Reflection on Romans 6:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans 6:1-11

Scripture

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Observation

We cannot live in sin under the excuse that God’s grace ignores it. We were baptised into Christ, into His death and into His resurrection. We have died with Him, and so our sinful nature has died, setting us free from sin.

Therefore we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.

Application

We struggle with sin in any different ways. People all have their own particular weak spot that satan zeroes in to target with temptations.

I cannot withstand temptation on my own will power. It is not in me to be perfect in my own strength. But God has the strength. In fact He has planted that strength in me in the person of the Holy Spirit.

I cannot be perfect. But He can be perfect in me.

We focus on being born again, but Paul says that we must die before we can be born again. Death must come before the resurrection.

In Christ I have died to sin. In Him my old nature was put to death and buried. Now I am alive in God.

This means my old sinful nature no longer has control over me. I have been set free from sin and death.

Of course satan is always there, denying that I am new, whispering lies of the attractiveness of sin, trying to draw me back to the old ways.

Paul says, Consider yourselves dead to sin.” This sin belongs to the old me, the one that is buried. It is no longer a part of who I am.

This is not mind over matter. It is not will power. It is me agreeing with God. The power of the Holy Spirit brings strength to my spirit to stand firm in the new reality in which I now live.

Yes, I will continue to fall. Yes there are some parts of my life that are still stained by sin. By the grace of God the old me is dead and I am free from the power of sin to hold me in bondage.

Prayer

Hallelujah Jesus my Saviour! You are working your perfect will in my new nature. Help me to stand firm in you, considering myself dead to sin and alive in you. Amen.

Reflection on Genesis 21:8-21

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+21.8-21

Scripture

Then God opened her eyes and, she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Observation

After Isaac is born, Sarah becomes jealous of her servant Hagar and Ishmael, the son she had born to Abraham. She tells Abraham to cast mother and son out into the wilderness so that Ishmael will not inherit what should be Isaac’s.

Abraham is distressed by this, but the Lord tells him that Ishmael will become a nation as well as Isaac. Reluctantly, Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away.

Hagar runs out of water and is ready to die along with her son. Then God sends an angel to bring words of comfort, and opens her eyes to see a well.

Application

Ishmael was conceived from unbelief. He was Sarah’s way of making God’s plan work when it was obvious that they needed a miracle.. Yet, because of his father, God still honoured him and provided for him.

God cares for the outcast.

God is not ashamed of our shame.

God accepts us In out rejection.

When we fell that we deserve nothing from God’s hand, then we are ready to receive all things from Him.

Sarah failed to believe in God’s power when she hatched her plan to help Him out. But now Hagar is desperate- there is no life without God’s intervention.

Sometimes when we are in a place of desperation we need to see God’s provision. We might fear God has not answered our prayer. In those times we need to ask God to open our eyes to see what is already there.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to see the well that you provide, the answer to desperate prayer that is already here. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 9:35-10:8

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+9.35-10.8

Scripture

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment , give without payment.”

Observation

Jesus goes about teaching and preaching and healing all kinds of sickness. He has compassion on the people of Israel and tells the disciples they need to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the fields.

Jesus gives His twelve disciples authority then sends them out to preach the kingdom, to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons.

Application

Jesus sent out His closest disciples with a fairly broad commission to continue His work by healing people and preaching His message of the Kingdom.

They did this successfully even before Jesus had died and risen, and before they had received the Holy Spirit. We who have the Holy Spirit fail to do these things because we do not trust in the authority that is ours in Christ.

Everything in God’s kingdom is about authority not about power. God has all the power to do as He pleases, but He has chosen to delegate all that to His disciples- that is to you and me.

We have the power to heal the sick and raise the dead- that is the Holy Spirit.

We also have authority from Christ to heal the sick, preach the gospel and raise the dead.

I think that the problem is simply we lack faith. Not lack of faith in God but lack of faith in God’s ability and willingness to use me.

We have the Holy Spirit with us always. We have the authority of Christ to proclaim His reign. Let’s be obedient and trusting to His command.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have given me all authority. Help me to grasp that authority and see your kingdom revealed as I walk with you each day. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 5:1-8

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+5.1-8

Scripture

Therefore, since we have been made right with God by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Observation

We are justified, or made right with God, though faith in Christ. Christ has brought us into this place of grace so we can look forward to sharing God’s glory.

When things go wrong we can rejoice because these things develop our strength of character and our hope in salvation.

Christ chose to die for us while we were still sinners, showing God’s great love for us.

Application

Jesus died on the cross for me. His death was the perfect sacrifice that takes away the sin of the whole world. His death makes me right with God. My sins were many, but He forgives them all.

Some people imagine that if your good deeds outweigh the bad deeds you will be OK. Muslims believe this. The problem is that I can never be sure. What is the standard? How many good deeds of what type do I need to do to make up for that particular sin?

There is no confidence and no peace without Christ.

The crucifixion is an historical fact. Nobody can take that away or deny it. When I doubt my salvation, I just look to the cross and remember that this is how much God loves me.

