Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection Sunday



Can I get a Hallelujah???

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday


Today is a strange day.  At least for me.

Yesterday we sat and contemplated our sinful nature, and the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Tomorrow we will rejoice in his resurrection and our new life.

Today is on a tension between the two.  A day of pausing, as we pass from death to life.

Isn’t that what a lot of our life is about?  The journey from death in sin, to life in Christ.

Our salvation was completed yesterday (“It is finished”) but we won’t see that salvation with clear eyes until tomorrow (“he is risen, Hallelujah.” 

Today is kind of a low day.

But one full of hope, if we know where our hope lies.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

What is so Good about this day?

Most people enjoy Easter, and as Christians we rejoice on Sunday morning by singing hymns of joy and renewal.  We love our Easter eggs, and love our dawn services.

But for it all to mean anything, we can not forget what happened on that Friday.

For us to accept the saving power of Christ's resurrection, we need to accept the death that he suffered.  We need to remind ourselves of the death we need to suffer: To self, to the world, and to our ongoing temptations.  We need to remind ourselves of that death, and how it saves us daily from the greater death of being lost in sin.

I am not one who relishes seeing crosses with Christ still hanging on them, because I serve a risen saviour.

But that empty cross means nothing if we forget too easily that He hung there for us.

Just saying.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday

I mentioned Maundy Thursday a few years ago, and said that it is where we remember :

Jesus washing his disciples feet

  • Jesus praying in the Garden.
  • The institution of the Last Supper

In the past few years, I focused on the first two, so this year I want to think about the third.

On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and broke it.  After giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples saying “This is my body, which is broken for you.”  In the same way, after supper he took wine, and offered it to them saying “This is my blood, shed for you.  Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of me.”

Whatever our reason for taking part in Communion/Mass/Eucharist, whatever our beliefs about the theological significance, whatever our understanding of it… one thing is clear… Jesus was trying to tell us that we needed to be part of the sacrifice that he was about to make.  He was going to do all the hard work, but it was our sacrifice as well.  We have to accept our part in it, by accepting the sacrifice, and by continuing to live in accordance with that sacrifice.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

Are you ready for this?

The end is close.

And so is the new beginning.

Sunday, March 25, 2012



You are talking too loudly.

God is trying to say something.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to grow Goodness

Tough question.  How does God grow goodness is our lives?

I think this is one of those times where our co-operation is imperative.  We need to actively seek it out.

Ask.  Realise our need for goodness, and ask God to make us better people through the empowering of his Spirit.

Seek.  Seek not just His spirit, but also ways to be good.  Seek the face of God, but also the face of goodness.

Knock.  Don’t just sit there, go be good.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good Goodness, and other Goodness

I think there are two kinds of goodness:  Cold goodness, which is when you are in the presence of somebody so good you are afraid of making a mistake; and warm goodness, where the person just shines goodness and makes you feel good being with them

Does that make sense?

I think Jesus was the second sort.  Where people could feel his goodness, like a shining light.  It lights up the darkness of your life, and makes you warm again, without burning you with its intensity.

Are we good?  Or just a goody-twoshoes?  Do we make people feel better about themselves, or just judged.

It is a tough one.

I hope I can be a little bit more of the good one than the other one.

Monday, March 19, 2012

God’s Goodness

God is good. 

It’s kind of his thing.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6)

We talk often about his Goodness and mercy in the word, both Old Testament and New.  We are told that he is the source of all Goodness, and that this is expressed as grace and mercy.

We need to learn to take on this goodness, because goodness comes only from God, and through His Spirit.  Outside of Him, we would never be good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goodness is…

What is Goodness?

When we talk about a good cup of coffee, or a good book, or a good nap, what we actually mean is … it did what it was supposed to.

We are good when we do what we are supposed to.  When we be the person, or people, that Go wants us to be, and made us to be.

Goodness is more than just kindness. 
Kindness is about helping, goodness is about doing the right thing.
Kindness gives a man bread, goodness does something about hunger.
Kindness reaches out a hand, goodness reaches out a heart.

Our goodness is measured, I believe, by how much we do what God calls us to do.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kindness, just do it.

Kindness is one of the easiest things to develop.  Just start doing it, and don’t stop.

