Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
More people may want to know about how you became a Christian than you realise.
How do we give satisfactory answers to those who say that the Christian Life is dull and boring, or restricting and limiting? In other words, how do we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that is relevant and meaningful to those who may be enquiring?
Our answers may depend upon the reality of our experience of the risen and living Jesus. How were you ‘born again’? Can you share your testimony of Christ in a way that speaks to the enquirer?
How did those stalwart ( Click for more )
Why be a Christian? If we get crowds travelling to our country – or – if we have someone whom we have known for a long time – and they wonder why we are a Christian – and if they want a real answer – we had better be prepared to give an answer that glorifies Jesus Christ – and that can satisfy the seeking searching soul.
With Jesus Christ there is a sense in which we ought to be able to say to the one coming with the question, “There – can you beat that?”
Our life is redeemed – blessed – anointed – ( Click for more )
You can learn a lot about a person by the kind of prayer he prays, and the way in which he prays. For instance, a selfish prayer may indicate a selfish spirit.
Some people try to impress you with their prayers, as they come over as arrogant and prideful.
Let’s look at this ‘model’ prayer in the book of Nehemiah – Chapter 1.
Remember Nehemiah? When he first heard about the condition of Jerusalem, with its walls broken down and gates burned, he prayed.
This was not just a casual prayer. Instead, it gives us a pattern for successful ( Click for more )
What raging storms might there when this article emerges?
In Acts Chapter 27 at verse 29, we read of Paul in the midst of this violent storm, in the Mediterranean Sea. Danger could have been totally avoided if the owner of the ship, and pilot and Centurion had listened to God’s man, Paul.
How often might this have happened over these past two thousand years when the wise counsel and advice of servants of God has been ignored, resisted or rejected?
But, learn how Paul served his captors aboard that embattled ship – as Paul received a word from God, as ( Click for more )
As we move forward in Christ Jesus, how are our anchors?
Turn to Acts Chapter 27 at verse 29 – have we got sufficient anchors on board our lives for what we might face in the future? Are we strong enough for the day of the storm?
Are the anchors strong enough for the strains and pressures which will confront us?
Some people’s faith is a fair weather thing – that will not be much good in traumatic times.
When we know we are going to face more than calm seas and favourable breezes, we have to take time to sit down with the Captain of our ship, ( Click for more )
As we face another year, Jesus Christ can give us adequate resources for the task and ministry and witness and life to which he calls us. I have known the peace and presence of the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ over many years now, and I also can testify to the truth the Jesus Christ, the loving Saviour, the Son of God, will never let you down, fail you, or disappoint you – as you trust him.
Jesus can give you what you need for this life which at times can appear puzzling and baffling.
The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to those disciples, and He is given ( Click for more )
What type of year has it been for you? Whatever has happened in your life each of us is going to need that real peace – the peace of God – and only Jesus Christ can impart this quality and depth of peace.
We read in John 14 verse 27 of Peace – we read of Jesus Christ’s last will and testament – Jesus Christ is making His Will. This is His legacy.
Jesus had nothing else to leave – no money – no property or material possessions to divide among the men he called and trained and loved.
He bequeathed His peace. Could there ( Click for more )
With so much to tell, and so much to share, how do we handle it all? We cannot tell everything immediately.
Do remember that many people in our ‘Western World’ do not know very much about God and about Jesus.
God will always tell you the truth – about life – and about ourselves – what we are really like.
God does not want us to base our life on faulty propositions – the truth will set you free. It can make us miserable first, because we are deeply flawed through sin, and because of sin – and we need a Saviour.
John ( Click for more )
Tell people the true meaning of the birth of Jesus – the miracle of who came – and how He came – and who He came to – and why He came.
It is the celebration of an invasion of God, splitting history into AD and BC. This was God coming to earth. Colossians 1 verse 15,16.
God was invading this world, and that is what the increasing battle is about just now.
Many are prepared to admit that Jesus was a good man – but – Jesus never claimed to be a good man.
He claimed to be God. If you have seen me you have seen God.
The ( Click for more )
What has all this today to do with an event in a little town in the Middle East some 2,000 years ago?
It causes traffic jams – and packed shops. It irritates many, and results in serious debt. Yet, families and friends seek to come together. In many places there is a very special menu.
It split our calendar into BC and AD. Is it just a holiday? Is it just about lights and cards and presents? For millions in the western world it is not much more than that.
I am referring to the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Read the narrative in the Gospels ( Click for more )
When we were ‘born again’ and came to believe in Jesus Christ and then learned that it was Jesus Christ Who took the initiative and called and chose us, we have that desire and motivation to serve loyally and lovingly and faithfully. But even after receiving this wonderful new life - old habits can hang around.
Even as disciples of Jesus we are aware that old habits seem to cling to us - and we wonder if we will ever be rid of some of them. They can appear to have such a hold. That is why Peter says - Now make the effort to get rid of certain things. ( Click for more )
Suffering is mentioned frequently in this letter of Peter – again, very few people appreciate hearing about suffering – but we cannot avoid it. We come to the end of Chapter 1, where Peter has been writing about being holy.
Paul would address the people to whom he is writing as SAINTS – called to be different – so similar to Peter. Here is our calling – to become and be the People of God in the world. Verse 17 will help us - if we get the right kind of fear - and right kind of love - we will live the right kind of life. And – ( Click for more )
What do you tend to think about when you have nothing specific to think about? That is a sobering thought – it illustrates what we might be drinking in and concentrating on in life!
We are in I Peter Chapter 1 and reading on from verse 13.
Peter assumes that despite the hardships these disciples are experiencing they remain obedient children.
Do not let your possessions or desires possess you – or your quiet thoughts. What is it that keeps us going – what was it that kept Peter going? Peter knows where he is going – after it is all over ( Click for more )
We have such privileges and that is why Peter goes on right away to speak of responsibilities. Privileges always bring responsibilities. We are reading in Peter’s first letter and in Chapter 1 at Verse 13 we come to these words - Prepare your minds for action.
Roll up the sleeves of your mind - think straight - know clearly what you believe and why. There comes that point where we have to take our faith in Jesus Christ very seriously. Peter did – as did the other apostles. Be self-controlled - be sober - rational - reasonable.
Let no-one else control ( Click for more )
There is a testing which purifies our faith and this testing lasts too. We are in I Peter Chapter 1 and we read of this at verse 6. The joy outlasts the pain – the trials – the suffering.
Verse 7 – Today our world can tolerate almost anything, except faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the truths of the Bible. These trials and sufferings are like a refining fire. The Refiner is refining.
Verses 8,9 - There is a deep devotion and a joyful love - which is real - and that lasts as well. A mother can try to get her son to wash his face ( Click for more )
Spiritually hungry disciples of Jesus Christ will find that I Peter Chapter 1 is packed with spiritual nourishment for those persecuted, hunted, and scattered men and women. It was a difficult day, as it is for many today. Persecution can divert you from Christ – and cool your love for Jesus and the Gospel – and baffle your thinking. You are chosen - you are different - you have been set apart so that you can obey - you have been sprinkled (or sealed) with the blood of Jesus.
Verse 3 - Peter refers to this essential fact - to that day when we were born again. ( Click for more )
We have been reading these opening verses of I Peter and how in this whole matter of salvation there was nothing human involved. There was and is nothing of man. It was all of GOD – chosen by God the Father – set apart or sanctified by the Holy Spirit – sprinkled or sealed by the blood of Jesus. There is not a hint of anything human in the work of salvation, which makes it all the more wonderful, but perhaps to some even more baffling. This made me return to read again in ACTS.
ACTS 2 – When the day of Pentecost came – it is now 50 days since ( Click for more )
Simon Peter, a man who has been an ordinary businessman in the fishing industry, has now been serving Jesus Christ and ministering in the front line of the Kingdom of God for around 60 years and he has something relevant and powerful to teach and write.
He is not a man to waste words as we read the opening words of his first letter.
He writes to these scattered persecuted disciples of Jesus Christ.
We are strangers in this world - misfits - exiles - aliens - unwanted by some folks. We are far from home - we don't fit in - we don't belong down here - but we have to remain ( Click for more )
This profound letter is being written during a time of real severe persecution, by a man who had been so transformed by Jesus Christ - and he is saying - 1. You have been chosen. 2. You have been sanctified – or set apart - and you are different so that you can obey. 3. You have been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes - we are very different indeed – and Peter was certainly aware of that fact and factor as he wrote to disciples of Jesus Christ who were suffering.
There are certain days in our lives which we remember very clearly - and one of ( Click for more )
On being asked to say something about Peter, and our recent daily Bible readings focusing on Peter, I thought it was right to write about Peter, and for various good reasons. Turn to Peter’s first letter.
I recall hearing a colleague say - Imagine if we were to have a competition in the Church – say a hymn writing competition – these are around – but if we had one, and the first prize was dinner with an apostle of Jesus Christ, who would be your first choice? For many it would be Simon Peter – why?
Perhaps it would be because many of ( Click for more )
Over these past weeks we have spent much time reading of, and observing, the various stages in the Creation narrative and we spend one last day as we move into Genesis Chapters 10,11, where we read of the sons of Noah and how the scenario develops – some of it good – some of it not so good – perhaps not so exciting and thrilling, but so like life!
Japheth means to enlarge - Japheth may you grow and extend - you will dwell in the tents of Shem - and you will share in the blessings of God.
At the beginning of Chapter 10 - we read of them each going their ( Click for more )
Why are we reading and studying these verses in Genesis - because we learn from the successes and failures of the past. This is God's Word for His People - to be led – and guided. We can learn from this Word how to avoid the errors of others. We can do that if we are willing to learn.
In Genesis Chapter 9 verse 20, Noah began to work the soil.
He planted a vineyard, made wine, and got drunk!
In his drunkenness, he lay uncovered in his tent. The word does not mean the covers fell off - there is here the implication of sexual perversion. The word means ( Click for more )
In Genesis Chapter 9 verse 8 - God speaks once again to Noah. God desires to make a Covenant with man. This is more than a contract. It is more than two people making an agreement or a bargain. It is one party laying down conditions and the other party accepting. A Covenant is always a thing of LOVE.
How often do we see two things like this side by side in Scripture? There is this principle of Capital Punishment - and then a revelation of such caring concern and love. There are no 'ifs'. We do not read - if you do this, I will do that. When God makes a Covenant ( Click for more )
We are in Genesis Chapter 9. The Flood is past. The cataclysmic devastation is over - never to be repeated. God has dealt with a world which had become so wicked and evil, and through this period of judgement God had kept eight people secure and safe in the ARK - with the animals which had been brought together - so that Creation would be preserved.
Noah emerged. The first thing he did was build an altar, and worshipped the living God Who had preserved and saved his family - and the worship which arose from the earth was pleasing to GOD. Desire to worship the living ( Click for more )
We come to Genesis 8 verse 20. The Flood is past and Noah's first thought was to build an altar - and Noah remembers the God Who had remembered him. Noah wants to begin living in this very different world in communion with the Creator God, Who judges and saves.
Noah takes some of the clean animals which he has kept safe for over a year and sacrifices them as part of his worship and thanksgiving.
What he did pleased the Lord God. God was pleased with the worship that arose from the earth that day.
Is Almighty God pleased with what flows from our lives and minds ( Click for more )
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "Word from Scotland" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.