Sunday 22 May 2022

May 22: Revelation 21:22-27

Key Verse: Revelation 21:23
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Have you ever seen something which seems to be impossible, or too lovely to describe with words? Have you ever tasted something which was so different you could not explain the taste in words? I guess John must have felt a bit like this when he got to see a glimpse into heaven!

We don’t quite know how to describe Heaven to others because we don’t know what it is like to live in a place where there is no guile or evil, where there is no darkness to hide inside… Heaven is going to be something we cannot describe in words to our friends because it will be something totally different from everything else in our lives. It is not going to be able to be described as a mansion or palace because it will be so much more than a mere physical place!

God wants us to have faith there will be a place where we can be with Him forever and not have to worry about all the things we worry about here on earth. No more bills. No more rent. No more electricity cuts. No more water shortages. No more food shortages. Heaven is going to be a place where we no longer have to live without anything.

We will never be cut off from God, Christ or the Holy Spirit. We will never be cut off from all the Christians who have gone before us. We will never have to worry about anything bad, evil or impure getting at us when we are in Heaven…. I find it easier to describe what we will not have to worry about than trying to depict what it could look like or be like – because that is currently beyond our level of understanding or imagination!

Points to Ponder:
Do you trust God has a place for you?

Will you trust Him more on earth because you have a sure place after life?

Saturday 21 May 2022

May 21: Acts 16:6-10

Key Verse: Acts 16:10
After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Sometimes we do have some rather strange dreams and visions; how we take them and how we react to them is going to be different for each of us. I know I had some pretty strange dreams the other night, but I also know they were entirely related to a strange film I watched earlier on TV. Sometimes God is going to try to get through to you in different ways, maybe it will be an intense feeling you should be doing something, or maybe it will be a dream, or, failing everything else He may send someone directly to you to tell you about it!

We don’t always listen to what God has to say to us because we are not always totally in tune with Him. I know I have had very deep feelings and prompts when I have been away at camps or festivals, but I have also had very deep feelings being at home by myself… when I was thinking of God, praying or just having a quiet moment with Him. If we are tuned in to the world around us we may miss out on what God is saying because the world is shouting louder!

Paul and his companions were going through Phrygia and Galatia and had not done a lot of preaching because God was not giving them the chance to. When they came to the border of Mysia and tried to enter Bithynia, God once again stopped them from going further. Instead, God gave Paul a dream where he had a man of Macedonia standing and begging him to come and help them. For that sort of dream to come out of the blue, Paul knew God was reaching out to him…

If you have dreams or thoughts which are unrelated to anything else which is going on, stop and think about them; maybe God is trying to reach out to you. But how do we understand what God is asking… we stop and allow God to explain things to us through spending time with Him. Speak to God in prayer and wait for an answer. Wait. Wait a bit longer, He will answer...

Points to Ponder:
Do you spend enough time with God?

Will you stop and allow God to answer?

Friday 20 May 2022

May 20: Acts 15:23-29

Key Verse: Acts 15:24
We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.

When I first read this letter the apostles sent out, I was a bit disturbed by what they wrote; so I sat down and re-read it a few times to get my head round the words… How often have you read a letter your received and gone off in a rage because you thought they were not understanding the situation or they were being flippant with their writings?

When we receive a letter, it is normally written with some forethought and maybe discussion amongst people about the content. So, if they have taken the time to think about what they are writing, should you not take the time to think about what they have written!

This is not a letter going out to apologise for the apostles or disciples which went there to teach about the Gospel – this is a letter to apologise for other people who have gone and spread their own stories, possibly even the religious leaders going and demanding the believers get circumcised… This letter was followed up by men going with Paul and Barnabas to remind them of the Gospel but to also set their minds at ease regarding the circumcision demanded by others.

The apostles listed clearly what the people should AIM to do. This was not telling them they would be damned if they did these or did not get circumcised; this was laying down a few truths they ought to try and keep with! Consuming food which was dedicated to idols was just wrong, both for the people consuming and for the people who had offered. Why go out of your way to upset others by disregarding their beliefs; rather we should be opening up the gospel and showing them what really happened. Keep things real and trust in Christ!

Points to Ponder:
Do you try to keep the commandments?

Will you try to keep these at the very least?

Thursday 19 May 2022

May 19: Acts 15:12-21

Key Verse: Acts 15:17
that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things”

Have you ever wondered if God could ever love you? Have you ever wondered why God should love you because you come from a family of non-Christians? Well, I hope these words encourage you to seek God and to allow Him to open your heart to what He can do in your life...

Peter gave quite a convincing argument why the Gentiles should be allowed to come to God because of all the miracles and things which had happened in and around the Gentile places. This would not have been able to happen if God was not reaching out to them – instead they saw just how much God could reach out to anyone who is willing to listen. Barnabas and Paul joined in to tell of more things which had happened…

Then James stood up and reminded the Jews of the scriptures; those very same scriptures which they upheld to exclude other people from their religion! The prophet Amos had written these words down hundreds of years before Christ came to be amongst us, way before people actively excluded the Gentiles from everything.

God is willing to accept any person who is willing to call themselves a Christian; to say they are a believer and they know why Jesus came to live and die for us. Nobody has been excluded by what Jesus did, rather He opened the doors for everyone to be able to draw closer to Him. With that being said, James declared the Jews should not ascribe the Jewish laws to the Gentiles but to allow them to love God their own way. That being said, he did say even the Gentiles should abstain from food polluted by idols, avoid sexual immorality and a few other things because those laws were for everyone.

Points to Ponder:
Do you try to keep God’s commandments?

Will you allow Christ to guide you through the commandments?