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The PASSION Blog

The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life and the Bible. They are quick thoughts that grow out of my morning devotions and reading. I hope you enjoy them.

I usually have about a month or so worth of posts on this page. If you would like to read my older blog posts back to 2006, you can visit my other blog here.


We ARE new in Christ
August 2, 2015


One of the first memory verses I remember is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

As a new Christian back in 1989, and even today, I love the fact that we are completely changed on the inside the moment we come to Christ.

The Bible tells us in Titus 3:5 that, “…He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” We are washed internally and have been born again.

We are completely new. We are not reformed, we are not rehabilitated, we are not re-educated – we ARE re-created in Christ. The old really IS swepted away!

I really love facing life knowing that I am completely new on the inside. I love knowing that the creator of the universe re-made me. I love that He turned me back to His original blueprints for me.

I also love that it was a work that He has done. It is not done by human effort, it is ALL His work. It is done completely and perfectly. It is finished.

If you are in Christ, you ARE a new creation!


A verse to quiet gossip
July 25th, 2015


When someone starts to share gossip with me I always ask if they have read 1 Thessalonians 4:11 lately?

If they say no, I tell them to look it up and come back and finish what they were saying.

Just for interest sake 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.”

Most people don’t come back and finish telling their story. Wonder why?

God Bless,
Dave


Listen and gather all the information
July 20th, 2015


Three verses from Proverbs 18 gives us some good advice on listening and gathering all the information before we make decisions or make comments about news.

13 Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

15 Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.

17 The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.

The notes in my Life Application Study Bible put it simply…

“In these concise statements, there are three basic principles for making sound decisions:

(1) Get the facts before making any decision;

(2) be open to new ideas;

(3) make sure you hear both sides of any story before judging.

All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice—judging before getting the facts.”

In any area of our lives it is important to listen and get all the facts before making a decision or passing on the information to others.

Getting all the facts is especially important for us as Christians as we often share what we hear online or in the news and make comment.

So listen, do your research, check all the facts and then ask God if you need to share it or make a comment online.

God Bless,
Dave


Four significant events at Jesus’ death
July 15th, 2015


I was re-reading the Death of Jesus this morning for my devotions. I read from Matthew 27.

In it there were four significant events that took place after He died. They are found in verses 45-56. We see they were…

1. Unexplained darkness fell over the earth for three hours in the middle of the day.

2. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This signified that all people could approach God without a Priest.

3. There was a major earthquake that shook the region.

4. Graves opened and the godly people were raised to life and started walking around the city.

Any one of these amazing events would have been significant, but put them all together and it is miraculous.

The death of Jesus was a significant event and everyone in Jerusalem would have known something major was taking place.

Three days later something even more significant happened too… but that is tomorrows devotion for me!

God Bless,
Dave


Listening and spiritual growth
July 13th, 2015


There are a number factors to spiritual growth, but one is pretty important. Let us have a look at Hebrews 5:11-14…

11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

One key for spiritual growth is contained in verse 11 – listening.

Often we talk too much and don’t leave space to hear or we are listening to the wrong things.

We need to listen to God when we pray, we need to listen to the words of the Bible as we read and we need to listen to those around who are mature in the faith.

If you want to grow in your faith and move on to solid food (v14), then listen more.

God Bless,
Dave


The full 10 Commandments
July 5th, 2015


As a part of my Bible reading plan I had to read the Ten Commandments this morning. I found it refreshing to re-read the whole section as often we quote only the 10 main dot points.

It gives a fuller meaning when we read it in its entirety rather than just what fits on a bookmark. I have pasted them below and highlighted the parts we memorise. Enjoy…

Exo 20:1 Then God gave the people all these instructions:
Exo 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
Exo 20:3 “You must not have any other god but Me.
Exo 20:4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.
Exo 20:5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me.
Exo 20:6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.
Exo 20:7 “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.
Exo 20:8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Exo 20:9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
Exo 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Exo 20:13 “You must not murder.
Exo 20:14 “You must not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 “You must not steal.
Exo 20:16 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”


R.E.L.A.X. in Christ
June 25th, 2015


Sometimes as Christians we struggle with our identity in Christ. We forget we are saved, loved, accepted and made right with Christ. Some of us even feel we need to strive and work hard to receive approval from God. In these times I try to R.E.L.A.X.

R – Rest

Rest in the finished work of Christ. You don’t need to strive to be accepted by God. If you have accepted Christ. It is finished and decided upon. You are loved, cherished and accepted by God.

E – Examine

Examine areas of your life or situations that happen when you feel condemned, unworthy or not accepted by God. Know what makes you feel not right with God so you can overcome them.

L – Learn

Learn Scriptures that talk about who you are in Christ. Read and meditate on them daily. Memorise them and share them with others. Put them up in a prominent place in your house.

A – Apply

Apply the Scriptures to your life. When you feel condemned, unworthy and the need to strive for acceptance, stop and recite your Scriptures that tell you otherwise. Then continue what you were doing.

X – Christ

X is the Greek symbol for Christ. Trust in Him and what He has done in saving you, growing you and keeping you in the palm of His hand. Remember no-one can snatch you away from Him.

God Bless,
Dave


God knows us inside out
June 17th, 2015


Psalm 139 is one of my favourite Psalms. I have written about it before on my blog here. This morning as a part of my devotions I read verses 1-6. It says…

O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! (Psalms 139:1-6 NLT)

As I read this today I was reminded of some wonderful truths about God and His knowledge and care for us. Here is a few…

1. God knows everything about us (v1)
2. God knows our every movement (v2, 3)
3. God knows our thoughts (v2)
4. God knows our unspoken words before we speak them (v4)
5. God goes before us and He follows behind us (v5)
6. God’s hand of blessing is upon us (v5)

Knowing these things gives me great comfort. God knows me inside out and He still loves me. He also loves you too.

God Bless,
Dave


A prayer for others and ourselves
June 12th, 2015


In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prays a prayer for the Philippian church. It says…

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭9-11‬ NLT)

Let us break that down and see if it can help us in our prayers for our family and friends.

1. He prays that their love would overflow more and more

2. Keep growing in your knowledge and understanding of Christ

3. That they would understand what really matters

4. That they would live right so it brings God glory

I think we can learn a lot from this prayer. Imagine the growth and blessings that would flow if we prayed this for those around us?

Maybe we could even pray it for ourselves? Maybe we could pray both help us to grow in these things Lord, and also to help me Lord?

God Bless,
Dave


Living as children of light
June 5th, 2015


In Ephesians 4:17-32 Paul encourages us to live as children of light. He implores us to put off our old way of living and truly follow Christ in the way we live.

This passage has three main sections and a motivational reason to live this way.

1. Don’t live like non believers

This may seem obvious, but we should not live like non believers. In verses 17-19 it describes gentiles as people who wander far from God, have hardened hearts, have closed minds, live for lustful pleasure, have no sense of shame and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

2. Put on the new nature

Verse 20-24 says these things are not what knowing and following Christ is all about. Verses 23-24 says, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy”.

In these first two sections we see real contrasts of living the worldly way without God and living the way God wants us to live. He wants us to live with a new attitude with the new nature that leads to righteousness and holiness.

3. Practical things to put off

The next section verses 25-31 talks about some practical things to put off. Here we see some real measurable things. They are things that we can reflect on to see how we are going at the moment.

1. Stop telling lies to our neighbours (v25)
2. Don’t let anger control the way we live and respond (v26-27)
3. Don’t steal, but work hard (v28)
4. Don’t use foul or abusive speech (v29)

Verse 31 emphasizes this when it says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior”.

What is our motivation to do this?

Our motivation to live as children of the light in this passage is so we don’t bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit. Verse 30a says, “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live”. It should motivate us to live right as the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

Summary

There really are two ways to live. For the Christian it is about putting off the old worldly ways, and putting on the new nature by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts and minds.

God Bless,
Dave


Paul’s suffering and commitment
May 31st, 2015


I was looking at the suffering of the Apostle Paul recently. I was amazed how much he went through in his years of ministry. I was also amazed by his commitment to preach the Gospel in the midst of his suffering.

In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 we see some of Paul’s hardships. On a number of occasions he was beaten by mobs, put in jail, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights and gone without food.

Also in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 we read he was also whipped nearly 200 times, beaten with rods, faced death again and again, was shipwrecked three times, was stoned, faced danger from fake Christians and nearly drowned from swollen rivers.

This does not even mentioned the “thorn in Paul’s flesh from Satan” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. A thorn that he was able to bear by God’s grace.

Bible scholars tell us that Paul was converted about 36 AD and he died in Rome in 68 AD. So this means he was in Christian ministry for about 32 years. As 2 Corinthians was written about 57 AD these listed sufferings only record about two thirds of his ministry time!

So how was Paul able to stand firm and keep going in his ministry mission in light of all this suffering? Here are some of the reasons I think.

1. His amazing conversion on the road to Damascus where he spoke with Jesus (Acts 9:3-19)
2. He knew he was called by God to reach the Gentiles for Christ (Galatians 1:15-16, Acts 13:2-3)
3. He knew he could do all things through Christ who was his strength (Philippians 4:13)
4. Paul saw his mission as a race he needed to run with endurance (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Hebrews 12:1)
5. He knew he had to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)
6. Paul saw that he was no longer living, but Christ living in and through him (Galatians 2:20)
7. Paul knew he would receive a crown of righteousness from the Lord (2 Timothy 4:8)
8. Paul saw his life as a drink offering being poured out to the Lord (2 Timothy 4:6)

I am really inspired by the life of Paul. I have been through a lot of suffering and it has made me stronger, but it is nothing compared to what Paul suffered for the Gospel.

If you are suffering for the Gospel today I hope you can draw strength from God and the example of the Apostle Paul.

God Bless,
Dave


A quiet place
May 26th, 2015


A number of times in the Bible we see that Jesus withdrew to a quiet place. It was something that He did regularly.

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (‭Mark‬ ‭6‬:‭31‬ NLT)

In the above Jesus gives us some reasons…

1. To find rest

2. To get away from the crowds

3. To eat

Some times Jesus drew aside alone to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer (Luke 6:12). This was just before He chose the 12 disciples.

I think it is an important reminder to have a quiet place where we can recharge both physically and spiritually. A place where we can find rest.

Have you got a place like that?

God Bless,
Dave


Unless You go with us
May 24th, 2015


All week I have been reading and reflecting on Exodus 33. For me it is one of the important chapters in the Old Testament.

One section that really has stayed with me in verses 12-16. This is where Moses asks God to go with them on their journey. Earlier on God said He would not go because of the rebellious people (v3), but God agrees to go with Moses.

I like that Moses did not want to go if God did not go with them. It was a huge task that could only work if God was with them. Moses knew his inability to get the job done without God.

Moses knew it was the glory of God that would made them stand out from the surrounding nations. It was His power and presence that made the impossible possible.

As I have dwelt upon this chapter this week I have been reminded that we need to have the Moses attitude as Christians. We need to ask for God’s glory to go with us too. We need Him to make the impossible possible too.

Sometimes I wonder if we try and go it alone too much? I wonder if we would be better off waiting on God and asking for Him to go with us? Or perhaps we should look to see where God is working and go with Him.

Just a thought.

God Bless,
Dave


To view our older posts you can visit Dave's other blog here

 

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