KCF Notes 2020

Please note: these are the sermons/messages given by the preachers, teachers and speakers at KCF.
They are mainly my jottings taken during the services. They contain actual phrases spoken, summarised comments and some other relevant thoughts that came to me at the time.

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Available notes ⇒
  5/1/20 - 15/3/20,
  5/4/20 - 3/5/20,
  17/5/20 - 25/10/20
Last updated 24/10/20
Speaker Index
Alan Milnes2/2, 28/6
Andrea Mill26/1, 24/5, 30/8
Dawn Martindale5/1
Diane & Andy West23/2, 6/7, 23/8
Harry Sprange12/1, 8/3, 12/4, 21/6, 16/8, 11/10
Hugh Henderson26/4, 26/7, 27/9
Iain Sutherland19/4, 19/7, 20/9
Jeff Miller15/3, 5/7, 6/9, 25/10
Jim Neilson16/2, 3/5
Michael Palmer14/6, 2/8, 4/10
Paul Younger19/1, 5/4, 12/7, 13/9, 18/10
Richard Hobson1/3, 31/5, , 9/8
Tony Miller17/5
Theme Index
Be Sure Your Guard Is On Duty17/5, 24/5
Beaches, Bones, Branches (Church)23/8
Boats (Church)23/8
Coping with Adversity21/6
Dawn5/1
Discipleship2/8
Glimpse of Reality16/2
God Does Not Change9/8
God The Redeemer5/4
God's Comfort31/5
God's Eternal Purpose (Church)16/8
God's Faithfulness12/1, 8/3
God's Kindness26/1
God's Love1/3
God's Provision15/3
Holy Spirit River14/6
Intimacy with God5/7
Jesus in the House19/4
Jesus Speaks Plainly20/9
Living as a Child of God30/8
Living with Jesus19/1
Passion for God's Presence25/10
Petition Prayer28/6
PPE for the Heart24/5, 17/5
Take me to your Leader12/7
The Humanity of Jesus6/9
The Return of Jesus4/10
The Kingdom of God19/7
To the Church in Philadelphia27/9
To the Church in Sardis26/7
To the Church in Thyatira26/4
Trust2/2
Sabbath Rest23/2
Seeing and Believing12/4
Sing a New Song7/6
Songs of worship3/5
What Does God Want?13/9
With Christ in the Storm11/10
You can make me whole again18/10


25/10 Jeff Miller Isa 6:1-7   Passion for God's Presence

  Are you passionate for God's presence? Allow Jeff's dynamic preaching notes to inspire you to spend time in the holy, holy place.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


18/10 Paul Younger John 21:1-14   You can make me whole again

  For these fishermen, it seemed like the "good old days" were gone. Take time today to be reminded of how they were restored to a sense of purpose and calling and how it can be the same for each one of us.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


11/10 Harry Sprange Mk 4:35-41, 6:45-52   With Christ in the Storm

  Take comfort in some familiar Bible passages and what they can teach us in these days. Be sure to read all the Bible passages and previous messages to receive the full benefit of this encouragement.
Click for ⇒ main messagepdf img

After reading and studying the message you can listen to these songs...
Click for ⇒ With Christ in the Vessel
Click for ⇒ When upon life’s billows
Click for ⇒ All I Know (Allan McKinlay version)
The other messages Harry references were on


4/10 Michael Palmer Ex 32:1-5   The Return of Jesus

  This message was first preached at Inverkeithing on 20th Sept, but as Michael says, "I believe the message is relevant for the wider church so please be blessed by the message, you and your fellowship. God bless."
(Michael reads the passage twice - the second time with the microphone on.)
How do we live while we wait? How do we look forward as a church?
Click for ⇒ message (Youtube)

Index

27/9 Hugh Henderson Rev 3:7-13   To the Church in Philadelphia

  "Hi Everyone at King’s Covenant in Glenrothes. We are missing you all and we pray that the Lord is keeping you throughout lockdown. Thank you for taking the time to view the information I am sending to you.
I have sent two videos as follows:
1. A video of a PowerPoint presentation which show some of the work that Mission International has been doing recently. This should run automatically including a short voice-over on each slide.
Click for ⇒ update (Youtube)
2. I have also sent a video of the next session on the Book of Revelation chapters 1-3.(You may need to rewind to the start of the video.)
Click for ⇒ message (Youtube)
Thank you again for your prayers and support during this time of global challenge!
In Christ, Hugh"


20/9 Iain Sutherland John 16:25-33   Jesus Speaks Plainly

  Be encouraged by Jesus speaking plainly to the believers who were 'scattered, each to your own home'.
The video of this message is available on Facebook at King's Covenant Fellowship


13/9 Paul Younger Micah 6:6-8   What Does God Want?

  Paul's message helps us to navigate through the choices and challenges of this world. He guides us through passages that are very familiar, and some perhaps less so, to keep us on the right path. Be encouraged to do the right thing and have the right attitude.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


6/9 Jeff Miller Isa 53   The Humanity of Jesus

  Jeff shares a heart-felt study into how Jesus, in His humanity, lived in harmony and communion with Father and Holy Spirit. Turning to each of the passages referred to will give a fuller understanding of this.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img

Index

30/8 Andrea Mill Mt 18:1-5   Living as a Child of God

  A wonderful study from Matthew's gospel showing what we are called to be, how we can experience heaven right now and encouraging us to respond to God.
Click for ⇒ message pdf


23/8 Diane & Andy West Ezek 37:1-14, Jn 15:1-12   Boats, Beaches, Bones and Branches

  The sea is very important for life on the earth. Jesus spent a lot of time by the sea during his life and ministry teaching us how to be His family. We have two messages this morning inspired by the sea. Part of this message relates to Gal 2:20 that we studied on Thursday and follows on from Harry's message last week about the Church.
Read what He is saying to us this morning about Beaches, Bones and Branches   Click for ⇒ message pdf img
Watch what He is saying to us this morning about Boats   Click for ⇒ message (Youtube)
Andrea Mill spoke to us from Ezek 37 on 18th Aug 19   Click for ⇒ message "Speak Life".


16/8 Harry Sprange Eph2:13-21, 3:10-11, Rev 21:1-5,9-11   God's Eternal Purpose

  Listen to great preaching that will remind us and give us a better grasp of fundamental aspects of Biblical teaching and inspire us with the great calling that is on all God's people.
The video of this message is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/kbpqpQPWBUU


9/8 Richard Hobson Ps 46:1-5   God Does Not Change

  Another encouraging message for us based on certain Biblical truth in uncertain times.
The message appears brief, but please take time to consider the characteristics of God mentioned here.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


2/8 Michael Palmer Mt 28:16-20, Heb 5:12 - 6:2   Discipleship

  The second letter from Michael to the church in Glenrothes. Learning by example and living as an example - this is our calling. We are encourged to develop a "new normal" as we grow in Christ.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img

Index

26/7 Hugh Henderson Rev 3:1-6   To The Church In Sardis

  The Church of Jesus is alive. Are we part of that living church? A challenging and encouraging message for each one of us today.
The video of this message is available on the KCF Facebook Discussion group at King's Covenant Discussion Group
You can suppport the work of Mission International though prayer and donating at give.net or message/email me for bank details


19/7 Iain Sutherland Matthew 5:1-16   The Kingdom of God

  The video of this message is available on Facebook at King's Covenant Fellowship

In John Bunyon's Pilgrim's Progress, Pilgrim found many places of refuge on his journey. Joshua was instructed to build cities of refuge. They were clearly marked. Sanctuary was God's provision for His people. The cities were Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth and Golan. We can seek refuge and we can give refuge. We can shine like these cities to those around. Receive "The Shining Blessing" that Iain speaks over you after the closing prayer.
(You can read more about "The Shining Blessing")


12/7 Paul Younger Matthew 18:10-14   Take me to your Leader

  The basis for good leadership (following on from the advice to Titus we studied on Thursday).
Note: After the Fire: a UK Christian rock band in the 70's (included Andy Piercy who worked with Ishmael)
Click for ⇒ message pdf img
Another song (my suggestion) Reckless Love


5/7 Jeff Miller Ex 25:10-40, 27:1-8,20-21, 30:1-10,17-21   Intimacy with God

  A very interesting study of how to find intimacy with God from the design of the tabernacle given to Moses. Jeff hopes you find this helpful and asks God's blessing on you.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img

Index

28/6 Alan Milnes 1 Sam Ch1, Ch2   Petition Prayer

  Alan writes, "As I explain in the video this is an extended version of what I am sharing with LBC on Sunday morning."
Hope this is a blessing to you all. Alan."
Click for ⇒ video
The Prayer Course mentioned in the video can be found at prayercourse.org


21/6 Harry Sprange 2 Cor. 11:23-29   Coping with Adversity

  Helpful teaching to guide us through tough times.
The power of this message is in the scripture passages.
Please take time to look up all the verses referenced.
Click for ⇒ messagepdf img

After reading the message you can listen to Debora Sita's song.
Click for ⇒ song


14/6 Michael Palmer Ezekiel 47:1-12   Holy Spirit River

  A refreshing & healing message for us as we meet virtually again this morning.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


7/6 Diane & Andy West Psalms 33,96,98,149   Sing a New Song

  A "slide-show" presentation this week to stir you to Sing a New Song.
(Note: slide 3 - the reference should be Isa 42:10 and has now been amended.)
Once again, this follows on from last week's reminder of God's comfort in our current situation.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img

Index

31/5 (Pentecost) Richard Hobson 2 Cor 1:3-11   God's Comfort

  A truthful (full of truth!) and hopeful (full of hope!) message for us on this unusual Pentecost morning.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


24/5 Andrea Mill Phil 4:4-9   PPE for the Heart

  A whole service this morning prepared for KCF and Bristo Baptist. It strengthens and reinforces the message we listened to last week from Bishop Tony Miller. May the Lord bless you as we join in worship together.
Click for ⇒ message pdf img


17/5 Tony Miller Phil 4:4-9   Be Sure Your Guard Is On Duty

  We had invited Eddie Henderson to speak at KCF this morning. We will arrange another date when we can be together again.
"As we won’t be with you, we would send you this preach instead. Be blessed. I hope Tony’s preach will be a blessing this morning." Eddie & Trina.
Click for Bishop Tony Milller's ⇒ video on youtube


3/5 Jim Neilson Rev Ch 5   Songs of Worship

The scroll and the Lamb

  After reading through and meditating on Revelation chapter 5, here are some questions to consider…

