Monday, May 30, 2011


We are familiar with the theme of 'Faust', how he sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a life of wealth and ease. Believers can find encouragement with the thought that they obviously have not sold their souls to the devil!
Our reward is not limited to the time while we live on earth, only to leave it behind once death comes. (Even Satan cannot take anything from earth with him when God casts him into the Lake of Fire). Believers will enjoy blessings here on earth as well as in heaven.

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Devotion Thoughts - 05/05/2011

Judges 21:1-25

With a little more effort the tribe of Benjamin could have been wiped out forever; that is how little thought the other tribes gave to the matter. When they realised how close it was to extinction they were horrified. We should always think carefully before acting.
Fortunately, God is in control; even if we make mistakes He can help us to rectify things. That is why there was still a remnant of the tribe left to use to revive the Benjamites.
We should beware of thinking we are doing everything right. If everyone thought that way and acted accordingly there would be chaos in the country (21:25).

Ruth 1:1-22

In spite of a sense of bitterness over her great losses, and a feeling that God has abandoned her (v. 1.21), Naomi never turned her back on the Lord. This was in Peter's thinking when he told Jesus that they, the disciples, had no one else to turn to (John 6:68); or Job who, in spite of all his troubles, never stopped honouring God (Job 6:68).
Naomi, Job and Peter all ended up greatly blessed by the Lord. There is no doubt that we will also be blessed after enduring trials (James 1:2-4).

John 4:4-42

Sometimes you seem to be on one of life's by-roads that leads nowhere, and are puzzled as to what the purpose is. Ask God to show you His purpose; you will then realise that it is, after all, necessary that you go through a personal Samaria (v. 4:4). Nothing happens by chance. Allow God to help you work through any situation you find yourself in. He wants to use you to bring living water into the lives of others (v. 4:41)!

Psalm 105:1-15

When under trials we tend to forget the many marvellous things God has done for us, and become negative under new trials (v.105:5). Fortunately God is not forgetful; we can rely on Him to always remember the promises He makes to us (v.105:8).

Proverbs 14:25

The Bible teaches that Satan is already a loser; God is currently allowing him liberty during which to test us until the end of time, when he will receive his come-uppance.
Satan is a liar and a deceiver; those who choose to believe him are in big trouble. Rather trust God, the true Witness, if you want deliverance!

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Something to ponder;

'I have learned to be content no matter what sort of state I am in'. So wrote the Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:11 - my words). He meant this to apply even when you feel flat, down, depressed by your state of unworthiness. Why? Because there is in each believer a voice that says, 'God loves you, and has you in His heart'. That is why He has prepared a place for you so that you will one day live with Him forever!
So, right now, don't hassle. You might be feeling as if your world is caving in; that you are useless, worthless and aimless; but God still loves you anyway, and is with you. He will love you even when you think He couldn't or shouldn't. No matter what you think, He loves you.
Just let Him know how you feel - then let go of any unhappy thoughts and allow God to comfort you. Know that His plans for you are for your good - always! (Jeremiah 29:11).

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A prayer: My peace

A prayer: My peace

Thank You, Lord, that my peace does not depend on me but on You; what You have given me, not what I have to work for. It is You Who holds me, and gives me peace; it is not something I control.
It is a peace that assures me ' all is well in my soul', even when I am feeling at my lowest. Amen.

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Devotion Thoughts - 04/05/2011

Judges 19:1-30
We can be wrong about any group of people, even those of our own people (19:12,22); the man and his concubine might have been far better off treated by 'strangers'. Never assume we know all there is to know about anyone; rather ask for God's guidance before making a decision.

Judges 20:1-48
Actions have repercussions. God commanded that there be no immoral sin in the land. Unfortunately, the Benjamites chose to defend the sin against the rest of the tribes.
It also happens in the Christian church that sins forbidden by God, such as homosexuality, are defended by some church leaders. Such sins and sinners have no place in God's kingdom, in spite of the veneer of religion and respectability church leadership might lend to it. Having said that, homosexuality is a sin like any other, and those who pick on it incessantly would do well to remember Jesus injunction:

"Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"


"Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;".

John 3:22-36. John 4:1-3
When I became a Christian it was so wonderfully life-changing that all I wanted to do was talk about Jesus. But as time went by my fervour cooled, and I spoke less and less about Jesus, until eventually I stopped witnessing altogether; I had become a backslider. It was not only some six years later, after I rededicated myself to God, that I began to decrease again, allowing Jesus to increase. This time I was determined that I would be like John: 'He must increase; I must decrease' (3:30), a process that has not stopped, for which I thank God.

Psalm 104:24-35
I surely am looking forward to seeing the glory of the Lord! If I can be full of rejoicing at the albeit invisible presence of the Lord with me as I live my life on earth, then it must be far more wonderful to be in His visible presence! That is going to be something!

Proverbs 14:22-24
God will bless those who do good and punish those who do evil. This is a given, a constant that we can rely on. With God's help, let us aim to do good.

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Barabbas or Jesus - Matthew 27:15-31

Barabbas or Jesus?

Barabbas was a criminal;
a murderer and thief
who represents the worst in man;
of sinners he was chief.
But Jesus was a sinless man;
no gentler would you find;
yet still He was rejected by
the leaders of His kind.

They hated all His miracles,
His teachings, and the good
that He was able to perform
with power from God above.
Unable to prevent Him from
being worshipped and adored,
they put in hand their wicked plan
to crucify ... the Lord!

