DIG for Wednesday the 30th of July…..remember so as not to forget…..Psalm 103 v 2

I had the pleasure to give the address at a World War One commemorative event at the weekend and said that we should remember this war so that we do not forget.

A very similar thing is said at the start of Psalm 103.

This is a Psalm that speaks out what the Lord will do for His people under the new covenant.

The Psalmist says forget not all his benefits, and I think he says that as we have a tendency to forget!

We have more benefits than just a ticket into Heaven through our salvation, we have so much more that we must not forget about.

Through the finished work of Jesus Christ the Lord did many wonderful things for us at the cross, that we now benefit from as we live under new covenant grace.

We should not forget that He has forgiven us of all our sin (Ephesians 1 v 7 and Colossians 1 v 14).

We should not forget that He has healed us of all our diseases (1Peter 2 v 24).

We should not forget that we have been redeemed (Galatians 3 v 13).

We should not forget that He has provided us with all that we will ever need (Ephesians 1 v 3).

We should not forget that He has made the way for us to live in health and abundance (3 John v 2); this is what having your youth renewed like an eagle speaks of to me.

We should not forget that He deals with us according to the finished work of Jesus Christ and not according to our performance.

We have so much to remember, we must never forget.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I now live under new covenant grace thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

Psalm 103 v 2…..Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits

DIG for Tuesday the 29th of July…..we are just like barley; we need a good root system…..Mark 4 v 16 and 17

I was on a crop walk today; that is when you go into the fields and examine the different varieties of barley and see how the crop is developing.

At one plot the expert was telling us about a very good variety that, in his words, “produced great fruit and dealt with stress very well”.

This variety could perform in such a manner because it had a great root system. Without the root system it would not be able to develop leaves and fill out with grains with starch.

It looked pretty much like the other varieties in the plots around it however under the ground the root system was better, thus giving more and better barley.

We are spoken about in a similar manner in the parable of the sower (Mark 4 v 1 to 20 and Matthew 13 v 1 to 23).

Our “root system” is our understanding of the Word of God.

If we have a good root system, if we have a good understanding of Scripture, especially of the fundamental truths and axioms, we will bear much more fruit and be better in stressful situations.

Without a good root system we will flounder and fall when affliction and persecution come our way (Mark 4 v 17).

We require long and deep roots in the areas of forgiveness, righteousness, acceptance and God’s love.

These are our taproots, the most important ones and we must understand these fully.

Before trying to develop fruit we need to put effort into our roots through reading, meditation, discussion and understanding of the Scriptures, especially in the areas that I have highlighted.

Do you want to be less affected by stress, affliction and persecution today?

Do you want to see more fruit in your life?

Take time to develop your root system!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word, thank you that it tells me that I have been forgiven and accepted and have been made righteous”.

Mark 4 v 16 and 17…..And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended

DIG For Monday the 28th of July…..He is holding you and guiding you…..Psalm 139 v 10

This DIG may be for only one of you tonight; it may speak to all of you in a fashion but it may be just for one of you!

I was reading through Psalms 96 to 100 looking for something to write about in this DIG and the Lord kept reminding me about Psalm 139 v 10.

I thought I’ve written about this before but it kept coming to me, so here we go.

I like to picture verses in my mind, to help make them come alive for me.

Psalm 139 v 10 gave me one of my best and most special pictures that I’ve seen.

It says God will lead me by the hand and also hold me with His right hand at the same time (Psalm 139 v 10).

I saw God with His right arm around my waist holding me tight and I sensed the security that this gave.

I saw God then holding my left hand in His left hand and I sensed the guidance that was coming from Him.

He holds us and He guides us and this is an awesome truth for every single one of us.

Can you close your eyes and picture this right now; God with His right hand around your waist and his left hand guiding you forward.

Can you sense His security and His guidance? Can you feel His love?

Picture this if you are feeling a lack of security and guidance this evening; let this verse and this picture speak to you of the love that God has for you.

Let His love wash over you as you picture Him holding you and guiding you.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you hold me and guide me, and thank you that you love me”.

Psalm 139 v 10…..Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me

DIG for Sunday the 27th of July…..physical fact or spiritual truth…..Romans 8 v 6

One of the big things that we are learning as a church through my latest series of teaching is that there is a difference between a fact and a truth.

A fact is a current reality in the physical realm while a truth is a permanent reality in the spiritual realm; let me give you an example.

You may be feeling pain in your body, so that is a physical fact; you can feel it and in the physical realm it is a reality.

However the Word of God says that by His stripes you were healed, so that is a spiritual truth (1 Peter 2 v 24).

You can believe this spiritual truth, speak out healing over your body and see the manifestation of your healing; you can see the spiritual truth take dominance over the physical fact.

When Peter got out of the boat He looked to Jesus and focussed on Him; the spiritual truth was that Jesus had spoken and said come.

However he took his eyes away from Jesus and looked at the wind and the waves, or the physical facts.

When he focussed on the physical facts he became afraid and started to sink.

He let the physical facts take dominance over a spiritual truth.

My friends, we determine what is the dominant force in our lives with regards to facts or truths.

We determine what we think and what we speak out, we decide if we focus on the physical facts or the spiritual truths.

Have you an area of your life today that you are struggling in where the physical facts are dominating you? It could be health, prosperity or rejection for example.

Take your eyes away from the physical facts that may be your reality at the moment and focus them on the Lord through meditation, prayer and study of His Word.

Read, understand and believe the spiritual truths in His Word rather than the facts in the physical realm and this will change your life for the better.

I know it has in mine and I can see the same thing happening for a number of people in the fellowship.

Knowing the spiritual truths at work in your life will allow you to renew your mind and bring about transformation (Romans 12 v 2).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the spiritual truths held within the Scriptures”.

Romans 8 v 6…..For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace

DIG for Saturday the 26th of July…..believer or disciple……Matthew 4 v 19

In Romans 10 v 9 Paul records how a person can be saved; they have to believe in their heart the truth about Jesus and speak out that God raised Him from the dead.

I read in Matthew 4 this morning a somewhat different command that Jesus gave to the men who would become His disciples.

He said, “Follow me”, He did not say, “believe in me”.

This shows to me that there is a difference between a believer and a disciple.

There is no difference in terms of where they will spend eternity (that will be together with the Lord) however we will see a difference in how lives are lived on earth.

I think that a disciple is an “extension” of a believer; there is something “extra” about a disciple.

Jesus asked for and expected something extra from His disciples when He asked them to follow Him.

The mood of this verb “follow” is imperative and the tense is not stated; the imperative shows that this is a command and not an invitation, and the tense shows to me that this is an on going command, irrespective of past, present and future.

“Follow” literally means to come hither, and this holds with it a sense of coming, being with, learning and following. It means more than just having a belief that Jesus is Lord, it talks of making Jesus your Lord and acting accordingly.

In church today we have many who are believers (and I truly believe that they are) but who are not disciples.

People believe in Jesus but are not following Him.

Discipleship involves a cost, a cost of time and effort, to come to Jesus and learn from Him and with Him.

Let me ask you a couple of questions this afternoon.

Are you willing to put in the time and effort?

Indeed, are you a believer or are you a disciple?

The Word tells me that Father God wants every man to believe in Jesus and be saved (2 Peter 3 v 9).

I also believe that Jesus is giving every one of us the same command that He gave to His original disciples; He is saying, “Follow me”.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you for Jesus and for my salvation, and thank you that you want me to be a disciple”.

Matthew 4 v 19…..And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men

DIG for Friday the 25th of July…..what are you magnifying today…..Psalm 69 v 30

I remember as a child loving to play with a magnifying glass.

I especially enjoyed looking at spiders, ants and other “creepy crawlies” through my magnifying glass; it brought a whole different dimension into view.

To magnify something is to enlarge it in our sight, to make it look bigger; it can also mean to allow something to have a greater influence.

This is what the writer is meaning in Psalm 69 v 30.

If we praise and give thanks to God it does not literally make him bigger, but it makes Him seem bigger to us, look bigger to us and cause Him to have a greater influence in our lives.

By focussing on God and worshiping Him we magnify Him and His influence.

We can do something else of course and focus on our trials, tribulations and storms thus minimising God in our lives.

The way we think and what we think always has the effect of either magnifying or minimising God in our lives, and what we think and how we think is our choice.

What we focus on will enlarge, or be magnified.

What are you choosing to magnify today, the Lord or your physical circumstances?

Are you focussing on the spiritual or the carnal?

Remember, how you think in this arena can bring either life and peace or death into your life (Romans 8 v 6).

The Lord wants you to magnify Him today, we wants you to focus on Him and on Jesus, on the spiritual.

He wants you to focus on “things above” and not on “things of earth” (Colossians 3 v 2).

What are you magnifying today?

Do you need to make a step change and decide to magnify the Lord through worship and thanksgiving?

The decision is yours.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I can make the decision to magnify you in my life RIGHT NOW”.

Psalm 69 v 30…..I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving

DIG for Thursday the 24th of July…..reminded about the flow of forgiveness again…..Colossians 3 v 13

Forgiveness is a recurring theme in my DIGs; this is because it is a recurring theme in my daily readings and in my thoughts.

It is a recurring theme as it is one of the most important truths to be understood by a believer.

Many people quote Matthew 6 saying that God will forgive us if we forgive others; they say our forgiveness is conditional.

This is a picture of Jesus raising the bar of the law, it is pre-cross, and it was never meant to be taken literally.

This verse in Colossians shows us the flow of forgiveness for a believer who is living post-cross, living in the time of new covenant grace.

We can forgive others (and we should) because we have been forgiven first.

We can forgive (future tense) because Jesus forgave us (past tense).

We have been forgiven already because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1 v 7 and Colossians 1 v 13).

I say that our forgiveness is unconditional, absolute and complete.

Jesus paid the price for all our sin on the cross and actually paid for the sin of everyone in the world (1 John 2 v 2).

Forgiveness flowed from the cross; Jesus forgave us first.

We were not even alive when we were forgiven, so how could it be conditional on something that we could do?

My friends, we do not need to ask for forgiveness; yes we must thank Him for it and thank Him every single day.

Forgiveness is a state of being that we can live in because of our faith and trust in Jesus and His finished work.

It is a state of being to enjoy and celebrate.

It is a state of being that, once understood, will allow you to love a more holy life and a life with less sin.

This is a truth that will set you free from sin not free to sin.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I live in a state of forgiveness thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

Colossians 3 v 13…..Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye

DIG for Wednesday the 23rd of July…..hearing and knowing the Word of grace brings forth your fruit…..Colossians 1 v 6

You should know by now that I love the first couple of chapters of Colossians, they hold for me the best descriptions of Jesus anywhere in Scripture.

However I was drawn to the verses earlier than my favourite parts tonight, to where Paul is speaking about the Word, the Gospel and grace.

Paul uses the words “Gospel” and “grace” interchangeably, thus showing that the message of new covenant grace is the Gospel (Colossians 1 v 5 and 6).

How many of you know that shouting “turn before you burn” at people on street corners is not preaching the Gospel?

He also says that the key to being fruitful is to understand what the Word says about grace and the Gospel.

This is a very important passage if you want to see fruit in our lives; I hope you are the same as me and want more!

Paul talks about the “word of truth of the gospel”; this is about new covenant grace and the finished work of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1 v 5).

He goes on to say that it is hearing this and understanding this that will “bringeth forth fruit” (Colossians 1 v 6).

The whole of the Bible is there for us however it is the apostles’ doctrine or new covenant grace that should be paramount, as it is knowledge of this that will bear fruit in our lives.

It is an understanding of the finished work of Jesus Christ that will see fruit brought forth in our lives.

An understanding of our unconditional and complete forgiveness, our acceptance, our adoption and our righteousness is what will bring forth the fruit that you desire.

Awake to righteousness for example and you will sin less the Word says (1 Corinthians 15 v 34).

Make these truths your focus and you will see positive change in your life; it will happen for sure as that is what the Word says.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the truth of grace, the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

Colossians 1 v 6…..Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world: and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth

DIG for Tuesday the 22nd of July…..what an amazing encounter with Jesus…..John 4 v 25 and 26

We see many people having wonderful encounters with Jesus as we read through the Gospels; my favourite is in John 4 where He encounters the Samaritan woman at the well.

There are many things we can learn from this encounter but I think the most important is the change that we see in the woman after meeting Jesus.

Before her encounter she was a woman driven by shame, not coming out to get water until after all the other woman had returned home (it was the sixth hour or six hours after day break).

In the eyes of society she was a very wicked woman as she was both an adulteress and a fornicator.

Yet after meeting Jesus she changed; she suddenly became an evangelist, going into town and speaking to the men about Jesus.

She changed after understanding that Jesus was the Christ, that He was the Messiah.

You may not realise the extent of the change, going from a woman who hid herself away due to shame to a woman speaking in public and preaching the Good News.

This is a phenomenal change.

For the woman having a meeting with Jesus was a life-changing encounter, and the same is true for us too.

When we encounter Jesus and are born again we are completely changed; our old spirit man dies and a new born again spirit comes into being.

This spirit is righteousness and truly holy and absolutely perfect (Ephesians 4 v 23).

What a phenomenal change, going from an old spirit driven by sin to a new spirit driven by righteousness and holiness.

Just like the Samaritan woman at the well we have also been changed by our encounter with Jesus.

After encountering Jesus and understanding that He is the Messiah people will never be the same again.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for Jesus and thank you for my life changing encounter with Him”.

John 4 v 25 and 26…..The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he

DIG for Monday the 21st of July…..with our eyes on Jesus we can walk on top of any storm…..Matthew 14 v 29

The disciples were afraid, they were panicking, the boat was being pounded by the storm and there was a real chance that it would sink (Matthew 14 v 2 to 26).

Then Jesus came and told them to cheer up as He was now with them (Matthew 14 v 27).

We then see Peter and Jesus talking, which resulted in Peter getting out of the boat and going to Jesus.

At this point Peter was walking on the water, over the crashing waves, the spray and the boisterous seas; in one sense he was walking on top of the storm.

With his eyes on Jesus, on his Lord, Peter was able to walk on water and overcome the storm.

However at some point he took his eyes off Jesus looking at the storm instead and started to sink (Matthew 14 v 30).

He saw the storm about him and became afraid and this was when he started to get into trouble.

We can learn from this account when we are in a storm.

The key is to focus on Jesus, to look to Jesus, to look to spiritual truths.

What will cause us to fear is looking at the physical circumstances in the storm or by focussing on what our flesh is saying.

Yes we should be aware of what is happening but we should not let that be the focus of our thinking.

If we keep our eyes on Jesus we will be able to overcome and walk over the storm; we will be able to resist and fight and get that storm under our feet.

Are you in a storm today?

If you are then keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and that will help you to overcome your storm and walk on water.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I can look to Jesus and to His finished work to bring me strength through the storm”.

Matthew 14 v 19…..And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus