Saturday, July 26, 2014

True humility- Philippians 2

The call of Philippians chapter 2 is much deeper than most imagine. The humility of the Lord Jesus is often explained with great feeling – He was so great becoming so low.

      But what about us, since this is presented as an example for us.
From children we cling to things that make us more and more significant  -- our family, our school, our education, our job, our business, our marriage  etc and thus is build our self esteem with our reputation and identity. We could add to the list our spiritual status   --  children of God, called to represent the King, proclaiming the greatest message ever told, changing other peoples lives for good. It could all build reason for the believer in Jesus Christ to be confident and assertive.

       The Lord Jesus leads a different way. He was inherently greater than we could ever be  - the unique Son of God. His mission to rescue others might have been approached from the vantage point of a ruling king.  Rather He steps down to serve.  The form in which he served was not like that of an angel (who are ministering, serving spirits), but rather He stooped lower than angels to the form of a man. Thus He voluntarily lived within ( most of the time) the laws of nature ( as we know them) and the confines of time. For special reasons He did break free from these limitations occasionally.
    The most significant step was his submission to the will of God, even to the going to the cross.  For the SON there never was a conflict with the Father’s will, but this deliberate step indicates the surrender of His ‘decisions, desires, deliberations’ to the will of another. This is the real meaning of humility in the Bible ( see 1 Peter 5). He could truely say
 “ Not my will but thine be done”

How do we relate to this in our lives?
   Willing to surrender our will, our opinions, our wisdom......?
    Willing to be seen as much lower than we are?
      Willing to lose our status in creation order?
        Willing to be busy doing that which seems to destroy us?
          Willing to be for others instead of self.
            Willing not to promote ourselves, but leave promotion and recognition in the hand of God?

How many have said  ‘ I want to be like Jesus’
 How few are willing to be like Jesus – are you, am I  ?????

Please take the time to read again Philippians chapter 2 and see if my thoughts are true in the life of the Lord and also seen in the lives of others mentioned in the chapter.  comments welcome and followers can fill in email at bottom of the page

Monday, July 21, 2014

Devotional - the companionship of the Lord Jesus

The greatest companion

“ He drew near and went with them”  Luke 24:15

Nothing is more important in life than this ‘He went with them’  The companionship of the Lord Jesus Christ is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit in every believer. To be without God , without Christ is to be without hope  - living independent of Him.

So often we do not realise that HE is not far from every one of us. Many today are lonely, hiding, confused, disappointed, broken hearted, lost, stricken with guilt, depressed, disillusioned...............

In verse 38  of Luke chapter 24, Jesus asked why are you sad??????
The solution to the problem in this brilliant story, was Jesus the Messiah revealing Himself first in the Bible and then in person. You too my reader can find deep relief as you ‘set your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face........’

I would like for a moment to record some of God’s piercing questions that open to us causes of sadness.
Genesis 3 “Where are you?” Adam was HIDING because of wrong choices and disobedience to God.
                “What have you done?”  Eve BLAMED others , even though her problem stemmed from listening to the wrong voice.
Genesis 4  “Why are you angry?” Disgruntled with God’s way. Cain was angry that things turn out against him.

The wonder of it is that God came seeking all three. He did not turn away and forsake them . As it is today , God is still seeking the lost, waiting for all to turn to Him.

Another Question from the Lord “why do you spend money for that which is not bread......and does not satisfy?”  Isaiah 55
Well might we ask ‘Why are we here? What am I supposed to be doing?, Who cares?, Where will it end???
The Lord says “ Come, listen, hear, seek and in verse 12 this leads to Joy, Peace and Singing.

After you have read Luke 24, and glimpsed the glory of the once crucified Lord Jesus, read Psalm 23 and pause on the precious breathing of the dependant sheep
“for thou art with me......”    What can be greater than this – the abiding companionship of the Good, the great Shepherd.

Isn’t He wonderful, wonderful, wonderful
Isn’t Jesus my Lord wonderful
Eyes have seen , ears have heard
It’s recorded in God’s word
Isn’t Jesus my Lord wonderful

John Mckee

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Musings in Mark's Gospel

As I begin to read again the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in Mark, I am impressed by what is missing. The Lord did not institute ritualistic behaviour, as did the Pharisees with their fasting, tithing etc. He did not speak formulas for success or even a formula for the way to heaven. He did not teach like the scribes who referenced their messages to one another. His healing methods varied with different  circumstances- no sequence of procedure as is common today.

         He did give many great and precious promises. His was truth declared in accord with the Holy Scriptures and His bestowments of healing grace varied with the many needs. The kingdom of God was not about eating and drinking, but about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

           For sure there was discipline like His early rising to pray, but not as a ritual. There was doctrine, but not dogma. There was commitment to Him rather than commitment to a cause. There was a price to pay, but not as a means of blessing. The sacrifice of things for Him was to be motivated by love for Him.
His teaching and working operated outside the Jewish systems and in teaching the disciples he did not seem to establish a detailed code of conduct other than ‘hearing‘ His word. In the end , as He looked upon  that varied bunch of men, He said “Love one another as I have loved you”

              When it came to the trial and crucifixion , there seemed to be no one to stand up for His defence. In the midst of His extreme suffering, there seemed to be no sensible explanation why He should suffer so. So much was left to the overseeing hand of The invisible God.

 So what are we to conclude from all this – Firstly that “God’s ways are not our ways” (Isaiah 55).   Secondly that things are not always as they may appear on the surface.  Thirdly that our Lord  is interested in persons more than policies and procedures and plans and programs. He wants to reach the HEARTS of all people so that the change for good is effected from the inside>>>> out.

The question then comes to us as individual ‘ Is your heart right with God?’

Then the next question ‘ Do I serve Him out of duty, ritual or love?’

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another theme in 1 Peter

The prospect of future glory  is a theme that recurs many times in 1 Peter – sometimes obvious and sometimes implied.

Chapter 1 verse 3  “ a living an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”  This distracts the mind from present suffering to heavenly blessings.
1.7  “The glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  How bright the blessed hope, Jesus will come again, not in the smallness of a babe, but he splendour of a King.
1.13  “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  How important to focus on the long range view in contrast to the unstable present. In that day 'He will be admired in all those that believe'.(2 Thessalonians 1)

2.23 “to Him who judges justly”  - this implies that God will reward evildoers, now and in the great hereafter.
3.15 “the hope that is within you” The forward looking vision of the believer should be reflected in the way the believer lives.
4.5 “ Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” Tomorrow is a brighter day when God rules.

4.11  “to Him belong the glory and dominion forever.” The prospect of God’s future find fulfilment in the glory and dominion of Jesus Christ.
4.13 “be glad when HIS glory is revealed.”  Just like the teaching of Paul the apostle, the present suffering will be rewarded with eternal glory when Christ is revealed.

5.1  Peter not only looks back to the claims of the sufferings of Christ, but is motivated forward also by the “glory that is going to be revealed.”
5.4 To the faithful shepherd is promised “ the unfading crown of glory”

5.6 “ the proper time that He may exalt you.”  For many, perhaps most believers, the day of exaltation will be the eternal day when the heavenly account keeper will open the books and then shall everyone have praise from God. (1Corinthians 4)
5.10 The Christian is “ called to His eternal glory in Christ.”  How frail, how temporary is the present when compared with God’s future plans. And to think that we undeserving mortals will have a part in that glorious future glorification of Jesus Christ. O what wonderful grace.

Peters second letter carries on the theme of the future hope – the coming Kingdom and the day of God – read it and let Peter challenge you  - are you living for the present or for the future???

John McKee

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

1 Peter - Theme of a suffering Saviour

The Sufferings of the Messiah

1 Peter
Chapter 1.2 The "sprinkling of the blood of Christ" is figurative language, based on the Old Testament sacrifices, to indicate that the death of the Lord Jesus was and is able to obtain our forgiveness and acceptance with God. Sin which offends God so much, can indeed be removed.

1.11 "the sufferings of Christ" foretold in the prophets. This is an important authority and explanation for what happened when Jesus died. See Isaiah 53 for an example.

1.18,19  "Redeemed____ by the precious blood of Christ" This reflection on Exodus 12, the Passover lamb, is an outstanding statement by the Apostle of what was achieved at the cross. Setting people free from slavery. Buying people back to God.

2.21 "Christ also suffered...leaving you an example".  This is a challenging example of how we should react when persecuted, just like the Lord.

2.24 "bore our sins in His own body on the tree"  He had no sins of His own, and was not obliged to do anything for us, but He willingly took our sins, to set us free.

3.18"Christ also suffered once for sins. the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God".This is a clear statement of  Jesus Christ suffering as a substitute for the sins of the guilty. For those who understand the judgement sin deserves, this is news of great relief. His one sacrifice is sufficient for all time and all people.

4.1 "Christ suffered in the flesh".  As He , in the days of His  flesh, did not take the easy path, or the path of human passion, so likewise  we can be delivered from wasted lives by choosing the same.

5.1 "a witness of the sufferings of Christ".  For Peter, to remember what he saw at the cross, seriously affected his reactions to the command of the Master "Feed my lambs" "feed my sheep"  Peter now as a shepherd, encourages others to  shepherd God's sheep in light of the sufferings of Christ.

This theme deserves much meditation.  I observe many Christians who only think of the cross once a year. How much they are missing of the blessing of knowing the overflowing value knowing the sufferings of the Christ.

Perhaps my reader has never found the joy of forgiveness from God through the sufferings of Jesus the Christ. Today  take time to read Isaiah 53,  and see how God, who knows we are like wandering sheep, chooses to bring us back to Himself through the sufferings of His perfect servant Jesus Christ. Faith in Him will bring to reality the promise of justification and eternal life.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The writings of Peter

1 Peter

This letter from the Apostle Peter is a brilliant compass for the journey from being lost, right into heaven itself. It is a great book of themes. To help my readers, I would like to trace some themes.
          It is a common mistake we all fall into  -  reading the Bible to find something for ourselves. Perhaps we will  begin by looking at what is in this letter “for God”!

Chapter 1, verse 1 and chapter 5:13 present God as choosing. How good it is to honour God as having the right to choose and the honour of always choosing wisely.
Verse 2 – He knows all things including the future, and by His spirit applies the blood of Christ to effect redemption, thus bringing the wandering people back to Himself.
Verse 3 – He is the happy, blessed God. He is distinguished as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is working toward the objective in verse 7 – the revealing of Jesus Christ in glory. His purpose will not thwarted. Chapter 5.10 the glory of our Lord is assured.

          As we highlight the mentions of God our faith and hope is established in God, not ourselves or our circumstances. Ch1.21

Please read the chapter through again and then continue reading, highlighting the mentions of God and God at work. You will be blessed.

more later

John McKee