Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV) We take another little break from the ATBOB series to think about something I feel is important for us to discuss. The other evening, I caught an episode of…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/05/24/one-way/
I heard someone talking about John 3:16 the other day, and wanted to share a few brief points from it. These are not theological in nature, but just some interesting quirks specifically to the English NIV translation… it’s more interesting than I’ve just made it sound!
John 3:16 is arguably one of the most well known verses in the Bible, and the New International Version renders it as follows:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV #Bible #Jesus #Gospel #Christianity
Did you know this is the Gospel in one verse? It sets out the fact that God was not content to let the world be destroyed as a consequence of sin, but instead gave His Only Son to save it.
If you write the verse out acrostically, you can read it as:
God so loved the world, that He gave His
One and only
Son, that whoever believes in Him will not
Perish, but have
It’s a bit clunky perhaps, but a nice little nugget none the less!
You can also break this verse into three parts.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only
That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life
Section 1 is all about God and section 3 is all about us. What bridges the gap between us and God is section 2 – namely, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Sin has separated us from God. We were born as sinners, and our thoughts, words and actions confirmed this. Our sin cannot co-exist with God’s holiness. God is on one side of the divide and we are on the other. We cannot hope to cross the gap as will never be able to meet His perfect standards. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ however, who gave us the precious gift of His very own Son to live and die for us. He paid the penalty for our sin once and for all, and by accepting this gift, we can go free and have complete access to God. We are made holiness because of Christ’s holiness.
If you know the Lord Jesus, then praise God this weekend for that fact. If you do not, and you yearn for your sin to be washed away, then waste no time and ask God to forgive you and accept His Son into your life. For more information about how to do that, do get in touch with me and I’d be glad to help you.
Pearls of Wisdom Even the dimmest, most tiniest of candles can cast a great light in a dark room. Are you the only Christian in your family? How about your place of work? Your school perhaps? It can feel extremely tough to be the only one with Christian beliefs or values. It can be lonely,…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/23/be-a-candle-pow/
Over the weekend, I have been sharing this short series on the rich man and Lazarus. Here is the final instalment, and I hope you find it challenging and encouraging.
I hope to return tomorrow with some new material so watch out for that!￼￼￼
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/09/07/the-rich-man-and-lazarus-pt-3/
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/09/03/the-rich-man-and-lazarus-pt-1/
I used to go fishing with my dad as a boy, but it has been many years since I last tried my hand at catching the aquatic kind! Hopefully not so long since I tried to be a fisher of men.
I enjoyed this post from last week, so I thought I would share it with you this morning.
When fishing, we cast our lines into the water. We may try different techniques and experience can help us improve our catching rate. but we have little control about which fish actually take the bait.
Likewise, in evangelism, some techniques are more effective than others, and yet it is not us who brings the person to salvation. Only the guidance and conviction of the holy spirit can bring a person to saving faith.
I hope you enjoy the post, and it gives you pause for thought. God bless
Earlier this week, my husband and I went fishing. As we were enjoying our time on the lake, and catching a few fish, I was reminded of the old song I…
Pearl of Wisdom #’17 We ought to spend our time here, preparing for there In our society, which is largely anti-God, anti-Christian and promotes evolution, humanism and secularism, it is hardly surprising that people think very little about eternity – life after death. If you take a Christian worldview, then you believe and understand that…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/09/24/live-for-eternity-pow17/
Are you preaching to the choir? Is that wasteful, or does the choir need your encouragement as well?
It was a great pleasure yesterday evening to meet (on video) a couple of fellow Christian bloggers, and lovely to share some of our stories, questions and experiences of ministering through this medium. It was humbling to see God at work through our words and videos, and (at points) amusing to hear of some of the mistakes we had made along the way… for instance, the time I accidentally shared a post inviting people to a psychic evening!
Alan at Devotional Treasures writes frequently inspiring posts, giving us Scripture to ponder on and encouragement and challenge to take away. Andy, at Berry Bunch Family, put outs a huge amount of video content for all the family, and has recently published his first book – Broken Dreams and Hope – which I highly recommend. Do check out both feeds if you get a chance.
We reflected that often we feel a little like we are preaching to the choir. We produce our materials and they seem to primarily reach a Christian audience, and we wondered whether we were reaching those who are yet to believe in Jesus.
This inspired me to share a few thoughts with you today on this subject.
