DIG for Wednesday the 20th of September…..grace and relationship instead of law and legalism…..Luke 10 v 33

I’ve often written about Jesus coming to end religion, but I’ve never ‘seen’ this before in the account of the Good Samaritan.

In this account we see a priest and a Levite pass by the man in need, before a Samaritan took pity and helped the man.

The two religious people, the priest and the Levite, probably did not help the man due to religious reasons.

Maybe they didn’t want to touch him, as it could have made them unclean.

They were more interested in their religion than a person in need; or in other words law and legalism took precedence over love, compassion, mercy and grace.

Jesus tells us that it is the Good Samaritan that we should be behaving like; we should be more interested in our neighbour than in any rules and regulations of religion.

He came to end religion.

He came to provide grace so that we could develop relationships with Him and with our neighbours.

When we read about Jesus in the Gospels, He is always more interested in the person than the rules and regulations of religion.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath for example, showing grace rather than law.

And the account of the Good Samaritan gives us a picture of this.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that Jesus came to end religion and bring in the New Covenant, a covenant of grace, mercy, love and compassion”.

Luke 10 v 33…..But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him

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DIG for Tuesday the 19th of September…..stop thinking in the wrong way…..Proverbs 23 v 7

I want to share a funny, yet important, story about what happened to me yesterday; an account that highlights the great importance of how and what we think.

As I got out of the saddle for the first “climb” in my spinning class yesterday I felt a pain in my right knee. I’ve felt it a few times before but it was not significant.

I remember thinking, “this will get more sore the more I cycle out of the saddle “.

And of course it did!

It got worse until I thought, “Hold ion I am healed”, and the pain went away.

“As a man thinketh so is he” is a fundamental truth in the Word, and in this example we see it in action.

But the funnier thing happened later as I was shopping on the way home.

In the supermarket I saw knee braces, and they were at a reasonable price!

So I was checking them out, looking for the right size and actually thinking of buying one.

But them, thankfully, I remembered I was healed and did not buy one.

We need to be so careful in what we think.

In the supermarket I had once again “forgotten” about healing and was about to give in to my flesh.

I can guarantee you that if I bought that brace my knee would have got sore, as I was preparing for a sore knee.

What I need to do is thank Jesus for His finished work, and go to my spinning classes knowing that I have a perfect knee.

Are there any areas in your life where you need to stop thinking wrong and start thinking right?

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that we have been healed through the finished work of Jesus”.

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 Monday the 18th of September…..people are people, no matter their importance…..Matthew 9 v 22

I was given a great reminder last night that people are always important and Jesus shows us the way with regards to how we should treat all people.

Jesus had as much time for the Samaritan woman at the well (the lowest in society) as He had for Nicodemus (one of the highest in the society of the day).

We also see that He allowed people in need to interrupt Him when He was with other seemingly more important people.

Take for example the account of the woman with the issue of blood.

Jesus was on His way with His disciples to the home of a “certain ruler”, indeed this man was with them (Matthew 9 v 18).

He had important “business” there with the man, as his daughter was dead and he needed the help of Jesus.

Yet on the way a woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed (Matthew 9 v 22).

In other accounts of this in Mark and Luke we see that Jesus interacts with this woman, He is encouraging and compassionate towards her.

Under the law this woman should have been stoned (for a number of offences), however Jesus took time out from His business with the important ruler of the synagogue to deal with her, with another human being in need.

People are human beings no matter their importance in society or their importance to us, and we should treat everyone the same.

Jesus was the same to everyone in need; He was loving and compassionate no matter if they were a Samaritan adulterer or a high up member of the aristocracy.

To Jesus every person is someone requiring love, mercy and compassion.

Should we view people any differently?

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the example of Jesus in Scripture, and thank you for His love, mercy and compassion towards all men”.

Matthew 9 v 22…..But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of god comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole

DIG for Sunday the 17th of September…..sin does not lose you your salvation…..Galatians 5 v 21

I heard a wonderful piece of teaching tonight at our bible school, based upon the truths around the fruit of the spirit.

Prior to the verses about the fruit of the spirit, Paul lists many of the sinful actions that are derived from the flesh (Galatians 5 v 19 to 21).

He also tells us what the result of these actions will be.

Firstly let’s see what he does not write; he does not say you will lose your salvation and he does not say that God will removed Himself from you (both teachings that I have personally heard in the church).

He tells us that we will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5 v 21), in other words we will not see manifest the good things of God that Jesus died to provide us with.

Sinful actions or deeds of the flesh do not affect our salvation (as in ticket to Heaven) but will affect how we receive from God.

Sin and deeds of the flesh change us, they do not God or God’s attitude toward us.

They do not change the fact that He has already provided us with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1 v 3).

They change how much of His blessings we receive and see made manifest in our lives.

It is not down to God if we receive healing and prosperity for example; He has already provided these and it is down to us to believe and receive.

One “blockage” in the way of us receiving all that God has done for us is sin, or deeds of the flesh.

How we “inherit” is dependant upon us and not God.

Paul goes on to imply that as we understand and then display the fruit of the spirit we will inherit more of what God has already made available to us.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the fruit of the spirit and thank you that all the fruit is available to me today”.

Galatians 5 v 21…..Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God

DIG for Saturday the 16th of September……it is all about relationships…..Ephesians 5 v 21

I started reading the next passage I will be preaching on this week and suddenly realised one of the important aspects of what I was reading.

I’ve just preached through Ephesians chapter 5 and looking to start chapter 6, and it hit me that we are learning all about relationships.

One of the best things to have in life is great relationships.

Life without other people is meaningless.

We were not made to live in isolation, and one of the wonders in life is gong through this journey with people you love and who love you.

In this aspect I am blessed beyond measure.

Sometimes however relationships are difficult, and it would help us all if we were to learn more about living in relationship with others.

The Word does this for us.

I’ve been teaching that as we learn more about grace and the finished work of Jesus (Ephesians 1 to 3 and Galatians 1 to 3 for example), we learn to live more out of the spirit and for others, rather than out of the flesh and for self.

This if course will lead to better relationships, if we prefer the needs of others over our own, if we live out of the spirit rather than out of the flesh.

Much of what we read in the latter part of Ephesians is how to live out the truth of grace, how to walk in the light, and this is all about relationships.

We read about marriage, about parents and children, about workers and bosses, and about submitting one to another.

As we learn more about grace our relationships will improve, that is what Paul is telling us through the letter to the Ephesians.

So how do you improve your relationships; you learn more about grace and the finished work of Jesus, easy!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for your Word and thank you that it is the understanding of the Word that will lead to lasting and permanent change in my life”.

Ephesians 5 v 21…..Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God

DIG for Friday the 15th of September…..He did not send the storm, He calmed it…..Mark 4 v 39

At the end of Mark 4 we see Jesus and His disciples crossing the sea to go to the other side.

This is what Jesus had commanded and this is what He intended.

However a storm arose, making the disciples fear for their lives, but when Jesus woke up He calmed the storm.

This is a picture showing us that Jesus can calm storms; He does not send them.

Jesus is the solution to deal with a storm; He is not the sender of storms.

This is contrary to much of what we hear in church today, but it is the truth.

Yes, we are told there will be trials and temptations (or storms) in our lives.

But it is a tradition of men and a lie of the enemy that these storms are sent by God.

When Jesus got into the boat the plan was to go to the other side; why would He (or God) send a storm to try and stop this?

He did not send the storm then and He does not send the storms now.

Above all else God wants us to live in health and prosperity (3 John 2); storms are trying to remove these good things from us.

God is not schizophrenic or perverse; that is what He would need to be in order to send storms and then help clear them up.

God sending storms is a religious nonsense, spread by people who are not rightly dividing the Word of God.

A true understanding of the Word leads us to know that God is s good God and can only send us good things (James 1 v 17).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you are a good God and thank you that I can know the storms of this life are not orchestrated by You”.

Mark 4 v 39…..And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm

DIG for Thursday the 14th of September…..stop trying to get God to come back when He has never left…..Hebrews 13 v 5

Our church meetings are held in an old warehouse and as such it is quite a cold building.

There is an open fire there that has been repaired recently so we had the fire on last Sunday.

However we are now looking at changing the seating arrangements as the fellowship are currently sitting quite far away from the fire and not feeling the full benefit.

Now you would think I was stupid if I were to rip out the fire and relocate it closer to where the people are sitting.

Of course we are going to move the seats closer to the fire so that the people can be warmer.

We will also ensure that there are no blockages stopping the heat from radiating out.

But when it comes to God some of us in the church seem to think differently.

If we are not “feeling” God we think He has removed Himself from us, and we pray for Him to “turn His face toward us” or “come and be with us”.

We try and get God to move back towards us.

This is like trying to move the fire!

What we should do is remove any blockages we have put in the way of our relationship with God.

We should then move closer to Him, in terms of spending more time with Him, praying or reading His Word.

God said He would never leave us nor forsake us, so let’s stop thinking He has.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you promised you would never leave me nor forsake me”.

Hebrews 13 v 5…..Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee