Tough times

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” - Matthew 24:9, 10

Remember, this is a word spoken to His disciples and is just as applicable to us today. When the Roman soldiers came into Jerusalem in AD70, the Jews suffered severe tribulation and were scattered all over the world.

Then there followed untold suffering for those who were believers in the Lord Jesus and living under the Roman authorities. Christians were hated and betrayed and many were offended. The attitude of those who are ungodly and outside of Jesus Christ has not changed towards those who are followers of Christ today.

Never expect to be treated kindly by those who are not followers of the Lord Jesus. Children of darkness are opposed to the children of light. Somebody said, “If you never bump into the devil you need to check what road you are traveling on”. All those who live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. You cannot expect to be treated any differently to the way Jesus was treated or all the saints who have gone before us.

Today, regardless of the situation you find yourself in, know that He is with you and, of course, He is in you if you are a believer. And that means “that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”  He is well able to sustain you, help you and protect you today. He can and will never fail you.

Dear heavenly Father my total faith and reliance is in You today. Though there is persecution, misunderstanding and trials, I know that You will bring me through victoriously, in Jesus name.

The Beginning of Sorrows

“For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

- Matthew 24:7-8

These things mentioned by Jesus seem very relevant today. In Him saying that nation will rise against nation, He was referring to ethnic groups rising up in opposition to each other.  

We have witnessed much of this in Europe, especially since the breakup of the Soviet Union, in Africa and in the Middle East, where there is a continual battle between the Jews, the Palestinians and Arab nations. Kingdoms have come and gone as conflicts have risen between them and continue to happen again and again.

Despite the wealth of many nations famine is more evident in our world today than it has ever been. With changing weather patterns and proud stubborn attitudes of certain leaders and governments famine and starvation is getting worse in many areas of our world.

Science has made wonderful strides in combating many illnesses, but as they conquer one disease another appears, like AIDS or an old scourge re-occurs, like malaria and TB. Cancer and heart disease take a tremendous toll in lives each year.  

We have witnessed earthquakes in recent times that have been of mammoth proportions, even under the sea, causing a tsunami of fearful proportions with violent destruction. Earthquakes are happening in the most unlikely places and are on the increase all the time. Just watch the news and you will see and hear of more violent earthquakes with devastating effects.

Jesus said this is only the beginning of sorrows, in other words it is going to get much worse before the end and His coming again.

Dear Father, thank You for your presence. You are with me today, so of whom and what shall I be afraid? In You I put my confidence and trust knowing that You are for me, and who can be against me as I live today in obedience to Your word.

Wars and rumours of wars

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

- Matthew 24:6

The disciples of Jesus wanted to know from Him what the signs would be that would point to the end of the world and His coming again.   He gives them a clear indication of certain events that would indicate that the end and His coming are near.

Pick up the newspaper today, listen to the radio, or watch the news on television, and you are confronted with war, killing and suffering. Rumours of war continue unabated in the Middle East, in Africa and other regions. Truly, we are witnessing Jesus’ words coming to pass in our day.  

We are, He says, not to be troubled, don’t let this disturb you, for this must happen. With the war on terrorism seemingly never ending we are not to be fearful but to rejoice for the coming of the Lord Jesus is getting closer than ever before.

It is so easy in the light of current events for us to be troubled, perturbed, fretful and afraid. But they are all part of the prophetic words of Jesus that must be fulfilled.

Whatever the news you hear today don’t let it trouble you. Your faith must stand steadfast and sure in the face of everything that is negative and may speak of failure. You have an anchor today that is steadfast and sure. Jesus says He will never forsake His people.

No matter how serious and gloomy things appear we are always safe in Heaven’s arms.

Dear Father in heaven Your word is an anchor to my soul and in You I put my trust. No matter what trouble rages around me I thank you for a spirit of love, faith and power and security in You, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Be not Deceived

“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.” - Matthew 24:4-5

 Jesus warns us that at the end, just prior to His return, there will be much deception.

Deception is of such a nature that when you are deceived you are not aware of it. He would not have warned us if this were not a real danger. There have been those in the past who have solicited worship and have portrayed themselves as Christ and even said they are more popular than Christ.

There will even be those who do spectacular miracles in His name but when they appear before Him saying, “Lord we cast out devils in your name, healed the sick in your name,” He will say, “I never knew you”.