If you see a man fall into a hole, you don’t need to have the gift of helps to be or service to him, or the gift of being a great prayer warrior to pray for him, or the gift of evangelism to call others to come and help him.

You just need to be kind, and throw him a rope.  Just reach out, and help him where he stands.

You never know when you might be entertaining angels unaware.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Growing Kindness

This one is easy.  God put us in positions where we are given opportunities to be kind.

Of course, each of these is also an opportunity to not be kind. 

Kindness is one of those things that you can’t wait to feel it, you have to show it first.  Take every opportunity to be kind, and look for God-given opportunities.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

God’s Kindness

What can we learn about Kindness from God?

Quite a lot, I believe.

If we look throughout the Bible, we are constantly being reminded of God’s love for his people, but also his kindness and mercy to them.  Mercy is just another word for kindness I think. 

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. (Isaiah 54:10)

Even from the Old Testament we read about his kindness.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:4-6)

But in the New Testament we learn about the kindness and love, which show in his mercy.  The gift of Christ.

Even if he never did anything else for us, that act of salvation was the ultimate in kindness.  Yet he goes beyond this, by saying that in addition to our salvation, we can come before him with our prayers and petitions, which he hears.  How awesome is that???


“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kindness is…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25)


So what is kindness as a Fruit of the Spirit?

I think it is very similar to love.  Kindness is like love, that can be seen.  Love must be felt, but kindness is sort of like the active arm of love.

Or something like that.

Wishing someone well, that is love.

Doing something about their needs, that is kindness.

Love is faith, Kindness is actions.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Patience and Perseverance

Patience is not passive, it is active.

It is not about sitting around waiting for something we hope for, it is holding firmly onto faith in that thing.  It is making a daily effort to persevere in our faith.

Our walk is about obedience, daily obedience.  Lifelong obedience.

And patience to stay the course.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Be Still.


He IS God.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Growing Patience

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3)

I think that with the exception of Love, this might be the scariest area to be grown in.  God grows love by putting us with unlovely people.  And he grows patience by putting us in situations where we are tempted to not be patient.

Temptation often starts when we are drawn to something (desire) and ends when we give in to that desire (action).  The purpose of patience is learning not to give into that desire, or to seek its fulfilment elsewhere. 

For years I desired a suitable marriage partner, which is a noble desire.  However the temptation was to look for that person in the wrong place, or to accept someone who was less suited for me.  I had to have patience, and faith, that God had the perfect person planned for me.  And he did.  I could never have found a more perfect wife than the one I have if I had tried for 100 years.  I was patient, and God rewarded that patience.

Of course God also throws bad drivers and annoying clients in my path daily in an effort to teach me about patience in those areas, and I am still learning.

Patience grows in our lives as we let go of trying to find our own solutions to problems, and seek God’s solutions.  This is why it is linked to faith, because if we can’t accept that there is a solution, we might be tempted to go our own way.

Friday, March 9, 2012

God’s Patience

We want to talk about patience.  Think for a minute about God’s patience.  With us.

We are told throughout the Bible, right from Genesis through Revelation, that God is long-suffering and merciful.  The Bible is the story of how his people turn away from him, again and again.

Yet he is patient, and slow to anger.  And when they are ready to turn back to Him, he is ready to receive them with open arms.

God’s patience is about delaying wrath long enough for repentance and forgiveness.

Isn’t that the kind of patience we should be looking to have as well?


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Patience is…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,patience, …
(Galatians 5:22-25)

So what is this patience thing we hear about, and how is it a fruit of the Spirit?

We usually associate patience with being patient with others, and I think that is part of it.  But it is more than just putting up with your neighbours.

Patience can also mean perseverance.  Patiently waiting and hoping.  Christianity is a long walk, not a quick fix.  Growing fruit in our lives is a day by day process that will take our entire lives.

We need to have patience with this.  We need to wake up each day and say “I am not there yet, but I am getting there.  I will do what needs to be done today.”

Patience is about active faith.  Having faith that things will work out, having faith that God is in control, having faith that we are on the right path, and moving towards the right goal.

All this is patience.

Because faith grows fruit, but it takes time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to grow Peace

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7)

We are promised peace a lot in the Bible, but are we told how to get it?

