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The Good Seed Daily Devotional for 2023


Tuesday, October 31, 2023


To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Acts 26:18.

God has the good news of His saving grace preached and propagated, so that people are converted to Him. He receives each one who acknowledges his lost state before Him and turns to Him with a confession of his sins. The work of redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross forms the basis of His forgiveness and the blessings that ensue.

For everyone conversion to God is a...More

Monday, October 30, 2023

Simon Peter, the courageous witness

Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 2:36.

Simon Peter, the courageous witness
This was said by the man who had shortly before denied Jesus Christ. He had denied knowing or following Him. What caused such a change in him?

Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. When He was crucified, all seemed lost. But now He had risen again and had appeared to the apostles and other disciples on various occasions. Peter had learned that Jesus’ death on the cross meant victory, not defeat. It was the conquest of the Son...More

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (113)

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my Father will honour.
John 12:25.26.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (113)
The well-known statement of the Lord’s concerning the grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, and consequently produces much fruit is a wonderful illustration of the fruit that results from Jesus’ resurrection. The principle of giving one’s life to save life was realised perfectly in Christ....More

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Sent by the Father

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1 John 4:14.

Sent by the Father
In the Old Testament we find two especially fitting examples of types of the Lord Jesus Christ. One is Joseph, the son of Jacob, the other is David, the son of Jesse.

Joseph was sent by his father to inquire about the well-being of his brothers. Being obedient and ready to do so, he set out, even though he suspected that his brothers, who hated him, would not receive him amicably.

He was right. As soon as they saw him approaching, they devised wicked plans...More

Friday, October 27, 2023

The judge and the man condemned

We ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, … he saved us.
Titus 3:3-5.

The judge and the man condemned
Charles Colson (1931-2012), who was a former counsellor of President Nixon, was implicated in the Watergate affair and imprisoned for several months. When he became a Christian, he devoted his time to evangelising in American prisons.

Benevolent visitors often joined his group, “Prison...More

Thursday, October 26, 2023

God’s grace is not so abstract or so great that...

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Titus 2:11.

God’s grace is not so abstract or so great that no-one could have access to it. It “appeared” on earth when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became Man. In Him the grace of God was visible.

The fact alone that God sent His Son to earth is a clear proof of His grace. As He journeyed through the land, Jesus Christ revealed His love to people untiringly, helping them in their need. In every village that He entered, He left a trace of God’s grace. Finally, He sacrificed His life on the cross of Calvary. That was the...More

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Jesus’ love of His God

That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, so I do.

Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name.

John 14:31; Psalm 91:14.

Jesus’ love of His God
We tend to think more of Jesus’ love of us rather than of His God. However, it is the very first commandment of the law, and the Lord Jesus alone has fulfilled it: “You shall love the LORD your God with all you heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). And this was...More

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Roman proconsul of Cyprus was described as...

The proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, … called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God... But Elymas, the sorcerer, … withstood them.
Acts 13:7.8.

The Roman proconsul of Cyprus was described as “intelligent”. Alongside his duties he was also interested in questions of eternal significance. So he summoned Barnabas and Saul, who were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the entire island. He wanted to hear it first hand. He then recognised that two messengers from the living God were standing before him, preaching His Word. Even today sensible people show an...More

Monday, October 23, 2023

Simon Peter’s mission

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.
John 21:15.

Simon Peter’s mission
The Lord Jesus had forgiven Peter in a personal encounter on the resurrection day. But Peter had denied the Lord in public; so his restoration had also to be public, before the other disciples.

The Lord had prepared a meal for His disciples. He invited them to eat and served them Himself. Then there, before them all, He again spoke to Peter.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (112)

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
John 12:24.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (112)
In John’s gospel the Lord begins a statement with “Most assuredly” 25 times, which each time is of great significance. Here He speaks of the grain of wheat that falls into the ground, a normal process that happens countless times annually. The unusual thing here is that He Himself is the grain of wheat.

1. The Man Jesus Christ underwent death, although He is the only Person who did...More

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Every Jew knew the report in Numbers...

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:14.15.