The way to guard against deception is to be well informed as to what the Bible says. The word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We are to live and be guided according to the word of God.  

Remember, what does the Bible say? Is what is being said or done in full agreement with what God said? Deception is always close to the truth.

You are deceived if you are a hearer of God’s word and not a doer of His word. James 1: 22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving yourselves”. You are deceived when you think you are something when you are nothing. Galatians 6:3 says, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

You are deceived when you are religious but cannot bridle your tongue. James 1:26 says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart this one’s religion is useless.”

You are deceived when you think you can sow and not reap – Galatians 6:7, declares, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”.

You are deceived when you say you have no sin, 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”.

Dear Father God, today I lay my heart bare before You and ask that You will help me to live a life of love, faith and integrity, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Destruction Foretold

“Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” - Matthew 24:2

Jesus was with his disciples on the temple mount when His disciples drew His attention to the magnificence of the temple. The stones that were used for construction were large and had a particular smooth border around the edge of each one, which was typical of all the stones used by Herod in construction.

The stone pillars and the pure gold could not go unnoticed.  It was a magnificent structure.

But Jesus shocks them by saying, “Do you see all this - not one stone shall be left upon another. They shall be all thrown down”. It seems very unlikely that this could ever happen because they are large stones and they would be extremely heavy and He says, “Not one left upon another”.

In the year AD70 the Roman legions led by Titus marched into Jerusalem to finally crush the rebelliousness of the Jews. The city was ransacked and the inhabitants slaughtered, resulting in the Jews fleeing and scattering them worldwide.

The city and the temple were destroyed by the Romans to take away the practice, hopefully, of Judaism. Animal sacrifices ceased and, rightly so, for Jesus sacrificed on the cross as the Lamb of God would be the supreme sacrifice once and forever. There was literally not one stone left upon another, which was not thrown down. Fire had raged through the temple melting all the precious gold, which ran between the stones, and to retrieve it the Romans had to lift every stone to get to the gold; so Jesus’ words were fulfilled.

Remember He watches over His word to fulfill it. His word can never ever fail. We can trust it fully today.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for your word that has stood the test of time. I know it cannot fail, help me today to give it the place it fully deserves in my heart and life. I know You watch over it to perform it, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Return

“See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” 

- Matthew 23:38-39

Jesus prophetically foretells the future with great accuracy. None of His predictions of the future have or can fail. The certainty of His word coming to pass is without question. We will take careful note of what He says today and in the days to come about what the future holds for all of us.   

The prophetic word given by God and which came to pass in great detail is an evidence of the inspiration by God of the Bible and its infallibility. Jesus foretells of great destruction of the city of Jerusalem and not only of the houses, in which the people live, but also mainly of what was looked upon as the house of the Lord.

The magnificent temple built by Herod and the pride and joy of Israel, became a place of desolation. This to the natural mind was not only unthinkable but also seemingly impossible. But it came to pass in 70AD.

Jesus told those listening that He would be leaving, but that He would return, an exciting part of His prophecy that is still to be fulfilled.

Jesus came in the past to take away sin by His sacrifice on the cross. He now is at the right hand of God as our advocate, mediator and intercessor. He will come again a second time to receive to Himself His own and establish a kingdom that will know no end.

There should be no doubt in your mind that Jesus is coming back again. If His word concerning end-time events are coming to pass how can we doubt that He will return?

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, the Bible, that You have given us so that we do not have to live in fear or doubt about the future, for You have told us what is going to happen. Thank You for Your blessings upon my life today and for Your guidance and help, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Obey his call

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” - Matthew 23:37

The words, from Jesus today, are one of concern. God, through the years, had sought to bring reconciliation to the Jewish people but they refused to obey Him. He had sent prophets to speak to them and now finally His Son, but they refused again to come to God.

Prophetically Jesus sees the awful destruction that is going to come upon them but they refused to come to Him. But with the warning of impending judgement, Jesus still shows the loving heart of the Father in wanting to protect and save His people by sweeping them under His wings, like a mother hen.

He reached out in love and great compassion but they refused to accept and acknowledge Him.

Understand today that God can never do anything against your will. You come to him by your own decision or you don’t. Our safety and eternal destiny depends on our response to His desire to gather us to Himself.

His desire is for a more intimate relationship with you. For how long must He call and reach out to us before we respond to Him. Press in close to His heart today. Refuse to draw back in disobedience which opens up yourself to the awful consequences of not responding to His love.

Dear heavenly Father thank You Your love and compassion. Thank you that You care for me and You do not want me to suffer. I give myself to You again in full surrender. Thank You for your loving protection for my loved ones and me today.

A Witness Against Yourself

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our father, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets’. Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.” - Matt. 23:29-32

Jesus draws attention to the fact that the Pharisees, whom he called hypocrites, draw attention to themselves, boasting of their spiritual excellence in what they did. They say that if they had lived in the past they would never have acted like those who persecuted and even killed the prophets.

They build memorials to the memory of the prophets and also spend time in decorating the existing ones. This was all an outward show to draw attention to themselves and show how much better they are than those who lived in the past and acted in an unjust way. Jesus bluntly says that they are the sons of those who committed the atrocities of the past and bear the guilt as well.

Looking back on history we may feel that if we had lived in the past we would have acted differently than those who mistreated servants of God. It is easy, with hindsight, to say we would never be or do like others have done in the past.

But the past has gone and can never be regained but we can learn much from it that can stand us in good stead for the present and the future. You are alive today and can make a difference in someone’s life. The minutes, hours and day will pass very swiftly but we must not look back with regrets or willful boasting. Live today to the full for the glory of God.

Dear Father, thank You for noble examples of true Christian living of the past of those who served You faithfully and have left lasting memorials of their commitment to you. Help me today to live a purposeful life, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Whitewashed Tombs

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” - Matthew 23:27, 28

When you go to Israel, and especially Jerusalem, where Jesus was when He spoke these words, you cannot but notice the many tombs. Grave stones marking the tombs of thousands of people fill the hill sides and valley between the Mount of Olives and the temple mount. The grave markers, indeed, appear beautiful on the outside but there is nothing pretty or appealing under the ground.  

Jesus is very forthright in His statement to the Pharisees in telling them that they appear righteous, appear beautiful and impressive outwardly but within there is sinfulness and uncleanness.

The heart and its motives and contents are clearly read by God, there is absolutely nothing that can be hidden from Him. He knows and sees everything. Yet people so often try to hide the dark side of their lives.

Today, know the truth about yourself; are there some things that are being justified? Do you cover up your shortcomings and make excuses for your behavior? Maybe you are living in total denial.

Take a little time today to examine your heart and see what may be hindering the flow and life of the Holy Spirit through you to a world in desperate need of the Lord Jesus.

 Dear Father in heaven hallowed be Your name. You have created all things by Your word and by Your word You hold all things together. Cleanse me of all impurity of all wrong motives and may my actions, my words and my life truly be a portrayal of You, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Clean on the Inside and Outside

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” - Matthew 23:25-26

Why put on an outward show of pretense, being what you are not. A cup and dish may be washed clean and very presentable but they can still be dirty and stained on the inside.

Jesus very clearly illustrates the importance that the outside feelings, emotions and beliefs should be a true reflection of that which is on the inside of a person.

We as human beings are prone to look and judge on outside appearances, while God looks at the heart. Appearances on the outside may be beautiful but what is the inside like? What is in the heart? May we take a little time today for a little self-examination? What is the intent and content of my heart like? What is really in my heart? Because “as a man thinks so is he”. Out of the abundance of my heart I will act and speak.

May the Lord show me my heart like it really is, or, is this uncomfortable and too revealing. Thank God for the blood of the Lord Jesus that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. May the cup and the dish outwardly be a true representation of what is on the inside?  May our hearts be filled with His love and compassion, loyalty and faithfulness to Him and His glorious cause.

Dear God and Father thank You for the example of Jesus’ life when here in person on earth, always manifesting the love, compassion and purity of the Father. Help me to show the purity and love that You have placed in me through the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

This you Taught to do

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone. Blind guides who, strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” - Matthew 23:23

Today Jesus warns that you can be very careful about the small details with great emphasis on their importance and yet neglect the most important things.

It is right, according to the laws of Moses, to pay a tithe. That is ten percent of all that one received, which is declared to be holy and belongs to God. Jesus does not say that this is not to be done but “this you ought to do”. Tithing is not an option but a requirement of God. People, many times, will find excuses for not tithing by saying it is under the law, which is no longer valid and is not necessary. But the word indicates that paying one tenth of all that you receive in wages, in interest or profitswill cause the blessings of God to flow in a way t at you will not be able to contain it.  

The promise of God is that He will rebuke the devourer, which is the power of darkness. He says that He opens the heavens above and He challenges us to prove Him in this act of obedience by tithing. Remember that Jesus said, “This you aught to do”. This He did, therefore we follow His example. It is to be brought into the storehouse, which is the local church where I worship and where I receive spiritual sustenance and help.

Jesus further says, “Don’t forget justice”. We should be just in all our dealings. We should show mercy and exercise faith in all things today.

Dear Father in heaven we thank You in the name of the Lord Jesus for Your love, mercy and grace. You have and do bless me for which I am very grateful. Help me to be faithful in that which You require of me and to be obedient to Your will. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus

Check your vows

“Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.” - Matthew 23:20-22

Promises are made very easily, often without much thought of their significance or importance.

The altar of the temple was at the entrance to the Holy Place in the temple where sacrifices were placed and burned with fire. Before entering the Holy Place there was a brass laver – a large wash-basin in the shape of a cup and saucer. This is where the priest worked before entering the Holy Place.

Inside the Holy Place there was a lamp stand to give light, a table, which had bread on it and, thirdly, a high altar of incense. Going beyond that there was the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed and which represented the presence of God.  

When people made their vows and promised God something and their vows were based upon these things they felt their promises would be valid and meaningful. They did not fully realize that their vows were being made directly to God.

Let us be more careful about the promises we make. We should rather not make a vow at all than make a vow we do not keep.   Have you made a promise to God? If you have, then make sure you keep it or ask Him to release you from the promise.

Dear God my Father thank You for Your help and guidance today. By your help I will fulfil my vows to You, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Gifts and Motives

“Whoever swears by the altar it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?” - Matthew 23:18-19

Jesus points out in today’s scripture the importance of right thinking and how a misplaced belief can rob us of the real blessing.

In Jesus day many people placed great importance upon swearing or making a vow based upon the gift placed on the altar in the temple. The idea was that the gift was more important than where the gift was placed, which was the altar of the temple.

But Jesus declares that the altar is greater than the gift because the altar sanctifies or sets the gift apart to God. Sacrifices placed upon the altar and presented to God were important in the life and experience of the people of Israel.

But Jesus, who in reality takes the place of the temple, was teaching people that one should not place more importance on the gift than to the Person we are giving it to. Your gift must be given freely and from the heart

It is possible for some people to shower the pastor and the church with gifts, but without making a full surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. The gifts are a cover up for a lack of full commitment.

Remember that when you bring your tithe or a financial gift and present it, you are placing it on Jesus and He sets that gift apart as sanctified and fit for His use. When you make a promise it is based on Him, therefore, more important than a promise placed upon the gift.

Dear heavenly Father thank You today for the wonderful opportunities that I have of bringing my gifts to You and that through the Lord Jesus Christ they are sanctified and acceptable.

Prophetic Truth

“Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” - Matthew 23:34-36

Jesus today gives a word of prophecy regarding the destiny of those religious, hypocritical individuals.

The self-deluded drift through life, content that all is well, when actually there is destruction ahead. In fulfillment of His prophetic word he sent prophets, wise men anointed of God, apostles and disciples, who were killed.

They were scourged and persecuted from city to city. Those who were alive at the time Jesus spoke these words saw and experienced the truth of Jesus’ prophetic words. Some saw the stoning of Stephen, others even suffered under the zealous acts of Saul of Tarsus, who later became Paul, the apostle.

It really behoves us to take heed of the words of the Lord Jesus and to serve Him, not out of fear but love. His word cannot be ignored, discounted or discredited - it will surely come to pass. You have been given yet another day in which to fulfill His word in your life. The minutes and hours that you have been given are to be made full use of so that He may be glorified in and through you.

