Posts Tagged ‘Lord Jesus’

changeThere was a woman who lived on the streets near a church. She would ask for money and react aggressively to those who refused. She walked the streets for year with a bunch of plastic bags. When she died, a Pastor took the funeral. Although he didn’t expect anyone to be there, there were in fact several well-dressed people at the service. He discovered later that this woman had inherited a large fortune. She had acquired a beautiful house and many valuable paintings, but she chose to live on the streets with her plastic bags full of trash. She could not bring herself to leave her lifestyle, and she never enjoyed her inheritance.

Some people are afraid of change, while others believe change is not possible. Yet the wonderful news is that with God’s help you can change. This change is key to spiritual growth and transformation. It is not just about changing your actions or appearance though, you need to change on the inside – you need a change of heart. How can this happen?

1. Changed through seeing things from God’s perspective

Psalm 73:1-14Have you ever wondered whether your faith was really worthwhile? Have you ever looked around at very successful people who have no faith and wondered whether they are better off than you and even been tempted to be envious of them?

The psalmist has kept his heart pure (v.1), but he has found life extremely tough. He has had his struggles and been ‘plagued’ (v.5) by temptation, doubts, fears and anxiety of mind.

He looks around at an affluent society that seems to be doing very well without God. He begins to slip (v.2): ‘For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked’ (v.3).

You may see people around who are rich and successful. In spite of their ‘callous hearts’ (v.7), they seem not to have struggles (v.4). They seem perfectly healthy and free from burdens (vv.4–5). They are proud and arrogant, and appear to have no need of God (vv.6–11).

This psalm is the testimony of a person who finds himself on the slippery path of doubt and despair (v.2). He wonders whether he has kept his heart pure in vain (v.13).

That is until (as we shall see in a few days’ time), he ‘entered the sanctuary of God’ (v.17). Then he had a complete change of heart. He ‘understood their final destiny’. He realised the difference between their destiny and his (v.17).

The psalm starts, ‘Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart’ (v.1). And it ends, ‘But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds’ (v.28).

Lord, may I, like the psalmist, enter your sanctuary and see things from your perspective. Thank you that I can say with the psalmist that ‘you are good to those who are pure in heart … it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.’

2. Changed through circumcision by the Holy Spirit

Acts 7:44-8:3Do you ever look at someone who is very opposed to Christianity and wonder if they could ever change? In today’s passage we see that even the most hardened opponent of Christianity can have a change of heart.

To be a Jew meant physical circumcision. Every male was circumcised on the eighth day of his life. But physical circumcision was intended to be symbolic of circumcision of the heart.

As Stephen’s speech comes to an end, with great courage and boldness, he says to his accusers, ‘You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!’ (7:51). He then accuses them of having murdered Jesus (‘the Righteous One’, v.52).

One main theme runs through Stephen’s speech: God is not restricted to any one place. ‘The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands’ (v.48).

Neither the tabernacle (vv.44–45), nor the temple (vv.46–47) could ever have been viewed as God’s home in a literal sense: ‘The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands’ (v.48). For as God says through Isaiah, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool’ (v.49). Jesus came to replace the tabernacle and temple. Before Jesus, people would come to the temple to meet God. With Jesus’ coming, the meeting place with God would be Jesus himself.

Now, through the Holy Spirit, God is present with his people (Matthew 18:20). It is especially in the gathered community, the church, that God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). By his Spirit, he dwells within each of us. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God’s dwelling is now in Stephen, who is ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 7:55).

Stephen is speaking to the priests of the very temple that has now been superseded by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. So it is not surprising that ‘they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him’ (v.54). They drag him out of the city and stone him (v.58).

One of the people with an ‘uncircumcised heart’ is a young man named Saul. ‘The ringleaders took off their coats and asked a young man named Saul to watch them’ (v.58, MSG). He ‘was right there, congratulating the killers’ (8:1, MSG). This young man, Saul, ‘began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison’ (v.3).

It would be hard to find anyone in human history who had a bigger change of heart than this young man. From being a murderer of Christians, he became a great apostle who preached all over the world that Jesus is the Son of God (9:20).

