Words of encouragement: timeless assurance

I love Joseph. He’s now two years old. My greatest concern is how I will equip Him in life and faith. 10 years ago, this was a distant thought; instead I was challenged by the secularist university around me and how I would live out my faith among my friends and peers. The encouragement and assurance I needed to hear then and the encouragement and assurance I need today are quite different.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children.
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong.
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

— 1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)

Yet, there are some truths, encouragements and assurances, that remain the same regardless of the state of life we find ourselves. After reminding his readers of the greatest commandment, John writes to encourage and assurance them of their faith.

Continue reading →

What is Propitiation? A definition and meaning in the Bible

Propitiation. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard this word. Maybe you’ve heard it a number of times, but don’t know what it means. It’s certainly not a word I understood for a long time, and really, I’m still coming to fully understand the depth of this concept.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

— 1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)

Continue reading →

Saul: cause and effect…

Cover to Cover

Reading: 1 Chronicles 10:1-14

Focus: 1 Chronicles 10:13-14

It is hard to deny that life is full of cause-and-effect. You act one way, the cause, and things will turn out another, the effect. If you touch a hot stove, expect to be burnt. If you speed through a red light, expect a fine in the mail (I should know)! If you don’t discipline kids, expect disobedience. If you eat a lot of junk food, expect to put on weight if you don’t exercise. It is the natural order of things, if you do certain things, expect certain things in return.

Continue reading →

Deuteronomy: because you’re NOT worth it…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 9:1-11:32

Focus: Deuteronomy 9:1-6

One of today’s popular mantras is: “Because you’re worth it…” The self-worth of individuals is forever being promoted, all under the guise of building self-esteem, personal confidence; it is, let’s be honest, a shameless lie of a marketing scheme. With increasing materialism and individualism, no longer is there any real social conscience or concern for those less fortunate. The Church has not been immune and there is a growing sense that God has saved ME, the individual and I will make a difference in my world…

Continue reading →

Numbers: only by blood…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Numbers 14:1-16:35

Focus: Numbers 15:22-36

With children, when they make a genuine mistake, parents are gentle and understanding. However, when they deliberately disobey or cause trouble, parents need to discipline them. One of the hardest things for parents is to draw the fine line between grace and discipline; especially when the genuine, unintentional mistakes are quite serious in matter. The sudden outburst of frustration is not what the child needs, but rather understanding even when accompanied by a firm, yet gracious, rebuke. However, discipline must be made firm, even when gracious, that a child recognises the consequences of their actions. (Heck, the same thing applies to all people at any level…)

Continue reading →

Leviticus: a two-faced God?

Cover to Cover

Reading: Leviticus 26:1-27:34

Focus: Leviticus 26:1-46

When people ask you to describe a person, you generally gravitate to their pleasant and good characteristics, or if it’s someone you dislike, you generally gravitate to their more negative (in your opinion) characteristics. Rarely do people give a balanced perspective when they describe a person. The same goes for God, you often find that there are two extremes which people focus upon. The first, generally Christian, response focuses upon God’s grace and love; the second, generally non-Christian, response focuses upon God’s wrath and justice (injustice from most perspectives).

Continue reading →