Index

26/4 Hugh Henderson Rev 2:18-29   To the Church in Thyatira

Introduction:
Thyatira was the Gateway to Pergamum, in the same way that Perth is the Gateway to the Highlands. Its makers of purple dye made it commercially viable. Wealthy and religious people purchased purple dye - Kings robes were made of purple cloth. See Judges 8:26, Prov 31:22, Lam 4:5, Daniel 5:7. Also many of the Tabernacle/Temple items were made of purple. See Lydia in Acts 16.14.
The Lord was challenging Thyatira because the church had yielded to sin CORPORATELY. This is typical of churches that tolerate sin.
Churches are different in many ways, but they all should have this in common; that they pursue holiness. God’s holy people - this was not the case in Thyatira. (1 Pet 2:9 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues [praises] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.) Read Matt 18 in the context of church discipline and confronting sin.

Read:
18 To the angel (Messenger) of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, (In chapter 1 Jesus is described in terms of love and care the Son of Man 1:13 here He is described as the Son of God [Judgement, Holiness, Deity]) whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. A fearful sight. See the following examples: Abram’s sacrifice - Gen 15. The Burning Bush - Ex 3. Moses Face - Ex 34. Saul on road to Damascus - Acts 26.
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. (All of these are worthy virtues. We can do more things, but if evil is inside?)
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, (a woman preacher/teacher who was leading the corruption 2 Kings 9:33) who calls herself a prophet(ess) (i.e. she thinks she speaks for God). By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Compromise with the world leads to full-scale idolatry and immorality absorbed sin and error living happily with it - False teaching is idolatry, Sin is the immorality). The church today has been led into immorality by the false teaching of those who purport to be faithful believers and leaders, but they are not. The contemporary church is leading the people astray and the church ‘councils’ have said nothing about it. They condone it by their silence.
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. Such is the grace of God, that he gives time to repent. 2 Cor 6:2ff - A time of grace for all to repent.
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. Repentance is more than just feeling bad about our wrongdoing, it means that we need to turn around. Instad of going our way we change and go God’s way.
23 I will strike her children (her children here probably means her followers, not her offspring) dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (We don’t enter the Kingdom of God by our good deeds, but we are measured by our deeds once entered)
24 Now I say to the rest of you (sorting people into groups [as in Pergamum] good and evil sheep and goats) in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, There are many cults that try to lure people away by their ‘secrets’. Freemasonry and others. Be careful. Someone once said “you know a cult by the fact that it is easy to get in to and difficult to get out of. God’s kingdom is difficult to get in to but easy to leave”.
25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’ He requires little of us, however under pressure it is easy to abandon what we have in favour of something else. He is coming ‘soon’!
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations Victory over sin brings a reward with it.
27 that one will rule them with an iron sceptre and will dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. Although this mainly refers to Christ, we too will receive a victory reward with him…in fact our reward is Him.
28 I will also give that one the morning star. (2 Pet 1.19 Jesus described as the Morning Star)
29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To view or download pdf file with this message please click here ⇒ Download file.


19/4 Iain Sutherland Luke 24:13-41a   Jesus in the House

  The two men were going back to their homes in Emmaus. They were downhearted at the event of Jesus' death. In this season of lockdown, confined to our houses, we can get downhearted. Both of these encounters with the risen Jesus happened in homes. They recognised Him in the house. There is a diffference when Jesus is in the house. Jesus in the house turned sorrow to joy. His first miracle was in a house. He turns sorrow to joy; fear into joy and marvelling. In you home know the difference the presence of the risen Lord Jesus makes. Turn aside to Him, be aware of His presence. He turns loneliness to a sense of His presence.
  Jesus took time in solitude. He knew the importance of silence and stillness. You can experience the Sabbath in your home alone with God. His presence and power at work in us can transform us and our world. Jn 14:23 Jesus promises to make His home in us. Sense His peace and presence. Be transformed by His presence in lockdown. In the message to the church at Laodicea in Rev 3:20, Jesus promises to come in. Know the difference of Jesus in your house. In this season acknowledge Jesus making His home in your heart. Proclaim His goodness, speak blessing in your community, pray for your neighbours.
A video of this message is available on Facebook at King's Covenant Fellowship


12/4 Harry Sprange John 20:1-12   Seeing and Believing

  When one has been a Christian for a long time, it is easy to become over-familiar with the Bible stories, and gloss over their significance instead of letting them impact us afresh.
For example, the story of the resurrection of Lazarus immediately precedes the Passion narrative in John’s Gospel, chapter 11. It is easy to read it as just another miracle in the ministry of Jesus, based on His compassion, and His sympathy for the family. We also know it was the event that finally triggered the opposition to Jesus among the Pharisees into action (11v47). But is that too superficial a reading? I have been pondering on the possibility that this event was primarily for the benefit of the disciples, to prepare them for what was to come, and to demonstrate clearly to them the authority of Jesus over death. That is why He delayed setting out for Bethany (11v6) to establish that Lazarus was well and truly dead and buried. Had he been motivated only by compassion, He could indeed have gone and healed his friend earlier, but that would not have proved to the disciples that He had overcome the grave.
  Pause for a moment, and read again the resurrection narrative in John 20:1-12. Here we discover the weakness of most of our English translations of the Bible. Three people “saw” the empty tomb: the “other” disciple (usually assumed to be the writer, John), Peter, then Mary, but The Greek text uses THREE different words to describe what happened. [When we talk about our belief in the “inspiration of scripture” it is wise to add the qualification “as originally given”. Our translations are not inspired, but we do believe that the words in the Greek text are significant, and are there for a purpose.] In v5 John reached the tomb first and saw [blepei] into the empty tomb. This has the implication of a single look, or glance. Then Peter arrived (v6), and saw [theorei] the sheets: this could be translated as “perused” or carefully observed – the same verb is also used of Mary in v12. Finally in v8 the “other” disciple went in, saw [eidei] and believed. This suggests perception, or understanding of the significance of the event, indicating that revelation was involved.
  Is there a lesson here for us today, when we read through a Bible story? Do we glance at it superficially but pay more attention to what is in our “daily devotional” (like “Word for today” or “Every Day with Jesus”!), or do we carefully consider it and think it through (after all we are to love God with all our MINDS as well as our hearts in Mt 22:37), or do we wait and press through for revelation to perceive the significance of what we have read?
  Finally, if we are in the unfortunate position of being affected by the death of a relative, friend or colleague due to this present crisis, can we remember that Jesus was no stranger to death itself? He was “humbled to death” (Phil 2:8), “Tasted death” to destroy the devil (Heb 2:9,14), and “destroyed death” (2 Tim 1:10). But He was also the “first fruits of those who rise from the dead”(1 Cor 15:20), which means that we will all arise too. Maybe make time today to read through the whole of that chapter? Let us share Paul’s confidence that those who share in His death will also share in His resurrection (Rom 6:5), and take extra time to celebrate it today.
  Despite the strange circumstances of this year, may God give you a wonderful and meaningful Easter.
  With Love, Greetings, and Best Wishes, HARRY.

ADDENDUM:
  I was going to include this in the final paragraph, but I think it interrupts the flow.
  I am reminded of the immortal words of the WW1 padre, Studdert Kennedy, in his poem “Faith”:
  How can you prove a man who leads,
  To be a leader worth the following,
  Unless you follow to the death – and out
  beyond mere death, which is not anything
  but Satan’s lie upon eternal life?


5/4 Paul Younger Isaiah 43:1-3a.   God the Redeemer

· We are created by God: Some babies are unplanned "accidents". We are not, but are the deliberate creation of our Father God. Nothing that happens to us is by accident, and we need fear nothing, in this world or any other, be it flood, fire or virus. Cf. Psalm 139:15-16
· We are claimed by God: In time of need we may find ourselves forced to visit the pawnbroker, where we give up something valuable to us for a cash advance. But we can later redeem it, or claim it back, when we are able to pay the price. God gave his own Son, the most precious thing he had, in order to claim us back. Cf. John 3:16
· We are called by God: Whether we call it self-isolating, social distancing, lockdown or quarantine, these are challenging times for us and we may feel cut off or isolated. But we are not alone. God has called each of us, individually and by name. We are his, and he will not abandon us. Cf. Deuteronomy 31:6
· We are covered by God: It's like a fully-comprehensive insurance policy. We are covered by God and protected by him no matter what happens to us. And unlike insurance companies, he will not try to wriggle out of his obligations with a hundred and one "exceptions"... such as "Acts of God"! Cf. Psalm 91:4

Index

29/3 Dawn Martindale Cancelled


22/3 Michael Palmer Cancelled


15/3 Jeff Miller Gen 22:1-18   God's Provision

  What do we say in an impossible situation? Abraham and Isaac went to worship. This happened in the same area where David and Solomon were going to build the temple, and where Jesus was sacrificed. John 1:12,13 we are His children because of what He has done. Jn 2:19,20 Jesus' promise to raise up the temple in 3 days: it took 46 yrs to build the temple (we have 46 chromosomes).
  V2 in this passage is the first mention of love in Bible. Isaac was Abraham's beloved son. We see this reflected in Jn 3:16 one and only Son. It means to be one (Heb. Yachid). Isaac means laughter. Jesus has more joy than any man. Isaac trusts his father, but asks about the lamb. Jesus asks if the cup can be taken. Isaac is a symbol of us approaching the cross. Jesus' perfect love leads us to the cross. God loves us perfectly. People look for love in all the wrong places. When we love someone it is all about what we want. God's thoughts are about us; His thoughts towards you are countless. He wants to spend (more) time with us.
  V5 Abraham was given the instruction by God to go and sacrifice his only, beloved son. He assured the servants that they would both come back. What do we say in impossible situations? Jas 3:3-6, the tongue is like a rudder. Direct your life with your tongue by speaking truth and positivity. Eph 6:17 a sword is the offensive weapon we have. Declare the Word of God. The enemy will run. Rest in His love. Be offensive. Learn the Word of God: in a problem, find the relevant verses in scripture and learn them.
  Verses 13,14 God provided. We are not righteous by what we do. As we trust Him, He sees us as righteous. When lambs were brought to the priest, it was the lamb that was inspected, not the sinner. Jesus was in Jerusalem for five days and was 'examined' by the priests. Speak the Word into your situation, it will change the situation and bear fruit. Declare who we are in Christ. John 7:38,39 Jesus declares rivers of living water will flow through us. Holy Spirit puts joy in us, we must believe. God goes with us into situations. Abraham declared God is our provider and Jesus declared it was finished in the same place. Receive by faith.


