DIG for Monday the 29th of June…..study with honesty and integrity, even if it doesn’t “fit in” with your doctrine…..2 Timothy 2 v 15

I was reminded of this verse of Scripture this morning as I was reading some ridiculous blog where another Christian was justifying his lifestyle with a passage of Scripture.

There seems to be a heightening of awareness about same sex relationships at the moment, given the current circumstances in the USA.

This blog was about same-sex marriage and homosexuality, but this was not the main issue for me.

The person had taken a small passage and because of a phrase in one Bible translation (actually the Good News version, whish is not a translation but a paraphrase) and also because of Roman practice of the day, he had justified his lifestyle.

In the time this was written Roman men were known to have young men as “partners” and in the Good News bible in Luke 7 the Centurion said the servant who was dying was “very dear to him” (Luke 7 v 2), so this was taken to mean that they were in a “relationship”.

And because Jesus healed the servant, Jesus was OK with same sex relationships.

This is nonsense in terms of decent Bible study.

In Bible study we need to verify our interpretation with other verses and we need to study the Greek and Hebrew; yes, we also need to study the context of when it was written but not to twist that cultural context to fit our views.

I am not going to get into a debate about same sex relationships but rather challenge you to “rightly divide the Word” with honest and integrity.

We have to come to the Word of God ready to learn and willing to have our understanding challenged and changed; in other words we need to come with a teachable spirit.

Do not take one verse or passage and make a doctrine out of it (as much of the church has done with 1 John 1 v 9 for example), but pour over the rest of Scripture to ensure that what you think or understand is confirmed.

Take time and effort to study the Scriptures to confirm your doctrine and even to change it if necessary.

I would think that every single one of us has some doctrine that is in error, so we have to be honest and have integrity and be prepared to change that doctrine if our understanding is wrong.

We study Scripture to determine our doctrine, we do not interpret scripture to fir in with our doctrine; can you see the difference.

Praise God, I have had to change points in my doctrine many times, and I’m sure I will have to in the future.

Let’s study Scripture with that attitude instead of using it to prop up any “dodgy doctrine” we may hold.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word, for the truths that it holds and thank you that you have provided us with the ability to study and rightly divide that Word”.

2 Timothy 2 v 15…..Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth

DIG for Sunday the 28th of June…..yes, He warned her about sin, but after He had forgiven and accepted her…..John 8 v 11

Sin is a problem in the earth, it has earthly consequences for us but it is not the big problem for God that the church seems to make out.

As I preach what is known as the “grace message” I am often accused of giving my fellowship a licence to sin.

If you came and asked them I am sure they would tell that this is not what I give them; I often tell them about the earthly consequences that sin can bring upon them.

However all our sin (even future sin) has been paid for by Jesus and is not an issue for God (1 John 2 v 2 and Hebrews chapters 9 and 10)

Through the shed blood of Jesus we were forgiven about two thousand years ago (Ephesians 1 v 7 and Colossians 1 v 14).

Forgiveness came before you ever repented of your sin and became saved; it came before you ever met Jesus.

In the account of the woman taken in adultery we see Jesus full of compassion and mercy forgiving and accepting the woman, even in her state of sin (John 8 v 1 to 11).

He said He did not condemn her and then He said go and sin no more (John 8 v 11).

The order of this account is very important; He did not say go and sin no more and then I will not condemn you.

No, forgiveness, mercy and compassion came before any performance or lack of sin.

The church today seems to have this round the wrong way, saying that if we sin less and do good work God will forgive us and bless us.

This is nonsense, the order is the way we see Jesus doing it in John 8, compassion, and acceptance, mercy and forgiveness came first without the need for performance.

Jesus knew there that sin could cause problems for the woman in front of Him but He also knew that what she need first was love and acceptance.

Religion lies to us when it says we need to perform and ask for forgiveness and acceptance, this is not true.

We were forgiven when Jesus shed His blood and we were accepted (or made righteous) when we accepted the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus and His finished work.

Do not let religion lie to you about this, believe that you are loved, forgiven and accepted by God right now.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I have been forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ”.

John 8 v 11…..She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more

DIG for Saturday the 27th of June…..sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty…..2 Corinthians 6 v 18

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the section of Romans 8 that talks about us being sons and children of God, of being adopted and being heirs.

So it was no surprise when I opened the Bible this morning and my gaze fell upon 2 Corinthians 6 v 18.

I like it when the Lord is telling me something, and He tells me it again and again (some of the fellowship may say this is the way that I teach).

This passage also talks of who we are in Christ and ends with the Lord saying that we (as born again believers just like those Paul wrote to in Corinth) are His sons and daughters.

He has taken the decision to adopt us into His family and with that decision also took on the responsibility of care.

When my kids were younger I fed them, taught them and took care of them; I did this because I loved them and had a sense of responsibility.

The same is true with our Father in heaven.

He loves us and takes care of us, providing all that we need for life and godliness though His Son Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1 v 3).

In verse 16 God promises to be our God and for us to be His people.

He then takes that further, making our relationship with His so much more intimate, by saying He is our Father and we are His sons and daughters.

