Sunday, January 24, 2021

Faith that rejoices to do good


The writing of James is very uplifting

He begins with joy and ends with singing praise. In between is a commentary on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sermon on the mount was wisdom teaching and James calls on us to seek, ask and live by wisdom which is from above. Like that recorded in the Gospel by Luke, Jesus and James have a low opinion of riches. Both describe the snares that come with seeking to be rich or clinging to riches.

Faith is central to James's praise. Jesus was his half brother and as boys and younger men, James did not have a high opinion of Jesus.  But now after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, James calls Him the Lord of glory. But James's faith was much more than theological, to him, to believe, was to obey and follow. Jesus did good works, and so every one who genuinely believes in Him will do the same. James points to the care of orphans and widows and at the end of the letter, the faith that turns an unworthy sinner back to God.

The Lord Jesus spent much time on the mountain top praying. So James exhorts – "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you!"

The NLT has a beautiful rendering of Matthew 5:3

"God blesses those who realise their need of Him"

James restates it his way:

"When you bow down before the Lord, and admit your dependence on Him He will lift you up and give you honour."

May I encourage you to read this letter from James, read it right through highlighting to links to the teachings of the Master, the Lord of Glory.


John Mckee

PS You may notice that I seldom give references – Purposely I am trying to encourage you to read the whole letter and see these truths in context.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Heaven in Hebrews or Hebrews in heaven


I have recently finished reading the Bible book called 'Hebrews'. I was deeply impressed with the continued presentation of heaven as a place of reality, a place of reward, a place of rest, a place of rich relationships and so much more.

Most importantly, it is the place of His throne – the Lord Jesus Christ, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high. His active functioning there is beautifully described. He is the Great High Priest for His people . He waits for the day when He will come again. What rejoicing it will be when the exalted Lord Jesus  rewards His faithful ones. He will lead the songs of eternal praise as the angels join the saints in praise to God eternal. What a glorious city it will be, composed of all the believers of all time, beginning to end.

In contrast to the glory and hope of heaven, stands the sober warnings to those who fall away, turn back or trample underfoot the Son of God. Our God is a consuming fire and to come under His fierce just judgement is terrifying. Yet this very judgement spells out the fullness and sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all. To rest in HIM by faith dispels all fear.  It is the joy of God to welcome to Heaven , to Himself, those who trust His Son.

This letter to the Hebrews concludes with this triumphant note:

"Jesus is the great Shepherd

by an everlasting covenant,

signed with His blood.

To Him be glory forever and ever.  Amen."    (Chapter 13)

I encourage you to read again this book of the Bible and shade in yellow the mentions of heaven.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

A new year

Looking Ahead
The word of the Lord to my soul this morning was:
"Strangers and pilgrims in the earth"  Hebrews 11
Along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in company with Samuel, David, Isaiah and Daniel,  we are pilgrims passing through to a better land with our eyes fixed on things above (Colossians 3), looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12). He has promised to bring us to the heavenly Jerusalem where thousands of angels join in joyful assembly. (Heb 12.22) Many will count it strange that we are not living for the profit and pleasure of the present. Indeed we are different if we take our instructions from an unseen, living God.   So much of our human culture has descended to less than animal behaviour. We with Abraham and Jesus, are to be  light and salt in a world destined for judgement.
So  chapter twelve  ends -  "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."
In a world so brilliantly created by God, in a world so spoiled by man -  let us live for Christ. Let us look up waiting for Christ.  Let us yearn for the day when He will be revealed as King  of kings and Lord of Lords.
Hebrews 13  -  faith responds :  "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.....for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever"
2020 has many lesson to teach us, and for the world in general 2021 is uncertain. Let  the word of the Lord bring hope midst despair and the love of Christ enable us to reach out to others.


For some of the lessons of 2020 write to