DIG for Thursday the 27th of February…..now that’s a good prayer; not silly at all…..2 Corinthians 4 v 3 and 4

Every one of us, as born again believers, have said some very silly prayers in our time. Some of us may still be doing this right now.

Do you know that praying and asking for God to save a person is a silly prayer?

You may say “no that is a good prayer, we all want to see people saved and see them move into the blessing and abundance that God has for them”.

God wants everyone to be saved, He wants everyone to come to repentance, He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3 v 9); so praying for Him to save someone is silly.

God has provided all that a person needs for salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ; so praying for God to save someone is a silly prayer.

Paul points us towards a good prayer in this verse (2 Corinthians 4 v 4).

People have free will and have to make a choice to accept Jesus and be saved; people have to first “see” Jesus, in order to believe Who He is and what He has done.

The enemy does not want people to see this, so he has “blinded the minds” of the unsaved so that they cannot see “the light of the glorious gospel” that is Jesus Christ.

Hence we can pray for people to have that blindness removed; we can pray against the work of the enemy and speak out that people can “see” Jesus; we can resist the devil in this area of people’s live (James 4 v 7).

We can also pray that people come across the lives of our family and friends so that they can see Jesus in other believers.

We can pray that our lives shine out as an example for the unsaved; that we might point them to “see” Jesus.

We can pray for people to have revelation about Who Jesus is and what He has done.

We can pray for them to hear the gospel message and understand it.

We can pray a number of good things in line with this Scripture, but we really should stop using the silly prayer that is “please save this person”.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you want everyone to receive salvation and have provided all that is required for this through the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

2 Corinthians 4 v 3 and 4…..But of our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lot: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them

DIG for Wednesday the 26th of February…..Paul spoke of his light afflictions; mine must be really, really light then…..2 Corinthians 4 v 17 and 18

Paul was an amazing man of God, a wonderful evangelist and apostle, spreading the Word of God across the known world.

He was persecuted, arrested, beaten, stoned and left for dead; he had to escape from cities and was shipwrecked a number of times; he was thrown in jail and whipped; he was despised and rejected by his own people.

Paul did not have it easy; he had great difficulties and issues that brought many difficulties.

How did he react to this; did he throw up his hands and say “I give up” or “it’s not fair” or “I can’t go on”; did he weep and wail and moan?

No, he called all these issues and circumstances his “light affliction”; yes, you read that correctly, he said they were a “light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4 v 17).

My friends, Paul is just the same as we are now, he was a bring again believer who trusted Jesus as His Lord and Saviour.

You are the same as Paul, so you can live with the same attitude as Paul.

How can we live like that; how can we look on the circumstances and difficulties of this earthly life as light afflictions?

We can be like Paul and look to the things of the Lord and the Kingdom (things which are not see) rather than our current difficulties and issues (things which are seen) (2 Corinthians 4 v 18).

We can, like Paul, choose to focus on the positive truths of the Lord and His Kingdom, instead of worrying and focusing on the negativity of our earthly condition.

What did Paul do when he was stuck in the deepest and darkest part of jail in Philippi? (Acts 16 v 22 to 24)

He prayed and sang songs of praise; he worshiped and he rejoiced (Acts 16 v 25).

What an example; even in the worst of conditions Paul was able to rejoice; he prayed and sang songs of praise.

This is what the Lord wants us to do as well, He wants us to rejoice, and rejoice in all circumstances (Philippians 4 v 4 and 2 Thessalonians 5 v 16).

Now don’t get upset and say “you don’t know what I am going through”, even though that of course is true.

But the Lord does know and He asks you to rejoice.

And Paul went through, with all respect to your situation, a lot worse than you or I are going through, and he managed to rejoice.

I agree that this is not also easy; I have to be honest and say that I am writing this DIG to me as much to anyone else; I can and do let the things of this earth weigh me down.