8/3 Harry Sprange Gal 2:16 - 21   God's Faithfulness

  There are times when we don't feel like worshipping God. The example of the Psalmist in these times is just to declare who He is. The book of Revelation is mainly a declaration of who God is. We can do this irrespective of our feelings. This is what Moses is doing in Deut 32:3-4, ascribing greatness to God who is faithful and just. Also Ethan in Ps 89:14-16 and another psalmist in 85:10,11.
  Righteousness is part of God's perfection. God always does right: Abraham declares this in his prayer for Sodom in Gen 18:23-25. Judgement is part of God's righteousness, Ps7:11, 96:10, 1 Chr 16:29-33, He judges the earth. In the OT, people call out for justice. In the NT the people wait for justice. In heaven there are people crying out for God to avenge their death. Judgement is not a threat. It was looked forward to as vindication. The doomsday sense comes from the middle ages.
  What does it mean in the NT, believers made righteousness? Gal 2:16 - 21. The problem is the translation of the word 'faith' (all translations miss the point). Paul was showing how someone gets right with God. Recommended reading - Paul: A Biography. Tom Wright. How do we get a relationship with God? It is not through the law. It is through the faith of Jesus. Not our faith in Him. The word 'faith' in Gk is the same word as faithfulness. It is the faithfulness of Jesus that takes our sins and our sicknesses. v20 we are trusting in a person, not in a doctrine. The New Testament (Convenant) is how we enter into and maintain our relationship with Jesus. 'Christ' is a title not a name. Jesus is the Messiah. His faithfulness is to death, he saw it through to the end. Rom 4:22-25, Abraham's faith was 'reckoned to him'. We should reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ. Watchman Nee urges us to believe Jesus died not because we feel it, but because we trust it. Faith does not depend on feelings. Why do we believe? It is in the Bible. Justification is an incorporation into Jesus.
  Abraham's faith was reckoned to him, Rom 4:22. He trusted in God's faithfulness. He responded that God would fulfill. Righteousness is a legal term. It is a status, not a characteristic. We are declared 'not guilty' in God's sight (but not perfect). The gospel in the NT is about Jesus faithfulness. We join in the community of God. Eph 2:11-22 God welds us together into one new man in Christ. Eternal life is to know God now. Non Jews can join in the family of Abraham.


1/3 Richard Hobson 1 Jn 3:16-18   God's Love

  What are the best things in life? Music, reading, family...? Ps 63:3, God's love is better than life. Nothing here compares. Why do we struggle and wrestle with what surpasses everything? Why do we sometimes feel more loved by God? How we answer affects the quality of our lives. How can we be sure of God's love for us? We can be loved without realizing it. When we find out how much we are loved it changes us. We need to know God loves us. We need to believe it too. Do we look in other places for assurance that we are loved? It is important to let scripture speak for itself.
  Too often we want Him to show it in our ways. We can lose sense of it when we expect it in the wrong way. Jn 3:16 How do we know? The Bible tells us! We are part of the world God is speaking to, that He sent Jesus to. Love without action is just a sentiment. God has a purpose. 1 Jn 3:16 he laid down His life for us, vv17,18. We imitate God by acting in love to others. 1 Jn 4:9,10 is a declaration of how God loves us. It is so that we might love. Rom 5:8,9 God's love is much more than just a declaration. He has a purpose. Justification, declare a person righteous, as if we never sinned. Propitiation, turn away wrath from us to Him. We are saved, by Jesus, from the wrath of God. Rom 5:10,11 - we are reconciled with God. We have peace and salvation.
  There is no mention of earthly things; health, house. If we are hungry or full, God loves us and nothing can separate us from His love, Rom 8:38,39. We often encounter trials and powers that overcome us. Don't focus on earthly things, they do not affect how God loves us. Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus, not our circumstances. Rom5:1-5. Love has achieved justification, peace, access and grace for us. Suffering is not wasted with God. Suffering eventually leads to glory.
  God's love has a purpose for us. Hope is a certainty, we have a deep conviction of God's love. This love is much more than a feeling. God sent Jesus because He loved us. We can know these things, but we have to believe it. God did this for me. Meditate on the gospel message to develop the conviction of God's love for you. Jn 15:9 God's love for us is the same as it is for His Son Jesus. We demonstrate our love for Him by keeping his commandments. Every commandment is an expression of love. Obedience to Jesus won't make you stern and dull, they will bring joy. Nothing that happens to us contradicts God's love for us. It continues and never fails. Ps 33:4,5.