God is not a distant deity looking to punish every sin. He is a loving Father. I relate to Him as my Father. It is personal. We aren’t working out what I have to do to get into His good books. That is all sorted. I enter into His presence as a beloved son.

So I have peace with God. The barrier of my sin has been broken down and there is noting left to separate me from Him. I don’t have to worry about my salvation. It’s all dealt with in Christ.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for your unfailing love. Thank you for the peace that comes from knowing my sins are forgiven in Christ.

Reflection on Genesis 18:1-15

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+18.1-15

Scripture

Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?”

Observation

The Lord appears to Abraham in the form of three men. Abraham asks the men to stay for a while, and he prepares food for them. He has Sarah prepare some bread, and a servant kill a calf.

While the men are eating, one of them says that Sarah will soon have a son. Sarah is listening from inside a tent and she laughs at this statement because she is so old.

The Lord says to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say ‘Shall I bear a child in my old age?”” He then repeats the promise that Sarah will have a son.

Application

The Lord asks Abraham the rhetorical question, “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?”

Human wisdom says that God is irrelevant to our lives. Faith says nothing is too hard for God.

Do I put my trust in God or in myself and my own resources?

Humanly speaking, it was impossible for Sarah to have a child. But now God brings a promise of something that seems impossible or too good to be true.

Surely I cannot have a child.

Surely I am too wicked to be forgiven.

Surely I cannot be healed

Surely I have missed my opportunity.

Faith says with God all things are possible.

Faith says God loves me and wants the best for my life.

Faith says that God is able to save, able to heal, able to give back what others have stolen.

Life can knock us around through hurt, disappointment, dashed dreams. But God can redeem these things, turning them around for our good.

Sarah didn’t have faith to receive the promise- not even a mustard seed of faith- but He acted anyway. How much more could she have received if she believed the promise?

Do not think “it could never happen for me.” Instead, remember nothing is too wonderful for the Lord.

Prayer

Today Lord I choose to believe your promise for me. Nothing is too wonderful for you. Hallelujah!

Reflection on Genesis 1:1-2:3

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1:1-2:3

Scripture

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Observation

In the beginning God created. Over six days, God set about forming a bleak and dull universe into something beautiful and capable of sustaining life.

There is a method, a process, of firstly forming the heavens, the water and sky, and the earth, and then filling them.

At the end of the sixth day, God proclaims it is very good, and then sets aside the seventh day as the Sabbath rest.

Application

In the beginning God…

God is at the beginning of creation. Nothing is made without Him. Nothing lasts without Him.

Our lives should be the same- every plan, every thought , every deed should find its beginning in God. It is when we move away from the source of all things that we move towards sin and death.

In the beginning God created…

It is in God’s nature to create, to bring into being things that were not. We are created in God’s image, and therefore we are creators. Every human being has the capacity to create things- art, poetry, movies, buildings, inventions, more people.

When we believe that we are not creative, then we are in bondage to sin- satan has lied to us about our destiny and our purpose.

In my lifetime, I have seen an explosion in wealth around the globe due to creativity. Some of this is in harnessing God’s creation (agriculture and mining), some of it from turning God’s creation into human creation (industry), but much of it is in services where human ingenuity is harnessed, for example in the software that runs our apps and internet services. Financial services multiply wealth when money- intrinsically valueless in itself- generates more money as it is transformed into different states.

Creativity is a blessing from the Lord the creator. It is an exceptional sign of the image of God in human beings.

Of course, due to sin we can corrupt this to destructive and sinful ends. God calls us to build up not pull down and to create not destroy.

Prayer

Lord God, how amazing it is to think that before all things came into being, you were there. How awesome to contemplate that this world, for all its problems, is a product of your design and not a chance arrangement of atoms. Amen.

Reflection on John 14:15-22

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passsage/?search=John+14.15-22

Scripture

“On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Observation

Jesus tells the disciples that if they love Him they will obey His commands. He will send the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him because the world does not know Him.

Jesus is going, but because He lives we also will live. We will know the unity of the Father with the Son and with us.

Application

Often we fail to understand the true unity of the believer with God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that He is in the Father and also in us, and that we are in Him.

To be born again is to be born of the Spirit. We share in Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us.

There is a close unity within the person of God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we are brought into the union.

I am in God and God is in me. This is not some Eastern mystical idea where “god” is in the creation and everything is “god.”

No, this is about relationships. God invites us into a relational unity with Him that we were created for and which sin destroyed.

Because I am now in God, I need to protect this unity through a commitment to holiness. I do not want to risk this unity by offending God’s perfect holiness. This would be like defiling my marriage relationship by sleeping with a woman other than my wife.

We were created for a close relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross to restore the relationship. He gives us the Holy Spirit to be the centre of the relationship.

Prayer

Lord, this concept of being united with you is very hard to get my mind around. I don’t understand it, but I receive it. Please help me to repent and turn away from everything that would rob that relationship. Amen.