But when I look to Him, read and meditate on His Word, pray and sing songs of worship, or go for a walk and ponder on His wonderful creation, things always, and I mean always, look better.

When we focus on Him (things we cannot see) instead of ourselves and our problems (things we can see) life gets a whole lot better.

Look to Him tonight, look to the things unseen.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that things of this earth are nothing compared to what is to come; thank you for my eternal life, provided as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

2 Corinthians 4 v 17 and 18…..For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal

DIG for Tuesday the 25th of February…..read the whole verse please…..Romans 6 v 23

I was once in a Bible study in our home and I read out Romans 6 v 23; I love this verse and have always seen it as a wonderful description of the two options open to every man.

I was surprised when a fellow believer said “wow, I’ve never heard that last bit before”.

When I asked about this she said that in her previous church she had often heard that the wages of sin was death, but never the second part!

Of course, the fact that the wages of sin is death is the truth, but it is not the good news.

The good news is that there is another option; the option of eternal life as a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ.

We can all learn a few lessons from this experience.

Firstly, we all need to read the Bible for ourselves, and not just hear it when the pastor or minister reads it out at the front of the church on a Sunday.

Secondly, we all need to study the Bible for ourselves, and I say that as a pastor. We all must take what we are taught and check it for ourselves.

If we are taught truth, this will be reinforced and become our own revelation and therefore more valuable to us.

If we are not taught the truth you will have to find out the truth yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit of course.

Paul says we should all study and rightly divide the Word (2 Timothy 2 v 15); please do not believe all that you are told and taught, study it out for yourself.

After hearing a message, reading this DIG or after any teaching please go the the Word and meditate on the Scriptures used; take time to reinforce the truth or recognise the error.

Most pastors and teachers do not lie and teach error deliberately, but we all get it wrong sometime; make sure you know what is truth and error.

Praying in tongues is a great way to help in this, so is deep meditation on the Word, so is getting quiet and listening to the Holy Spirit; but yes, it takes time and it takes some effort.

But it will be worth it!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth”.

Romans 6 v 23…..For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

DIG for Monday the 24th of February…..the ministration of death, that’s talking about the ten commandments; WHAT, REALLY…..2 Corinthians 3 v 7 and 8

Have you read 2 Corinthians chapter 3 lately?

If not then you should, it is astounding!

I read it this evening and marvelled at the contrast Paul makes between the old and new covenants, between law and grace.

Paul wrote to the Romans and said that as born again believers living under the new covenant they lived under grace and not under law.

He wrote to the people of Corinth here and tells them that the law, and indeed the ten commandments, has been “done away” (2 Corinthians 3 v 7).

He goes so far as to say that the ten commandments, the basis for the law, are the ministration of death; this is clear as he is writing about what was written on stones.

Read further into this chapter and Paul writes more about the law; it is the ministration of condemnation (verse 9) and is was to be abolished (verse 13).

Earlier in the chapter he says it is “of the letter” and that this letter “killeth” (verse 6).

That is strong stuff; yet many believers today are still trying to live under the law in terms of how they relate to God; in other words they are using their own performance as a measure of how they can come before Him, be loved by Him and be blessed by Him.

This is wrong for the new covenant believer.

Now please do not get me wrong; I am not saying that it is OK to murder, commit adultery, steal or break the other commandments;I am not advocating lawlessness as a mode of behaviour.

However I am saying that the en commandments have been done away with for the new covenant believer as the basis for how we approach God and how we have (or do not have) relationship with God.

We do not live under law, we live under grace (Romans 6 v 14).

The Word says that the law is not made for a righteous man (1 Timothy 1 v 9), and you were made righteous in the sight of God the second you were born again (2 Corinthians 5 v 17 to 21).

We can have a wonderful relationship with God because of Jesus’ performance, because of His finished work.

