Come to Me

“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest”
(Matthew 11:28)

After looking at the stories of Hagar, the Samaritan woman and the leper let’s summarise the important truths for us today.

  • No one is too insignificant for God to see and to know
  • No one has sinned so much that they are now beyond the love and acceptance of God
  • No one is too contaminated and disgusting for the Lord
  • He will reach out to anyone who wants Him
    • To love and accept them
    • To cleanse them
    • To transform them
    • To guide and help them

Sin comes in many forms

  • It defiles and incapacitates
  • It cause a limit to – and a breakdown in – relationships with God, with others and with ourselves
  • It causes us to feel lonely, rejected, unfulfilled, and in some areas contaminated
  • It can grow progressively worse
  • And there is no human cure for sin or its guilt

But there is the Lord

  • When we despise ourselves – when we are rejected by others – when we feel completely lost and insignificant
    • His hand reaches out to us
    • He touches the untouchable – sees the invisible – loves the unlovable – and forgives the unforgiveable – who turn to Him

Come to Him

  • The God who sees you
  • The God who accepts you
  • The God who reaches out to touch you
  • The God who loves you

And as each of the stories makes clear the Lord is already with you. He doesn’t have to travel from somewhere else. He has already found you. He is already reaching out to you. He is already speaking.


Lord Jesus help me to look away from myself towards You – to be still and acknowledge Your presence – to allow You to look into the very depths of me – and to know the words that You speak.  Take me into Your written word Lord and to Your special revelation for me. Amen.



Fourth Word

“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Matthew 27:45-46)

Lent 29

  • It didn’t get worse than this.
    • For the very first time in His existence – both as Divine and human – Jesus was separated from God.
    • The darkness that came over the land would have been as nothing compared to that which had appeared within Him.
    • Such was the effect upon Jesus that it tore this cry from the very depths of His spirit.
    • Jesus had taken our sin upon Himself.
      • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • It was our sin that came between God and Jesus
    • It brought about this terrible separation.
    • As ‘the wages of sin is death’ so sin brought death to their intimacy and consequently death to the Jesus who was fully man as well.
    • In terms of His own illustration the branch had been cut off from the Vine – to be thrown into the fire and burned.
    • Jesus experienced the deepest and blackest spiritual hell so that we would not have to.
  • Steadily, and seemingly without end, the sin and sin guilt would have poured upon Him.
    • The sin of Adam and Eve, of Cain, of the people of the flood, of the bondage in Egypt and the unfaithful years in the desert,
    • the sin of David and Bathsheba, the repeated idolatries and adulteries of God’s chosen people,
    • the sin of the Great Wars of the 20th century, the Holocaust, the genocides, the apartheids,
    • the slaughters and merciless killings in Africa and the Middle East
    • the abortions, the abused, trafficked and neglected children and women
    • and all the other sin and sins of the countless individuals from the beginning to the end, and of all the nations and even the churches as well.
    • My sins, your sins of yesterday, today and tomorrow
    • See them as they are poured into Him in an endless stream
    • He would have sunk beneath the weight of sin without number or end, and been spiritually suffocated by the rising tide of thick and impenetrable darkness.
  • Alone, lonely and desolate, Jesus hung there.
    • Lacerated within and without,
    • flooded with darkness,
    • pinned to the Cross not by nails but by agonising love,
  • He would no longer be aware of the people around Him
    • He had moved into another world
    • An unseen world
    • Where He fought the greatest of all battles –
      • between darkness and light,
      • between love and sin,
      • between law and grace,
      • between holiness and evil,
    • Jesus hung determinedly on – to set us free.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.


Such Love

“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, `I am the Son of God'”
(Matthew 27:41-43)

Lent 25

There are times in life when we feel totally cornered, humiliated and rejected. We would like to lash out at others in ways that will defeat and silence them, and show our rightness and worth.

Throughout Jesus ministry it seems that the religious leaders were intent on either proving Him wrong or destroying Him. They refused to see the truth in what He said and did, and hid behind the security of their positions and their interpretation of the law. Jesus had remained silent throughout His trial. Now, at this final moment of ridicule and dismissal – of Him as the Son of God and Saviour of the world – how tempting it must have been to stride from the cross in splendour and majesty and to humiliate them in one glorious display of His Divinity.

“If God wants Him” – how that barb must have hurt, at this moment in time when He was about to cry out in desolation, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And yet, Jesus did none of these things. He trusted and remained true to God and to the mission and ministry that God had given Him. And so His response to them all was the response of a God who loved them even to the end.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34)

We all have to learn that however rejected, overlooked, inadequate or hurt we may feel the answer is not to strike back in pain or hurt –  even although we sympathise with the disciples who asked Jesus,

“Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
(Luke 9:54)

Our identity and security is in the One God Almighty, the God of power and love, who has called us into relationship with Him and has committed Himself to us throughout eternity. In the fullness of His love the barbed arrows and hurts that come from others take their proper place and do not become overwhelming and destructive of our life and peace. It takes prayer, and the practice of confirming our identity and value in God, holding on to His promises to us and the wonderful gifts of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Out of that security and perspective we can in turn be sad for those who live and act from the perspective of a fallen world. We, however, are the beloved and eternal sons and daughters of the Living God. And so Jesus can say to us,

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”
(Luke 6:27-28)

The truth is that God’s love for us is far more powerful and healing than the destructive hurt of the world.


