God Does Not Lie (Titus 1:2-3)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Titus 1:1-3 NLT

Had I planned out my blog posts a little better, I probably would have concluded my thoughts on verse two of Titus 1 yesterday. But here we are…

In yesterday’s post – Confidence – we thought about the fact that teaching the truth of God will give His people confidence in their eternal destiny. Resting fully in Christ’s work at the cross, we have assurance that our entry into heaven is not reliant on our performance. The blood of Jesus cleanses us, and by placing our trust in Him, we have eternal confidence. That is not to say our performance does not matter of course, and I reminded us that we ought to live godly lives because it is right, and because it is would Jesus would do.

A further reason to have confidence is found in the latter half of verse two. We have assurance because God has promised it.

God does not lie. That’s just plain, good theology. Everything God says will come to pass, and anything He has promised will be done. His promises are based on His Word and His character. If God does not lie, then you can bank on his Word.

If #God does not lie, then you can bank on – trust in – His Word, which is the #Bible

God is not a man that He  should lie. Too few of us, myself included at times, are flippant with our words. We say things we do not mean, or say things in haste or anger that we later do not follow through on. How often do we as parents threaten our children with some punishment or restriction that we later do not do. When this happens, our children learn that our words are of little value. We all say things in the heat of the moment that we do not really mean, but not God. God has never uttered a single word He did not fully mean or commit to.

The particular promise that Paul refers to in this letter, is the promise of eternal life. When did God promise this? Before the world began… Again, this speaks of God’s sovereignty. He is outside of time, knowing the end from the beginning, and can make a promise of this kind.

If God promised it before the world began, then He did so before you were born. He did it prior to you doing anything good or bad. Before you said your first word, or conceived your first thought, God had already made the decree. This reminds us that the promise of God is not reliant upon us. Before the foundation of the world, God chose you. And He will not change His mind. That gives us confidence!

The Revealed Message

A phone sending a text message?

We conclude this section of the letter with verse three, which in many respects summarises what we have already covered over the last few posts.

God, as I say above, knows the end from the beginning. Being Sovereign, He knows the precise moment to do something. Now, at just the right time, God has revealed the message to His chosen people. What message? The message of faith which Paul is proclaiming.

Paul does not proclaim it because he feels like it, or it is his hobby. Instead, he does so because it is the command of God. I put this out there to you too, and ask – what has God commanded you to do? And, are you doing it?

We have covered a lot of ground in a few short verses, but all of them centre around this revealed message – that is, the proclamation of faith and the teaching of the truth of God. The result of this proclamation and teaching is eternal life, and the confidence of its knowledge. That is the basis upon which Paul is an apostle. He establishes this as the springboard for what he intends to say in this letter. The contents of this epistle is where we go next, and I hope that you find it encouraging and uplifting.

Have a blessed day!

Confidence (Titus 1:2)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Titus 1:1-3 NLT
Large gates, standing open

Having spent a few posts on verse one of this wonderful letter, we now push on to verses two and three. I’ll list the first few posts at the bottom so you can catch up if you have missed any of them.

Paul has been sent to teach the truth about God, and this should lead to people living godly lives. I pointed out that if the teaching we give does not do this, we must review and consider whether we are teaching the truth or full counsel of God’s Word. Likewise, you as a hearer of such teaching, must consider if it is leading you to live a more godly life. We can all cite examples of people who claim to be Christian, and who have sat under so called Christian teaching for years, and yet are as a mean as a snake! Church leaders who stray from the Bible into popular or political sermonettes frequently fall into sin. None of us are perfect, and we will all make mistakes – no question. But the general trend of our Christian lives should be a steady journey into Christ’s likeness.

The general trend of our #Christian lives should be a steady journey into Christ’s likeness. #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

Transforming us into Christ’s likeness, and thus helping us live godly lives is not all that this truth achieves. It also gives us confidence that we have eternal life. Eternal life is not something we will achieve when we get to heaven, and indeed, if we do not have it before we leave this earth, it will be too late. Sin separates us from God, and covers us with guilt and shame. On our own, we have no glimmer of hope to reach the perfection of heaven. We must have a Saviour. Jesus paid the penalty for sin and death, and by accepting what He has done, and letting Him act as our substitute, we get into heaven on His merits and not our own.

If you are being taught a performance-based Gospel, which is no Gospel at all, what that means is you must do x, y and z to get into heaven. This is “the Law.” It means you must fulfil all of its obligations to enter the pearly gates. No one is good enough to do that. Far from giving confidence, it hangs over us like a black cloud and leaves us constantly feeling we are not good enough. And we are not, that’s the point!

Let’s say there were only three laws; x, y and z. For your entire life, you keep x and y perfectly. But on at least one occasion, you broke the z law. Can you get into heaven? Not without paying the penalty for breaking that law. All your life you would worry about that. Your confidence would be shattered.

The true Gospel is not about what you have or haven’t done. It is about what Jesus has achieved!

The true #Gospel is not about what you have or haven’t done. It is about what #Jesus has achieved!

I have confidence in getting into heaven not because I’ve kept all the laws, but because I know Jesus has. I can rely on Him to be my entry pass, as I can’t pay the price for the ticket myself. If it is not about what I have or haven’t done, then there is nothing I can do to change it. When I was a sinner (in nature), no amount of good deeds would get me into heaven. Likewise, now I am saved (in nature), no amount of sin can separate me from God.

The question that immediately springs up is- does that mean we can live however we like, indulging in sin and God will just have to forgive us and let us into heaven? No! It’s an obvious question, but it is based on an incorrect premise!

If we encounter Jesus, and understand all that HE has done for us, then that should not result in us wanting to sin. Instead, it will all the more encourage us to live godly lives. We have no confidence in the flesh, that is in ourselves to get us into heaven, but have full confidence in Jesus. As a result, we want to live to please Him. Grace is a safety net that catches us when we fall, it is not a licence to sin.

Before we know Christ, we sin because it is in our nature to do so. We are led by the flesh, and that wants what it wants. Once we encounter Jesus and put Him in charge of our lives, we are given a new nature. It is no longer in our nature to sin, although the habit of sinfulness still exists meaning we still do things wrong at times. We no longer live a godly life to earn our way into heaven, as that is futile. Instead, we live a godly life because it is our new nature to do so, and because it is the right response to a God who has done so much for us.

If you have no confidence in your eternity, it may be because you are trying to earn your salvation. It is like going to a banquet which is already paid for, and insisting on paying your share of the bill yourself. Instead, stop trying to pay and start enjoying the blessing of Christ. Do good things absolutely, but not to get into heaven, but instead because it is right and what Christ would do.

I do not say this as someone who has it all figured out. I still have something of a works mentality” meaning that I still strive to be “good enough” for God. This is wrong, as I, in and of myself, can never be good enough. Rather than trying to add to Christ’s work with my own pitiful attempts, I should just rest in what He has achieved. Any good that I do in this life is all because He has shown me what good is, and enables me to do it. God gets all of the glory.

How is your confidence? Are you trying to earn your way into God’s good books? Do you need to let go of your own efforts and place yourself fully in Jesus’ hands? You will not regret it!

Other posts in this series:

This Sunday at Church: Praying for your Church’s Outreach Effort

I often share from this wonderful series on a Sunday. Today’s post is particularly powerful so I really do encourage you to give it a read.

This Sunday at Church I want to encourage you to do the following: Praying for your church outreach effort.  It might mean someone’s eternity with …

This Sunday at Church: Praying for your Church’s Outreach Effort

Teach the Truth (Titus 1:1)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Titus 1:1-3 NLT
A teacher in a classroom

Let’s see if we can complete verse one today… to catch up on previous posts, have a look at – A Slave of God and Sent One.

We have seen that Paul introduces himself as both a slave of God and an apostle, who has been sent to proclaim faith to the chosen people of God. His mission goes beyond proclamation however, and also involves teaching.

This letter is from Paul, a slave of #God and an apostle of #Jesus #Christ. I have been sent to proclaim #faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. Titus 1:1 NLT #Bible

Part of Paul’s ministry was to teach people the truth about God, and to show them how to live godly lives. If we teach in any form, then this should be our ambition also.

Teaching the truth should be obvious, and yet we see countless examples of those who would teach something else entirely. Teaching falsehood can happen for a number of reasons, and not all of them malicious. Some teach out of ignorance, other pass on falsities they themselves have heard, and still others teach what they think will most benefit themselves.

I have no doubt that I have taught an untruth in my time… not through the means of personal gain, but instead because I misunderstood something in God’s Word and passed it along. Here and now, let me sincerely apologise for this, and please know that I endeavour to teach the full truth of God, and not my own version of it.

We who teach must live to higher standards, as James advises us, but must also be lifelong learners. No one reads the Bible once and has it all down and understood. It can take years of study to just get to the point of asking the right questions, and there are no shortcuts.

If you teach, take it seriously. A teacher must also always be a student of the Bible.

If you teach, take it seriously. A teacher must also always be a student of the Bible.

What do we teach? We teach the way to live godly lives. This is key. If our teaching does not inspire our audience to want to, and succeed in, living a holy life, then we need to consider our approach carefully. Our teaching may get applause, it may attract criticism, or it may lead to genuine repentance and the fruit of a changed life. Above all else, our teaching should draw people to God and it should instruct them on replacing sinful ways with godly behaviour.

What does godly behaviour look like? How do we spot a godly life over an ungodly one? Again, Paul helps us here with many of the points he will make in this letter. He will go on to tell us what our lives should look like, and things we should avoid. This is in the context of appointing deacons/elders in the church, but as I said before, even if we desire no such role or ministry, we can still strive for the  same standards.

That brings us to the end of verse one, and I hope you do not think I’m going too slowly here. These are important words which set up the entirety of the letter, and I do not want you to miss even one bit of it. Having said that, perhaps we’ll try to get through both verses two and three next time!

Thanks for reading.

Sent One (Titus 1:1)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Titus 1:1-3 NLT
A sign sending you the right way

In yesterday’s post – A Slave of God – we thought about Paul’s opening words in the letter of Titus. Today we continue on that same line.

Paul identifies himself not only as a slave of God, but also as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is an apostle? There are a few different definitions actually, and the one most commonly used is to describe the group who first took the Christian message into the world. These were mainly the disciples of Christ, and of course, Paul himself. Many of them had seen the Risen Lord.

One definition I once heard is that apostle means “Sent One.” I like that, and it has always stuck with me. Hence the name of today’s post I suppose!

If Paul is indeed a “sent one,” then what has he been sent to do? The NLT translation makes it abundantly clear. He has been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen.

In many respects, all who minister in God’s Word are called to do this. Whether you write a blog, pastor a church or teach a small group, you are proclaiming faith to God’s people. A proclamation is a public announcement of some kind, and in this case, an announcement of the Good News of Jesus.

Sometimes when I sit and write a blog post, it is not easy. I read the Scripture, think about what God might want me to say and often tie myself in knots. Proclaiming faith is not complicated however, and nor should it be. It is not something that only top theologians can do, nor do you need a doctorate or ordination. I’m not against such things I hasten to add, but let us not disqualify ourselves from stating the simple truth of the Gospel to the world that desperately needs it.

If “apostle” means “sent one,” then where is God sending you? #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

I cannot gloss over the little note that Paul adds. He is proclaiming faith to those God has chosen. This touches on the theology of sovereignty, and makes us ask if it is God’s choice, does that remove our own freedom? You often hear people talk of “free will,” but you will not find that phrase in the Bible itself. While there are choices we can make, we must ask ourselves what really drives them. Without straying into philosophy here, what makes you decide to choose option A over B? If you lived a different life, experienced different things or happened to be born in another part of the world, would you still choose A over B? Hard to say…

The point is, when we are trapped in sin, we cannot choose God. As fallen and sinful creatures, there is nothing in us that wants anything of God. In order for us to be saved, He must choose us. Indeed, God did so before the foundation of the world. If we follow Christ, then we are the elect, and God has adopted us into His family. We can claim no credit for this, but instead rejoice in the truth that God did it all for us.