When Judgment comes they'll ask themselves:
'Which one was best for me?
Barabbas, or Messiah Who
we sent to Calvary?'
Too late for them! But we can still
make Jesus Christ the One
to be our Friend and Saviour
when our time on earth is done!

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Shining for God - Exodus 34:30

Shining for God

Moses' face was shining after forty days with God;
that was bound to happen for on holy ground he trod.
Picture what we'll look like when in heaven our Lord we see;
basking in God's glory, we will shine eternally!

Lord, help me to shine for you with the radiance that comes from within me after fellowship with You. Amen.

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Devotion Thoughts - 03/05/2011

Judges 17:1-13. Judges 18:1-31
There are those of 'Christian persuasion' who are clearly mixed up. On the one hand they want to honour the Lord in the way they live; but on the other hand they break God's commands like Micah's mother did (17:3). God had forbidden the making of 'graven images', yet she believed in the way she interpreted God's will, a case of doing what was right in her own eyes (17:6). Her son eventually had 'an house of gods' and made one of his sons a priest! This shows the lengths to which some will go in order to have a 'religious' experience.
Sometimes large ministries or churches develop from their confused 'Christian' worship, but that does not mean that God is honoured in it (Matthew 7:21-23).
Thankfully, for believers it is simple; 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved' (Acts 16:31)! It was simple enough for the thief on the cross to be saved (Luke 23:42-43). Let us not complicate our faith by creating rules and methods that God never commanded.

John 3:1-21
'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God' (3:3). Jesus could not have spoken more clearly than that, yet so many 'Christians' do not accept what He said. They prefer their own way to God ( Proverbs 14:12), such as living a good life, doing good deeds, praying many times a day, going through certain rituals, accepting other religions because 'all roads lead to God', and so on. But the way to God is the way of the cross as Jesus says in John 3:14-18. Many who tried to honour God their own way are going to be horribly shocked when He rejects them at the Judgment. Take no chances - ask Jesus to be your Saviour - now!

Psalm 104:1-23
There is order and beauty about everything God created. There is such an abundance produced from the earth that none should go hungry. The problem is men who want more than what they are entitled to, causing them to break God's laws in order to feed their greed. If men learned to be satisfied with their lot in life they would be happier people!

Proverbs 14:20-21
If we are neighbours to the poor (v.20) and hate them then we sin; if we try to help them, we will feel blessed in our hearts (v.21).
God is loving and compassionate, and wants us to be the same. The blessings and help we give to the needy will definitely come back to us.

A prayer for Wisdom

A prayer for Wisdom from God

Grant me to understand Your Word, and wisdom to apply it;
for, Lord, I know there's not enough cash in the world to buy it!


(Psalm 33:12)

Blessed are the Chosen ones whose God is the Lord;
blessed are the saints of God who revel in His word ;
they will dwell forever in the light of His love,
sharing the delights He has for them in heav'n above.

Devotion Thoughts - 02/05/2011

Judges 15:1-20; Judges 16:1-31
(15:11) Although a physically powerful man, in twenty years of being Israel's judge (15:20) Samson had not helped them to conquer their rulers, the Philistines. He was too self-centred to realise he had responsibilities for which God had equipped him.
All believers have spiritual gifts and are given opportunities to witness. Knowing that God is waiting to use us, we should not be self-centred but yield ourselves to God, doing our best to honour Him in service.
Samuel was a glutton for punishment. Let down by a Philistine wife he still continues to seek diversion amongst them, aware that the Philistines are dying (sometimes literally!) to kill him. Relying on his own (God-given) powers, he toyed with the Philistines regarding the secret of his strength. But he was tricked, and ended up a blinded prisoner. For the first time we read of a humbled Samson praying a serious prayer to God for strength to bring down the house where he was being made sport of. God hears, and Samson is the most effective he has ever been, killing three thousand Philistines as well as himself.
Messing around with the opportunities God gives us is not a good idea. God can send us a lot of drama to get us to do His will. Rather let us surrender our will to him and humbly ask Him to use us. He sure will, and effectively, too!

John 2:1-25
Jesus began His earthly ministry in style, changing water into top quality wine! As the governor of the feast said to the groom. 'You have kept the best [wine] until last'.
Satan is not like Jesus. He is a deceiver, promising all kinds of things to those who follow him. Unfortunately for them he does not have the power to back up his promises.
Jesus, however, as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, is invested with all power; He is able to keep all His promises written in His Word. And what He will do for us is better than we expect, for He is keeping ' the best until last'. Now, He invites us to take up our 'cross' and follow Him. Once we have completed our earthly service, He will replace it with a crown!

Psalm 103:1-22
This is a magnificent psalm of praise to God, well worth memorising - especially the first five verses. It is helpful to memorise scripture, for we will have something the Holy Spirit can bring to mind when we need it.

Proverbs 14:17-19
One of the worst things we can do is to panic when threatened with danger. That is what training (knowledge) does for you; it prepares you to respond appropriately to a threat, enabling you to counter it, instead of reacting mindlessly or in anger and becoming a victim (v.17). This is also applicable from a spiritual perspective . Those who know they are the redeemed of the Lord are better able to stand firm in the face of attacks on their faith.

Monday, May 23, 2011

You are special to me


I can not say enough - finding words is quite tough! -
to describe how much You mean to me;
for Your friendship is choice,
and I always rejoice
when I think of how that came to be!