Father, please continue to pour Your love into my heart and help me to live as Your beloved child. Amen.




The Right Acclaim


“Everyone is looking for you!”
(Mark 1:37)

Lent 23

What it is to be popular! – and to have ‘everyone’ wanting to be with you. Another temptation!

Jesus had been very active in His healing ministry. He had cast out an evil spirit and then in the evening had continued to heal and drive out demons. Early the next morning He had gone off to a solitary place to pray and it was there that His disciples found Him and said, ‘Everyone is looking for You!” How easy it would have been for Jesus to return to Capernaum and to continue with this ministry, seeking to build upon the popularity that He now had. How easy we find it to measure things by numbers, even in the church.

We tend to envy people who are popular and who attract others to them. Pastors can be envious of others with more public ministries and of those with large congregations. And yet, not everyone has the same gifts or the same ministry. Each Christian does, though, have a specific calling from God, and has been blessed with specific gifts and a specific ministry. Success is measured by our faithfulness to God and to what He wants of us.

In this case Jesus did not return to the crowds looking for Him but responded instead,

“Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38)

Jesus knew His calling and ministry and, after spending time in prayer, knew what God wanted Him to do. He was not to return to the crowds but to go somewhere else and start again. In fact, in His three short years of ministry, He was always on the move and never put roots down in any one place. Even when many of His followers left Him He did not change His message or His focus but carried resolutely on in obedience to God in whom He trusted. In the end He died naked and almost alone on a criminal’s cross – but was able to cry out in victory, “It is finished!” He had done what God wanted Him to do and that was all that mattered.

It is never about crowds or popularity but always about God – His love, His will and His approval. The numbers or passing popularity of the world do not define us – only our relationship with the Father. To become truly ‘me’ is to be more of the child of God that He has called me to be. Only there is my true satisfaction and peace.


Father, help me to know Your will and to seek only Your approval, in Jesus name. Amen.


Effective Diet

“Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:4)

Lent 20

We hunger for many things in life. Many of them have to do with our own wants and perceived needs. They may range from basic physical necessities to comfort and luxury and to power and prestige. For many of us there is also the need to feel significant in the eyes of others.

Jesus first temptation, after His baptism and acknowledgement by God, brought some of these into focus. He was hungry and the temptation was for Him to focus on His own desires by using His God-given powers to satisfy them. However He was not going to make this the focus of His life and work for He had come for another purpose. So He resolved instead to submit Himself to the word and direction of God. He would later be able to say that,

  • “I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” (John 12:49)
  • “I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

This contrasts so clearly with Eve’s response to her temptation when, although she knew what God had said, she allowed herself to be led astray by her own feelings and understandings. Many of us know the truth of her response only too well.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)

If we persist in following our own desires and understanding we stand in great danger of putting ourselves before God and of finding that we have walked ourselves into darkness and despair. A part of the sin and its consequences is the fact that we have  prevented ourselves from becoming and being and living out our God-given potential. We will have opted to be sons and daughters of the world instead of growing as the sons and daughters of God. It will never satisfy us or bring us peace.

Are we allowing ourselves to be formed, directed and enriched by His Word – or seduced and impoverished by the words of the world?  Jesus recorded decision is intended to be a model and a guide to us, and to be a foundation on which we build our priorities.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Jesus is not saying that good work and its rewards are wrong. He is saying that our priorities are vital. They need to be God-centred and not self-centred. So we do need to be informed, directed and protected by God’s Word – both written and Living.

What then are your hunger areas?  Bring them to the Lord and invite Him to minister there.


Lord God, You know my areas of aching and longing. I open them to You now and ask You to enter into them with Your Light and Love and Life. Amen.


Turn Now

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
(Matthew 3:2)

Lent 19

Striding in from the desert one day appeared a man dressed in clothes made of camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist. He went into all the country around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

“This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” (Matthew 3:3)

John the Baptist’s father Zechariah had prophesied over him at his birth,

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77)

The time had come and, not long afterwards, John would baptise the man called Jesus in the Jordan. He would witness the Spirit of the Lord descending upon Him, with the words, “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” Shortly after this John would point Jesus out and declare,

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Both the Apostles Paul and John would confirm this purpose of Jesus the Christ,

  • “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
  • “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.” (1 John 3:5)
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Sin is not merely anti-social behaviour but a rejection of God. It is a rejection of His majesty and authority and, most tragically, of His love. He, of whom the apostle John said ‘God is love’, could have been trusted to be truthful and to give directives that were only for our benefit. Instead our history has been one of exercising our freedom of choice to reject or marginalise Him and to place ourselves at the centre of our lives. The cost in terms of human suffering has been incalculable.

The coming of the Christ was to give humankind another, and possibly final, opportunity to choose – to choose whether to turn from our own way of life to God and His Way. This is repentance – to recognise and turn from what is wrong to that which is true. It is also a recognition and acceptance of the humbling sacrifice that has made it possible.

Lent is a time for such reflection – to look into our lives and to see where we may have drifted away from God and, with His help, to come back again – home to the proper place He has prepared for us with Him.


Lord God, please open my eyes to the truth about You, forgive me for where my focus and life have been wrong, and help me to walk with You in Your ways. Amen.


Cut it off

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell”
(Matthew 5:29-30)


Jesus is dramatically clear in His teaching that sin is not to be taken lightly. Sin separates us from God. Unconfessed sin is a barrier in our relationship with Him. Habitual sin keeps us from being who we could be. Simply put

“the wages of sin is death”
 (Romans 6:23)

If we carry any sin in our lives then Lent is a good opportunity to acknowledge it and bring it to God. If it is a habitual sin or bondage or unpleasant characteristic here is a moment in time when we can ask God to forgive us, set us free and replace it with something good, healthy and lovely.

We also carry areas in our lives which resemble the field Jesus described in the parable of the Sower. There will be hard and unfeeling paths, rocky outcrops and parts overrun with the weeds of the world. How much better would we feel and be if they were ploughed up and replanted.

Ask God to show you where He wants to work within you this Lent, invite Him to do so , and keep praying that He will cleanse and heal you.


Lord Jesus, be my Light and Life and Love in new ways this Lent. I open myself to You and ask You to cleanse and heal and renew me, especially in these areas …….. Thank You Lord. Amen.


Looking at Lent

“They would have repented ..
 in sackcloth and ashes”
(Matthew 11:21)

In the West Lent starts on Ash Wednesday which this year falls on 6 March 2019. Good Friday is on 19 April and Easter Sunday on 21 April.

The ‘40 days’ of Lent are associated with the 40 days of Jesus fasting in the desert. The 6 Sundays are excluded in the calculation as they are said to represent either the day of rest or the day of Jesus victory over death. 

In many churches there will be special services on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the Journey to Easter. The theme is Penitence. Ashes will be blessed and used as a symbol of repentance. People will receive the sign of the cross, in ashes, on their foreheads. These ashes are normally prepared from the Palm Crosses used on Palm Sunday the previous year and are a reminder of both our creation and our fall – ‘Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.’  As people receive the cross of ashes they are exhorted to

“Turn away from sin and believe the good news.”

Lent is important. It reminds us of the need to reflect upon the love and holiness of God and the selfishness and sinfulness of the world.  Repentance is important for it recognises that we need change and help and saving – from ourselves, from each other, from the consequences of our actions and from the actions of the evil one. And unless we recognise our own sin we don’t recognise the need for a Saviour or understand what it is that He is about.

In many ways what is known as the Lent fast has been trivialised. The true significance of Lent is recognising the awesome sacrifice that Christ made for us, and the self –denial and suffering that was involved. What we give up should be a reminder of, and association with, that greater sacrifice, and not a source of personal satisfaction. Scripturally our ‘fasting’ is between God and ourselves and should be kept private.

Lent is also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the holiness and love of God, the enormous blessing of knowing Him – and the great need for Him in our lives and the life of the world in which we live today.

This year you might also like to think of giving God an extra few minutes every day to pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly and deliberately. On the first day adapt and pray it for yourself. On the next day/s pray it for individual members of your family. Then pray individually for the people with whom you work and associate every day. After that choose your church and country leaders and someone in the news who is suffering in some way .. and so on. Devote each day to a different individual. And if you travel on public transport pray the prayer for someone near you. 


Father – please help me to accept this opportunity to journey with You every day, and in so doing to draw closer to You. Please shine Your light into my life and into the lives of those for whom I pray. Amen.


Let Your Light Shine

“In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven”
(Matthew 5:16)


“You are the light of the world” Jesus taught His followers, and immediately went on to say that this light should be allowed to “shine before men.” He showed that a light is not supposed to be hidden, but is placed where it will best achieve its purpose of bringing light to the surrounding areas. And because He is the Light of the world Himself the light to which He is referring is His light shining in us and through us.

Firstly there is the light of His salvation. It is a salvation that has brought us out from the darkness of separation and death and into the love and light of eternal life with God. This should count for something in our lives and have an effect on our attitudes and appearance.

Secondly, and because we have a restored relationship with God, and the Holy Spirit within us, our approach to life and the way we live it should be noticeably different. This ought to be particularly apparent in our personal, social and business dealings. After all we are living now as the children of God and seeking to acknowledge and honour Him in every aspect of our lives.

Thirdly our relationships with everyone around us should develop a new gentleness, encouragement and concern. As we are increasingly touched, healed and blessed by the love of God that love must begin to overflow from us – rather like a sponge saturated with water leaks it out if moved. The fact that we may not be fully there yet is no reason not to begin living out the new life from where we are.

It is important to note that the Lord did not tell us to ‘make’ our light shine but to ‘let’ it shine. In other words the light of Christ is within us and we must not hide it but allow it to shine through us.

Examine the sermon of your living, and make some adjustments.


Holy Spirit, please continue pouring the love of God into my heart, and help me to pour it out wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Amen.