When did this change of heart begin? Perhaps a seed was planted when he saw Stephen’s death. ‘Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” ’ (7:55–56).

Then, ‘While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep’ (vv.59–60).

Later, this same Saul, also known as Paul, would write, ‘No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit’ (Romans 2:29).

To circumcise is to cut off. Part of every true Christian is circumcised by the Holy Spirit. If our hearts are circumcised, we should cut off every wrong attitude that comes in to our hearts and minds. Cut off and get rid of anger, hatred, envy, lust, greed and every other wrong attitude when it comes into your mind, saying ‘no’ to anything that will stop your heart being right before God.

Thank you, Lord, that Paul’s change of heart gives hope for every human being. Thank you that those convicted of the most terrible crimes can change. Thank you that those who are most antagonistic towards you can change. Thank you that we can all change. Thank you that my heart can be changed by your love.

3. Changed through suffering and grief

2 Samuel 18:19-19:43Are you in a period of suffering or grief? God often uses these times to change your heart and increase your compassion for others.

David’s heart was purified through suffering and grief. As if he had not suffered enough up until now, he receives the news that Absalom, his son, is dead. He was ‘heartbroken’ (18:33, MSG). He cries out, ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!’ (v.33).

He is then told in no uncertain terms by Joab that he has to pull himself together and to go out and encourage his troops who have just won a great battle for him against his enemies (19:1–7). Joab tells David, ‘put some heart into your servants!’ (v.7, MSG).

David changes his attitude. He gets up and does exactly what he has been asked to do (v.8). ‘He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man’ (v.14).

Not only did David have a change of heart, Shimei did as well. He prostrates himself before the king: ‘May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong … For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king’  (vv.19–20).

David, purified by his suffering, shines out like a brilliant light to all around him. He has mercy on Shimei. He deals wisely with Mephibosheth, Ziba and Barzillai (vv.24–39).

David is going to face more battles ahead as a war of words breaks out between Israel and Judah (vv.41–43).

Lord, thank you for the ways in which you use the times of suffering and grief in my life. Purify my heart and increase my compassion for others.

God's forgivenessForgiving someone can be difficult. Why do we need to forgive others? How can we forgive a person? The Bible can provide us with answers, inspiration and direction.

Actually, forgiveness is not only about others, but also about our own spiritual growth. Love and forgiveness cannot be separated. If we choose to live out the love of God as the purpose of our life, then forgiving is an option that cannot be avoided.


#1 Because we are sinners we should forgive others

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Colossians 3:13 NIV

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


#2 Be ready to forgive over and over again

Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”


#3 To avoid making others be overwhelmed

2 corinthians 2:5-8 NIV

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.


#4 Love will lead to forgiving others

1 corinthians 13:4 – 6 NIV

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.


#5 Priority when it comes to forgiving others

Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”


#6 Forgive others rather than judge others

Luke 6:37 NIV

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

John 8:7 NIV

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”


#7 A remarkable example of forgiveness

Acts 7:59-60 NIV

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


#8 Jesus is our Model

Luke 23:33-34 NIV

When they came to a place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


#9 Jesus’ command to us

Luke 17:3-4 NIV

So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says , ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”


#10 How to treat enemies

On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:20 NIV


I believe that your life must will be blessed through forgiving others. Would you like to choose to forgive for the benefit of others? Maybe your decision can bring an opportunity of redemption for others.

It may be difficult to believe, but rather than drawing us closer to God, sometimes Christmas actually draws us away!

For many, this Christmas season will be filled with rushing, hurrying, and milling around department stores, feet aching, head throbbing, nerves frazzled. No wonder the little girl who was praying “forgive us our trespasses” got confused and said, “forgive us our Christmases.” Sometimes we need to be forgiven for our Christmases. We simply leave no room for Jesus.

That First Christmas
There was no room for Him in the inn that first Christmas. In fact, the only place Jerusalem had for Him was a cross. Even in His death there was no room for Him, for He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

One reason there was no room for the Lord Jesus was ignorance. The innkeeper didn’t know the baby about to be born was the Son of God. Mary and Joseph certainly knew. The shepherds, the wise men, Anna and Simeon in the temple, and Elizabeth knew; but the innkeeper did not.

