New Life

Roll the stone away!

John 11

Before Jesus brings Lazarus back to life he is told that Lazarus has been dead for four days, that it will stink in his tomb.

In that dark place lay a dead man, a man loved by Jesus. In that place lay a stinking corpse, the rot had set in, the stink would have been overwhelming.

But Jesus is not concerned with the smell, with the filth, with the decay, with the rot. Jesus is concerned with new-life.

This is a picture of our hearts and our lives. The rot has set in, we are dead in our sin. We may have become used to the stench, oblivious to it, but somewhere deep down, deep within our hearts, we know it smells.

And Jesus will go into that disgusting place where we hide our sins, our illicitness, our secrets, our lies, our shame, our addictions, our deviousness, our duplicity, our anxiety. And Jesus commands us:

Roll away the stone!

Do you know that Jesus is not put off by the filth. The healing hand of Jesus is outstretched to all who call on Him. He calls on us to roll the stone away, to allow Him into our hearts, to give up and to surrender to Him. Jesus, nailed to a cross took every sin you have ever committed on himself, He goes to the Father on your behalf, He intercedes for you and He heals you. Jesus forgives you, cleans you, heals you and loves you.

What have you hidden in your heart? What rot are you trying to build your life on? If the foundation stinks, it will continue to stink.

Remember that there is nothing too bad for Christ the King. These things you have hidden must be brought before the Lord, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them all to you and go to Jesus, ask for forgiveness, repent.

Roll the stone away!

Receive new life in the name of Jesus.

Jesus. Mud. Miracle.

John 9

When Jesus meets the blind man, the man has never seen. He has been blind since birth. This man has never seen the light, he doesn’t even know what he has missed. He is a blind beggar, unable to do anything useful. This man is dependent on the world around him for charity and scraps. Do you recognize this man?

And then Jesus shows up.

Jesus makes mud and wipes it on the mans eyes. The man then washes it off and he can see. He is healed. He is transformed. He can see the light. Just like that. In an instant his life is changed forever.

After this miracle the people who have known him, don’t recognise him. They question whether this is the same man.

What a strange story, but, as with everything that Jesus says and does, there is deep spiritual meaning and significance.

Jesus didn’t need to use mud. He chose to use mud. Mud is earth and water, us and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is amongst the critics, the unbelievers, the skeptics and those who seek to kill him. And he uses the deep spiritual symbols to make sure that the miracle speaks truth.

Jesus is healing on the Sabbath, questioning and provoking.

This is not just sight restored. This is not just about one blind man. This is Jesus speaking to our deep need for light, for sight, for transformation, for a Savior – for Jesus.

Can you identify with this man? I know that Jesus healed me. I know that Jesus transformed me. I know that many who knew me before Jesus and know me after Jesus will ask

is this the same man?

Anyone who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and has been filled with the Holy Spirit can identify with this man! This man is us!

There is no difference between the miracle of sight that Jesus performed thousands of years ago, to the miracle of sight that he performs today. We are a people set apart, we worship a living God, we have Emmanuel, God with us.

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit continues to perform miracles and all He asks is that we repent and believe, that we turn back to Him and that we have faith.

Ask Jesus today, Lord will you heal me, restore my sight, transform me. I am sorry for the things that I have done wrong, help me to be the person that I want to be, that you want me to be. The person you intended, planned and designed me to be.

Ask Jesus. The answer is always, Yes!

Thank you Jesus.

Look to Jesus

John 3: 14-15

Nicodemus asks Jesus, ‘How can this be?’

Jesus explains that as the snake on the pole was lifted up by Moses, so too would the Son of Man be lifted up. He also tells Nicodemus why: so that all who believed in Him would have eternal life.
Jesus tells him about Jesus.
Jesus draws the comparison between men bitten by poisonous snakes, men about to die because of their sin and rebellion, and Nicodemus, who represents all men. He represents us. As we have been bitten and poisoned in this world, as we have grumbled and rebelled against our Heavenly Father, as we have turned away from Him, we are sinners in need of a Saviour.
And all they had to do to be healed, was to look upon the bronze serpent. They didn’t need to do anything complicated, they simply had to look.
And all we have to do to be healed is to look upon Jesus.
Have you looked upon Jesus? Have you looked upon his life, his sacrifice for you, his death, his resurrection?
Have you looked upon Jesus?
As you look upon the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit works within you. The Holy Spirit will awaken a deep desire for Jesus, you will find a deep desire to draw near to Him. You will find a deep desire to rid yourself of the poison you have taken in. That poison is different for all of us. For some it is a drug, a drink, a person, an appetite, an anger, an emptiness, a hurt, a lie, a word, a sentence or a lifetime of guilt and shame. That poison kills us.
And Jesus tells us. Look to me. I have become sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), I have become the curse (Galatians 3:13), I have done it all so that you can be free. Look to Jesus.
“Look unto me and be be saved”
Isaiah 45:22
I ask you today to look to Jesus. Be saved. Be loved. Be released. Find joy.
Look to Jesus.
I pray for you in Jesus name.