Index

23/2 Andy West 1 Kgs 19, Mt 5:1-12   Sabbath Rest

  Where is God on the map? Are today's generations experiencing more pressure? Pressure should produce something and lead us to productivity. At creation, when God made man, He declared a rest to enjoy with us. God is with us in times of 'no pressure'. The work God gives us to do is equivalent to the washing up; the main work is done, but we still get to be involved. It is still Kingdom work. We can set deadlines so we can achieve things. Jesus called the fishermen to join him in fishing for men. Talents come in many different forms. Prophetic words can be exiting, but the ones called to great exploits or to minister abroad are not greater than those doing 'lesser' things at home. We often go to great lengths in being busy and doing things.
  Sabbath rest. People have been stoned or cast out for not taking a rest. Keep the sabbath. Elijah does some dramatic things, some of them involve The Spirit gaviving him extra power. No matter how involved or busy we are, we still reach a plateau. Don't miss the rest. If you miss the rest, you don't return to 'no pressure', you enter the worry zone. Younger generations seem to be rejecting the burnout they see in older generations and opting for lower productivity. Much prayer required for them (younger & older generations). Prayer and rest/sabbath are needed to keep your guard up. They are also needed to avoid reduced effectiveness. Jezebel's threat to Elijah came when he was worn out. We can end up in crash zone or poor in spirit. Pressure can come on us from family or the world.
  Jesus is with in us all these 'zones'. God keeps returning to Elijah 1 Kgs 19:7. He feeds and rests Elijah to restore Him. Feeding on God's Word and resting brings us back. In Jn 21, Jesus asks Simon, "do you love me?". The Roman church was built on Peter.
  Mt 5:1-12 - we should not be embarrassed about being 'poor in spirit'. The whole spectrum/graph/map is the Kingdom of God. Jesus experienced immense pressure when His cousin John was killed. Although imprisoned, John was able to witness to the king. The king was tricked and gave in to 'popularity' and executed John. The storm on the lake was also going on inside Jesus. He told both to stop.


16/2 Jim Neilson Rev 4   A Glimpse of Reality

  What comes to mind when we think of heaven? Fluffy clouds, angels, harps, other ideas that could be classed as escapist. What does the Bible really say? Heaven is where God is. We are told He is everywhere - we just can't see it. We are encouraged to fix our eyes on the things unseen, 2 Cor 4:18. Look at Rev 4:1-11. We are invited to enter in to discover what comes after? John sees another door (3:8, 3:20). It is standing open. Gk word is in the perfect tense; emphasising what is happening now is because of what has already happened. Heaven is open because of what Jesus has done. Heb 10:19 we have confidence to enter the most holy place. Ancient Israel believed the most holy place is where heaven and earth meet; places like the Garden of Eden and the temple. Jesus made a way for us to enter. He is the key. He is the door. The same word is used in Jn 10:9 (I am the gate).
  There is only one way to heaven. We cannot know God unless He reveals himself. We need His revelation. As we follow Him we knock on the door of others' lives to show them the way. Jesus is the important one. John sees a throne, v2. Gk word means more than just a seat, it's a symbol of rule and sovereignty. Ps 45:6 God's throne will last forever. We pray 'Thy Kingdom come, here, as it is in heaven' where Jesus is on the throne. God is sovereign over all creation. When we look at our world we wonder if God is on the throne. He is, we believe it by faith. John wants us to get the picture that God is in control and he has a plan.
  Jesus in Rev 1 has shining hair and blazing eyes which we can visualise and we can identify with these features, Ch 4 is very different: it's all about light and the things affected by it. A dazzling image, gleaming, shining and unimaginable. Gk for rainbow is iris. Gen 1:1 decribes darkness over deep until God spoke "Let there be light". Jn 1:9 the Word is the light of men. This is reality. The throne in Rev 4:2 signifies the power and the politics. Someone on the throne knows what He is doing.
  The rulers of this age, science and technology, feed off sex, power and money. Today's society and culture are built on secularism. We idolise and catatstophise climate change. We mustn't fear the worst. Gen 9:15 is the last word about floods on the earth, Rev tells us we are not all going to die. The challenge is to recognise reality, not the made up stuff.
  What is coming next? Worship, it is the fitting response to our redeemer. All is ready for the arrival of the great king. There will be elements of all creation worshipping, people and animals. Our language is incapable of describing it. God knows the beginning and the end and knows everything in between. We call for Him to be on His throne. The sea was thought to be the place of chaos. The Hebrews feared the sea. In worship the sea is still, evil is conquered. Worship pacified it. Roman worship was to their gods and emperors. Even their worship brought peace to society. To withdraw from the human 'societies' and guilds (masons) was costly for Christians. Worship of God ushers in His Kingdom. He is the giver of life. People who do not worship are restless. Without God we are lost. Our atheistic society has no solid ground. Worship is a whole life lived under the throne. Time will come when people will turn to believers for solid ground. The reality is Jesus is on the throne.


9/2 No Meeting


2/2 Alan Milnes 1 Kg 17:1-16   Trust

  31st Jan was a day of celebration for some and a day of sorrow others as UK left EU. God's righteousness judgement can affect innocent people. The church should not be political, but it is meant to care for people. The king, Ahab, was exceptionally evil and God's judgement was justified. Elijah did as God said and went to the place where God provided his needs. Then in time, the brook dried up, but the jars that provided for the widow and her son didn't dry up. V12 suggests that she knew of Elijah or revelation came to her. The woman was down to her last and told Elijah the truth. The prophet gave her assurance, "but first" she was to put complete trust in God. In faith she was to trust, before receiving the blessing. Just like Joshua, who saw the Red sea part for Moses, had to enter the dangerous waters of the Jordan before they parted.
  God gives us opportunities to put greater trust in Him. God asks us to move. He wants us to move forward. There may be an opportunity to run a project, help people in the community. We can testify that God has blessed the church finances. Others can witness to changes to personal circumstances where God has brought blessing. Some have an opportunity give more to God. God asks us to move in trust. We also attend to the daily tasks and sensible planning.
  2 Kg 4:1-7. Here we read of another jar of oil. Another act of faith; another widow. Lev 25 has rules about the payment of debt by labour. Everyone is released at the year of jubilee. This widow was facing destitution and the loss of her support. God makes special provision for widows and orphans. Our modern welfare system is not working very well. Pray for family restoration. The community has a responsibility. Some people in Louisiana had their debts cleared by the church after the devastation of hurricane Katrina. The Jubilee Trust doing similar work in UK. After God provided, the widow had enough to pay off her debt and provide for her future. God has lots of ways of providing what we need, we just need to step out in faith. Look for what God is doing and how He wants you to trust.