Another reason there was no room for Jesus was indifference. Can you imagine the innkeeper as he shuttles a young woman about to give birth off into a cow stall? He simply had no concern.

Or perhaps the innkeeper was too involved. He was so busy, he just didn’t have time. His rooms were filling with guests and his purse was filling with gold. Like many of us, he was too busy with others things. He had no room for the Lord Jesus.

But it was no accident that all of this happened. It was prophesied in the Bible: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)


What About This Christmas?
Today there is still little room for the Lord Jesus Christ. Some insist that the days surrounding the Lord’s birthday not be called “Christmas Holidays,” but “Winter Break.” Irreverent and irrelevant Christmas cards fly off the shelves. The heroes of Christmas are Tiny Tim, Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa. Could it be that we too are ignorant, indifferent, or overly involved?

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but for you, it may be the saddest. Perhaps Christmas is not all you feel it ought to be. Somehow you’re trying to be happy and find satisfaction in gifts and parties. Maybe you’re lonely this Christmas — everyone else is going to parties, but you’re not invited. Everyone seems to have a house full of loved ones, but you’re alone.

I have a word for you: Jesus is here, and His name is “Emmanuel” — God with us. God loves you. He knows all about you, and He still loves you. He understands you. He knows your every weakness. He wants to have a relationship with you so much that He suffered, bled, and died for you. The deepest need of your life is met in the One we call Jesus.

If you want to find Jesus Christ today, you’ll never find Him as an “insider.” You’ll always find Jesus on the outside. Don’t go to the inn; go to the stable. Don’t go inside the city; go outside the city where they crucified Him. You won’t find Him in bars, parties, or ball games. That’s not what Christmas is all about. It’s not important that you’re surrounded with friends, family, fun and food. Rather, it’s important that you’re with Jesus.

 One Day, There Will Be…
While the world has no room for Jesus now, it won’t always be that way. When He was here the first time, He stood before Pilate. When He comes again, Pilate will stand before Him. When He came the first time, He came as a baby. When He comes again, He will come as King. When He came the first time, He was rejected; but our Lord says, “As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) There’s no room for Him now, but one of these days, they’ll say, “Make room for the King!”

If I had a thousand lives, I’d give every one to God. Will you give Him your life today? “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

Is there room for the Lord Jesus in your heart this Christmas?

Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone who made the music–though invisible to them–above, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see. Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be thought of as a myth. But the pianist continued to play. God continues to play in our lives on a daily basis.

Bible verses on belief

John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Job 2:3 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Romans 10:9-10 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Mark 16:15-16 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

 Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

It’s amazing how many people will take personal comfort over helping someone else. When I see someone like this, I always wonder if they know what Jesus did for them, and why they won’t do the same for others. After all they will be rewarded in the Kingdom of heaven for it, but what will God‘s reaction be for the ones who took personal  comfort over the helping of others.

I have always felt that when we won’t help someone because it may jeopardize our own personal wealth and comfort are really doing nothing more than showing that we don’t believe that God will take care of us, or that we worship possesions more than God. Just remember that everything we have here on this earth is only temporary. We cannot take it with us through the doors of heaven. When we focus on the treasures that wait for us in the Lords House, our possesions here won’t seem so important, but the desire to help others will.

I’m not sure why this hit me so hard this morning, but it has, so I hope it helps someone.

gratitudeJesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”—Luke 17:17

Suffering from leprosy, the ten men cried for mercy from a distance. Although Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he noticed these people in need. Asking no questions, he said simply, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” According to custom, the priests would determine if they were healed.

The ten men obeyed, and along the way they noticed they were healed. It was obvious. Can you imagine their excitement? What would have been lifelong banishment was over! They were cleansed, and now they could be part of the community again. They could go home!

Our lesson comes from the example of “the foreigner.” He saw his healing and hurried back, praising God with excitement, not caring what anyone thought. He was loud. He was ecstatic. After all, he was healed! Throwing himself at Jesus’ feet, the Samaritan did what we expected from all ten who had been healed. He took the time to thank his healer.