As a sinner I came to be cleansed in Your Name
from the sins that have tainted my life.
To my sorrow and shame
I must carry the blame
for a life that has brought me much strife.

But my life is now sweet for I sit at Your feet
every day and rejoice in Your love.
With my sins washed away
I am sure that, one day,
I will join You in heaven above.

Lord, help me to discern all temptation, and spurn
every sinful attraction I see;
I do trust You, and pray
for Your guidance each day,
grateful that You are special to me!

Edward John Kidgell
May 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 01/05/2011

Judges 13:1-25, Judges 14:1-20

We are warned to not judge, and here are some good reasons why:

  1. Manoah misread the situation, thinking the angel was God and he was going to die. Sound, common sense advice from his unnamed wife (13:23) put him right. Don't ignore believers quietly serving in the background! They might have more to contribute than you think!

  2. There are many believers, servants of God (especially amongst women) faithfully serving, whose names are known only to God. They, too, will be rewarded by Him, perhaps even more so than those with huge ministries.

  3. Some servants are being used by God even when it seems not to be the case. Samson's parents did not realise that God was using his self-centred choices to achieve His sovereign purposes (14:4). We must never assume that we know how 'spiritual' other believers are; God is using them after all!

John 1:29-51

There was no doubt in John the Baptist's mind that Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world (v.29).

All who accept Him as such and believe that He carried away their sins upon Himself at Calvary will also know in their hearts that they are born again (1 John 5:10). Those who argue against the need to be born again disagree because they do not have the witness in their hearts.

Psalm 102:1-28

Even though the writer seems to be having problems he continues to praise Almighty God. When we have problems it should not stop us from acknowledging Who God is: the everlasting, Almighty God Who can do as He pleases. Thankfully He loves us, and will pick us up when we need it (v.17)!

Proverbs 14:15-16

The saying, 'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely', has some truth in it. When those in power do corrupt things and get away with it, they tend to become even more corrupt in their ways. Fortunately, the converse is also true: the more we surrender to God the more He blesses us, causing us to want to surrender even more to Him, receiving even more blessings; and so on...!

Devotion Thoughts - 30/04/2011

Judges 11:1-40; Judges 12:1-15

Although Jephthah was the son of an harlot, he was an honourable man who kept his word even when it hurt him to do so (11:31, 35) . His brothers, however, were not honourable. They threw him out of the house (11:2) but were quick to call on him for help when they were in trouble (11:5,6).

I think Jephthah was silly to make the promise he did, but admire his brave daughter - probably around 13 years of age - for urging him to keep his rash promise even though it cost her her life. I believe God will honour both of them in His kingdom.

Promises are easy enough to make, but take care as to what is promised, for God expects us to keep promises (Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21).

John 1:1-28

There is a similarity between Genesis 1 and John 1. John tells us that Jesus is 'the Word' Who made all things (v.3), that is, He created 'the heavens and the earth' simply by SAYING 'let there be...' (Genesis 1:1,3ff).

Think on this: Jesus has given us the same authority to speak to our problems (Matthew 21:21) but, for fear of failure, most believers do not put this to the test. Yet it is promised to us! What am I going to do about this? Well, the Lord has been teaching me to have more faith in His word. Lately, I have been applying this authority to prayers for healing the sick, and the results have been encouraging. Try it for yourself! Practice makes perfect!

Psalm 101:1-8

Seekers after righteousness will do well to follow the rules David laid out for himself (v.2) if they want to grow in righteousness and become people who please God. A good idea is to have a guiding slogan to live by. Mine is Matthew 6:33, 'Seek FIRST God's kingdom and His righteousness, and you will also receive everything else you need'. (My words). Go for it!

Proverbs 14:13-14

Whatever is in our hearts determines how we face life. To live a life that pleases God I must ensure that only righteousness fills my heart, for then only righteousness can come out (Matthew 12:35). The expression 'GIGO' was popular means 'Garbage in; garbage out'. Let us ensure that no sinful garbage enters and soils our hearts and lives.



The Christian road is not for weak and vacillating souls.
Each day we need to boldly speak
of Christ and how His will we seek
to help set Godly goals.

While that we do, the devil tries to throw us off our course.
But by God's help we realise
that we must always keep our eyes
on Jesus, our Resource.

For He supplies all that we need to run the Christian race;
and if His Word we always heed
and let His Spirit take the lead,
we'll see Him face to face!

So do not be disheartened by the trials you undergo,
for they will strengthen you to run
the Christian road with God's own Son
while living here below.

Then one day we will hear Him say, 'Well done, my faithful one!
Come up above and sit with Me
in heaven for eternity;
and wear the crown you've won!'

Edward John Kidgell
April 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 29/04/2011

Judges 9:22-57, Judges 10:1-18

We all know the saying, 'what you sow you reap'. Having dealt treacherously with his half-brothers, Abimelech in turn experienced treachery at the hands of some of his people (9:24). In the ensuing battles, Abimelech was killed because God had so arranged it (9:56).

When the Israelites again sinned against God (10:6), He punished them once more. It might seem that God is watching us like a hawk in case we sin, and will then punish us for sinning. Not so, for believers are under grace; every one of our sins is forgiven already thanks to Jesus. Rather think of God as being our Father. What father will not punish his young child for playing with matches? And how about when a young child runs out into the street having been forbidden to do so for fear of being run over by a car?

Let's not say God 'punishes'; rather say He corrects. He does it out of love because He knows what bad habits can do in our lives, and how bad choices will prevent us from joining Him in heaven. His correction is not about punishment, but designed to correct us and keep us on The Way to God.

Luke 24:13-53

Sometimes Jesus asked questions to help people verbalise what they thought about Him. The two on the Emmaus road thought Jesus was dead and buried, but were also confused over reports of His resurrection. Jesus responds by pointing out that everything they needed to know about Him had already been written by the prophets. Reading the Bible, with faith to believe that it is accurately given to us by God, is still the best way to get to know Him better!

Psalm 100:1-5

I find it sad that the worship of God is being left out of the assemblies in some schools. I still cherish memories of singing, 'Praise God from Whom all blessings flow'. I was not a born again believer until the final months of my Matric year, but that did not mean I did not appreciate the majesty of God up to then. In my parents' home, my siblings and I were brought up to respect God for Who He is - Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. Such teachings reinforced by wonderful hymns of praise at school built a foundation that has brought much blessing to me through the years.

Proverbs 14:11-12

There is a proliferation of religions founded by so-called Christians, some of whom have even had the temerity to produce their own 'translation' of the Bible in which certain verses are altered incorrectly so that it falls in with what they want to believe. (There is a warning in Revelation 22:18-19 against such a practice).

Bibles from the Bible Society are acceptable, and well worth reading if you want to find the road to God!

God never forgot His covenant with Israel

Jeremiah 24:5-7

It's a bad thing when we lose everything, right? Not necessarily. It depends on what we are in God's eyes.

In 586 BC Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:10). The temple was destroyed, Jerusalem sacked, and many of the prominent people taken into captivity. Why had God allowed it to happen? Because of the sin and disobedience that prevailed amongst the people.

Normally such a misfortune would mean the end of the nation. In this case, however, the nation was Israel, the people God chose to carry His message to the world. He had a covenant agreement with them, and He intended to keep it.

A brief look at those who were left behind. They were of poorer quality than those who were taken to Babylon in exile. In time they intermarried with the conquerors and other nationalities in the country, ultimately forming the part-Jewish people known as the Samaritans. They were not allowed to share in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, nor were they considered to be heirs of the covenant.

The problem God had with Israel was the idol worship and the prevalence of sin. This had to stop, which is why God made Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon His instrument for the punishment of Israel. Those who went into exile were the cream of the nation. God's purpose was that the best of the nation be be protected in Babylon and, after seventy years, to miraculously bring them back to Israel.

While in Babylon, they learned that He alone is to be honoured as God. (Since returning from exile the Jews have never reverted to the making and worshipping of idols).

A good analogy is to perceive the nation of Israel as representing individual believers. Although a born again believer, one of God's 'chosen', I also had a period of 'backsliding'. My 'exile' from fellowship with God lasted six years - years of confusion and despair, wrongly thinking I had committed the unpardonable sin. The very day I realised there was a way back to God I acknowledged my sin and asked Him for forgiveness. This He readily granted, and I gladly returned to fellowship with Him once again.

Most Jews don't realise there is a 'New Covenant' between God and man, including the Jews. Since the sacking of Jerusalem in 70AD there have not been any sacrifices in the Temple; that has not mattered, for God sacrificed His only Son Jesus, to bring in this New Covenant. We now become sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ, Whose sacrificial death paid for all our sins. All we have to do now is believe in Jesus alone for our salvation. This requires that we acknowledge our sinfulness and ask God to forgive us. He will gladly wash away all our sins making us a fit habitation for Himself, come into our hearts, and help us to serve Him for the rest of our days.

What a pleasure!

What a disaster!

Jeremiah 24:5-7

'Our country has been conquered; our people are going into captivity!'

On the face of it this was a disaster - totally! At the time it was impossible for anyone - other than Jeremiah who was 'in the know' as a prophet of God - to believe that it was for the future good of the nation of Israel. God was, however, purposely sending 'the best of the best' ('good figs'; think Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego and Ezekiel) into captivity where they would be well looked after. So, losing everything you have is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to you; if it does happen it is because God is planning an even better future for you! Believe it!

Devotion Thoughts - 28/04/2011: Don't let success go to your head!

Judges 8:18-35

There was no doubt that God had given Gideon and his men the victory; how else to account for three hundred men defeating the huge Midianite army? God inspired the selection of the fighting men, and the methods to be used in their warfare. Total obedience brought victory.

Unfortunately, there will always be 'men of Ephraim' in our lives who want a part in any success and are upset when they are left out. Gideon played the diplomat, aware that victory was a fact and God was glorified. There are times when we can choose to react in an unpleasant way against other brethren who could have done more, but God prefers that we love them, leaving it to God to deal with them.

We must take care how we handle success; if it goes to our heads we might afterwards act without first referring to God. He had commanded that worship take place at Shiloh; Gideon thought it okay to worship at Ophrah. After his death things went badly for his children and the nation.

Some Christian ministries start well, only to lose out when their leaders stop being totally dependent upon God and obedient to His guidance.

Judges 9:1-21

Loving our relatives is one thing; acceptance of their smooth talk that leads to sin is something else. We should always be careful of who we believe, no matter the closeness of our relationship. Only God is trustworthy; He will give us needed guidance when we ask for it.