Index

26/1 Andrea Mill Titus 3   God is Kind

  A message on 'The Kindness of God' and an opportunity to release creativity in the church. Pray the words we have just been singing, "Open up our eyes in wonder". Reading: Titus 3. The NIV has the heading 'Doing what is good'. What do think it means to be kind? Thinking of the other person, doing more than is expected.
  It is defined as ethical goodness, generous, consideration, care for others. It is a skill that requires courage. It is a trait that is inherent in babies. It is intrinsic to God's character. He is gracious, slow to anger. His kindness flows from His love. Kindness is valuing others, honouring them, caring for them. It implies action. Doing something for others. Rom 2:4 speaks of the riches of God's kindness. In Acts 14:8-11, after Paul spoke healing to the lame man, the people think Paul & Barnabas are gods. Paul urges them to turn to the true God, because of His kindness to all human beings (v17) by providing food and crops. Ps 138:6. He controls the who universe, but is interested in small things. He is kind to the lowly. God knows what we need, though as a parent He sometimes wants us to ask for things.
  It's about relationship. God didn't have to save us. He didn't have to send Jesus, to die. From His mercy. His compassion for all mankind He continually calls us back. Loving God is demonstrated as we show kindness to others. Out of kindness from Him, we have eternal life; we have a relationship for ever. He protects us Ps 91:14. God is kind and will give us the protection we ask for. Rom 2:4, Paul warns us against showing contempt for His kindness, it is to lead us to repentance. When someone is repeatedly kind to us, it makes us think. We can trust Him and His kindness when things are tough. We should include thankfulness more in our prayers. We can also overflow with kindness. Gal 5:22 includes kindness in the list of fruit of the Spirit.
  It's about obedience. We should be kind even though we don't feel like it. Eph 4:32 is a command to be kind and gentle. See things from the other person's perspective. If we're listening, God can show us things about them. Be blessed by being kind to the needy and the poor. The Bible contains so much wisdom about being kind to others. God is just. Rom 11:22 simultaneous justice and kindness shown by God - beware you are not cut off from His presence.
  Kindness is not a weak thing. You need to be strong. Kindness is a Christlike characteristic. It will break down resistance. We can fight with kindness. God pardons our sin and answers our prayers. He is good and kind. We become obedient children who love and obey. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Carry on treating the poor and needy the way Jesus did. Prov 19:17. God is in the business of redemption, Titus 3:4-8. Each day we start again. Think of the ways God has been kind to you.


19/1 Paul Younger Lk 2:41-52.   Living with Jesus

  The TV programme Question of Sport used to have a round called 'What happened next?'. The film clip stopped just before 'something went wrong'. Just after Advent, we wonder what happened next. We know about Jesus adult life and ministry, His death on the cross and the resurrection. For most of what happened in between, we just don't know. There are infancy gospels which contain weird and wonderful accounts, but are of dubious authenticity. In the Bible only this one story of young Jesus is included. Aged 12, He is making the trip to Jerusalem for the passover feast. It was probably His first visit. As the family set out for home, the occasion took a turn.
Losing Jesus How could Mary and Joseph do this? It's an unfair criticism. The quickest route from Nazareth to Jerusalem was down the Yitzak Rabin highway & Route 6 (146km). It would take them 5 days walking instead of 2 hrs driving. It shows that this was an important event for them. Large groups would travel together. The women set off first, the men broke camp and caught up later. It was easy for Mary or Joseph to think Jesus was with the other one. On realising the situation there was not much they could do that night. They would have to wait for the next day; it wouldn't have been a peaceful night. They had to turn round and go back. They were determined to find him. There are ways we can lose Jesus. This gives rise to campaigns such as 'Put Christ back into Christmas'. During other seasons we can be distracted from Him for various reasons. The UK is no longer a Christian country. Our culture has lost Jesus and lost its way. All of us have lost sight of Jesus at some point.
Looking for Jesus Mary & Joseph searched everywhere. They would be thinking the worst. When they found Him, they would be annoyed, amazed and relieved. It was obvious to Jesus where he would be. He was not lost. Jesus shows complete awareness of His 'dual' parentage. He is exactly where he was meant to be. Mary & Joseph were successful in their search for Jesus: many are still searching for Him. They don't always find Him. Some people don't even know who they are looking for. Many will look elsewhere. People fill the God shaped hole in their lives with anything and everything. We easily get distracted. The U2 song "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" is the situation for too many. Part of our job as Christians is to point Him out.
Living with Jesus To make sure you don't lose Him, the answer is to live with Him constantly. Treasure Him in your heart. Learn from Him, learn from Mary. A relationship takes time. Spend time with Jesus, make Him a priority. Work and families are important, but Jesus must be a priority. Learn His teachings and obey them. Billy Connolly hated algebra and wanted to know, "What use is it to us?" Jesus teaching has value to us. Doing what He teaches is living with Jesus.