Yet where were the other nine? Jesus’ question prompts us all to think about our thankfulness. The thankful Samaritan was healed physically and spiritually, as Jesus pointed out: “Your faith has made you well.” Healed from the deadly disease of sin, we need to ask, “How do I express thanks for my healing?”

Well, how do you?


Lord Jesus, healer of our disease of sin and other illness-es, how can we thank you enough for the gifts of your life and love? Receive our gratitude for your amazing salva-tion. Amen!

dangerEphesians 4:26 “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

Contrary to popular opinion, anger is not a sin. But exploding with anger or snapping at someone out of hate is a sin.

If you are going to practice holy anger, you need to be slow to anger.


Psalms 86:15 “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”

The most vivid example of our Lord Jesus getting angry is when He drove the greedy money grubbers out of the temple:

John 2:15 “And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;”

Was that an example of our Lord “exploding with anger uncontrollably”? No! Notice that before Jesus drove them all out, He took the time to make a whip of cords! He thought about what He did, and followed through with what He knew God’s will to be. This was not uncontrolled at all.

The lesson for us is an important one. It’s not a sin to get angry. We just need to get there slowly. We need to practice patience. And we need time to think before we act.  Depend on the Holy Spirit for self-control. Pursue much wisdom in this area.

jesusYou hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.—Psalm 139:5

No matter where we find ourselves, God is there. From the moment we get up until the time we go to bed, he is there. God knows our thoughts, and he even knows our words before we speak them. In the words of the psalmist, God is familiar with all our ways because he is where we are.

Some 3,000 years after David wrote this psalm, another Jewish author, Elie Wiesel, said just the opposite in his book, Night. While he suffered in a German concentration camp, he watched his mother and little sister led away to a gas chamber. Some time later he found himself in the same barracks where his father was beaten to death. Years later, when he wrote about what he saw, he said, “I was alone in a world without God.”

But David insists that God is where we are. He says, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” That’s the reality of life: God is where we are. No matter how much evil we may face or how dark things may be, God has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

When it seems to you that this world is void of God, turn to God’s Word, which tells us: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). His coming is the living proof that God is where we are. Accept God’s invitation, and come to him (see Matthew 11:28-29).


Lord Jesus, thank you for coming into our world. Help us to find you. We pray in your name. Amen.

imagesNot to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.—Psalm 115:1

“It’s not about you”—that’s how Rick Warren begins his best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. That’s what Psalm 115 means when it says, “Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory.” Make sure God comes first in your life.

It sounds simple, but it really is very hard, especially in these, “Its all about me age.”.

We know it’s not about us and we want to put God first, but there are so many pressing needs and problems to deal with that before we even realize it, life becomes all about us. We know we have to put first things first when we pray, but often without thinking we put our own needs and our own wants first anyway. And sometimes we worry more about what people think of us than what God thinks of us.

It takes a right relationship with God to truly say, “Not to us, LORD, not to us.” The more we get to know him and the closer we grow to him, the easier it will become to be able to put God first. We have to recognize who God is and what he has done for us to help us redirect our priorities.

Reaching that point does not happen overnight. It’s a life-long process. We need to learn to pray as our Lord Jesus prayed when he said, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

faithThe fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”—Psalm 14:1

Some time ago someone who was raised in a Christian family mentioned that she no longer believed in God. She had just come home from a funeral, and what she had heard there clinched it for her. Her teenage son, standing next to her, said that he no longer believed in God either.

The question: How does it happen that someone brought up in a Christian home could come to that conclusion?

A recent news article reported on a group of some 400 baby boomers who came together to sing some of the psalms and hymns they had been taught as children. They came not because they believed in what the songs said, but simply to remember their past. The article stated that these singers had been raised in Christian homes but had given up on the faith of their parents. One person was quoted as saying that some of the lyrics they were singing were sheer nonsense.

How sad! How arrogant! How foolish! Sad, because they chose to go through life without God’s nearness. Arrogant, because they refused to accept what God has revealed to us in the Bible and in creation. And foolish, because without God people have no hope.

Pray for all who refuse to believe in the Lord. Take every opportunity to tell them about the living God, who reaches out in love through his Son, the Lord Jesus. Show through your life that God is alive!


Lord, give us the faith to believe, and help us to show others that you are alive in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.