Luke 23:44-56

Joseph openly acknowledged his relationship with Jesus by going to Pilate to ask for His body. He had also stood up bravely for Jesus against the hatred of the priests (v.51), setting a wonderful example for all believers.

What if I told you that such deeds of service done for Jesus by those who are not born again believers are not acceptable to Him? Read Matthew 7:21-23. Only deeds performed according to God's will will be rewarded by Jesus. There is no way doing good deeds alone will get us into heaven; we have to go via Jesus Himself (John 3:16; John 14:6).

Luke 24:1-12

The women did not hesitate to do something good for their Lord, in spite of the difficulties they knew lay ahead. Their preparations made in faith, they went to see what could be done about the major obstacle: the huge and heavy stone covering the mouth of the grave. But God had already taken care of the problem; He had moved it out of the way!

When God lays it on our hearts to do some service for Him, we might be aware that certain obstacles are in our way, but that should not hold us back. We must prepare ourselves for service, go ahead, and see how God takes care of the obstacles. It is a great way to learn how God works in our lives!

Psalm 99:1-9

The psalmist views God as so high and holy that He is unapproachable. Thankfully, God in the form of Jesus is approachable even while He is holy! He came down to our level to make it possible, even allowing unholy men to scourge and crucify Him, a picture of God that the psalmist did not have. I am grateful that I have ready access to a warm and loving God Who willingly sacrificed Himself for my spiritual and physical well-being (Isaiah 53:5).

Proverbs 14:9-10

It amazes me that some supposedly Christian ministers do not believe men are sinners, in spite of the Bible containing verses such as Romans 3:23 - 'For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God'. Certainly they have not been led by the Holy Spirit to come to such a conclusion, for whatever the Holy Spirit teaches is in line with the Biblical record (John 14:26). It is clear, then, that such 'Christian ministers' are not born again believers, for then they would have the Holy Spirit in them, teaching them the truth. Beware of such false 'teachers' (Matthew 7:15); they will be exposed at the Judgment, too late for those they will have led astray.

Devotion Thoughts - 27/04/2011

Judges 7:1-25

'You have too many men!' Most men would have been nervous if told that just when they were preparing to go into battle against an army so large that 'they were thick as locusts'. We prefer to have the visible odds stacked in our favour. But Gideon had already learned that the invisible God was with him and had already promised him victory, and so did not argue. We too have been promised a victorious Christian walk. Paul experienced it, and so could write 'I can achieve all my goals through Christ Who helps me' (Philippians 4:13 - my words). Go for it!

Judges 8:17

Allow God to guide in every situation we face, for we do not know the best way to go. Sometimes we need to be diplomatic (vv.1-3); at other times we must take a firm stand (v.7), perhaps with a tad less harshness than Gideon contemplated! (Remember James and John, the sons of thunder who wanted to wipe out a Samaritan village? Only later did they learn what love was about!).

As a young person I thought I knew all the answers. The older I get the more I realise how wrong I was. Now I know there is no shame in asking advice of others with experience and wisdom. I do not have to slavishly follow their advice, but they provide me with more options to think about.

Luke 23:13-43

Those who ask why God allows pain and suffering into the world are asking the wrong Person. They must ask the religious leaders, the scribes and priests, why they chose that an innocent Man suffer, and a murderer be released. Their choices are indicative of the kind men have been making since Adam's day. Injustice does not emanate from God, but from men who allow evil to reign and good to perish. As for God, He saw His own Son suffer sacrificially for the sins of others, but He allowed it so that men might choose to have their sins washed away and spend eternity with Him.

Psalm 97:1-12, Psalm 98:1-9

The psalmist waxes lyrical in praise of God - and so should we, for He enjoys our praise, just as any earthly father enjoys expressions of appreciation from his children for what he means to them. I nearly wrote 'for God is human'. Of course He is divine, but just as we can love because God is love, so we can be 'human' because God, through Jesus, experienced our humanity.

Proverbs 14:7-8

This also holds good about people who lie; they shall not be found in heaven (Revelation 21:8). Of course there are those who once told lies - just as there are those who stole, murdered, practised homosexuality etc. - who have had all their sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb. They are regarded as sinless by God, Who has cast their washed away sins as far from Himself as possible.

Devotion Thoughts - 26/04/2011

Judges 6:1-40

A prophet was instructed by the Lord to point out the sins of the people (v.8).

When someone points out any sin we have committed, how do we react? Accept correction? Be defensive about our sin? The smart option is to admit to sin, ask God for forgiveness, believe that it is yours, and move on. That's what David did (2 Samuel 12:7), and received God's forgiveness. His response is recorded in Psalm 51. God will forgive confessed sin. If there is any unconfessed sin in your life take this comment as a word from the Lord and confess. As always, the Lord will bless and you can move on with your life.

Luke 22:55-71, Luke 23:1-10

If we are in the company of unbelievers there is the danger that, like Peter, we will deny the Lord. Remaining silent when the Lord's name is used as a curse is a form of denial. Peter's problem was that he did not yet have the presence of the Holy Spirit in him, helping him to control any wrongful tendencies. After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was in control of his life, Peter boldly witnessed for Jesus (Acts 2:14). Without God's power to help us we will also hold back with our witnessing.

