” in South Africa and moved permanently to the United States. On the eve of this 2 year anniversary I look back at what has been an enormous undertaking, with many a tear but also many a wonderful story to tell. It still feels rather lonely without family and familiar friends sometimes but I am reminded as I read in Leviticus we can always rely on the Lord for strength and He will keep us safe

18 “ Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.”

Psalm 32

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

What is confession? To confess our sin is to agree with God, acknowledging that He is right to declare what we have done as sinful, and that we are wrong to desire or to do it. It means affirming our intention of abandoning that sin in order to follow God more faithfully.

Ecclesiastes 8

Solomon recalls the remedy for life’s unanswered questions. He recommends joy and contentment as encouragement for us along life’s journey. We must accept each day with its daily measure of work and of course pleasure. Let us learn to enjoy what God has given us to refresh and strengthen us to continue His work.

15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

2 Timothy 4

2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Always be ready to serve God in any situation, whether or not it is convenient. Be sensitive to the opportunities God gives you. It is difficult to accept correction, to be told we have to change. But no matter how much the truth hurts, we must be willing to listen to it so we can more fully obey God.

God Bless

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