Yes.  Have a look at this verse, and see if you can spot the important word here…


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This verse is not just a promise of peace, but shows us that the verses that come before it must give some clue as to how to grow peace.  It is a promise that if we do what comes before, we will have peace.

So I guess we better look at this passage a little closer.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:4-9)

So what do we need to do?

  • Set our mind on God.
  • Read, prayer, meditate on his Word. 
  • Focus our mind on Spiritual things.

If we do this, then the peace of God will be ours, and the God of peace will be with us every step of the way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Peace with…

God’s peace, the fruit of the Spirit, is different from the world’s peace.  It involves more than the absence of conflict or fear, it involves three positive forms of Peace.

Peace with God.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:1-11


Peace with Man.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Ephesians 2:14-18


Peace with Self.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Monday, March 5, 2012

God’s Peace

God is all about peace.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  Peace is a huge attribute of God, and our relationship with Him.

So what does it mean to have God’s Peace.

God is always at peace, because:

  • He knows that the world is going according to His plan.
  • He knows who is in control of everything.
  • He knows who He is, and does not try to be something He is not.
  • He knows that as bad as things appear, He is always close to His people.

Having the Spiritual Fruit of Peace requires us to have faith in the same thing.  To take on this certainty of God, and make it our own, through the prompting and promise of Holy Spirit

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

We are told that the peace we have when we are in the Spirit is not the World’s peace, which is dependant on circumstances; but God’s peace which is dependant on our faith, and doing what we are taught.  We are not told that we will not be troubled or afraid, we are told not to be troubled or afraid. 

God’s peace is not the world’s peace.

It is better, because nobody can take it away from us.

Sunday, March 4, 2012




That is why we are doing this.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Peace is…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, …
(Galatians 5:22)

What is peace?

We often think of peace in the negative sense.  For instance as being the absence of conflict, or not being in turmoil.

But the Bible talks about peace as being a positive thing.  It connect peace with spiritual fruit, and in fact the New Testament is full of promises of peace, yet also promises of conflict.  So we need to look at peace as being more than just quiet.  (Jesus told us we will face struggles and persecution, but he also told us he left us his peace.)

I think spiritual peace is closely connected to faith.  Without faith, we have no peace.  With no peace, our faith is meaningless.

Over the next few days we will look at this in more details.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where is our Joy.

So what do we find Joy in?  What motivates us to pray and seek to give thanks as we are instructed?

I find joy in three things:

  1. Through the creator of the Universe I know that I am loved beyond all measure and reason… regardless of my actions.
  2. Through Jesus I know that I have salvation and eternal life.
  3. Through the Holy Spirit and His work in my life, I know that God is always with me and I will never be left unable to face what is before me.

How does it get any better than that?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How do we grow Joy?

We talked about the fact that fruit needs to be grown.  So how do we grow fruit of joy in our life?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)


This is a fairly well known passage, and I would hazard an opinion that it is not only the instruction, but also the teaching on how to accomplish it.

Be joyful always? How?


  • Praying continually
  • Giving thanks in all circumstance.

If we are faced with circumstances where joy is not our first response, then our first response needs to be to bring it to the Lord.
Then, we need to have faith that it is part of his plan for our lives, and give thanks.

It does not say we need to give thanks for all circumstance, but that we must give thanks to Him in all circumstance.

This is how we will know that it is God’s will.  And if it is God’s will, then we can have joy in that fact.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

God’s Joy

I said earlier that growing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is about finding and putting on God’s attributes.

So what do we know about God’s joy?

God the Father takes joy in his creation.
“… and He saw that it was good.” etc.
Both Old Testament and New Testament are filled with God’s pleasure at his creation, and his love for us.

God the Son takes joy in his work in our salvation.
Jesus talks about this as being his purpose.  To come and seek and save the lost, and to give his life for is people.  This was not easy for him, but it was his joy.

God the Spirit … helps us find our joy.

  • And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
    (Acts 13:52)
  • For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
    (Romans 14:17)
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    (Romans 15:13)
  • You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit
    (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Joy is often connected to Holy Spirit in the Bible.  It seems that when we walk in His way, and trust in Him, his joy will find us.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Joy is…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, …
(Galatians 5:22)

What is joy?

Is it more than just happiness? 

We are often told in the Bible to be joyful, or full of joy.  But what do we do when we are not happy all the time?

I think Joy is about being content, not being happy. 

Joy is finding God in every situation.

Joy is about faith… faith that God is with you.

What do you think Joy means?

Monday, February 27, 2012

How do we love?

So how do we show love for others if love is so important?

We all know John 3:16 “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.”  However I think we sometimes conveniently forget 1 John 3:16.  “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Love is by nature self-sacrificing.  Laying down your life is not about dying for someone else, it is about living for them.  Laying down your life means letting go of the throttle hold that we have on our own rights, our own interests, our own wants, and choosing to lay that down, and take up the interests of someone else.

It is not about thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

If we love, then the other Fruit of the Spirit will come naturally.  If we don’t know how to love, then we need to focus on the other Fruit, and love will come naturally.

  • If we are kind, we show love.
  • If we are patient, we show love.
  • If we are good, we show love.
  • If we are gentle, we show our love.
  • If we are self-controlled, we can show love.

(You see where I am going with this?)

Love is not a feeling, it is an act of our will.  The only way to show love is to do something loving.


Sunday, February 26, 2012



No posts on a Sunday. 

Stop and listen to what God has to say to you from the week.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Growing Love

How do God and the Holy Spirit help us to grow fruit in our lives?  By putting us in situations where we are tempted to act in the opposite way.

So how does he grow love in our lives?  By putting unlovely people around us.  It is easy to love just those people who love you back, or to love only those people who are lovable. 

Loving a cute puppy is easy, but can you love an ugly stray?
Loving your family is easy, but can you love the person who annoys you most at work?
Loving orphans is easy, but can you love beggars on the street?

It is not always easy, but that is how we know it is of God.  That pain we feel is God stretching us, and teaching us to leave behind all unloving behaviour and attitudes.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8)

Who should you be loving today that you find hard to love? 
How should you be showing love today that will hurt or stretch you?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Greatest of these is love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Why is love such a big deal?

Because love is what makes us who we are as Christians.  It is the reason the Christian church is called to reach out to a hurting community.  We were saved because God loved us, and we are called to show that love to others in return.

There are many secular organisations that are better equipped to feed the hungry, so why are we called to do it?  Because we are showing His love when we do it.

There are many people who will help others, but we do it because we are called to love them as well.

We are called to love, because we were first loved.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.
(Romans 13:8-10)

Our love is what sets us apart from the world, and what makes us more like God.  Because He is love, if we have love for each other, we show God’s love to those around us, and become it as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love is…


Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

It does not say that God loves, or God is loving. It says that God IS LOVE.  It is his nature, one of his key attributes.

We spoke the other day about the Fruit of the Spirit being our attempt to take on the nature/attributes of God.  Well, this one seems to be the biggie.


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7)


I read somewhere that a useful (and scary) test is to try and replace the word “love” with your own name, and see how you make out.

  • Sharkbait is patient.
  • Sharkbait is kind.
  • Sharkbait does not envy.
  • Sharkbait does not boast.
  • Sharkbait is proud.
  • Sharkbait is not rude.
  • Sharkbait is not self-seeking.
  • Sharkbait is not easily angered.
  • Sharkbait does not keep a record of wrongs.
  • Sharkbait does not delight in evil.
  • Sharkbait rejoices in the truth.
  • Sharkbait always protects.
  • Sharkbait always trusts.
  • Sharkbait always hopes.
  • Sharkbait perseveres.


So, how well did you do?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit

Lent is not about giving things up, or taking on extra work for yourself.  Lent is about drawing closer to God.  It is about learning to live by the Spirit, and keeping in step with the Spirit.

So this year, for Lent, I thought I would focus on a famous passage of scripture: The Fruit of the Spirit.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
(Galatians 5:22-25)


We are told in scripture to be Holy, and to be perfect.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
( 1 Peter 1:14-16)


We can not do this in our own strength.  So I think of the Fruit of the Spirit as being God’s attributes, that we can see in our own lives.  In essence growing the Fruit is done by putting on God’s love; God’s peace; God’s faithfulness and so on.  It is about learning to become more like Him. It can only be done by the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit.

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at what each of these Fruit mean, and how to show it in our lives.