Proverbs 14:5-6

Good habits must be developed; become a way of life for us. Bad habits are not only about lies; they include being unreliable, that is, not doing things you have committed yourself to do, or focusing only on your own interests and not going out of your way to do things for your neighbour. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-36) gives three examples of reactions to a problem that were probably the result of an habitual way of life:

  1. The priest chose to ignore the problem completely;

  2. the Levite saw there was a problem but did not have the will to do anything about it;

  3. the Samaritan went out of his way to sort the problem out.

Self-centredness does not please God;we must get out of our comfort zone on behalf of others(v.37).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 25/04/2011

Judges 4:1-24. Judges 5:1-31

There is a TV programme titled 'Street Court' that is currently enjoying popularity. This was not, however, the first 'street court'. That honour belongs to Deborah, Lapidoth's wife, one of Israel's judges whom God also used to rescue them from Canaanite oppressors (Judges 4:4-5). Note: she was a recognised prophetess, indicating that God uses women in spiritual leadership positions. By following instructions Deborah received from God (v.14). Israel defeated the Canaanites.

Those who refuse to accept women in preaching and teaching in the church do so contrary to these precedents set by God. Their reasoning is probably based on Paul's
clearly stated personal view
(1 Timothy 2:12), that is, his way of doing things;
not an instruction to the whole church
. Priscilla, with her husband Aquila, helped to teach Apollos, a man mighty in scripture, the 'way of God more perfectly' (Acts 18:26). He probably convinced himself that with his knowledge of the scriptures (Old Testament) he could correct Peter (Galatians 2:11).

Luke 22:35-54

Sometimes the call of God is to a ministry that will bring suffering (v.42). Like Jesus, we can request, but cannot demand, to be relieved of the responsibility. If God insists we should accept it without demurring.

I have long believed that the extent to which we are prepared to suffer for Jesus determines our reward in heaven. Much suffering, much reward; little suffering, little reward. I base this on the principle of what we sow we reap.

Psalm 94:1-23

When it seems that the wicked are getting on top, we must remember that God is always ready to defend us (v.22-23), and think on the many blessings that the Lord has already given us (vv.18-19). Paul probably had this in mind when he suggested that it is a good idea to always think good and positive thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

Proverbs 14:3-4

We will do well in life if we use common sense. Common sense is aware that idleness will not produce an income. We should be prepared to do all the hard work necessary to creating an income, be it an ox, a machine, or a career.

If our spiritual lives are neglected there will be no challenges, nor will there be blessings!

Devotion Thoughts - 24/04/2011

Judges 2:10-23

Because the new generation of Isaelites chose to ignore the Law of God they not only lost out spiritually, they were also politically oppressed.

Having a Bible in our homes does not mean that we are right with God; we must read and obey the commands of God in it. We may not realise it, but by choosing to 'read' the Bible in a way that is not correct but suits us, we make an idol of our 'liberation' from the restraints of the Bible that God put in place to correct, warn and guide us.

Although I know I am not 'under law but under grace', I will never advocate the abandonment of the law, for it is essential to having a well-ordered society. In this I follow, as fully as I can, the example of Jesus who fulfilled every requirement of the law. I know that He did it for me so that I don't have to hassle when I (often) fail to keep some aspect of the law. Hallelujah!

Some question why God allows trouble to come to His people. In this chapter we see that every time the Israelites hit spiritual rock bottom the judges appointed by God would point them to the way out, confession of sin against God, whereupon God forgave them and helped them defeat their neighbours.

In a similar way, when we sin, God allows troubles to come upon us so that we are made aware of our disobedience. While we don't sin, He is our protective shield. When we sin we, in effect, say we don't need God's protection. Once the protection is removed Satan, who is always waiting to attack us, is able to do so. So it is not God Who sends trouble our way; we lay ourselves open to trouble!

Judges 3:1-31

Our faith will be tested or 'proved' by God. I believe, from what I read in many scriptures, that the greater the trial we are able to endure the greater will be our eternal reward. God has His servants who are ready to trust Him for power against their enemies. One was the judge, Othniel. While he was alive there was peace in the land, for Othniel led the way in worship of God. But as soon as he died the people again sinned against the Lord. This shows that too many lean on strong men for spiritual guidance. We should always lean on the Lord, rather than other men, even the most sincere believer (Psalm 118:9).

Luke 22:14-34

Jesus concedes that men consider the one 'waited on' as greater than the one who waits on him. But Jesus says He is one who serves.

Jesus tells Simon Peter that He has offered a special prayer for him. Why so? My guess is that Peter was too arrogant; he needed to 'fall'. Once restored, he will be able to share his experiences with the rest of the disciples, so strengthening their faith. In the Christian faith, experience is important; it is a great teacher.

Psalm 92:1-15

As always, we succeed by letting God live through us (v.10).

Psalm 93:1-5

God controls all nature, and can use it to our benefit.

Proverbs 14:1-2

It is very difficult for me to imagine that there are those who actually despise God, but if the Bible says it is so, then it is so. Is it a case of being arrogant, thinking you are stronger than God? Or that He can't do anything to you becauseyou don't believe in Him?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 23/04/2011

Judges 1:1-36

After the death of Joshua the tribes acted in concert according to the Lord's directions. The tribes went to war against the Canaanites occupying their land allocations, but did not drive them out. Although the Canaanites became subservient to the tribes, they were still able to influence many Israelites away from God.

We might ridicule the Israelites for allowing the Canaanites to influence them into idolatry, but we are all guilty of similar behaviour. For example, to agree that 'all religions lead to God' and therefore we should be tolerant of other religions is to fall into this trap. As for absorbing ancestor worship into Christianity, it is an abominable practice; yet it is happening, even in some mainline churches.