12/1 Harry Sprange Hab 2:1-4, 20   God's Faithfulness

Hab 2:1-4, 20. The book of Habakuk is not easy to understand. It teaches us about long term faith. An old favourite hymn declares, "God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year". One of God's favourite words is 'wait'. Daniel was shown a vision of end times (8:17), but in v19 it is explained it will happen later, v26 even sets it in the distant future. God's Word is not always for an instant answer. Sometimes we have to wait a little longer. In Acts 1:6, Jesus diverts their attention from the end time events, "is this the time?", by getting them to focus on what is important now, "be my witnesses" (v8). We should concentrate on what God is doing now.
  Abraham receives a promise from God for the land, but it was only fulfilled after 400 yrs. Abraham believed God. Romans Ch 4:1-18 and Gal 3:6-18 ref this. The narrative of OT is rarely free of warfare. There were many battles. King David brought some peace, but Solomon lost it by worshipping his wives' gods vv 1 Kg 11:29-37. We may not remember all the details, but the order of the Kingdoms is important, after this there were the beginnings of empires. Iran (Syria), then Assyria, the Babylonians, Persia, Alexander the Great and the Greeks, then the Romans. There was a succession of world rulers prior to King Hezekiah. 2 Kg 19 & 20. The clan of Judah was under judgement. However, God postponed the judgement.
  This setting of this passage in Habakkuk is approximately 620 BC. It was a time of international tension and spiritual confusion. The context of Ch 1 is what the Assyrians are doing. Habakkuk starts with his complaint. It is important to be honest with God about our doubts and confusion. God promises to deal with it in a surprising way. Habakkuk complains again at God. He has sense to wait for God's answer. We should also stop to listen to God. God says 'wait'. Habakkuk needed to write it down as it wouldn't happen soon. How do we understand "It won't delay" when it was fulfilled over 30 years later. We need long term faith.
  God judges Babylon. Ch 3:16-18. Hab 2:4 states that the righteous shall live by his faith. The Hebrew language only has 800 words (French 12,000 & English 15,000). Abraham trusted God. The devil and the demons believe everything we believe in. The word for faith can also mean faithfulness or moral steadfastness. It is attributed to a person who trusts and can be trusted. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the original Hebrew Old Testament. Hab 2:4 means living on the basis of God's faithfulness to His people. We are trusting in the Word of God. Man shall not live by bread alone, but every word from a faithful God. It's not what we believe, but who we believe in that matters. Gal 2:20. My faith is not in facts but in a person. Jas 2:19. NT sense is faith in person. Belief is different from trust. (We can believe that Boris is the PM of UK, but do we trust him?) Hab 2:4 is used in Rom 1:17, Gal 3,11, Heb 10:38. Gal 2:16 speaks of faith in Jesus. The Gk says faith of Christ, or faithfulness of Christ. He saw the cross through to the end. We believe into Jesus, we live out of His faithfulness. Trust God for the long-term because things may get worse before He delivers us. The theme of whole Bible is a faithful God who looks for faithful followers. Faith is based on a relationship.


5/1 Dawn Martindale Mal 4:2, Isa 8:19-9:7, Mt 4:12-17,23   Dawn

  New Year, a time to plan something different (late nights can upset body your clock) and watch the first dawn. After watching the last sunset, the darkness seemed to stay a long time. Still awake at 11:59 and aware of slowly passing time, I got up feeling awake. It was still very dark, then at 8am the light just started to break through, birds started to sing. This was an entirely different day. Cloudy instead of clear; the newness, stillness and peace of a new day.
Mal 4:2, a promise for those who revere God's name, sunrise with healing rays, joy and contentment. Isa 8:19-9:7, a warning to seek God instead of mediums. A prophecy of a great light that dawns and a child that is born. Great government and peace - without end. Mt 4:12-17,23, Jesus speaks of the light that was prophecied and the dawn that is coming: great teaching, amazing healing, and peace.
  The prophecy of Isaiah expresses the beginning of something new. The light that dawned was a human being. He was tested in the desert. He reads to the people of Nazareth from Isaiah about His ministry and calling. He was rejected by these people. Jesus humanity is important so that we can see the light. The light is found in God's teaching. Isa 8 says the light of dawn is found in consulting God's instruction. We see Jesus in scripture. He was led to Capernaum, a densely populated city. Spiritually it was a dark place. Zebulun and Naphtalim was a land of sin, no light, no words of God. The land was humbled Isa 9:1. It had been captured by Assyria in 722BC.
  When Jesus arrived it was in a time of nominal Judaism. It was on a major trade route ("by way of the sea" Isa 9:1). As usual Jesus selects the least likely place. In the darkness He was the light that brings healing. He was the dawn of the Word of God. There is real hope from God, He brings healing where it is least expected. The promise is for the Gentiles too.
  John and Jesus call the people to repent, but Jesus was different. He taught in the synagogues and healed every disease. He brought peace and healing. The full light of day is coming, but we can taste it now. The Prince of Peace will ensure it happens. Peace and healing bring the Kingdom. George VI used the poem "God Knows" in his address to the nation in 1939. Heart be Still. God's will is best, our fears are premature.


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