Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trust

Only the Lord is worthy of the confidence of His people.

Life is full of trust  - trusting things (like the brakes on my car), trusting people (like the doctor prescribing medicine), trusting friends (like the one I confide in).  Yet in the final analysis, only the Lord is worthy of total confidence.

Life has many lessons, and one of the greatest disappointments is when people let us down – untrustworthy. I am not pointing the finger of accusation, rather admitting to the incapacity of humanity to consistently rise to the expectation of others. Only the Lord is capable. God certainly changes people to develop trustworthy character, but just when you think you have found someone, disappointment sets in. Why? – God wants the focus of our faith to be on HIMSELF – to maintain trust in the only one who is worthy of our confidence.

Whether it be the matter of salvation, forgiveness, eternal life etc, or the details of life, food, shelter, safety, purpose etc, HE alone has the power and wisdom to honour our trust.

A very old proverb put it so well:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
       And lean not on your own understanding
         In all your ways acknowledge Him
              And He shall direct your paths.”

                                    Proverbs 3:5

or as the little chorus puts it:

'Trust in the Lord and don't despair,
He is a friend so true
No matter what your troubles are,
Jesus will see you through.'

This  is not just some sentimental pill from a depressed writer. No, this is the teaching of the prophet Isaiah (2.22), the Apostle Peter (5.7), the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 1.9) and the Lord Himself (Matthew 6,7)


and so we can sing "simply trusting every day
                                    trusting through a stormy way
                                      even when my faith is small
                                        trusting Jesus , that is all"

JRM

PS if you would like to receive the meditations regularly, fill in the subscribe spot. I don't know who subscribes, but it is my desire to encourage people to know the Lord and trust Him.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

God at work

God has done something interesting. Among the Dead Sea scrolls, the best preserved book is the prophecy of Isaiah .The orthodox Jews would have been much more delighted if it had been the Torah (first five books by Moses), but God in His providence ha put into the special museum in Jerusalem, the writings of Isaiah.  Why ? I suggest that God’s  compass is pointing beyond Moses  to the ultimate ‘Servant of the Lord’- Jesus Christ.

 Perhaps more clearly than any other prophet, Isaiah foretold the person, character, work and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For example
Chapter 9 – the child born was also the Son given
Chapter 11 – He was the shoot out of the root of Jessie
Chapter 42 – He was the ‘no disappointment ‘ servant of the Lord.
Chapter 53 – He was rejected , yet became the sacrificial Lamb
Chapter 60 – He is God’s minister of great grace and judgement


The inspiration of Isaiah by the Holy Spirit is self evident, but Divine confirmation comes from the lips of the Lord Jesus. He quotes and applies chapter 53 as fulfilled in Himself.

It is easy to become depressed by the record of the failure of Israel and the nations, but it is this dark background that sets forth the glories the true Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only the brilliance of His glory, but also the character of His service.
One lesson to be learned, is the need finally and pre-eminently to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews returning from Babylon needed walls for the city, a temple for the sacrifices, a king to lead but all this without focus on the true Messiah was in vain.


So today we need above all other ‘first love’ for Jesus Christ our Lord. (Revelation 2)


Keep reading - precious gems lie hidden beneath the surface.

John McKee

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A final word from Peter

Words from Peter the apostle

In my meditations I come to 1Peter 4:17  “what a terrible fate awaits those who have never  believed God’s Good News.”
History is full of evidence of God’s providential judgements. For example Herod the king set himself up as one to be worshiped and did not give God the glory, so God sent an angel to smite him. The Israelites persisted in idolatry, so God organised for them to be deported to Babylon to learn to put God first.

Again and again the Bible ( our reliable compass)  warns of justice being done by God. Evidently justice is not always done in a lifetime for God operates in eternity. For those who in their lifetime have rejected God and His Good News, He has reserved for them darkness, desolation, torment and memory. His judgements are and will be just by His standards, not by distorted human standards.

In contrast to the judgements upon the unbelieving, Peter concludes this chapter with  beautiful encouragements –
“So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the god who made you, for He will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4.19NLT
Peter had previously encouraged the people to ‘fear God’ (1Peter1), then explained ‘God at work (1Peter 1,2,3) and now he says ‘trust Him’. The God who is so great as create a universe, is so interested in small detail that He wants to live within our hearts. So Peter encourages all believers to humble themselves under the mighty power of God, to give all their worries and cares to God – for He cares for you.

God has called the believer to the privileges  of being called by His wonderful name, called to share in His never ending glory and honour, called to His eternal glory by Jesus Christ.
How good is God!


Just in case someone missed the point of Peter’s letter, He concludes with his intended purpose:-
“ My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens”  1Peter 5:12



Let me encourage you to read and reread this short letter from Peter the apostle. You will be blessed.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Th Lamb of God in 1 Peter 1


For many the word passion connects with the word lust.. However in 1 Peter 1.14 ‘passion’ seems to refer to the ardent, fervent attempt to keep Moses law without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a tragedy that still continues today among Orthodox Jews – passionate zeal for reading and keeping the Torah, yet rejecting Jesus Christ as the Lord from heaven.

This also happens in other religions. The sincerity and passion of many is admirable but zeal without knowledge is dangerous. Even so among Christians. Some people develop a passion for the correctness of their own group.. Others have an extreme unbalanced emphasis about a particular doctrine or practice. The apostle Peter quickly turns the minds of the believers to God who is HOLY. He calls on the disciples to obey Him and be conformed to Him in thought, belief, behaviour and conduct.

Peter goes on to show the holiness which is complete in God is the foundation of God’s dealings with humanity.

1 Peter 1:16 – God is the Father who judges impartially – holy

Verse 18,19 –He is the redeemer who understands the lostness of humanity (holy assessment), and He is the one who stepped in to pay the ransom price – the precious blood of Christ. Such an expression is meaningless apart from the holiness of God.


Verse 20 – The extreme value of the ‘Lamb’ is referred to – His pre-existant perfection and purpose. After the death of the Lamb (Jesus Christ dying on the cross), God in His holiness raised Him from the dead and has given Him the greatest glory, the highest place.
  By this God has established for us a hope beyond law keeping and ceremony – in the living Lamb of God.

John writes of the heavenly vision   "I saw in the midst of the throne a Lamb" Revelation 5

The theme of the Lamb runs through scripture and would be good for you to study.

John McKee

Monday, December 5, 2016

A ray of searching light on our life

A quote from another:

‘People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance. We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom. We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation. We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism. We slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.’


D.A.Carson


Thursday, December 1, 2016

One dies for another.

Why the Cross?
So much of the teaching of the Bible points to the death of the Lord Jesus. Neither His perfect life, marvellous teaching nor His powerful miracles are the focus of the Bible’s message. Above all else, the Son of God came into the world to die.

What makes His death so important?
The answer is that He died as a substitute, a sin bearer and a Saviour. All people are lost, guilty and helpless before God’s holy law.

How can they escape God’s righteous wrath?
The Bible answer is this – “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” . As an amazing rescue plan, God’s Son volunteered to take the place of the guilty and bear the penalty of their sin.

He Lives – a Saviour!
In raising Christ from the dead, God demonstrated that He accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the place of sinners. Now all people may be saved by repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.


He will become your Saviour if you receive Him.


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Monday, November 21, 2016

God the good and great creator

"God has made everything beautiful for its own time. 

He has planted eternity in the human heart"

                                  Ecclesiastes 3:11



Please click on the link "Ultimate questions" by John Blachard. it is well worth reading it through.


JRM

Saturday, November 19, 2016

True valuation

Eternity

Which predicament is the worst?

The hungry mother, with a young child, in a drought stricken country of Africa.  She prays regularly for rain to make the crops grow.

Or

The well fed business man who can call on millions of dollars at any time. He doesn’t feel any need for God.


 The answer- Luke 16 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The present influence of the great tomorrow

A common thread

Moses, Jesus and Paul – the teachings of these three historical persons has left immense change on the world. An overview of their lives and teachings point to this common thread. The reference point is God in heaven and the ultimate focus is life beyond death.

The teachings through Moses are still with us today (howbeit, being rejected by many). For him to communicate the word of the Lord was not easy nor rewarding at the time, but one wrote of him:
“He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it better to suffer for the sake of the Messiah than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the great reward God would give him.................." Hebrews 11.26

The Lord Jesus began His teaching ministry with a call to “repent for the kingdom of heaven was near”. His teaching related to living and dying in the light of the ‘judgement of the last day’. He seemed to be counter cultural with His call to ‘store your treasures in heaven’. His prayer that  ‘God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ showed that the reference point of His teachings was heaven, not earth. He ended His ministry with this prayer “Father I want these whom you have given  to be with me , so they can see my glory......” John 17

Paul likewise lived in the light of the day when we all stand before Christ to be judged. Paul’s teachings were very relevant to the world conditions then and now. As history records, his teachings were culture transforming. Yet the motive and focus of his life was to know Christ, to be like Him in His death and resurrection. The final hope was to be with Christ which he described as “ far better”.Philippians 1


In a time of short sighted humanism, may God give us an eternal perspective on all we do.