Speak this out today….”Thank you Lord that I live under grace and under the new covenant, and thank you that our relationship Father God is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

2 Corinthians 3 v 7 and 8…..But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance: which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

DIG for Sunday the 23rd of February…..ever wondered why Jesus is now seated…..Hebrews 1 v 3

As I wrote my DIG yesterday (from Colossians 3 v 1 and 2) I was reminded that Jesus is now seated in Heaven.

Colossians 3 v 1 says He “sitteth on the right hand of God”.

Hebrews 1 v 3 says that He is now “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”.

Hebrews 10 v 12 says He is “sat down on the right hand of God”.

I love this description of Jesus; when I think of Him I see Him sitting down with His Father.

Do you know why Jesus is described as being seated?

He is sitting down because His work is finished!

Jesus has purged us from our sins (Hebrews 1 v 3); so His work is finished.

Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, for every single person who has ever lived or who will live in the future (1 John 2 v 2); so His work is finished.

Jesus made Himself as an offering for sin once and once only (Hebrews 10 v 12 to 14); so His work is finished.

The sin issue has been dealt with through the finished word of Jesus Christ; mankind has been reconciled to God and the problem of sin as a barrier to relationship with God is gone (2 Corinthians 5 v 18 and 19).

Now friends, I am not saying sin is not an issue in our lives (sin is ugly and not good for you), but I am saying that sin is not a barrier to our relationship with God; Jesus removed the barrier and paid the price and we can now have full relationship with Father God.

On the cross, as He removed the barrier of sin and reconciled us to God, Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19 v 30).

This word finished could have been translated as debt paid in full; He had completed His work; His work was finished.

Jesus can now be seated as the barrier between man and God has been completely removed, once and for all.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I am been reconciled through the finished work of Jesus Christ, thank you that we can now live in relationship”.

Hebrews 1 v 3…..Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high

DIG for Saturday the 22nd of February……look to the things of Him, not to the things of this world…..Colossians 3 v 1 and 2

I often tell the fellowship that we should think and meditate on Jesus and what He has done, rather than focus on things of this world.

Focussing on ourselves and on our worldly issues can only lead to worry, fear and anxiety.

Focussing on Jesus and His finished work will lead to peace; keeping your mind on the Lord and trusting Him will actually keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26 v 3).

On the reverse side of this, if you are not in perfect peace there is some area of your life where you are not trusting the Lord and therefore not keeping your mind on Him.

Paul writes similar advice to the Colossians.

He tells them to seek “things that are above”; this talks to me of things of Heaven and the Lord (Colossians 3 v 1).

He tells them to set their affections on things above and not on things of the earth (Colossians 3 v 2).

Again this talks to me of spiritual matters; on the truths of Jesus and His finished work for example; or on things of the Lord and Heaven.

Whatever, he suggests we do not focus on the things on earth; Paul is specific about this.

The more we focus on our circumstances on earth the more our mind will wander away from the things of the Lord, and I guarantee you this will lead to fear, worry and anxiety.

Do you want less fear, worry and anxiety in your life?

Yes; well focus on Him them and get your mind away from yourself!

You may be having troubles at work or school, but you can focus on the fact that the Lord has a great plan and purpose for your life (Jeremiah 1 v 5).

You may be ill and suffering, but you can focus on the fact that the Lord has provided healing for you through the finished work of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2 v 24 and Isaiah 53 v 4 and 5)

You may be getting rejected by your family and friends, but you can focus on the fact that you have right standing with the Lord and are accepted in the beloved (2 Corinthians 5 v 21 and Ephesians 1 v 6).

Whatever circumstance you find yourself in here on earth, there is a spiritual truth that you can focus on; there is always something of above that you can think about.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for all the good things you have done, are doing and will do for me; help me keep my mind on them and on you”.

Colossians 3 v 1 and 2……If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth

DIG for Friday the 21st of February…..healing and health for our physical bodies is still available for us today…..Matthew 8 v 14 and 15

I do not mind being challenged about what I write in DIG; at least it means that someone has read them!