Every Jew knew the report in Numbers ch. 21:4 and the background to it. God had then sent poisonous snakes as a judgment on the dissatisfied people of Israel, many of whom were bitten and faced death. In His grace God granted them a single means of healing: they could look at the brazen serpent that Moses had made; then God would grant healing.

When Jesus referred to this occurrence, He first said that He himself would be...More

Friday, October 20, 2023

Someone once wrote that the greatest...

Giving thanks to the Father, who … has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:12-14.

Someone once wrote that the greatest writers of best sellers in history all promised their readers freedom from all evils: philosophers, political theorists and the evangelists of the Bible.

The message of redemption stands indeed in the forefront of the Bible. But it is not the only reason why God’s Word is read so much. Many have discovered that guidance, joy and...More

Thursday, October 19, 2023

They knew so much about Him...

Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers James, Joses, Simon and Judas? … So they were offended at him.
Matthew 13:55.57.

They knew so much about Him, but they didn’t believe in Him!

Today, too, many people know something about Jesus Christ. Many also call Him by His name. But they do not entrust their life and their future to Him. Between factual knowledge and acquaintance, on the one hand, and faith and trust, on the other, there is a tremendous difference. It has been formulated like this: many people are Christians, but only in their head, not in...More

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Christians can rejoice with gratitude for...

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Hold fast what you have, that no-one may take your crown.

2 Timothy 1:13.14; Revelation 3:11.

Christians can rejoice with gratitude for all that contributes to stemming the ever rising tide of unbelief and sin. However, in the struggle against evil, scriptural boundaries must not be ignored. This danger comes about especially when our attention concentrates on one particular wrong. We must take care to...More

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The hitchhiker

The LORD has said concerning you, … Know certainly that I have admonished you this day!”

Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

Jeremiah 42:19; Hebrews 4:7.

The hitchhiker
Some years ago an incident in an Alpine town showed how God goes after individuals to bring them back to Himself.

A Christian stopped on the way to the station to pick up a hitchhiker. During the five minute journey he found the courage to speaker to the tourist about the vital subject of our life: “Do you believe in God?”

The hitchhiker’s reaction showed the...More

Monday, October 16, 2023

The restoration of Simon Peter

The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.
Luke 24:34.

The restoration of Simon Peter
Peter had denied Jesus three times. Then Jesus looked at him. Peter remembered Jesus’ words and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61.62). How he must have reproached himself! How desperate he must have felt! Jesus was scourged, mocked condemned to death and nailed to the cross. He who had never committed any sin died the shameful death due only to criminals. And His disciples were confused, downcast and disappointed.

When women came to His tomb on the first day of the week, He was no longer there. He...More

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (111)

Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, Sir, we wish to see Jesus. Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them saying, The hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified.
John 12:20-23.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (111)
The raising of Lazarus brought to light the glory of the Son of God here on earth in a measure rarely witnessed before. We have seen its effect:

1. Many believed in Jesus and...More

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Jesus Christ was standing before the...

If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?

Christ Jesus … witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate.

John 8:46; 1 Timothy 6:13.

Jesus Christ was standing before the supreme authority in the state and there confessed freely His true identity and His mission. He told nothing but the truth, although it meant the death sentence for Him.

Let us compare that with just one example of many sad discoveries in recent years. A well-known politician finally admitted to being involved in dubious activities for a foreign secret service after constant denials. The shock and...More

Friday, October 13, 2023

The Lord Jesus had prayed in the garden of...

Do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?
Matthew 26:53.

The Lord Jesus had prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. When He left the garden a crowd came towards Him armed with swords and clubs to arrest Him. They were led by Judas, who had betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. As the crowd approached, Peter drew his sword and cut off a man’s ear. While the Lord was praying, Peter was asleep; so his aggressive action was wrong. The Lord told him to sheathe his sword and added, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he...More

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The barometer (2)

Then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Luke 21:27.

The barometer (2)
Jesus Christ, the Son of man, will come again! Definite signs, that God has given us like a barometer, will precede His return to this earth. In the context of these verses the Lord Jesus mentions both “signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars” and also the roaring of the sea besides perplexity and distress among the nations. People will not come to grips with the world’s problems (vv. 25.26).

Climate change and its consequences, the rising sea level for example,...More

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

In the light of God the robber on the...