Your Tribe and Being Born Again!

In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that a man must be born again to see the Kingdom of God and a man must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus wants you to know today that unless you are transformed through the Holy Spirit and you are born again, not only will you not be able to enter His Kingdom, you also won’t be able to see His Kingdom.

Can you see the Kingdom?

That is such a tough question and if you looked up towards the sky you aren’t alone. But surely Jesus was giving us a valuable insight into what it means to be born again and that we would see the Kingdom. When Jesus taught the Disciples to pray he says:-

‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven’

We can and should expect to see the Kingdom, on earth, now – we don’t have to wait until we die, we can experience the Kingdom of God here on earth. Jesus tells us in John 3 that to see His Kingdom we must be Born Again!

What a powerful revelation!

What does it mean to see the Kingdom on earth? For me it was very clear that I was experiencing the Kingdom on earth when I realized that I felt quite different about different groups of people – people who weren’t from my tribe, who weren’t the same race as Me. I was raised in a culture of extreme racism. I was brought up during Apartheid and I was taught (not by my parents) to be a racist. Whether I understood it or not, my attitude towards people of different races was formed through a terrible, divisive set of laws that kept me apart from other people and had me convinced that we could not and should not be together.

And then Jesus stepped in. When I gave my life to Jesus I was convicted to beg for forgiveness for my racist attitudes, to be completely forgiven and to start afresh. Jesus changed my heart and gave me a heart for all nations.

It is important to understand that as a born again follower of Christ I no longer have a primary connection to my race or my tribe when it comes to my identity. I am in Christ. I am, first and foremost a Christian. Yes, my race and my tribe is sacred and very important. My culture is important and is to be celebrated but only in light of my identity in Christ. The same goes for every person I meet. As a follower of Christ I believe that God created every human being and that He loves every person as much as He loves me. God doesn’t see my tribe or my race or my culture when He defines my value. I am intrinsically valuable because of who created me. And so are you.

In Revelation 5 we read:

“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.””

Revelation 5:9-10 ESV

Read that carefully, Jesus has ransomed all of us. Every tribe, language and nation. He didn’t leave anyone out. We are all free to choose Christ as our Saviour. We are all invited.

And when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, by His Spirit, we are Born Again, transformed and The Holy Spirit begins and finishes a work of sanctification. As a follower of Christ our attitude toward people who are different, changes. We are able to love. We are able to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. We are given a heart of love for our neighbors and we will stop thinking in terms of race or tribe or language or nation.

We can, and will, start loving like Jesus. We start realising and experience the most important Race, the Human Race!

Have you asked Jesus into your heart?

He loves you and He yearns for a relationship with you. Jesus transforms and He will transform you.

If you let Him.

Bless you in Jesus name.

Jesus sees you!

John 1 : 43-51

When Jesus speaks to Nathanael, He speaks to us.

Nathanael was under the fig tree, on his own. We know that He was earnestly seeking the Messiah and we know that whatever he was doing there, under that tree, in his quiet place, Jesus saw him.

This is a wonderful message for us today. That Jesus sees us.

When Jesus taught the Disciples to pray, he said that they should be alone and that the Father would see what they did in secret and He would reward them. That reward would be his presence. When we pray, when we spend time alone with the Lord, He promises that we will be rewarded, that we would experience His presence.

And here with Nathanael we see this in practice. Nathanael is in his quiet place, under that tree, and Jesus sees what He is doing in private and he rewards him. Jesus assures Nathanael that he will see greater things, that He will see the Angels ascending and Descending on the Son of Man. Jesus takes the Scriptures of Jacobs Ladder and explains it, He is the ladder, He is the link between Heaven and Earth. When we pray to and through our one and only intercessor, Jesus, we have a link between heaven and earth. We have access to Heaven through prayer, we have access to our Father in Heaven, through the Son.

Whatever it is that you have shared with Jesus in your secret places, in your heart, in your prayers, in your thoughts – His assurance is that He has heard, that He sees you, that your prayers reach the Father, that He connects us to Heaven.

Those secret desires, tears, hopes. The broken heart, the shattered dream, the pain. Those secret conversations you had with the Lord.

If you have experienced the presence of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, then you will know this to be true. You won’t need a blog post to confirm it. Your Faith in Jesus would have manifested in the presence of the Father and you will understand what this means. If not, be assured by the reading today, that Jesus sees you, he hears you, He loves you and He cares for you. He is taking all that you have thought and said and prayed to the Father – our Father in Heaven, whose name is Holy, whose Kingdom comes, on earth as it is in Heaven – and it comes on  Jacobs’s ladder, the Son of Man. It comes through Jesus.

Receive Jesus today.

John 1 : What are you seeking?

I love the words of Jesus.

When Jesus saw two people following him he asks them simply,

What are you seeking?

Of course, he knew and he knows because through Him everything was made. He knows our hearts, He knows our thoughts. From Him nothing is hidden. And yet He wants us to tell Him what we are looking for. Jesus asks directly, He asks truthfully and He asks openly – He asks you, today, ‘What are you seeking?’

It is an important question.

It was certainly important for me as I read this verse in John’s Gospel. I had to think carefully and truthfully about why I am following Jesus and what I am looking for and what I am expecting from my King. I had to consider my motives, my actions, my behaviour and my beliefs. For a start, I had to question whether I truly believe that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour.

Jesus is my Saviour.

I know that He has saved me, I have experienced the Holy Spirit in my life, I have experienced His power and mercy and Grace. I know that Jesus lifted me out of the miry clay – my life before I gave it to Jesus was a desperate mess, a dirty place filled with anger, addiction and loneliness.

Now I have life. Yes, my life is difficult, there is no magic formula here, I put my Faith in Jesus knowing that I will have trials, knowing that I will have storms, knowing that I will have trouble – but I also know that He is here, in the boat with me, He is in my heart, He carries me. I also know that the promise is that I will have to suffer for a little while, the promise of Jesus is hope in the eternal.

But is Jesus Lord of my life?

If Jesus is asking me the direct question, ‘What are you seeking?’, I must consider where I place Him in my life. If Jesus is my Lord have I given Him complete control over everything?

Do I realise that if Jesus is my Lord he has rule and reign over everything in my life, every day, every hour and every second? I keep trying to sort things out myself. I ignore the Lordship of Jesus and I forget that He is not the absent Landlord, but the ever-present help, guidance, encouragement and wisdom. I forget that the Lord fights for me whilst I am silent. I forget that Jesus is my light and my salvation.

Today I want to re-commit my life to Jesus. I want to pray that He will take it all, all the hidden places that I have made and built, all the problems that I have stored up for myself, all the time that I have wasted.

My answer today, to Jesus, is that I am seeking Him. I want to be closer. I want to be vulnerable, I want to be humble, I want to be His.

Will you answer Him today?

What are YOU seeking?

Turn Towards Jesus

John the Baptist called people to repentance.

For most of my life I thought that to repent meant saying sorry or asking for forgiveness. I did just that. I would regularly ask for forgiveness for the things that I was doing wrong. But then I started to question myself, why did I keep doing the same things over and over, and then praying the same prayer of forgiveness, for the same sins, over and over? I know that God will forgive me ‘seventy times’ – that He does not count my sins against me and that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; but there must be something else.

Repentance does not mean asking for forgiveness and John the Baptist was not calling people to simply ask for forgiveness. His call to Repentance was rooted in the actual meaning of the word repentance – ‘to turn away from’. We are called to turn away from our sin, from our behaviours and from our habits. We are called to head in another direction completely. Turning away from sin only leaves one direction available. John the Baptist was calling for us to turn away from sin and to turn to Christ. Saying sorry is a start but it will never be an end. If we want to see real transformation in our lives – real transformation brought through the Holy Spirit and then manifested in our lives producing the Fruit of the Spirit, we must turn away from sin, yes but, more importantly, we have to turn to Jesus.

Today, I will think deeply about my behaviour, my attitudes, my habits, how I spend my time, how I spend my days, where I am headed. To be honest I fail dismally. But today I choose to repent. To turn to Jesus. I encourage you to do the same thing, to be set free through Jesus Christ. Free to live the life He planned for you. The life you desire eagerly.

Look at how you spend your time today.

Are you spending it with Jesus or are you spending it with the world. I know that you are reading this on a social media site but think about how much time you spend online, in the world, soaking up the message of the world and compare that to the time you spend in prayer and in the Word, soaking up the message and blessing of Jesus.

And turn away. And turn towards Jesus.

Repent.

 

I pray this in the name of Jesus.