Reflection on John 1:19-34

Scripture

Then John gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have baptised him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.”

Observation

The Jewish leaders send some priests and Levites to find out if John is the Messiah. He denies bring the one.

Then Jesus comes by, and John testifies that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John says that he saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus, and the Lord had told him that Jesus is the baptiser in the Holy Spirit.

Application

Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the baptiser In the Holy Spirit,

The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world. He has died to bring atonement- forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

Jesus is also the baptiser in the Holy Spirit. He is the one who makes it possible for us to walk in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) are available to every believer. We can minister to others in the same power that Christ had. Even the Old Testament prophets had nothing like the power that is available to every ordinary follower of Jesus.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are also available to every believer. The fruit produces in us the character of Christ, It is the outward, visible sign of the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a one-off event, but a daily filling, a daily relationship. As the power and grace of the Spirit pour into us, they are meant to overflow into the lives of the people around us, enabling us to be faithful witnesses of Christ.

Prayer

Holy Spirit fall afresh on me. Let me be so filled with you that everywhere I go, people are touched by your presence. Amen.

Reflection on John 1:1-18

Scripture

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Observation

In the beginning was the Word who was with God and was God. The Word made everything, and His life is the light that shines in the darkness.

The Word came into the world, but the world rejected Him. He came to His own people, but they rejected Him. But to all who receive Him, He gives the right to become children of God.

Application

Jesus is the Word of God who brings eternal life. He gives us the right to become children of God.

In the beginning, we were created in the image of God. Human beings are meant to be like God in character and in motivation. Sin has defaced that image, so that, far from being God’s children, we are like rebels living as if we control our own destiny.

We were created to be God’s children, but we have run away from home and rejected our Father’s blessing.

Everyone who receives Jesus the Word and believes in His name now has the right to be called a child of God. This is restoration of our birth right.

John says that we must believe in the name of Jesus. This means we must trust in Jesus, own Him as Lord and follow in His path. It is not as simple as saying a prayer. It is wholesale dedication to serving Jesus, recognising that nothing else will save us.

We were drowning in the middle of the ocean, but a life vest floats past us. The only way to be saved is to receive that life vest and believe that it can hold us safely in the water.

Everyone who receives Christ, who makes Him their Lord, will be saved. Everyone who trusts in Him is adopted into God’s family. To be saved is to come home to the place of safety, warmth and love.

Prayer

Thank you Jesus for dying for me. Thank you for this awesome promise that if I give my heart to you, you will make me a part of your family. What a promise! Amen.

Reflection on Luke 12:32-40

Scripture

“For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”

Observation

Our Father is pleased to give us the kingdom. For this reason, we must build our treasure in heaven, not on earth. Our hearts will follow our treasure.

We must always be ready to serve Jesus. He may come to us at any time. If He finds us ready, He will serve us.

Application

Christians are caught in between two times: the ”already” and the “not yet.” Our focus must always be on Jesus and His kingdom, while not neglecting our responsibilities in this life,

This applies to the issue of money and our possessions more generally. Because we serve a good God, we do not have to put all of our trust in our ability to provide for ourselves. If we dedicate ourselves to serving God’s kingdom, we can be sure that God will provide all that we need.

We often assume that people will give to something that they are interested in. This is true to a point, but the reverse is more true. Our hearts will follow what we invest money in.

Over time I have purchased shares in a number of companies. I don’t obsess over the stock market at all, but mt interest is piqued when “my” companies are mentioned in news reports.

Jesus tells us that the best way to build our love for His kingdom is to invest everything we have in it. We have a stake in the business of God, and so we will want to see it build up; we may even work harder, giving more of ourselves to the work of the Lord.

Followers of Jesus are not permitted to do what they wish. Our efforts , our time and energy, our possessions are all His to be used for His purposes.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to invest my time, my energy, and my money in your kingdom. Amen.

Reflection on Hebrews 11:1-16

Scripture

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Observation

Faith is being certain of what we hope for, sure of what we do not see. Faith tells us that God created the universe. Faith gave Abel a better sacrifice and lifted Enoch to heaven.

Noah built an ark by faith, and Abraham followed God to a foreign country by faith. By faith Abraham fathered a nation.

Application

Faith is central to our relationship with God.

We must first of all believe that He exists. This is not an intellectual exercise that says there must be a God. No, true faith is a deep trust- I believe that the God of the Bible is real and that He is the one true God.

Faith is an issue of trust or commitment. I commit my whole life into the simple fact that God is here and He controls my living and my dying.

Secondly, faith is built on the belief that He rewards those who seek Him.

We are saved by faith in Christ. That faith tells me that God is good and that He is passionately committed to me. I trust that when I stand before Him, the blood of Christ will protect me from His holy wrath. My sins have been washed away by the blood- they were scarlet but now I am like the snow.