This man has done nothing wrong.
Luke 23:41.

In the light of God the robber on the cross recognised not only himself, but also the Person hanging alongside him. He became aware of the moral distance between him and the Lord, although the natural eye could distinguish nothing at that moment. Even if the Lord hung on the cross as one condemned, the robber acknowledged His innocence.

Not only that! “This man has done nothing wrong.” This utterance went further than the testimonies of Judas, Pilate and all the others. Judas Iscariot stated that he had “sinned by betraying innocent blood”...More

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The barometer (1)

We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in you hearts.
2 Peter 1:19.

The barometer (1)
For extensive weather forecasts weather satellites are indispensable. We all know the impressive photos of hurricanes in the North Atlantic that make it possible to warn of dangers for shipping and cities in good time.

The large sailing ship Hyacinth, on the other hand, on its way to the island of Barbados in 1831 had only a barometer available. The sea was calm and the sky cloudless. So...More

Monday, October 9, 2023

Today’s verses bring before us Jesus’...

He (Jesus) prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.
Mark 14:35.36.

Today’s verses bring before us Jesus’ last hours before the cross. We can hardly conceive what His approaching death meant for Him. There would be terrible, physical pain, for an agonising death on the cross was to be His lot.

It was not for this reason that Jesus prayed that the hour should pass from Him, if that were possible. The true reason was: He was to be “made...More

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (110)

Therefore the people, who were with him when he called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look the world has gone after him!
John 12:17-19.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (110)
The miracles of Jesus are often called “signs” in John’s gospel. This signifies that there is more to the miracle than a demonstration of supernatural ability: it is an authentication. The signs that Jesus did...More

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Simon Peter denies Jesus

He (Peter) denied him saying, Woman, I do not know him. … Man, I am not. … Man, I do not know what you are saying. … And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. … So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:57-62.

Simon Peter denies Jesus
Jesus had warned Peter; “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know me” (v. 34). Then the Lord went to the Mount of Olives with His disciples and prayed intensely in the garden of Gethsemane. Meanwhile the disciples were sleeping. Then Judas came and betrayed Him. The Lord was arrested and taken...More

Friday, October 6, 2023

I was brought up in a Christian...

Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:3.

I was brought up in a Christian family, and considered the Bible a holy book. I became a member of a church and helped in the work there for many years, during which I often spoke to the clergy, deacons and presbyters. No-one ever asked me if I was a child of God. I planned church activities, administered the finance and organised the musical side of the services. Nobody was interested in my relationship with God. I planned and co-operated in the external work of Christianity without ever considering the inner, spiritual...More

Thursday, October 5, 2023

The Trinity

Make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19.

The Trinity
While heathen nations generally worship a multitude of gods, both in the Old and the New Testaments the Bible teaches faith in the one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 2:5).

God teaches us in the Bible that He is in essence One, but He has revealed Himself in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Christians therefore speak of the Trinity, an expression that, in fact, does not occur in the Bible; nor is the word “person”...More

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Temptation and ourselves

Flee … youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart …

Do no be deceived: evil company corrupts good habits.

2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Temptation and ourselves
In our day and age the concepts of good and evil are becoming relative. Christians are in danger of adopting the way of thinking and acting of society. Recognised moral standards and the teaching of the Bible are being left aside by many. It is up to believers to instil the teaching of the Word of God and the examples it gives, so as not to be drawn...More

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The impression I had of the man I spoke to was...

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord.
Luke 5:8.

The impression I had of the man I spoke to was one of earnestness and responsibility. When I offered him a Christian flyer, he shook his head sympathetically: “I’m the wrong person for that! I don’t know what I have to confess before God. Give it to someone else!”

As he remained on the spot, I asked him; “Have you never had a wicked thought, or transgressed the law, or told an untruth? Haven’t you ever reacted harshly or unmercifully?” Well,” he said, “Now that you ask me; of course I have.” – “Well,” I replied,...More

Monday, October 2, 2023

Have you ever heard the expression...

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.

Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19.

Have you ever heard the expression: “He had his Damascus hour”? What is meant is that someone has suddenly changed his attitude drastically. He accepts what he has denied or fought against – a kind of total surrender. This is possible in many spheres of everyday life. But in one aspect it is essential.