Judges 2:1-9

Because the Israelites chose to not drive out the Canaanites, the Lord left them with the problem. Sexual aberrations were amongst Canaanite practices. The practise of homosexuality is an abomination to God; He abandons those who are determined to carry on with it (Romans 1:24-27). Some homosexuals have even becoming church leaders. Setting themselves up as authorities on what in the Bible to believe and what to reject, they lead many astray. We need to be on guard against such.

Former homosexuals who became born again, saved believers, witness to changed lives in which they now eschew homosexuality (1 Corinthians 5:11 and 6:9-11).

Luke 21:29-38

There is sometimes confusion about what Jesus meant when He spoke of, 'This generation' (v.32). When there is uncertainty, I always start with the premise that the Bible is trustworthy. Accepting that Jesus is not misquoted, I believe that the generation He is referring to is not the one of His time, but the one to which the signs of the end times appear. It then makes sense that the generation that saw the first of the signs come to pass will see the fulfilment of all the signs, followed by the end of the age. Taking the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 as the first sign, in our time we will see the fulfilment of all the signs. It is time for us to be ready for Jesus' return!

Luke 22:1-23

We read that 'Satan entered into Judas' (v.3). Because of his betrayal of Jesus, Judas will endure everlasting woe (v.22). Rejecting the salvation that Jesus offers freely is also a form of betrayal. Jesus having, in great and self-sacrificial love, died for the whole world, it is a form of betrayal for a mere man to reject out of hand what Almighty God has so gladly done for him.

When debating who was the one who would betray Jesus, the disciples were unsure. This was natural because Pentecost was still in the future and the Holy Spirit had not yet entered into them. Only after the Holy Spirit entered their hearts did they become rock solid and very bold men of faith.

Judas was a mercenary; the rest became missionaries for Jesus. We all have to make our choice.

Psalm 90:1-17

This great psalm is from the pen of Moses. From years of walking close to God, he knew something of God's power. I am intrigued by his reference to man living for 'three score and ten' or perhaps 'fourscore' (v.10), for Moses lived for one hundred and twenty years and was still healthy (Deuteronomy 34:7) when God took him. I assume that he was aware of being unusually blessed healthwise so as to get his job done (v.17). We, too, will be given the years and the health needed in order to do the work the Lord gives us.

Psalm 91:1-16

These are the words of someone who knew that Almighty God was utterly dependable; a secure dwelling place. This only happens through deliberately choosing to walk in fellowship with God every day.

Proverbs 13:24-25

Since the banning of corporal punishment in schools they have experienced an escalation in crime. This is another instance where godless men in authority think they know better than what God says. Those who ignore what the Bible teaches do so at their peril. Unfortunately, as a result of their sinful rejection of Biblical truth, the innocent get hurt.

Devotion Thoughts - 22/04/2011

Joshua 24:1-33

'Thus said the Lord God' (v.2). Joshua is privileged to be a spokesman for the Lord! Once again he reminds the people of all that God has done to bring them that far,and that they have a choice: serve God, or idols (v.15). Joshua makes it clear that he and his family choose to serve the Lord. We can emulate Joshua by witnessing to the great things God has done for us!

Luke 21:1-28

Far too many Christians feel inadequate; lacking in spiritual gifts and natural talents. They don't have to be. I have previously referred to this parable but here''s something more to encourage you.

A searchlight shines many miles up into the sky, a range a little penlight can never hope to emulate. But each light performs according to the maker's intentions. Some Christians have 'searchlight' size gifts, reaching out to huge crowds; but God still needs 'penlights' to find lost individuals. He made each of us differently for different purposes; we must accept our differences.

Jesus warns us that, for many of His followers, the end times will bring trials and suffering. Remember: they herald His return, and hang in there and rejoice!

Psalm 89:38-52

The psalmist bemoans the suffering that God has allowed to happen to the 'anointed' of Israel. How could He 'set up the right hand of his adversaries' (strengthen them) against Israel? He pleads for the lovingkindnesses promised to David, but in the end (v.52) he still blesses the Lord.

I'm reminded of when Job, even while enduring extreme trials, acknowledged it as God's right to treat everyone as He pleased, and said that even if God should slay him yet he would still rejoice in God (Job 13:15). Paul must have learned the same lesson, for he wrote that he was content no matter what state God brought him to (Philippians 4:11). We, too, should honour God whether things are going well or badly.

Proverbs 13:20-23

In a nutshell: ultimately, sinners will lose out, whereas the righteous will be blessed. An analysis of the entire Bible reveals that this is a central theme. Jesus said, 'My word shall not pass away' (Matthew 24:35).

Unsaved so-called Christians are promoting 'Bible teachings' that do not agree with Biblical truths. They promote warped ideas such as: 'there is no sin or Judgment'. Who am I to believe? Certainly not Satan-inspired, fallible, sinful men with twisted concepts that are at variance with Bible truth (as well as with other non-Christians worldwide). They are not Spirit-led, so will not be consistent even in their errors). I choose to believe Jesus, whose word has proved trustworthy.

Devotion Thoughts - 21/04/2011

Joshua 22:21-34

There was almost a civil war until the situation was clarified. We must always find out the facts before we try to assess a situation. The Lord's guidance should always be invoked (v.23). Explaining our misinterpreted intentions can be an opportunity to witness for the Lord (v.34). In fact, we must use every opportunity to glorify the Lord in the presence of others.