Firstly, it is no bad thing to encourage the family of believers (not that we ever thought it was!). The church is a body, and we all have a part to play. There will be days when each one of us needs a boost or bit of encouragement, and blogging is a great opportunity to do this. There have been countless times when I have read a post or watched a video from either of the two men of God mentioned above, and God has used it to uplift and strengthen me.
It is things like this that keep us going. Being a Christian in this hostile world is no easy thing. At times, we feel like aliens on a dangerous planet, completely at odds with the views and people around us. The Christian family needs to come together to support one another, and keep on keeping on!
Secondly, being consistent and producing material regularly means that a huge library of materials is slowly built up. As I write, I think my blog now houses over 400 posts, and someone like Alan’s is probably far higher. This means that there is likely a post out there for you today. The Holy Spirit can direct people to the very thing they need, and that may be years down the road. On days when I post and get only a few views, I take comfort in knowing that the words will remain available for anyone to find in the future when they perhaps need it most.
Finally, we cannot reach everyone. There will be people who I will never meet or interact with, and so have little hope of sharing the Gospel with them. Yet, the same is true for me in that there will be people I meet that you will not. Only together can we all fulfil God’s purpose and reach all those who need to hear. Whether you see yourself as a big or small cog in the giant machine that is God’s Kingdom, know that you are an important cog. There may be many “small” parts in my computer, but if I start removing them, it won’t be long before the machine fails altogether!
I remember someone saying once that it is our job to give God glory in our little corner of the world. We all have our own corner, and our own opportunity to share our faith. We can encourage our brothers and sisters, and we can share our faith with those yet to hear. Let each of us just help everyone move one step closer to God today.
Last week I wrote a post called – Precious Faith – which looked at the opening words of Peter’s second letter. Having reminded his readers of his slavery and apostleship, and the like precious faith they share, Peter continues.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)
Living A Godly Life
In his opening, Peter tells us that we share a faith given to us by God. Likewise here, we see another example of what God has given to us. Namely, everything!
Well, not strictly true… although I once heard a preacher say that this verse does mean just that. That God has given us everything we might want, need or desire. If we were not fallen, sinful creatures, then that might not be so bad.
Peter, however, does not mean literally everything but rather qualifies his words. God, by His power, has given us everything we need for “living a godly life.” God has indeed blessed us richly, and gives us what we need that we might live godly lives. He does not empower us to commit sin, nor to swallow up all we want in selfish greed.
It can be very difficult to be a Christian in today’s world. Some days it feels like we live on a different planet to the rest of the population. We are criticised, laughed at and persecuted, and at times it can feel almost impossible to live in a godly way.
Yet, Peter would encourage us by reminding us of what we have been given – everything! We can do it, because we have what we need. This is not to depend on ourselves to live righteously, but instead to draw on that “divine power” that the Holy Spirit brings. We live godly because we follow Christ, and want to be like Him. We have courage to stand out from the world even if it costs us something.
Verse 3 continues by saying we have received all of thins by coming to know Him – that is, the One who has called us by His marvellous glory and excellence. So, this means that we receive this as we come to know Jesus Christ. It is not received in church attendance, daily devotionals, doing good works (as profitable as those things are), but it is also about knowing Christ.
I am reminded of Paul’s words from Philippians:
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
Philippians 3:8 (NLT)
I have been challenged lately by asking myself how Christlike I am. I often do not feel a whole lot like Him, and as I examine what it means to be like Him, I have to first truly know Him. I challenge you in the same way today; are you Christlike? How well do you know Jesus?
Last time, we thought about the precious faith we share, and now Peter points to precious promises.
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
2 Peter 1:4 (NLT)
Because of His glory, because of how excellent Christ is, He has bestowed upon us promises as precious as our faith.
These promises allow us to share in Christ’s nature, and that is also what allows us to become Christlike. I hasten to point out that these promises are not given to us because we are good, have earned them or are superior to anyone else; no, they are given to us simply because we know the Lord.
The corruption of the world is what I touched on earlier. We are surrounded by sinfulness, and temptation seems to appear from every direction. How can we Christians escape such wickedness and not be overwhelmed by it? By receiving these very valuable promises, by drawing on Christ and all His strength and abiding in Him (as a branch linked to a vine) we can deny human (sinful) desire and seek the Spirit’s lead.
Practically, what does this all mean?
Put simply, I believe these verses point us back to God’s Word. We find these precious promises in the Bible. We come to know Christ fully as we see Him revealed in Scripture. As we study the Word, it changes us from the inside out and, over time, we become more like the Lord we serve.
Seek out those promises today. Read the Gospels and learn about who Jesus is. As you do so, you will be eternally blessed.