Challenge and discussion leads me to further study and helps me to formulate my thoughts, beliefs and doctrines.

I was challenged a couple of days ago around my teaching on healing; the suggestion was that healing for us is in spiritual terms and not in physical terms, in other words not for our physical bodies.

I use Isaiah 53 v 4 and 5 and 1 Peter 2 v 24 on many occasions to show how we are physically healed through the finished work of Jesus Christ; I was challenged that these verses were talking about our spiritual man and not our physical bodies.

When discussing this with Nunsy (my lovely wife) she said “go and look at Matthew 8”; so I did.

In the middle of this chapter we see Jesus casting demons from people and also healing all that were sick (Matthew 8 v 16).

The Greek for sick here mean illness and disease, but also means evil or miserable, so I could see how there may be some debate about what kind of healing this is; was it physical, emotional or spiritual?

In the very same afternoon, Jesus also healed Peter’s mother-in-law; the Word says she was sick of a fever and the Greek here is very specific; it means sick of a fever; this is plainly a physical illness (Matthew 8 v 14 and 15).

Before this in chapter 8, in the same time period, a leper was cleansed of leprosy and a servant was healed of palsy; another two examples of physical healing; another two examples of Jesus removing pain, illness and disease from a person’s body (Matthew 8 v 3, 6 and 7).

So we see Jesus clearly healing 3 people of physical illness in their bodies, and many other people healed of various things, including potentially physical illness.

The Word also tells us why Jesus did this; why Jesus healed people of illness in their bodies.

He did it to fulfil Isaiah 53.

The Scripture say He did it to fulfil that which was spoken by Isaiah, that He would “take our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8 v 17).

Isaiah 53 v 4 and 5 are clearly talking about physical illness and disease, what we read in Matthew 8 shows us this.

Many times we see Jesus healing all the people that came to Him, we also read that Jesus could only do what He saw His Father do; Jesus healed people as this is what was on the heart of Father God.

God does not change, His heart is still for you to be healed physically in your body, and He has provided that for you already through the atonement, or finished work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus healed people, the disciples healed people, and the apostles healed people.

Acts talks about what Jesus had began to do and teach; what He did and what He taught has not ceased, and that includes physical healing for our bodies (Acts 1 v 1).

Yes, I agree that people still get ill and people can learn things from God while they are ill; but illness is not from God and is not what He wants for us. He can use anything for good, but he is not the author of illness.

Illness and disease are signs of a fallen world and are a tool of the enemy; Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy and to bring us life in abundance (1 John 3 v 8 and John 10 v 10).

Do not let the enemy rob you of what Jesus purchased for you on the cross.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you that I am healed through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and I speak out that healing right now”.

Matthew 8 v 14 and 15…..And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them

DIG for Thursday the 20th of February…..Great advice (as usual) from the Psalmist…..Psalm 145 v 1 and 2

The Psalms is a great place to go for the believer to find encouragement, exhortation and edification; it is also a place to find great advice.

I am sure we all have our favourite Psalms; Psalm 139, Psalm 23 and Psalm 145 sure bless me!

The first couple of verses of Psalm 145 “jumped out” at me as I was looking through my Bible this evening; they spoke to me of the type of life we should be living as a born again believer.

They tell us to extol the Lord; that means to lift up high, to raise high or promote (Psalm 145 v 1).

If we are in a difficult situation this tells us to raise Him up and promote Him, or make Him a bit bigger would be a good way to describe this.

As we increase Him in our thoughts and mind and in our lives, the problems and difficulties just seem to melt away.

Focussing on the Lord takes our focus away from our problems; meditation on Him means that we cannot worry and have fear at the same time.

Keeping your mind focussed on Him will see you live more in peace (Isaiah 26 v 3); in fact if you are fully focussed on Him you will have perfect peace.

Now that is good news; I don’t know about you but i would love more peace in my life and the thought of having perfect peace is just wonderful.

It seems to me that this process starts with extolling HIm, or giving Him more room, space and time in our thoughts.

I was talking to a brother in the Lord this afternoon and admitted to Him that I think I didn’t spend enough quiet time in meditation with the Lord, thinking on Him and focussing on His truths. You may feel the same.

I also know that at the moment I am not living in perfect peace. How about you?

Let’s agree together this evening to extol Him more, and let’s see more peace in our lives.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you are a good God, with many wonderful things for us to think on and focus on; help us extol you more this evening and in the future”.

Psalm 145 v 1 and 2…..I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever

DIG for Wednesday the 19th of February…..our God does not say “I will”, He says “I have”…..Matthew 8 v 3 and 7

The life and ministry of Jesus is well documented in the Gospels; we can see what He did and we can see what He did not do.

Jesus Himself said that if we see Him we see the Father and that He can only do what the Father does (John 5 v 19, 5 v 30, 6 v 38, 7 v 28 and 29 and there are more verses saying the same if you continue through the Gospel of John).

What we see Jesus doing we can transfer onto Father God; what Jesus did for people we can transfer onto what Father God will do for us.

Jesus was driven by compassion for men; God is driven with compassion for you.

He wants you to live in abundance and health (3 John v 2).

At the start of Matthew 8 we see Jesus approached by two people with different needs; a leper required healing and a centurion wanted his servant to be healed.

In both cases they ask if Jesus would help and Jesus says “I will”.

I cannot think of any instance in the Bible where Jesus says “I will not”.

Yet, religion will say “God will not heal you if you have any unforgiven sin in your life”, “God will not bless you unless you tithe”, “Repent, seek forgiveness and then God may turn His face upon you”.

This is all nonsense of course!

So what about healing for us today?

This next statement may sound arrogant but it is true; because of what we see in the Word we do not even have to ask God to heal us.

We have assurance that of course He wants us to be healed (3 John v 2), indeed He has actually provided for all the healing you will ever need through the finished work of His Son (1 Peter 2 v 24 and Isaiah 53 v 5).

We are told, as disciples, in His Word to go and heal the sick not to ask for healing or pray for healing.

Healing has already been provided through the atonement of Jesus; in a sense, under the new covenant and under grace, God and Jesus are not saying “I will”, they are saying “I have”, and saying this before we even ask.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your provision of supernatural healing through the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

Matthew 8 v 3 and 7…..And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed…..And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him

DIG for Tuesday the 18th of February……you are holy because He is holy……1 Peter 1 v 16

Holiness is a state that many believers aspire to, but too many think it is about what they do rather than what they are.

We are made holy as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4 v 24).

We are often told however that it is our actions and good works that make us holy or move us towards holiness.

We are told because God is holy we need to be holy, through doing holy actions and holy works.

What if we understood this verse (1 Peter 1 v 16) in another way; what if we translated “for” with “because” (as we could do if we understand the Greek meaning).

This could be saying that we are holy because He is holy, or through His holiness.

I am a proud Scotsman, and I am Scottish because my Dad was Scottish; I am not Scottish because I wear a kilt, eat haggis, drink whisky or do any other stereotypical action that you can think of (although I am partial to all the first three in the list).

I am Scottish not because of what I do, but because of who my Dad was; I am Scottish because of him.

As I’ve written already, we are made holy in our born again spirit the second we become born again; at that point we are created a saint, from a sinner, and become holy because He is holy.

We can say this in the same as for our righteousness; we are made righteous through His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5 v 21).

We are as He is in this world another part of the Word tells us (1 John 4 v 17).

In our spirit we are perfect, holy and righteous; or in other words we are the same as Jesus.

When God looks at our spirit he sees Him; that is why we can say as He is so are we.

We are perfect, righteous and holy as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ; we are made perfect, righteous and holy because of Him.

You are a saint because of Him.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I have been made holy and righteous because of Jesus, as a gift of grace through faith in His finished work”.

1 Peter 1 v 16…..Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy