Bible

Showdown in the Desert (pt.2)

Lessons from Jesus’ Temptation Yesterday, we looked at Jesus' showdown in the dessert. Today, let's glean a few lessons for our own lives from this story. 1. We are in a spiritual war. We live in a spiritual battle zone between God and Satan, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. There is no neutral ground. We will either overcome or be overcome. The battle will intensify as history proceeds from this time until the return of Jesus. Before the world was created, a number of theologians believe that one of God's archangels was cast out of heaven... Read more →


Showdown in the Desert (Pt.1)

Jesus has prepared well for impacting his world through total surrender, a strong relationship with his Father and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The final aspect of his preparation is a showdown with the devil himself. Immediately after the “mountain-top” experience at his water baptism, Luke describes Jesus as “full of the Spirit”. The Spirit then “led” Jesus into the desert or wilderness (in comparison to the garden paradise where Adam and Eve were tempted). Jesus fasted (ate no food) for 40 days. During these 40 days he was also tempted or tested by the devil. The three specific... Read more →


Jesus' Empowerment by the Spirit

During Jesus' baptism in water, the Spirit of God descended upon him like a dove (Luke 3:22). This implies a sort of “anointing” for ministry. Jesus was “filled with the Spirit” (Luke 4:1) and was then “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1) into the wilderness where he overcame the devil and returned in the “power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). Jesus lived his life by the Spirit’s power. We too need the power of the Spirit to help us live a life of purpose and impact, an abundant joyful and victorious life. The disciples separated themselves to God, developed a... Read more →


Jesus' Relationship with His Father

As Jesus was being baptised, Luke notes that he was praying or talking to his heavenly Father (Luke 3:21). Throughout his gospel, Luke makes a special emphasis on Jesus’ life of prayer – one of close relationship with his Father (Luke 6:12; 9:18, 29; 11:1; 22:41). After being baptised, the Father spoke to him Jesus and said, “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This is probably a private and personal experience between Jesus and the Father. The voice speaks directly to Jesus. Luke does not record any reaction or response from... Read more →


Jesus' Preparation for Ministry

At the age of 30 (Luke 3:23), Jesus began turning his attention towards his ministry to the people His Father had sent him to. Jesus’ preparation for ministry included his baptism in water (Luke 3:21-23), his relationship with his Father, the empowerment of the Spirit (Luke 4:1-2), and his defeat of the devil and his temptations (Luke 4:3-13). Jesus prepared for 30 years for 3½ years of significant ministry. It has been said, that people today go to Bible College for 3½ years to prepare for 30 years of ministry. Proper preparation is essential. Anything significant is preceded by intensive... Read more →


Jesus as a Child

Luke gives us some interesting insight into Jesus' self-perception ... as a 12 year old. Luke 2:41-52. Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they... Read more →


Stories Around the Cross - The Denial

The Denial (Mark 14:27-31, 66-72) The theme of abandonment overshadows many of the Stories Around the Cross. Jesus was abandoned by betrayal (Judas), by indifference (the disciples sleeping three times in Gethsemane), and by denial and desertion (Peter and the Twelve). When Jesus needed them the most, his friends left him alone. They all participated in the supper (Mark 14:23), they all confessed their allegiance (Mark 14:31), and yet they all deserted Jesus (Mark 14:50). Peter is as impetuous as ever – opening his mouth first and thinking afterwards. But he is hard to condemn and impossible to dislike. He... Read more →


The Supper

As we move towards Easter, let's take a look at the supper from Mark 14:12-26. Part of our God-given humanity is the instinct to celebrate significant moments with significant meals (e.g. Christmas, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries). Sharing a meal bonds a family, a group of friends, a team, a collection of colleagues together. The meal says more than words - about who we are, how we feel about one another, and the hopes and joys we share together. It’s not just about the food; the meal says something, it does something. We become a people who shared that meal together,... Read more →


The God Who Pays Attention

Jesus tells us that we have a Father who pays attention to our lives - down to the very details. Matthew 10:29-30. God cares what happens to it (a small canary) even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail — even numbering the hairs on your head. Numbering the hairs on our head (an easier task for some of us than others!) is not a statement of God's mathematical prowess but rather of his caring attention to even the minute details of our life. The priestly blessing says this: Numbers 6:24-26.... Read more →


Devotional Bible Reading

Every year, we encourage our church to read through the Bible. There are a variety of reading programs available online. This year we will read through the New Testament, as well as the books of Psalms and Proverbs. There is a great benefit in using a devotional format for Bible reading aimed at hearing from God daily and responding to his leading. The goal is not to just ‘get through’ your Bible reading but to allow God’s Word to ‘get in’ to your heart and life, bringing about personal growth and positive change. As you do your daily reading, consider... Read more →


Living in the End Times

The apostle Peter wrote this back in the first century: 1 Peter 4:7-11. The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so... Read more →


They Sailed On

Each time I read the Gospels, I never fail to see something new about Jesus and the way he brought transformation to people who he came in contact with. After Jesus calmed the storm, he said to his disciples, "Why can't you trust me?" (Luke 8:25. Message Bible) That's a good question to consider after God brings you through a tough time. Luke goes on to say: Luke 8:26-27. They sailed on to the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee. As he stepped out onto land, a madman from town met him; he was a victim of demons. He... Read more →


Proverbs 28

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 28. Vs.1. The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. When you live a righteous life you have nothing to be afraid of. Vs.2. When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Good leadership (wise and godly) produces stability. Vs.4. To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law... Read more →


Proverbs 21

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 21. Vs.1. The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he turns it wherever he pleases. God is sovereign and overrules all – even the heart of those in authority. Vs.2. People may think they are doing what is right, but the LORD examines the heart. God evaluates our inner world. Vs.3. The LORD is more pleased when we do what is just and right than when we give him sacrifices. Obedience is the ultimate pleasure to... Read more →


Proverbs 14

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 14 in the Message Bible. Vs.1. A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands. If you are wise you will build something solid, strong and lasting. A fool tears down whatever they end up building. This is a good leadership challenge. Am I a wise or a foolish leader? Vs.2. Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him. When you do what is right you... Read more →


Proverbs 7

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 7 in the Message Bible. Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you'll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight - guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. They'll be with you to fend off the Temptress-- that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress. Make sure you value instruction... Read more →


Proverbs 31

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 31 in the Message Bible. Vs.4-7. And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor. For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed. Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more. Drinking too much alcohol can be a person's downfall. Either don’t drink at all or... Read more →


Proverbs 26

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 26 in the New Living Translation. Vs.2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an unfair curse will not land on its intended victim. Curses can’t affect you unless there is a reason for them to do so – like a ‘foothold’. Vs.5 When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation. With fools, you can’t win either way! Vs.11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool... Read more →


Proverbs 19

Today we glean some more wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Here are a few thoughts from Proverbs 19 in the Message Bible. Vs.2. Ignorant zeal is worthless; haste makes waste. Enthusiasm and passion are terrific but not without knowledge. Energy needs direction and focus. Planning on the front end affects execution on the back end. Ready - Aim - Fire. The 'ready - aim' steps are crucial. Vs.3. People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed. God gets blamed for so many things, yet much brokenness and even evil in the world... Read more →