"For what is your life ? It is but a vapour that appears for a little time and the vanishes away."

Are you ready for the day of resurection, when all will be raised to face the verdict of the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Lord?


John McKee

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tomorrow

A Bible perspective

"We don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather , we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."
2 Corinthians 4.18 NLT

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Ancient book

Is the Bible relevant to everyday living? Or is it just a Sunday service book? Or a book for religion? Or a book only for pastors and clergy?

 My answer in brief is – Yes, it is very relevant for the everyday living of everyone.

There are many reasons to read, study and meditate on the Bible. For example, it is prime reading for lawmakers, judges and lawyers. My High School teacher recommended it as a text of quality English! It contains unique poetry and prose along with stories vivid and exciting enough for any child or adult. For those into health considerations, it has so many directives – especially cleanliness and sanitation (two of the world’s greatest problems). As to social order, it is second to none in giving direction as to justice, harmony and peace. For historians, it is a gold mine.

No wonder it is still the world’s best seller!

Pardon me for using my personal experience to illustrate the point of relevance.:
It gives purpose, motivation and direction in life. Do I raise my children for my selfish or their selfish purposes- no . The scriptures call to a more noble purpose, to honour the Lord. In marriage the Bible directs me away from my natural instinct of passive aggression, to love like Christ loved, even when I don’t feel like it. The stresses and temptations of operating a business are many, but he Bible guides me away from dishonesty and greed. How shall I relate to other people?- promoting myself as the source of all knowledge and authority? Well that is natural enough, but the word and example of the Lord changes that to meekness and humility like the Lord Himself. He even challenges me to love my enemies.

The wonder of the Bible (compared with others), is that it is ever fresh with words of illumination, hope and encouragement. After 50 years of reading it, it  is not dull or boring but alive with renewing light.

Beyond and above all the present practical relevance, it brightly shines with spiritual light concerning Jesus Christ the Lord. To know Him, to yield to Him, to worship and serve Him gives life its true meaning.
This unique book is largely sought after as the media by which God speaks to people. As history it records God speaking to individuals and to the nations. The final focus is of God speaking to the whole world through the appearance of His Son, Jesus Christ. The words of the Lord Jesus along with His actions remain today the greatest communication humanity has ever received. Many are offended by the words of the Lord Jesus, but millions read and reread His words for the intense blessing they give to every circumstance in every nation and in every age.

The teaching of the Apostles, enhance the Christian dialogue. How unusual, yet how real is the experience that by reading this ancient book, we can again hear the word  ‘from my Lord’!  It is the Holy Spirit that makes these words so relevant  and precious to so many people across the world.

If you do not have a Bible to read, send me an email as I have some spares to give away.


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Monday, October 24, 2016

God

God is the one who is high and lifted up. This greatness has not been achieved, nor can it be taken away.

I am reflecting on the Bible verse – Isaiah 57.15

God lives in Eternity. He is not bound by time and space
.
God is holy. The flow and ebb of good and bad does not change Him. He remains distinctly apart from all evil.

God lives in a place high and holy. As the creator of the universe, He is outside of it, yet this same verse reveals that He chooses to live with those  “of a contrite and lowly spirit.”
Although He is so great, so holy, so all knowing, He has this purpose:
“To revive the spirit of the lowly
       To revive the heart of the contrite ones.”


And He does  - seek Him today and prove for yourself the reality of His nearness.

John McKee

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why



 ‘Going our own way’

Some of the reasons why people do not believe.

1.       The Lord Jesus was too lowly, too insignificant to the big thinking people. The prophet asked – ‘Who has believed our report?’  - so few believed  because His appearing on earth was meek and lowly. He was to most people a nobody, coming from nowhere. To the religious Jews He was a stumbling block and to the Gentiles it was foolishness.

2.     To  some He is too great – to believe in Him means change. To acknowledge that I am wrong, that His word is true and His authority is complete, is more than human pride allows.

3.     So many more reasons: to please a spouse, afraid of change, confused by multiple religions, hurt by a church, a past life to hide, objecting to hypocrisy, choosing to stand aloof from Christianity, preoccupied with other things or money.
The Lord Jesus told a story of a wedding feast. Some were invited, but they made excuse. “They paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business while the rest seized his servants and treated them shamefully” (Matthew 22)

Perhaps you could add to the list! I would be interested to know!

Well after all the excuses,  remember the Lord Jesus Christ continues to say:
“Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11;28).

It is human nature to blame others, but finally we will face the Lord Jesus for our own decision.  How tragic for Him to say “I never knew you”. He is for you. God loves you. This is not about choosing a church or pleasing people. It is about  a direct connection with the Lord Jesus. Take time out today to kneel and pray:   ‘Lord I need you. I need your forgiveness, I need your love, mercy and grace. Lord I trust you to save me, to belong to you forever. Thank you for coming from heaven to die for me,  and now I believe in You as my Lord and my Saviour.’
Remember the promise:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  -Romans 10.13

I give this warning  because I care.
John McKee

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

News - the best

Good news

What is it that makes God’s gospel so special?

Firstly it is the kind of love that God gives.
Secondly it is the unworthiness of the ones loved.
Thirdly it is the end result to which the love works.

Let me explain:
      “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3.16)
God finds our world so distressing that in His holiness, He should judge it. The rebellion and idolatry of the people He created is offensive to His nature, yet instead of executing judgement speedily, His love to human beings has found a way that they be reconciled. The way: - He gave His  Son – the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot measure how great the gift God gave – His dearly beloved Son.

       “ God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Sin, wrong doing, self-will, greed, arrogance, disobedience etc deserve to be punished, but God reacted differently. He knows the offensiveness of sin, He knows the debt of guilt that we owe and He paid the price for us. The wages of sin is death.   But God stepped in , even before we repented, and He paid the penalty by the death of His Son. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15 ) “Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8). Let us ponder how unworthy we are.

        “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1)
How good that God forgives, but how much more He wants to give. Eternal life He promises to all who believe in His Son. But more: to those who do believe, He makes them His children. This relationship is active by the Holy Spirit and the hope of being with Christ in heaven is for sure. 

The promise is for real – “Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son does not have life”  1 John 5:12


This is indeed Good News.

JRM

johnmckee@internode.on.net 



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eternal Life

Eternal Life

Eternal life is both present and future

Jude 21 – “as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ, in His mercy is going to give you”
-something anticipated

1 John 5:20  “ His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God and He is eternal life.”
-         Someone to trust

John 5:24 “Those who listen to Me, and believe in God who sent Me, have eternal life”
-         Something possessed

Titus 1:2 “The confidence of eternal life”
-         Something assured

Romans 6:23 “The gift of God is eternal life”

-         Something freely given


aAnd may I encourage you to find the other mentions of 'eternal life' - you will be blessed

JRM


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Conversion

Conversion – is it real

Yes it is real. It is contained in two Bible words – ‘repent and believe’.
The experience of conversion will vary from person to person. For some it is dramatic. For others it is a matter of truth believed. Yet others it is a change of life habits. Others are converted from fear to peace.

The common thread is the change of mind toward God, acknowledging that He is right and we have been wrong. Since we all are born with the inclination to wander away, going our own way, we need to turn around. All actions independent of God are offensive to God and hence the need to ‘convert,’ to facing God instead of going away from God.
The wonderful Gospel is this – in turning toward God, we find that He is not against us, but that He already loves us. He has paid the price to remove the offence of our sins, by the death of His Son – Jesus Christ. Now He offers peace and pardon along with promises of eternal life.

Thus a person is ‘converted’ from being a self orientated, lost sinner, to a believer in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus used many illustrations of this ‘conversion’ experience.
For example:
John 1.12 ‘Receiving Him’ ( the Son of God from heaven)
John 3.3   ‘ born again of the Spirit’
John 4       ‘ drinking of the water of life’
John 5.24   ‘ Hearing his word.....’
John 6   ‘eating and drinking’
Matthew 11.29   ‘Come to Me’
Mark 1          ‘Repent and believe the Gospel’
Acts 16.1    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’

Does this create confusion? – No. This shows how God by His Spirit connects with different people in different ways. A person who has never heard the Gospel may receive a dream. Another who is highly educated may well be converted by truth. Yet another who feels the guilt of sin may be converted by comprehending the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Another lost sheep may be converted by heeding the call of the Good Shepherd to ‘follow Me’.

How kind of God to reach into our lives and with tender understanding, turn us to Himself. How serious the consequences for anyone to reject God’s invitation, yes God’s command to repent.

Let me interrupt with this – these experiences of conversion are real, but they are not to be the basis of assurance of salvation. As described in another blog, the confidence of our acceptance by God is found in the promises of God. We connect with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John the apostle writes (1 John) of the evidences of new life in the believer – eg walking in the light, turning away from sin, loving other believers, keeping His commands. But at the end of his letter, the assurance of eternal life is not in the evidence, rather it is in the promise:
“he that has the Son (faith in the Son of God), has life” 1 John 5:12

May I mention a common problem. – we egocentric creatures are so obsessed with ‘what I have done’ that we try to find assurance in ‘our faith’ or lack of faith. Questions arise ‘ did I have enough faith?’ ‘did I truly repent?’  ‘I was not able to keep up the life’.  True conversion is looking away from self, looking to Jesus Christ the Lord. He is risen from the dead and is alive and able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by Him.
The believer is not self occupied, but Christ occupied. We can rest in Him as our all in all, for time and eternity.

Paul put it so well in Christ’s all for him to preach the Good news:


“to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” Acts 26.18

John McKee

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eternity - can we be sure?



Can we be sure?

It was Queen Victoria who asked the chaplain .. “Can we be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?”

This question came close to home when my relative facing death began to doubt if all was well for eternity .

At a Bible study I presented the question ...”Can we be sure?” We all need to face up to this question, and rather than quoting what others say or do, find the answer for ourselves. For some, their confidence rests in the actions of priests or pastors. Some trust in reciting prayers. Others hope in having had a special experience. Yet others hope the judge of all the earth will assess with approval what they have done.

Well can we be sure?
The answer in brief is:
Yes - we can trust the promises of God. God has spoken and His word can be trusted. So He can be trusted.

For example:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that everyone who believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.”    John 3:16
“ If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you  will be saved.” Romans 10.9
..... and so many more great and precious promises that enable us to be sure. 

This question becomes more significant when people are getting older and facing the reality of death. It is a challenge when I am asked to conduct a funeral – can I honestly give hope and assurance beyond the grave ?  This question goes well beyond theory when one lays to rest a close relative ( as I have). Where are they today ? Heaven or Hell?

It is natural to assess people by what they have said and done, but looking at things from God’s point of view, the results of a fallen human nature, the wanderings of self will, all leaves us disappointed and uncertain. Rather, from God’s point of view, we are guilty of sin and need someone to save us.

Many people who feel the need for forgiveness, turn to religious experiences . Some hope that baptism will secure a place in heaven. Some have had a crisis moment when a decision was made to follow Jesus.  I know two people who had the experience of ‘a presence’ . Some evangelists push people’s emotions in an endeavour to attain in people a ‘Damascus experience’. Then there are the many formulas – four spiritual laws, signing decision cards, believing Christ has died for your sins personally, repeating personalised Bible verses.................etc.

Well some of this has value, but past experience seldom gives solid assurance when passing from time into eternity. In this generation of longevity,  much of the experience of life cannot be clearly remembered, so we need more than experience.

This is why in my blogs, I regularly refer to the Bible as our compass giving direction, and our authority, giving foundation for hope. If the Bible fails, we are left floundering. Please read my other articles that verify the reliability of the Bible. God has spoken. He is trustworthy and His promises are to be taken seriously. Most of the promises have three parts. – God at work, second our response, third God’s promised outcome.

To make eternal life possible for us sinners, God sent His Son into the world to become our Saviour. By His sacrificial death on the cross, the Lord Jesus paid the debt so that we could be forgiven and then accepted into the Fathers house. Proof of this is the fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and is now in heaven, able to save all who come to God by Him. –that is God at work!

Faith responds – Yes Lord I need your forgiveness. I confess you as  Lord and trust you as the living Saviour.

The promise from the Lord remains true:
“Everyone who believes in Me has eternal life”  John 6.47


A young woman facing impending death was asked ‘did she have assurance?’
This was her answer:
“My sins deserve eternal death, but Jesus died for me.”
If anyone is having doubts, feel free to email me.

johnmckee@intenode.on.net