Joshua 23:1-16

In summing up what has happened in his lifetime, Joshua takes no credit whatsoever; he gives all glory to God as follows:

The Lord fought for you (v.3). The land is allocated as promised by God; the inhabitants driven out by Him (vv.4-5).

Now it was Israel's opportunity to do something for God, namely, obey His laws. That would be the smart thing to do, because it would mean ongoing blessings (v.15a). Having seen how greatly God had blessed them, to disobey was a bad option (vv.15b-16). Surprisingly, Israel did disobey.

Luke 20:27-47

The supposedly knowledgeable Sadducees misunderstood the scripture, so Jesus enlightened them. Such people, who are supposed to know better, yet who need enlightenment, surround us. Are we able to enlighten others? We will be able to if we allow God to use us for the purpose.

In verse 38 we read that God is the God of the living. That is, from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through David, and right up to ourselves. Believers are alive forever, for eternal life begins as soon as they are born again; the death of the body does not affect the life of the believer's spirit (2 Corinthians 5:8); we are not affected by the 'second death' (Revelation 20:6). Non-believers have to endure the second death.

Psalm 89:14-37

God is to be exalted for His power and mercy. He empowers His servants, like David (v.21) and us, for whatever He wants done.

It does not matter that there is no king sitting on Israel's throne at present. The Bible's genealogical records show that Jesus is a descendant of King David, the seed that shall be established forever (v. 36). One day, I hope very soon, Jesus is coming back to rule upon 'David's' throne - forever!

It should not really hassle us that we do not see hoped-for blessings right now; God has everything in hand, and His blessings will be ours one day! Hallelujah!

Proverbs 13:17-19

We have all met people who are nasty and intractable; working with such is a burden. What a difference when someone is F-A-T; that is: Faithful, Available, and Teachable. God loves having fellowship with him/her.

I made up this little line to encapsulate these thoughts:

"The unreliable are undesirable,

but what a pleasure to work with a treasure!"

Devotion Thoughts - 20/04/2011

Joshua 21:1-45

Although they did not own land, the Levites were given land and cities to live in. I see this as God showing that those who, like the Levites, were called and completely dedicated to serving Him would be provided for. As a retired evangelist I can affirm that through my years of service God did provide for my 'needs', but not my 'greeds'.

Note: v.41 - the Levites lived amongst the other tribes. It is important for God's servants to be amongst the people, keeping the focus on God.

Verse 45 sums up what God has done; from delivering the people from slavery in Egypt; providing for them during their desert wanderings; helping them to overcome the foes in their way; and finally seeing them settled in their new homes. All of this was promised by God, and all that was promised has now happened. God never fails to take care of us! There will always be trials designed to strengthen our faith and build our character; we must accept them as being for that purpose. But once past the trials all His promised blessings will kick in. Hallelujah!

Joshua 22:1-20

The promises of God to the Israelites were conditional; meet the conditions and the promises kicked in. In v.5 we have the conditions. Obeying them is vital. There is no limit to what God can do with you if you meet His conditions. (NB: It's not about what you can do for God!)

In the 1830's a sixten year old boy made a serious commitment: 'The Lord shall have all that there is of William Booth'. After years of trials and training, God had prepared him for the development of The Salvation Army. We all have the same opportunity to be used by God. He might not use us to start a world-wide ministry, but at least we should serve our community well. Don't worry about having a lot of ability or talent. Look how well Jesus used the young boy's five loaves and two fish (John 6:9), or how impressed He was with a small donation, but not with the large ones (Mark 12:41-44)! Whatever we have and are, He can make good use of!

Luke 20:1-26

The chief priests and the scribes wanted to confound Jesus, but had no answers themselves. They did perceive that the parable Jesus told them was aimed at them, the leaders in Israel (v.19) who had been mistreating the prophets of God. They did not believe that they would kill God's Son (vv.13, 16) but were already, albeit unwittingly, preparing to do just that. They did not understand the scriptures then, and many sincere Jews have not understood them since. Fortunately God is merciful; as He hung on the cross He prayed that the Father would forgive them 'for they do not know what they are doing'.

God's mercy is still freely available to all who will acknowledge that they are sinners and need Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Those who need Him include the very 'religious' amongst Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and so-called Christians who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. If they did have, they would have the confirmation that the Holy Spirit of God indwells them, and would readily testify to this (Romans 10:10).

Psalm 89:1-13

Years ago the first two verses were in a chorus that I still enjoy singing. Truly, for ever I will make known the mercies of the Lord! For ever I will praise Jesus, the 'seed of David' (v.4) Who will reign for ever. Like the psalmist, I also believe God has the power to take care of me and protect me from anything that threatens me. It started when I made a decision to get right with God. Have you not tried it? It works! Try it for yourself!

Proverbs 13:15-16

It pays to think things through. I know that, but there are still times when I make quick decisions that I am afterward sorry about. As there is no point in crying over spilt milk, I have learned to be somewhat philosophical about the mistakes. What makes it easier to bear is Paul's suggestion that we forget the past matters, and move on (Philippians 3:13). It makes sense. If I keep on dwelling on the past I make myself miserable and become poor company. By striving to live a positive life that pleases Jesus, I find my own spirit being lifted.