The first person to experience his “Damascus hour” was Saul of Tarsus, and that...More

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (109)

Then Jesus, when he had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt. His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done these things to him.
John 12:14-16.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (109)
Many came to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from the dead. Lazarus was alive; therefore they concluded that this Jesus was the long promised Son of David. They welcomed Him heartily, quoting...More

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Nothing hidden

There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Hebrews 4:13; Romans 2:16.

Nothing hidden
None of us could bear the entire neighbourhood knowing what we do, say, or think in the course of a single day. How shameful it would be if our worst secrets were revealed and propagated in broad daylight! Nevertheless, all that happens within us, absolutely everything, and whatever we express or do is known by God. His appraisal should worry us...More

Friday, September 29, 2023

Every man for himself!

There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12.

Every man for himself!
About forty years ago a fire broke out in the store-room in a refinery in Feyzin, near Lyon in France. It was a major disaster and all the security services of the district were summoned with several fire brigades. All those men were at their post and did their best.

Among the responsible employees of the refinery there were some who regretted not being able to benefit from the experience of a colleague who had been at Feyzin for a long time and was now employed in Toulouse....More

Thursday, September 28, 2023


God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
Revelation 21:4.

There is so much suffering in the world that people inflict on each other: war, terrorism, crime, disputing. This makes many people wonder why God permits it all. Why doesn’t He intervene? Does He merely watch in disinterest?

If we open our Bible, we shall see that God comes to the aid of those who suffer. He takes them seriously. He hears their cries. He does not end every troublesome situation immediately, that is true, but He helps all who trust Him. “The...More

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Christian marriage – an obligation

Oh, that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Isaiah 48:18.

Christian marriage – an obligation
These words were addressed to the people of Israel by the Holy Spirit, but they apply equally to Christian marriage. Why is an atmosphere of peace and faithfulness lacking in many marriages today? Today’s verse gives us the answer: peace, faithfulness and righteousness go together. Peace is destroyed if faithfulness is disregarded, and faithfulness suffers when quarrelling and disharmony are...More

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A true welcome

Now … you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Ephesians 2:19.

A true welcome
Steven came to England as a young African refugee. He was a stateless person. He assumed that he had been born in Mozambique, but it could also have been Zimbabwe. He had never known his father, and he had lost his mother early in life. Without an identity card, a passport or a birth certificate Steven entered a police station and asked to be arrested. Imprisonment seemed to him as a homeless person a better fate than having to struggle against...More

Monday, September 25, 2023

Prolonging life

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

James 4:14; 1 John 5:11.

Prolonging life
For many years people have been passionately trying to counter old age. Faced with the increasing desire to stay young, living longer, scientists, therapeutists and businessmen have been engaged on finding means of slowing the ageing process that leads to death.

They forget one essential thing: God alone is the Master over our life. He...More

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (108)

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! The King of Israel! Then Jesus, when he had found a young donkey, sat on it.
John 12:12-14.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (108)
The Bible, the Word of God, is unique: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Holy men of God spoke … moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). This truth we stress. The closer we examine the Bible,...More

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Simon Peter’s self-assurance

Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.
Luke 22:33.

Simon Peter’s self-assurance
The Lord Jesus had just warned His disciples that Satan wanted to test them as wheat is shaken through a sieve (v. 31). That concerned Peter, the spokesman of the twelve, especially. He did not feel affected, so convinced was he of his uprightness. Those three words, “I am ready”, are the key to explaining how the greatest crisis in his life came about.

Peter meant what he said. He loved the Lord sincerely. But he did not realise that he could do nothing of himself. He thought he...More

Friday, September 22, 2023

An unexpected encounter

God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

Acts 3:26; John 3:17.

An unexpected encounter
In September 2017 Rakoto had to make a long journey by motorbike through a region of Madagascar invaded by bandits. Tired from hours of concentration in difficult road conditions, he decided to rest for a while. The place seemed deserted; so he lay in the shadow of a tree and fell asleep. Soon afterwards he awoke with...More

Thursday, September 21, 2023

These verses describe how the Lord...

He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench, till he sends forth justice to victory.
Matthew 12:19.20.

These verses describe how the Lord Jesus Christ acts by means of a quotation from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah had foreseen that the Messiah would be different from the great names of this world. And how his prophecy was fulfilled!

Jesus undertook God’s purpose with complete dedication, however, not with any self-promotion, but in constant, quiet service. He did not proclaim His message...More

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The LORD brought about a great...

There was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.
1 Chronicles 11:13.14.

The LORD brought about a great victory – wonderful news! How we would rejoice today, if we experienced it! But how did it begin? With a section of a field full of barley!

Eleazer and David were engaged in war with the Philistines; the battle fluctuated, then the people fled. Did these two warriors surrender? Far from it! They stood firmly on that...More

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

No plan without a designer

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1.

No plan without a designer
On a tour through the different departments of an engineering company the visitors finally came to the assembly line. Here they were able to see how a finished machine resulted from all the components made in other departments.

An engineer explained all the steps that had to be taken to make the machine operational. Drawings were made, and lists of materials and parts drawn up according to the constructor’s design. The individual items were then manufactured, checked and tested and finally...More

Monday, September 18, 2023

There are even Christians who maintain...

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12.

There are even Christians who maintain that one cannot know whether their sins are forgiven and that it will only be revealed in eternity. Why the uncertainty? Hasn’t God spoken clearly enough in His Word on this subject? David, the writer of many psalms, knew that his “transgressions” had been removed inconceivably far from him. They were all forgiven without exception, and he was not alone in this knowledge.

Why should God leave those to whom He has shown grace in ignorance? The New...More

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (107)

Now a great many of the Jews knew that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
John 12:9-11.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (107)
Jesus and His disciples were dining in Bethany that evening with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. The solemn atmosphere in the house, when Mary anointed the Lord’s feet with precious spikenard was spoiled when Judas, the thief and traitor intervened. The...More

Saturday, September 16, 2023

The Lord Jesus Christ had told a...

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise, take up your bed and walk?
Mark 2:9.

The Lord Jesus Christ had told a man who was paralysed, “Your sins are forgiven you.” (v. 5). This met with contradiction from some scribes. They thought: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus then responded with the question in today’s verse above. The question can be treated from two perspectives. In man’s view it is much easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” than to command a paralytic to stand up. We cannot check whether his sins were truly...More

Friday, September 15, 2023

The sermon at the coal mine (2)

The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out.
John 6:37.

The sermon at the coal mine (2)
Some miners were waiting for their weekly pay packet. To pass the time, they told their colleague Fred to preach a short sermon. They had heard that he had turned religious.

Fred said: “I remembered the word that Jesus Christ spoke to Saul of Tarsus: ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’ I noticed that God was speaking to me personally by it. Then two more texts from the Bible occurred to me that I had heard from my mother: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I...More

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The sermon at the coal mine (1)

He (Saul) said, Who are you Lord? Then the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
Acts 9:5.

The sermon at the coal mine (1)
A few miners were standing about, waiting for their weekly pay packet. One of them said, “Fred, I’ve heard that you turned religious last week. We still have 5 minutes to wait. Give us a sermon!” Others agreed, “Yes, a proper sermon starting with the Bible. That will be something!”

Fred hesitated at first; then he began:

“My text is the word that Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus: ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’ Now boys,...More

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

These questions go to the nut of the...

Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?
Haggai 2:3.

These questions go to the nut of the problems of the time in Jerusalem. The remnant of the Jews who returned from exile had abandoned work on the rebuilding of the temple. God’s questions were not intended to discourage the Jews but to reveal those wrong thoughts and feelings in their hearts that robbed them of the strength and courage needed to continue the work.

It was clear to all that, after being rebuilt, the temple would lack its...More

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Unwanted Bibles

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.
James 1:17.

Unwanted Bibles
A Swiss evangelist recounted this experience some decades ago:

I wanted Bibles for missionary work in France. So I put advertisements in some newspapers in Geneva, Montreux and Lausanne in French-speaking Switzerland. For a long time I heard nothing. Then I received a message from a restaurant proprietor. He wrote briefly: “Call in! I have plenty of Bibles to give away.” I set out at once. He was a very friendly man. He told me: “I have a whole mountain of...More

Monday, September 11, 2023

Simon Peter – an eye witness

When they were fully awake, they saw his glory.
Luke 9:32.