Dear heavenly Father grant that this day there shall be no wavering of my faith, but that with determination and total trust in You I shall stand firm upon the authority of Your word and Your love shall manifest itself through me today. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Making a son of hell

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” - Matthew 23:15

Today it seems difficult when hearing these words from the Lord Jesus that He would be so scathing and condemning towards religious leaders. But it is obvious that Jesus was very opposed towards hypocrisy and continually speaks out against it. These religious leaders were judgemental, legalistic and condemnatory. In contrast Jesus was always, and will be, an expression of God’s love.

The scribes and Pharisees travelled many miles to win one convert to themselves and indoctrinate and teach him their ways. This, Jesus says, results in them being twice as much a person destined for hell than themselves.

Why spend all that effort and time travelling to merely make a religious convert whose life is not changed for the better, but actually for the worse.  Jesus walked long distances to reach people and when He contacted them He lifted burdens, healed desperately sick individuals and performed amazing miracles. He travelled extensively teaching and preaching the kingdom of God, casting out devils and making people well. He went about proclaiming the good news of the gospel to all who would hear and respond to it.

Follow His example to go, regardless of the distance, to do good, not to proselytize someone to become religious, but to bring them into the experience of the new birth and to be true followers of the Lord Jesus. We are not to make hypocrites but disciples who will never ever see the dark portals and torments of hell.

Dear heavenly Father I lift my voice to You today in grateful thanks for all Your goodness, mercy and faithfulness. Without You I am lost and I utterly and totally depend on You.  Lead me to someone today who is in need and help me to point them to Jesus so that they may experience the wonder of the new birth.

Pretense Prayers

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” - Matthew 23:14

Jesus today warns us about being a pretender and not a possessor of true Christian piety. The scribes and Pharisees pretended to have a more exact knowledge of the law. They felt they, only, had the accurate interpretation of the laws of God. They received money for prayers while purporting to assist widows and others but they were bringing poverty rather than blessing and prosperity. They were known for their long prayers, some lasting up to three hours and trying to manipulate unsuspecting widows to part with their money.

How sad it is that eloquent and even lengthy prayers can be said without God even hearing and, of course, not answering them.

The length of a prayer, or time spent in prayer, is not what impresses God, but the faith of our prayers. Praying to be heard by others, or praised for the poetry of the prayer, does not bring an answer from God.

When we pray it is simply talking to God, believing He will hear and answer our prayers.   Prayer must be more than words flowing from our mouth - they must be from the heart.

Of course prayer must be according to the will of God and in faith. To be seen and heard was the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees and Jesus says this was all a sham.

Make sure today that you are not a pretender when it comes to the things of God, but in all things a true expression of Him. Not a person of self-righteousness but a person of love, faith and integrity.

Dear heavenly Father You have given me yet another day in which to serve You. Thank You for this wonderful privilege. Please make me aware of any pretence or tendency towards self-exaltation and self-righteousness. Help me to serve You today in truth and humility, I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Watch Hypocrisy

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” - Matthew 23:13

Jesus today speaks out against those who pretend to possess understanding of the kingdom of heaven. Hypocrites carried a key that was a symbol or emblem of knowledge. There was a certain Rabbi by the name of Samuel. The title, when he died, his key and his tablets were hung on his tomb, because he died childless.  

Those who pretend to understand the kingdom of heaven, the gospel of Christ, but have not received it themselves hinder and are a stumbling block to ordinary people from receiving it. These kinds of people confuse many who are misled and fail to accept the simplicity of the Good News.

The question today is: Am I living a life of pretense; am I just pretending to be a follower of Jesus Christ?  Am I just showing off my knowledge of the Bible, but have not experienced its changing power in my life? Am I sure of my personal relationship with God?

My life as a follower of the Lord Jesus should exemplify him so that others should come to fully understand the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and enter into fellowship with Him.

We need to have a clear understanding of the kingdom of God and assist others to enter and not close the door to them by a poor example of true Christianity. The danger is real and Jesus warns against closing the door to those seeking to enter the kingdom of God by a lifestyle of hypocrisy.

Dear heavenly Father I thank You today for Your grace, Your mercy and love. Help me today to portray a true picture of the Lord Jesus wherever I am that others may see a true reflection of You. I sincerely desire others to come to a full understanding of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Way up is Down

“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles

himself will be exalted.” - Matthew 23:12

This is an important and powerful word from Jesus today. The most fertile land is not on the mountaintops but in the valleys. The fruit tree that is the most heavily laden with fruit has its branches bending the lowest.

Evan Roberts was the man who inspired the great Welsh revival of the 19th century that swept thousands into the kingdom of God... His favourite song, that the people were encouraged to sing, was “Bend me lower, Bend me lower at Jesus’ feet”. This continual attitude before God of humility resulted in one of the greatest visitations of God this world has ever experienced.

Look at the fate of worldly leaders who have tried to exalt themselves.  Look at Saddam Hussein, who exalted himself with massive statues and pictures everywhere, yet he was captured hiding in a dingy hole in the ground. Look at Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon and many others who believed they could conquer the world and portrayed themselves as larger than life.

But the greatest leader of all time, led through love and humility.

Jesus humbled Himself, took on the form of man, was nailed on a cross, bled and died, was buried, rose again from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God, and has all power and authority in heaven and earth.

He humbled Himself, but has been highly exalted. What a wonderful example Jesus is of humility and exaltation as a result of His humility. We can be proud of our race, land, social status, accomplishments and our possessions - but what is it worth in comparison to the life that is lived in humility and obedience to Christ.

Jesus says to me today.  “Be humble and I will exalt you in due time”. It is not “I” but Christ in me, the hope of glory. Let the big “I” bend today to become a “C” for Christ.

Dear heavenly Father I give You thanks for all You have been and are to me today. Help me to serve You with humility and never to think more highly of myself than I should. Thank You for Your rich blessings today, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Christ is the Teacher

“But you do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ”. - Matthew 23:8-10

Jesus emphasizes the fact that God is jealous of His honour. To Him belongs all honour and it is He who leads and guides His church as well as governing it and defending it.

Jesus is the only teacher for He is the light, the way and the truth. The religious leaders loved to be called by the three titles, which were very common, ‘Father, Father’ ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ or ‘Master, Master’. Jesus condemned this.

Yes, we understand that we have natural fathers and spiritual fathers in the Lord, but the use of ‘Father, Teacher and Rabbi’ as titles of one’s status in life, is strongly disapproved by Jesus.

As children of God we are all brothers and sisters in the faith.

We are to give honour and respect where this is due, but not to give praise and undue exaltation by the use of unscriptural titles that gender pride. It is Jesus and He alone who should be exalted and receive all the praise. He is always to be our example. He is the supreme teacher who is the anointed one. Humbly respect and honour Him and always give Him the first place in your life. Jesus Christ is Lord and if He is not “Lord” in our lives He is not Lord at all.  

 Dear heavenly Father thank You for the truth and power of Your word.   Thank You for the Lord Jesus who came to earth to be the way, the truth and the life. I humbly acknowledge my dependency upon You today to lead, guide and keep me, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Don’t Pretend

“They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the market- places, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’”

- Matthew 23:6-7

Jesus continues to speak out against hypocrisy describing the desire and actions of the hypocrites. From time to time I have been told, “I don’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites.” But why try and hide behind someone smaller than yourself?

Simply stated, “a hypocrite is a play actor”, being something he or she is not. The desire to be recognized, to be given special treatment, or special place of recognition, to be exalted, to be especially seen by others as a person of importance, to have a title and position, to be recognized and greeted in the shopping malls and called  ‘Reverend, Reverend.’ Honour must be given to those who should be honoured, but we must be careful of the subtlety of pride, which is destructive.

Jesus spoke with tender love and compassion to the sinner with the view of them accepting His forgiveness and making restitution, when they could, as in the case of Zaccheus. But to the hypocrite He was direct and forthright. Hypocrisy grieves God’s heart intensely. Why pretend to be what you are not. Why put on a show of spirituality when it is not real. Why go through religious motions that are an outward show with no true reality?

Let us be real and stop pretending. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.

Today can I say before God that I am sincere and upright in my life and service to Jesus Christ? Take another look into your heart today and ask Him to show you your heart like it really is, for out of it are the issues of life.

Dear Father thank You for Your word of truth and life.  Thank You for the blood of the Lord Jesus that cleanses me from all sin and as I walk in the light and truth of Your word it continues to cleanse me. Help me today to serve You with true obedience and humility, in the name of the Lord Jesus.