As I wrote yesterday, we always have something to be thankful for, and I would suggest that He wants us to be His son or daughter is once such thing.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you have chosen that you want me as your son or daughter”.

2 Corinthians 6 v 18…..And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

DIG for Friday the 26th of June…..there is always something to be thankful for…..1 Thessalonians 5 v 18

Looking out of the patio windows this morning I saw another dreech morning awaiting me (dreech is the Scottish word for weather that is wet, cold and grey).

I saw the numerous plants in pots on the decking and thought, “Well at least that’s another day I don’t have to water the plants”.

And the Lord spoke to me loud and clear saying, “see there is always something to be thankful for”.

Friends, there is always something to be thankful for.

If you woke up this morning you are alive, free to spend more time in this wonderful creation that the Lord made for us; that is something to thank and praise the Lord for.

If you are reading this DIG you are more than likely a born again believer, so you are righteous and accepted by God, adopted into His family; that is surely something you can be thankful for.

I have so much to thank the Lord for; a beautiful wife, wonderful children and an adorable granddaughter who all love me.

More important even than this however is the truth that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally.

Now, you may not have the family that I spoke you, but you do have the same Heavenly Father who also loves you unconditionally, and you can give thanks for that.

Whatever circumstances you are going through you have a Heavenly Father who adores you for who you are and there is nothing that can separate you from that love (Romans 8 v 35 to 39).

You can be thankful in all circumstances, you just need to make the choice to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5 v 18).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you love me and that nothing can separate me from your love”.

1 Thessalonians 5 v 18…..In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

DIG for Thursday the 25th of June…..God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called…..1 Corinthians 1 v 26

I remember asking the congregation a few questions in church one time when I was discussing what it meant to be called by God.

I asked them if they considered themselves mighty, wise or noble and when no one put up their hands I said, “Excellent, you are all qualified to be called by God”.

God’s standards and qualifications are different from those of the world.

To the average man in the street the decision of God to call Paul to preach to the Gentiles would be seen as daft; Paul (or Saul as he was then) hated Christians (he wanted to kill them remember) and was the most legalistic Jew you were ever likely to meet.

Yet the Lord called Him and equipped him to reach the world with the message of grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You see, as I heard a preacher say once, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”.

You may think you have heard a call from God to do some mighty work, but think you don’t have the skill set to pull it off.

If you feel under qualified or concerned about lack of ability you are quite likely to have heard from God.

If you are super confidant thinking, “that will be a piece of cake”, I would be more concerned!

Heart attitude, love and compassion are the kind of “skill sets” that impress God, more than the ability to speak well or manage people.

Do you have an inkling of what the Lord has called you for?

Ask for some more information, more details and ask Him how he will equip you for your ministry.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you have a plan and purpose for my life and thank you that you will equip me for this”.

1 Corinthians 1 v 26…..For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many are mighty, not many noble, are called

DIG for Wednesday the 24th of June…iniquities forgiven and no imputing of sin, that time is now…..Romans 4 v 6 to 8

To impute means to take account of or to hold something against someone; in this passage of Scripture the term is used twice.

Paul is reminding the believers in Rome of a truth written about previously by David; he said there would be a time coming when the Lord would forgive people of their sin and not impute their sin against them (Psalm 32 v 1 and 2).

Paul is telling the people that they are now living in that time predicted by David.

Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ their sin was dealt with and they had been forgiven.

Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ the Lord was not imputing or accounting their sin against them.

This is true for us; we now live under new covenant grace and what was true for the believers in Rome is true for us.

The even more amazing thing however is that Paul extends this truth written about by David.

We do actually have something imputed to us by the Lord; we have righteousness without works imputed or accounted against us.

As a gift of grace through faith in Jesus we have been made righteous (2 Corinthians 5 v 21) and the Lord “holds that against us”.

One preacher I heard recently said that as a gift of grace through faith we have been made “prisoners to righteousness”.

I marvel that the Lord does not impute my sin because of Jesus, but it is an even greater truth that He accounts us righteous instead.

Today the Lord does not see you as a sinner but as righteous and holy, all because of your faith in His Son Jesus.

What a marvellous truth to meditate upon today.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that as a gift of grace through faith I have been made righteous”.

Romans 4 v 6 to 8…..Even as David also describeth the blessedness of man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin

DIG for Tuesday the 23rd of June…..why is there such a drive and need to show there is no God…..Romans 1 v 20

In my DIGs I am a regular critic of religion, bad doctrine and bad interpretation of the Bible.

I am also well educated in Mathematics and Chemistry and I am therefore just as big a critic of bad science, or maybe I should say bad journalism about science.

I read this headline yesterday; “the longest running evolutionary lab experiment is letting us watch one major evolutionary change transform an entire ecosystem”.

Wow, I thought, maybe I should read this, and I did.

The article of course was nonsense, a certain type of bacteria was still the same type of bacteria after thousands and thousands of generations, but it was now able to metabolise citrate instead of glucose.

It did not even mutate new genes to do this, it “switched on” ones already there, and the entire ecosystem in question was a petri dish!

This is another example of headline grabbing journalism attempting to prove evolution.

There seems to be a drive or need to prove that God does not exist; man seems to be trying very hard to “get rid” of God.

The truth is that we all have an intuitive knowledge that there is a God, some of us just do not want to recognise that truth and will kick and scream to get away from the responsibility that this truth holds over us.

Creation screams out that there is a God, the universe displays His grandeur and we display His ultimate handiwork (Romans 1 v 20).

The eye, the pancreas and the brain for example are wonderful examples of His creative power not of evolution; evolution does not work and will never be proven in the laboratory, no matter what the scientists and journalists try to tell us.

Jesus is the agent of Creation (Hebrews 1 v 2 and Colossians 1 v 16 and 17).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that Jesus was the agent of creation, and that He still upholds everything with the word of His power”.

Romans 1 v 20…..For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

DIG for Monday the 22nd of June…..what does it mean to be a joint-heir with Christ…..Romans 8 v 16 and 17

I’ve just not been able to stop thinking about this concept of being a joint-heir with Christ.

I was prompted to read Romans 8 yesterday (you’ll know if you read the DIG) and I cannot stop thinking about this concept this morning.

While in the bank, doing the shopping and getting a hair cut all I could think about was being a joint-heir with Christ.

I challenge you this morning to stop and really think on what this passage of Scripture means.

This is talking about your identity, about who you are.

Man or woman, boy or girl, black or white, working or unemployed, short or tall, brain surgeon or shop assistant; no matter what you are or what you do, if you are a born again believer you are a joint-heir with the Creator of the universe.

An heir is a person who has legal right to what their father has; they are entitled to all the father’s goods and possessions, and even titles in some instances.

Normally you get these once your father is dead, but in some instances he can hand on certain things before his death.

This is the case with Father God; Jesus came to the earth with His authority and was given the power of the Holy Spirit.

With Jesus now ascended into heave and seated at the right hand of the Father that authority and power has been “handed down” to us.

We have the authority from Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to do mighty things on this earth as children of God, and not only children, but as heirs and joint-heirs with Christ.

What Jesus did, we can do!

And further more everything that Jesus has in heaven will be ours once we leave this earth; now that is something else entirely to meditate upon!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that right now I am a child of yours and I am a joint-heir with your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Romans 8 v 16 and 17…..The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together

DIG for Sunday the 21st of June…..a chapter just crammed full of amazing truths…..Romans 8 v 17

At church this morning Nunsy mentioned that a lot of the songs had lyrics based on Romans 8; so I had a wee look at the chapter.

Wow! What a chapter this is!

All of Romans (well, all of the Word) is fantastic but Romans 8 is just packed full of life changing truths.

I joked that I could preach on Romans 8 until Christmas!

We are told there should be no more condemnation for us as believers (Romans 8 v 1).

We are told that we can have life and peace through being spiritually minded (Romans 8 v 6).

We are told we are sons of God and can call God Abba Father (Romans 8 v 14 and 15).

We are told that we are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8 v 17).

We are told that all things work together for our good (Roman 8 v 28).

We are told that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8 v 35 to 39).

We are told that we are more than conquerors through Jesus (Roman 8 v 37).

Go on, read Romans 8 right now and start to meditate upon and digest your true identity in Christ; this chapter will tell you many truths about who you are as a gift of grace through faith in Christ.

This truly is a marvellous piece of Scripture.

Maybe I do feel a wee teaching series on Romans 8 coming on!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I am more than a conqueror, am a joint heir with Christ, can have life and peace and can live free from condemnation”.

Romans 8 v 17…..And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together

DIG for Saturday the 20th of June…..we can forgive because He has first forgiven us…..Ephesians 4 v 31 and 32

There are certain events that take place that seem to affect people all over the world, with one such event being the shootings in a Charleston church on Wednesday evening.

What is so different this time is the outpouring of love and forgiveness from the families of the victims.

As a pastor I have preached many times on love and forgiveness, including how we should love and forgive those who hurt us.

I have to be truly honest and say that I have never had to put this teaching into practice in a way that the relatives in Charleston have had to.

OK, I’ve forgive people who speak bad against me and say rude things to me but that is really as far as it has gone.

To see the forgiveness flowing from the people in Charleston is truly humbling and it is a wonderful witness.

The love of Jesus is shining from the faces of these brothers and sisters as they speak out compassion, love, mercy and forgiveness in the most trying of circumstances.

God told us to love our enemies and forgive, just as He forgave us (Ephesians 4 v 32).

Our brothers and sisters are living out Ephesians 4 v 31 and 32, putting away anger, bitterness and malice, and speaking out love and forgiveness instead.

Take time out this morning to pray for those brothers and sisters, thanking the Lord for their witness and testimony and speak out that they truly feel His love, mercy and compassion over the coming days and weeks.

The Lord Jesus died to bring about our reconciliation and forgiveness, He has asked us to forgive others because of and through the revelation of this truth.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that through the finished work of Jesus Christ I have complete and absolute forgiveness”.

Ephesians 4 v 31 and 32…..Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you