Simon Peter – an eye witness
The apostles had recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah and Redeemer. They expected Him to establish His reign of peace on earth, as had been foretold in the Old Testament. But they failed to heed the passages that spoke of the Messiah’s suffering and death, Isaiah ch. 53, for example.

When Jesus told His disciples that He “must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things, … be killed and be raised the third day”, they were dismayed, Peter in particular (Matthew 16:21-23). The disciples did...More

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (106)

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray him, said, Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of my burial.

For the poor you have with you always, but me you do not have always.

John 12:4-8.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (106)
When the aroma of the spikenard drifted through the house, at the latest, Judas Iscariot...More

Saturday, September 9, 2023

“With God all things are possible”...

They (the disciples) were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? But Jesus looked at them and said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
Mark 10:26.27.

“With God all things are possible” does not mean that anything can happen with God, but that God can achieve His objective by any means, or, God is omnipotent, able to do everything.

A rich young man had spoken to the Lord Jesus about spiritual things. Then he went away, because he cherished his wealth more than the truth. With sadness the Lord watched him go and said...More

Friday, September 8, 2023

A forgiving God

You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness.
Nehemiah 9:17.

A forgiving God
A young man reproached an experienced Christian with this accusation: “What makes you claim that Christianity is the absolute truth? I do not believe that it matters to the Lord God whether one is a Moslem, a Buddhist or a Christian.”

The aged Christian listened patiently and then said, “Your question was answered by the prophet Micah almost 3,000 years ago. He said: ‘Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity? … You will cast all our sins into the depths of...More

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Simon Peter replies by faith

Who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:15.16.

Simon Peter replies by faith
Many people followed Jesus after experiencing His help in their particular situation. However, when Jesus spoke of His death and their personal responsibility before God, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” And they left Him. Then Jesus asked His disciples if they would also go away. Peter answered for all: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe that you are the...More

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The trials of which the...

You are those who have continued with me in my trials.
Luke 22:28.

The trials of which the Lord Jesus spoke here He encountered as true man. And His disciples had a share in them. They truly experienced privations, hunger, fatigue and earthly poverty. With their Lord they also endured disfavour, contempt and persecution from their own people. The psalms especially give us some insight into the way the Lord Jesus painfully felt suffering and these trials. How comforting it was that His disciples loved Him, supported Him and persevered with Him!

Today it is still possible to endure trials with the...More

Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.
Proverbs 14:13.

Dalida was a famous pop-song singer and actress. Her career was a gigantic success; nevertheless she took her life at the age of 54. As her farewell letter she had written a very brief note: “Life is unbearable for me – forgive me!”

That is just one of many examples showing that success, fame and wealth alone cannot make life worth living. Pleasures and joys that are purely external come to an end, and with them superficial friendships. That was Dalida’s painful...More

Monday, September 4, 2023

Today’s verse from the Bible does not...

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?
Hebrews 2:3.

Today’s verse from the Bible does not state: How shall we escape if we reject or doubt so great a salvation. It says: if we neglect it, i.e. fail to heed it and do not bother about it.

Just imagine that someone has been bitten by a snake, but there is a serum that can save him. If he throws the bottle with the antidote out of the window in his rage, or drops it through agitation or weakness and it breaks, then he will die. But he would also die, if he merely looked at the bottle or held it in his hand. He needs to take the...More

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (105)

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom he had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:1-3.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (105)
The most significant week of world history had begun: Jesus would be crucified shortly. John’s report of what happened from now until the...More

Saturday, September 2, 2023

“I do my best” (2)

By grace you have been saved, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10.

“I do my best” (2)
Salvation, which is possessed by everyone who confesses the guilt of his life before God, is a gift that cannot be earned by good works, but is granted through one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything that is of ourselves is useless: God must be the Giver.

With salvation God gives a totally...More

Friday, September 1, 2023

“I do my best” (1)

We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:28.

“I do my best” (1)
“Are you saved?” a believer once asked the person opposite him. “I do my best”, was the reply. – “So do I”, answered the Christian, “But not to be saved, but because I am saved.”