Is God sending you to proclaim faith to His people? That may not mean you boarding a plane and travelling to some far off land, as God’s chosen people might be just around the corner. If God sends you, then proclaim faith in your words and deeds. Do not say the words and fail to live the life.

Proclaim faith with your words and deeds. Do not preach the words and fail to live the life #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

Still more to come on Titus 1:1 another day! God bless you

A Slave of God (Titus 1:1)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.

Titus 1:1-3 NLT
Chains

Over the last couple of months, I have been thinking about the letter of Titus, and primarily focussing on the first chapter.

This letter is one of the pastoral epistles, and is written by Paul to a man named Titus. I need give you little more introduction than that, as I think the text itself is largely self-explanatory.

Paul, as is his custom, gives his name and then a brief description of himself. The first thing he says is “a slave of God.” It is all too easy to just skim over these words and move into the “meat” of the letter, yet we often miss important things if we do so.

This word “slave” is often translated as “servant” as it is more acceptable to our modern ears. Slavery, historically, was a dreadful thing and people treated as commodities in most cases. Paul is a servant indeed, but I wonder how he would feel about swapping out the word “slave” for “servant?” I suspect Paul might prefer the former. I would wager that Paul would be a glad slave of God.

If I had to be a slave, then I would gladly be the slave of our gracious God.

If I had to be a slave, then I would gladly be the slave of our gracious God. #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

As a slave, we live entirely to please our master. We surrender everything that we have, our freedoms, our privileges, our belongings, and all that we are, to the one in charge over us. To be enslaved to a sinful human master is terrifying and dreadful, but when we come under the Lordship of the unendingly good God of the Bible, there is little distinction between slavery and servanthood.

What price can be put on a human life? Slaves are purchased for but a few coins, as no amount of money can equate to the cost of a person’s freedom. God had indeed purchased us, but not in earthly currency, but in the shed blood of His Own Son – Jesus Christ.

God is without sin, and therefore neither under its curse nor liable for its penalty. He is perfect and holy. We cannot begin to fathom this, in our limited human state, tainted by sins effects. His purity exceeds ours by unimaginable degrees. I say all of this to remind us that if God is indeed that holy, then we cannot comprehend the cost of giving up His Son on our behalf. The price He paid for us is beyond reasonable, and is only explained by the magnitude of His love.

When we look at it like this, surrendering our lives to Him seems absolutely nothing in comparison. It makes me a willing slave, if that is not a contradiction.

What do slaves of God actually do? Earthly slaves prepare meals, clean house or clothes, and run errands for their master. Slaves to God are not required cook or clean, not for their Master at least, so what do they actually do?

This letter, at least in part, will help us answer that question. Paul gives instructions about what an elder or deacon should be like, and even if we are not called to such an office, we can still conduct ourselves in like manner.

Slaves of God put their Master’s needs ahead of their own #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

In conclusion, slaves of God put their Master’s  needs and wants ahead of their own. Slaves do not gossip when their Master wants them to encourage. Slaves do not steal pens from work or surf the web all day, but instead work hard to please their Master and use their pay to give to the work of the Gospel. Slaves do not watch things they shouldn’t on TV, nor should they give in to the temptation of temper, bad language, pride or selfishness. Instead, they serve the Lord with gladness, devoting themselves to prayer and Bible study, and living a life distinctly different to the rest of the world.

Do we do this perfectly? I certainly do not! And I’m humbled by my own words. If you do, then let me know your secret…

Still, we strive on, pressing towards holiness in the strength of God, and we rely on Jesus to change us one day at a time into His likeness.

Slaves have no choice, and for the Christian truly transformed by encountering Jesus, they have little choice either. We cannot comprehend the depths of the Good News without surrendering all we have and are to our wonderful Father.

More on Titus in the days to come, and hopefully we’ll get to the end of verse one! Have a blessed day!

This Sunday at Church: Pray for your church’s future guest speakers

This Sunday at Church I want to encourage you to do the following: Pray for your church’s future guest speakers. Last few years it seems its been …

This Sunday at Church: Pray for your church’s future guest speakers

This Sunday at Church: Letting your pastor know you appreciate the years he’s devoted to ministry

This Sunday at Church I want to encourage you to do the following: Letting your pastor know you appreciate the years he’s devoted to ministry. …

This Sunday at Church: Letting your pastor know you appreciate the years he’s devoted to ministry

Eternal Altruism

Have you heard of “Effective Altruism”? It is something I came across a while ago when it was mentioned in a podcast I was listening to. I am no expert in the subject, but my understanding of it is this. Effective Altruism, or EA for short, is about ensuring that any giving or altruistic work you do is effective. This means that when we give to a charity say, we have a good idea of what that charity will do with it and what impact that gift will have.

As a simple example, let’s say you have £100 or $100 to give. Charity A will use the money and this will result in 5 lives being saved, whereas charity B is less effective and only 3 lives are saved. EA would argue that we ought to put our money into charity A as more lives are positively affected. Sounds sensible enough, but life is rarely so straightforward!

Taking it a step further, some hold the view that we ought not  just give our money to the most effective charities or organisations, but that we should also look long and hard at the money we spend in daily life and ask if it better deployed to help others. Peter Singer, in his book “The Life You Can Save” (which is available in podcast form and free to download) makes this case. He gives an illustration (and don’t quote me in case I make a mistake) where you are wearing a new suit and walk through the park. In the park, there is a pond, and you see a toddler drowning in it. Do you ruin your suit to save the toddler? Of course, everyone says yes, it is the morally right thing to do and beyond that, you would be downright wicked to just walk on by!

Yet, Singer argues, we all do this on a daily basis. We may not walk by a pond with a drowning child in, but in our modern world there are children suffering and dying every day, and a tiny sum of money could change that. The example of malaria nets is used, costing only a few pounds or dollars, yet they can save lives effectively.  When we buy expensive or luxurious items, could that money be better spent on nets or medicine or something else that would save a child?

I recommend reading the book, and it is a challenging read. I am not saying I agree 100% with all of the arguments it makes, but it should cause us to ask ourselves hard questions like “Do I need a third TV in my house, or should I give that money to an effective charity?”

A number of EA organisations have evolved, including one called “Give Well” which seeks to find the most effective charitable organisations so you can be sure your money is making a tangible difference. Many sign up to pledges, offering to give 10% or more of their income, believing it to be the morally right thing to do. I am not advocating for this nor the organisations themselves, but encourage you to make up your own mind. I would exercise some caution however, as many of these organisations have “funds” which you can give to and they decide where best to deploy them. This is extremely effective and no bad idea at all, except you lose some control of the donation you give and it could be used to fund a project you do not support. You can give to the organisations directly, rather than the grouped funds, but if giving to the latter, do ask yourself if you agree with all of the projects included.

This is all very interesting, you might be thinking, but what does it have to do with the Bible or our Christian faith? Clearly, the Bible does encourage us to give and so there are links and lessons to be learned. For example, we will all stand before God one day and have to give an account. If I’ve spent all of my money on Netflix, games consoles, hobbies, food and drink etc and have given little to those in need, I do not suppose I will be commended for that.

EA is clearly a selfless ambition. All of us, using our money to help those in need, is no bad thing. Some branches of EA look ahead to future generations and ask if their giving today will benefit humans of tomorrow. Again, it is difficult to argue that this is not a good thing – generally speaking.

One of the issues I have with EA is that it takes a rather earthly perspective. What I mean is this; while charity A may save 5 lives and charity B only 3, what impact do either of them have on those lives for eternity? If charity B preaches the Gospel to them, and all three accept Jesus as Lord, then the equation suddenly comes up with a somewhat different answer.

Instead of Effective Altruism, we should be considering Eternal Altruism.

Instead of #EffectiveAltruism #EA, we should consider #Eternal Altruism #genorosity

Taking an eternal perspective changes the sum drastically. Giving to a church may result in fewer lives saved on Earth, yet if many of them accept salvation found in Jesus, it is no ineffective use of funds.

This spurs a whole host of questions. How do you measure the effectiveness of a church or ministry? Is it measured by how many people attend, or how many come forward at an altar call, or some other metric? Is it right to assess the success of a ministry by how many people accept Jesus, or just on how many hear the Good News? As you can in these few simple questions, it is not easy to unravel.

I am called to preach the Gospel, and if I do that faithfully, then I have done my job. I will not be judged on how successful I am, based on page views, salvations or book sales. If I were asking for money (which I’m not!), would that be an effective ministry to give to?

There must, of course, be success criteria or ways and means of judging if a church or ministry is effective in what it is doing. Those metrics will differ greatly from the way in which you would measure a business or secular charity. We ought to be able to see a difference between a “good” church or ministry, and a “bad” one. For example, if a church is not teaching the Bible or the whole counsel of God, then we should not give to it.

Giving is ultimately a very personal matter. I am particularly keen to support charities who help people with sight loss, simply because I have problems with my sight. No doubt you have experiences which draw you towards particular organisations too. The homeless shelter near where you live may not be the most effective” charity in the world, but being able to make a personal connection to it is also important.

Giving into God’s kingdom is important. Giving is every bit as critical to our Christian walk as is prayer and Bible study. If you can go without some luxury in order that you can give to God’s mission, then that is a sacrifice worth making. Does that mean you cannot have any “luxuries” of any kind and should instead give all of your disposable income away? Some do, and some do not. Only you can decide with the leading of the Holy Spirit what you can live without and where to direct your giving. I have bought things in the past that I later regretted, and in hindsight wished I had saved the money and given it to a worthy cause. God’s Creation is there for us to enjoy too, and not every luxury is sinful. There is a balance to be had. The balance for me, in accordance with God’s leading, may be different to the balance for you.

One man I read of no longer buys beer or soft drinks, and instead enjoys the water from his tap. Another no longer buys their coffee from the store, and instead makes it at home for a fraction of the price.

One family might need two cars to live their life, whereas another may see a second car as an unnecessary luxury. I am certain you can think of your own examples.

Does this challenge you? Are there ways in which you can increase your giving, and to do so to make an eternal impact?

Jesus says:

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Luke 16:9 NIV

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16P9 #Bible #Jesus

I welcome your thoughts on this, so do comment below.

Have a great day!

Live the Love Life

In yesterday’s post – God is good – I shared how God had reminded me of His goodness, and that I was encouraging us all to keep this in mind as we enter into 2023. Keeping a conscious focus on God’s goodness will do wonders in our lives, and – I believe – will diffuse worry, amp up our prayer lives and enhance our joy. If God is in charge, and He is good, and He loves us deeply, then we can stand up against anything this world throws at us.

Another thing that God has reminded me of over the last few days is to be loving. In a way, it is kind of a shame that God had to bring this to my attention! Surely I should already be living and acting in a loving manner, right? Well yes, I do try… but in many respects I am quite an introvert and so effervescent acts of love and kindness do not always spring forth naturally from me. That is no excuse though, and I (and perhaps you too?) need to desire and discipline ourselves to act lovingly towards others.

A pair of feet walking… To signify walking in love.

Live the Love Life

The Bible reminds us that:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of #love, just as #Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to #God. Eph 5:1-2 #Bible

God is not asking us to do anything He is not first doing Himself. We are to follow His example, learning from the way He loves us and applying it in our own lives. Jesus loved us by sacrifice. He gave up His own life and comfort so that you and I might go free. While, in most cases, you will not be expected to give up your life unto death, living the love life will require some kind of sacrifice. This is “dying to self…” and means that sometimes we go without so that others can go ahead of us.

Note the verse above instructs us to walk in love. This command is not a one-time thing. We do not love once, and tick the box. Instead it is something we do day-by-day, step-by-step. Walking in love rarely requires some grand gesture. It is often the frequent but smaller acts that really count.  Bringing your spouse a hot drink, picking up the litter/garbage from the street on your daily walk, leaving a room in a better state than you entered it, or a simple note or text message of encouragement are all examples.

Put on love

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, #kindness, humility, gentleness and #patience Col 3:12 #Bible #Jesus

More wisdom from Paul here, and words I cannot hope to add to.

Notice once again that Paul points out that we are dearly loved children. God is not expecting us to give out what we have not first received. We love because we have been loved by God.

Compassion, humility, kindness, patience etc are all reminiscent of the Fruit of the Spirit, and are all subsets of love. If we want to know what love looks like, then it looks like these fruits. 1 Corinthians 13 is the famous passage on love, and clearly shows that love is… not rude, patient, kind, does not envy and so on. If you see these characteristics in your life, then you can be assured that you are living in a loving way.

Paul tells us to “put on love.” This is a definite action – a choice we make. This is the conscious choice I need to make each day and even each hour. A shirt won’t jump on my body all by itself, and so, similarly, neither will love. I must put it on intentionally.

Let each of us clothe ourselves with love and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let our love so shine forth in our homes, places of work, communities and churches that no one can doubt who we serve. Let us live love life for all to see.


God is Good

As we begin this new year, there are a couple of areas in which God is speaking to me about. I share one here today in case you feel He is guiding you in a similar direction.

God is Good

I know that this seems a fairly basic premise, yet I wonder how often I (and others) forget this simple truth.

When I worry, I am not remembering how good God is. When I try to meet my own needs, instead of relying on Him, I am forgetting His goodness towards His children. When I neglect to pray, because I am trying to solve my own problems, I am not actively bringing to mind His genuine and constant love towards me.

A proper revelation and understanding of God’s goodness will result in me living quite differently.

Properly understanding the goodness of #God will result in a life of #trust and defeat #worry – #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

I know that God is indeed good, all of the time, and yet I often forget this fact and rely too heavily on myself. This is a form of pride, and something I need to work on. “I need…” or rather need to get out of God’s way and let His Spirit change me! A lot of bad things happen in this world, which cannot be denied, but this does not deter from God’s goodness. There are countless examples of His loving-kindness towards us, specifically and in common grace.

I plan to meditate on God’s goodness, and try to keep it at the forefront of my mind. That way, when something happens, I can turn my thoughts and prayers to something positive and powerful. Instead of grumbling, I can call to mind all the good things He has done, and seek Him for the answer.

Some Scriptures to help me, and hopefully you too:

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 103:8 ESV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good;     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is #good #Psalm 34:8 #Bible

Imagine what would happen if we spent a lot of time digesting these verses. If we were to memorise them, recite them, internalise them, then how different might our life look in the next twelve months?

If we are not stunned by God’s goodness, then I am not sure we properly perceive it. In and of ourselves, we are sinners who have rejected God’s ways and rebelled against Him. Yet, while we were still far off, He sent His One and Only Son to die a terrible death on our behalf. Because of what Jesus did at the cross, we are free from sin and can approach the Father, enjoying life for all eternity. God is indeed good!

Whatever you are facing right now, spend some time focussing on the goodness of the Lord. Even if everything in this life were to fall apart, you have an eternity in heaven to look forward to. That alone is worth praising Him for! Chances are, there is much in your life to be thankful for, and the ever-good God is willing to listen to your prayers and act on your behalf in this life. Do not waste your time and energy worrying, instead put whatever the issue is before the Lord and let Him show you His goodness. Not every problem will be solved, and rarely in the way you expect, yet it is far better to endure trials with Him than without.

Think back over last year, and remember the good things God has done for you. If He was good last year, He will be good this year too.

Join me in rejoicing in His goodness, and I would love to hear your comments on the good things He is doing in your life. If you are struggling, then I would be honoured to pray for you too.

God is good – all of the time! Amen!

This Sunday at Church: Repenting of sins from the previous year (RB)

It is good to start the new year with a clean sheet and a fresh start. Jim’s first post of the year, on his This Sunday series, shows us one way that we can do that.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and have a great Sunday, and indeed, a great New Year!

This Sunday at Church I want to encourage you to do the following: Repenting of sins from the previous year. I think the Christian life means …

This Sunday at Church: Repenting of sins from the previous year