Because I know that He loves me, I can approach boldly the throne of grace. I can come into His presence and ask for the things that I need and the concerns of my heart.

God is good, and I know that He will never disappoint me.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the gift of faith. It is by faith that I am saved and by faith I am delivered, healed, renewed and redeemed. Thank you Lord for your great grace. Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 1:10-20

Scripture

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.

“Though your sins are as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.

Though they are as red as crimson, I will make them like wool.”

Observation

Isaiah promises judgement on the people of Israel. He calls them “Sodom” and “Gomorrah.” They revel in their sin and then bring sacrifices, but the Lord will reject their offerings because they are just religious ceremonies.

The Lord hates their prayers and offerings because of their sins. He wants true repentance and will wash their sins clean.

Application

The Lord is always seeking reconciliation with us. He wants us to turn away from our sins and receive His blessing.

This is not about outward religious acts but about the heart. Being baptised, going to church, or saying the Sinner’s Prayer will not make a person right with God.

Turning away from our sin and towards Jesus will activate God’s cleansing flow of forgiveness into our spirit.

It has to be sincere, from the heart. Going through a ritual of any sort will not impress God. He looks at the heart not the outward appearance.

So what must I do to be saved?

1. Recognise sin. Confess not just wrong doing, but also the orientation towards sin and self-centredness.

2. Repent. Repentance means more than saying “sorry” to God. It means to recognise that something I thought was acceptable is actually repellent.

3. Ask God for forgiveness.

4. Receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live God’s way not my own way.

Having made the decision to follow Jesus I must obey Him and let Him rule every part of my life.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I receive you as my Lord. I am sorry for all that I do that displeases you. Please help me to live for you every day of my life. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 12:13-21

Scripture

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Observation

A man in the crowd asks Jesus to tell his brother to share his inheritance with him. Jesus uses this opportunity to talk about greed.

He tells the story of a man whose land produces a bumper crop. He starts to plan how to store it all up and prepare for retirement. But God says tonight he will die and all will be lost to him.

Application

People invest their time and energy into gathering more and more possessions. There is often a tendency in many places to judge people by their monetary wealth.

People are more than their possessions.

Sometimes we naively think that a better paying job or a lottery win will fix out problems. But really this is generally not true.

In pursuing wealth it is easy to take risks that lead us into bondage of ever increasing debt. A thriving business may fall apart suddenly because its owner borrows too much to grow too quickly, and the slightest down turn in the economy pulls it all down. Home owners borrow too much and cannot make the repayments.

Possessions do not define us. Our relationships do.

Our relationship with God is the most important thing. We were created for friendship with our creator. Anyone who tries to live without God lives a broken life.

Our relationship with family is also important. Those closest to us should build us up and encourage us, strengthening us for the daily battles of life. In the same way, we need to give ourselves to our families.

The relationships that many people miss in our self-centred lives are those with community- our neighbours and our christian brothers and sisters. Everyone is looking to belong in a community, but many do not realise it.

Prayer

Thank you, Father, for showing me that possessions are far less important than my relationship with you and with the people around me. Help me to build closer ties with you and with my family and friends. Amen.

Reflection on Colossians 3:1-11

Scripture

Think of the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Observation

We have been raised to new life in Christ, so we should set our minds on things of heaven and not be consumed by worldly thoughts. We have died to this life and been raised to eternity in Christ.

We must put to death all the sinful and fleshly desires within us- immorality, impurity, greed, idolatry and so on.

We need to put on our new nature and be renewed as we learn to be like Christ.

Application

One of the biggest problems we have as christians is allowing God to transform us. Sin seems to cling to us despite our good intentions.

The problem is that we still live in the world and our thoughts are dominated by the world’s ways of thinking rather than by God’s ways.

We must see that our destiny is in heaven with Christ, and everything in our lives needs to be seen in that perspective.

The people of the world do not know God. All they see is this life. All their energy and thought go into the concerns of this world. They worry about work, possessions, sex, family and so on.

For we who are born again, our focus must always be on serving Christ. Our work is for His glory not ours. Our family is to serve Him not to live for its own purposes.

Thinking of heavenly things does not mean abandoning our responsibilities to live on a mystical plane unconcerned with earthly things.

We are to put Jesus first in everything and see the things that we do in the light of serving and worshipping Him.

When we look to God and live for Him, He deals with all the other things in our life, including sinful attitudes and wrong priorities.

We do not have to change the way we live, just where we place our affections. God will look after the rest.

Prayer

Lord please help me to seek you in every part of my life. I trust you to redirect my life and to change my thinking. Amen.