Everyone in Jericho had a sense that they were going to loose a battle, that they were on the wrong side of God who had defeated other nations for Israel. Fear filled them all. But just one person stepped out of fear into faith.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Heb 11:31
Hebrews 11 salutes Rahab, a prostitute, as one of history’s heroes of faith. How did she do it? Quite simply, she saw something God was doing, and she took action with risk to step into God’s purposes. And so she received a ‘scarlet ribbon’ as a guarantee that she and her family would be rescued from destruction, a prophetic sign of the saving work of Christ. You can read more of this great story in Joshua 2:18 – it speaks an important word to us in our age. Continue reading
“How much more will those who receive the abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through Christ Jesus” Romans 5:17
Many Christians live with insecurity about their position with God. They’re not sure whether they’re doing enough to be acceptable to the Father and their effort becomes focused on trying to achieve what they’ve already been given in Christ – a full “thumbs up” from God. Living to earn God’s acceptance is “living for righteousness” and its an awful thing. Its not how we were created, because its the nature of a slave rather than a child.
Instead we need to learn to live “from righteousness”. Continue reading
We’re praying for our university student brothers and sisters in South Africa at this time as they’ve been taking a stand for an important cause that will shape our country’s history. Its not just about fees. They’ve been protesting the injustice that flows from poor governance: money managed wastefully, or worse, resources filtered away to enrich a few through corruption; but there’s no money to invest into crucial education for the leaders of the future. There’s frustration with the powerful putting themselves first rather than serving those who entrusted them with power. There’s a cry for good leadership; for God’s type of leaders.
There are times when Christians are called to take a stand – to follow the conviction of conscience and to push against injustice – even if its uncomfortable and the cost is sacrifice. Great men and women of God in times past took a stand against evil, connecting with God at the same time, and so brought the touch of Heaven into their communities. Continue reading
God created men and women to be His children and to be tied into a life-shaping relationship with Him. Because we are created this way, we have a deep need in our hearts to be acceptable to Him, to be in “right standing” with the Father. That’s what righteousness really means – to be “right” with God.
“Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
Here’s the bombshell of amazing grace: Christ did everything to make us acceptable to God, and nothing more can be done. What we need to do is to trust Him, that He’s made us fully righteous. Then we shed the image of God with a stern frown, tapping his feet and arms crossed in disappointment at us, and we see the delighted Father who embraces us as precious children. Living with an ever-growing awareness of Christ’s righteousness inside us is the heartbeat of the true Christian life. Its the way to experience more of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, to soaring worship, to increased faith and to greater impact on the world around us.
In Acts 3 we gain insight into the supernatural lifestyle that Peter and John lived, or as the Bible terms it, the “spiritual life”. We learn secrets of experiencing the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, living surrounded and overshadowed by God Himself.
We owe the world an encounter with the living God, or as Paul put it, we should give more than “persuasive words but a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power”. The truths of Acts 3 show that this is possible not only for elite Christians, but a clear path for us all. Continue reading
Here’s a sweet thought from a short phrase in Psalm 81:5-7 “When He went out against Egypt, we heard a language we did not understand.”
In his song, the Psalmist is connecting two memories. The one is of how God came into Egypt to rescue His people from slavery. And the other is the memory of how they felt at the time – he sings “we heard a language we did not understand“. That’s his poetic summary of the difficult season in Egypt and its a profound way of expressing human emotion in difficult times – like being in a strange land, hearing a strange language, feeling confused and disoriented.
Some seasons in life are victorious and fruitful, but others are tough and confusing. In the rough and tumble, we try hard to figure out the causes of our pain, and try to understand why things are happening. Sometimes we know we are to blame, and then guilt can eat away at our faith if we don’t remember that we stand blameless before God at all times in Christ’s righteousness rather than our own. Continue reading
I’m en route to South Africa from Houston via my favourite layover city, Istanbul Turkey.
Once walking through Taksim Square in Istanbul, famous for a movement similar to the Arab Spring a few years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “this is going to be the epicentre of a revival that reaches the entire Muslim world” and a year earlier, while worshiping Jesus in a mosque prayer area in Istanbul, I felt the Lord whisper, “I gave oil to these nations out of my love for them though it hasn’t benefited many but only few. The time is coming when I will pour out my Spirit in equal measure to the amount of physical oil I have given these nations.” These are very precious promises which I hold onto in faith and share with others who long for the Father’s love to draw millions of Muslims into the embrace of a true experience with God that isn’t based on human effort. Continue reading