DIG for Saturday the 31st of October…..Halloween is not the greatest danger to the church…..Galatians 5 v 1

Oh no, it is Halloween again!

Facebook and Twitter have been going nuts with “we must not celebrate” and “we should celebrate” comments.

You would think that Halloween is the greatest danger to the church; that it could destroy the church, that it is the most important thing we need to be talking about in the church.

Halloween is not the greatest danger to the church, religion is!

Halloween is not what we should be talking about, Jesus is!

Religion is the yoke of bondage that Paul warns the Galatian church about, and Jesus is the liberty that had set them free (Galatians 5 v 1).

Religion is the same today and is the same danger for us in the present church.

It can rob us of our freedom in Christ.

I am not talking about freedom to sin (as I am accused of by some); I am talking about the freedom from sin along with the freedom from religious performance.

If we strive and focus on good works and our own efforts we will fail, leading to guilt and condemnation and sin.

Freedom in Christ leads to resting in Him, trusting in Him instead of us and will lead to “success” in terms of holy living.

Awake to righteousness and sin not is what the Word says (1 Corinthians 15 v 34).

The law and trying to live by the law will lead to sin is what the Word says (Romans 4 v 15 and Romans 3 v 20).

Religion is the most dangerous thing for the church today, Jesus is the most important; who cares about Halloween.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for Jesus Christ and His finished work, and thank you that He is the most important thing in my life today”.

Galatians 5 v 1…..Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage

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DIG for Friday the 30th of October…..why look to the shadow when the real thing is here…..Colossians 2 v 17

Paul talks about the law (rules and regulations, holy days, dietary requirements etc.) being a shadow of things to come, and tells us that the thing to come was Jesus.

When Jesus came the law was no longer required.

Man could now come to God, could be set free from sin through trusting in Jesus, rather than their works of law.

Some people in the church today however are still looking at the shadow as a means to try and reach God.

They strive and work in order to be good enough, thinking this is what God wants from them.

This is not what God wants from us; in terms of “work” He wants us to believe on Him whom He sent (John 6 v 29).

Our “work” now is to rest in Jesus and to trust in Jesus.

If a person was standing in front of you yet you were paying attention to his shadow and talking to his shadow, that person would think you were incredibly rude or incredibly stupid.

I wonder what Jesus thinks when we look to His shadow rather than looking to Him.

In another part of Scripture the law (using our own works and efforts to try and reach out to God) is said to be a schoolmaster, here to point us to Jesus (Galatians 3 v 24).

Once Jesus is here there is no need for the schoolmaster.

If Jesus is your Lord and Saviour your days of effort and works trying to reach to God should be over; God has reached out to you through Jesus and now your ”job” is to rest in Him.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that Jesus is my Sabbath rest, and thank you that He complete the “works” required so that I do not have to”.

Colossians 2 v 17…..Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ

DIG for Thursday the 29th of October…..want to change your life; well, change your thoughts…..Proverbs 23 v 7

Well, well, well, a study has just been published through Oxford University that says sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome can improve their condition with positive thoughts and an exercise regime.

Once again we see science catching up with the Word.

The Bible says that our life goes in the direction of our thoughts (Proverbs 23 v 7).

The Bible says that we can do anything that we can see in our imagination first (Genesis 11 v 6).

What this study was saying was that if a person changes what they think and then changes their behaviour and behaves “more well” they can see an improvement in their condition.

It is like my wife Nunsy telling me to get out of bed if I say I’m not feeling very well!

Nunsy also used to rebuke me when I kept saying, “I’m so tired”.

I spoke of being tired and I thought of being tired, so guess what happened; yes, I felt tired.

“As a man thinketh” along with “death and life are in the power of the tongue” are Scriptures I regularly use and write about; I do this as they are so powerful and really can change your life if you understand and use them appropriately.

In the study I heard about on the radio today they were saying that if people think well and act well, it can improve their condition; they are not saying chronic fatigue syndrome is a mental illness yet mental attitude can help.

This can help with any illness; think well and behave well and the condition could improve.

This can help with poverty and abundance; think, speak and behave like a prosperous man and you can see prosperity in your life.

These are Biblical rules that we can understand and use in our everyday life.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that as a I think so I am and thank you that death and life are in the power of my own tongue”.

Proverbs 23 v 7…..For as he thinketh in his heart so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee

DIG for Wednesday the 28th of October….what do you need to do to be fruitful in the Kingdom…..1 Timothy 1 v 12

When asked what works they had to do, Jesus replies to the people that they had to believe on Him (John 6 v 29).

But surely there must be more we have to do in order to be fruitful in the Kingdom, in order to be a success in this Christian life?

Well, there are no works or deeds that are required to be done, but I believe that there is a mind-set or attitude that is essential.

Paul shows us what the Lord looks for in a person if they are to have a successful ministry, and this is the same trait required to be a success in the Kingdom (as we all have a ministry for the Lord).

He says he was chosen not for his qualifications, not for his works, not for his good looks; he was chosen for his faithfulness (1 Timothy 1 v 12).

Paul was chosen for his faithfulness and the same is true for us.

Faithfulness is required for all successful ministries and indeed for all areas.

Skills and qualifications can be taught, but faithfulness cannot.

I’ve met many gifted and qualified individuals but I would never give them a leadership position in the church in a month of Sundays.

Why would you not I hear you cry?

Because they were not faithful!

Faithful people turn up on time, faithful people go to places where they say they are going to go, faithful people can be relied upon, and faithful people are obedient.

Faithfulness is essential in any worker, team member, minister, in fact anyone who wishes to be useful and successful in the Kingdom.

This may sound brutal but if you are not faithful you will never be on my ministry team, and I think in this area I am in line with the Lord!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the example of faithful people in your Word, thank you for the example of Paul”.

1 Timothy 1 v 12…..And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry

DIG for Tuesday the 27th of October…..murder or religion; which is the greater sin…..1 Timothy 1 v 15

I have often read this verse of Scripture where Paul talks of being the chief of sinners, of being the foremost in rank or the utmost sinner (1 Timothy 1 v 15).

My previous perception was that this was because he persecuted and murdered Christians.

But the revelation came to me this morning that this was not why he was chief of sinners, it was because he was the best or the foremost in religion.

Paul was taught the law in the best school of the day and was a religious zealot, and he was the best at it.

After coming to Christ Paul was taught about grace, about the unconditional love and mercy of God, about the finished work of Jesus Christ.

This is what he went on to preach and teach and to encourage many others to follow.

He spoke out about religion and warned against religion.

When Paul says he was the chief of sinners he was referring to his previous religious attitudes and actions.

Religion is dangerous.

When I was involved in Healing Rooms I saw more atheists and agnostics healed than people steeped in religion, confessing to be believers; their religion (man made actions reaching out to try and seek God) was stopping them from receiving the free gift of healing through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Religious people (believers in the church trusting in their own efforts and actions to come to God) are my greatest persecutors.

Preach grace today and you will soon see religious people coming against you.

I say it again, religion is dangerous, and this is what Paul is talking about when he says he was chief amongst sinners.

Religion is putting your trust in self rather than Jesus and it is a sin!

Stay away from it and its bondage; keep to the truth and freedom in Jesus and in grace (Galatians 5 v 1).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the freedom found in grace and in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and thank you for Paul and his example of how to move from religion to grace”.

1 Timothy 1 v 15…..This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief

DIG for Monday the 26th of October…..there are 2 “different” types of holiness…..Ephesians 4 v 24

Have you ever been flicking through the Word trying to find one passage or one version and been stopped in your tracks by another?

That has just happened to me; I was planning having a look at the start of Galatians and saw a word underlined in Ephesians 4 v 24 and the Lord said, “Stop, look at that word true”.

Straight away I thought, “I know this verse about true holiness, but I wonder why it uses the word true”, and the Lord replied, “Because some holiness is not true”.

So what is true and untrue holiness?

Striving to be good by doing good works is not true holiness.

Looking to your own efforts and thinking you are doing well is not true holiness.

Getting your worth from your deeds and actions is not true holiness.

True holiness came when your spirit, your new man, was created new at your point of salvation; at that point you were created holy and made a saint.

God made you holy, God created you holy, at that point and there is nothing you can do to become more holy or less holy.

True holiness is the state of holiness in your spirit, while untrue holiness is you thinking you are holy through your own actions, works and deeds.

If you are born again, if you have trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you have been made holy and need to start thinking and believing that you are holy and that you are saint.

If you do this you will start doing holy actions, not to become holy but out of being holy.

If you think you are a saint you are more likely to behave like a saint, not to become saintly but because of our saintliness.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus I am holy and I am a saint”.

Ephesians 4 v 24…..And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness

DIG for Sunday the 25th of October…….God is speaking to you; you just need to be in a place to listen…..2 Timothy 2 v 15

I preached this morning about the continuing need for study and teaching within a local church setting, believing this was what God had asked me to do and believing that He had confirmed that to me last week.

I’ve just listened to a message from Bob Yandian and got exactly the same message again, yet another confirmation from God that what I am doing is in His will for my life.

God speaks to us all the time, however we have to ensure that we are listening.

God will speak to you again and again, confirming what He has said, if you give Him a chance and listen.

We can listen in many ways; prayer, reading the Word, talking with other believers, listening to teaching are all ways that we can hear from God.

And it is wonderful when you hear the same message from God via different routes.

God has a plan and purpose for every single one of us and wants to tell us about this, indeed He is trying to tell us all the time.

We have a responsibility to put ourselves in a place in order to listen; we have a responsibility to do things that will help us listen.

I watched some football on the internet last night and didn’t hear much from God, yet when I opened my Bible and settled down to read the Word I heard Him quite clearly.

Different people hear from God in different ways, and we can hear from God in multiple ways.

Every one of us needs to find the ways in which we hear from God, and then once we’ve found them do them!

God is speaking to you today, pouring our His heart for you and your life, and He desperately wants you to hear.

But you have to choose to hear!

Speak this out today….”Thank you Lord that you are speaking to me right now, and thank you that I can and will listen to you”.

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