Many religious people think they can be saved by means of good works, their own efforts. They realise that, as they are, they cannot meet with God’s approval. They do not belong to the crowd of indifferent persons who pay no heed to God or the question of eternity. Yet we human...More

Thursday, August 31, 2023

A biography of the sixth President of the...

Having a form of godliness, but denying its power.
2 Timothy 3:5.

A biography of the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, written by his grandson, tells how, of all the influences that helped to form the grown man during his youth, the lack of true godliness was the thing that had harmed him most. He had gone to church twice every Sunday, read his Bible, prayed and observed religious rites superficially, but for him and his brothers and sisters religion had never been anything genuine. The children had grown up without godly fear in their hearts or the awareness that Christian teaching was...More

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The first thing mentioned in this verse is...

They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:42.

The first thing mentioned in this verse is the doctrine, i.e. the teaching of the apostles. It is the foundation for the personal and the corporative life of Christians. It was to the apostles that the Lord had said: “When he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Their doctrine clearly showed that the Holy Spirit had instructed them.

The believers continued in the apostles’ doctrine with perseverance and also remained accordingly...More

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

God will forgive you

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression?
Micah 7:18.

God will forgive you
At Pranles in the Ardèche in France Marie Durand’s home houses a small museum retracing the life of that Christian woman imprisoned for her faith during the reign of Louis XIV. When workman renewed the roof, they discovered a slate with the words “God will forgive you.”

Who had engraved that, and who was it intended for? We do not know, but in the time of religious persecution the person who wrote those words was certainly thinking of those who hunted down protestant...More

Monday, August 28, 2023

Morality and the majority

Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.

Matthew 7:13; Isaiah 5:20.

Morality and the majority
A philosopher of the early 20th century defined morality as “what pleases the majority”. Solshenitzin, the famous Russian champion of liberty, is indignant at such a conception. “In such conditions,” he wrote, “evil can become good, if it gains a majority, and good can become evil if it is in the minority.”

A slackening of morals is the...More

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (104)

Therefore Jesus no more walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with his disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, What do you think – that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

The Man Christ Jesus

We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15.

The Man Christ Jesus
The Son of God became true Man, just like ourselves. How this fact emphasises His goodness and sympathy! Yet there are people who exploit this very truth to propagate false doctrine, namely that He also took on our sinful nature and was able to sin. It is therefore essential that we keep closely to the clear teaching of Holy Scripture in this respect.

The apostles Peter, Paul and John all express the same teaching on this...More

Friday, August 25, 2023

Who will get to heaven?

Our citizenship is in heaven.
Philippians 3:20.

Who will get to heaven?
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War the Italian dictator Mussolini issued a decree prohibiting Italian citizens from emigrating to America. At the time there were two men staying in Italy, Italians by birth, who had both lived in the U.S.A. for many years. One of them was a reputable banker who spoke excellent English and had good connections. The other had become an American farmer. He spoke only broken English, and American manners were still foreign to him.

Both men applied for permission to...More

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Perilous neglect

You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.
John 5:39.

Perilous neglect
“Which work of classical literature are you ashamed never to have read?” – “The Bible.”

That radio and television quiz master admitted to having slept little and thereby to have profited from reading a lot: “At least two books a day.” His library contained 3,000 books of all kinds classified according to their authors: novels, philosophy, drama. One classic appears to have escaped his literary hunger: the Bible.

By reading...More

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

All that the Lord Jesus did was...

Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:1.2.

All that the Lord Jesus did was done to perfection and voluntarily. Let us think of God’s counsel that centred in Him before the foundation of the world, or the Lord’s pathway on this earth and His work at the cross – all was surrounded by the fragrance of His dedication. It was “food” for Him to carry out His Father’s will. And His life was not taken from Him, He yielded it Himself out of love (cf. John 4:34;...More

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Simon Peter – a man of little faith

When he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me! And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Matthew 14:30.31.

Simon Peter – a man of little faith
The disciples were crossing the Lake of Genessaret. They were rowing hard, but making little progress, for the wind was against them. Then Jesus came to them in the early hours of the morning, walking over the water. The disciples, wet, exhausted and overtired, first thought it was a ghost. They...More

Monday, August 21, 2023

Many people imagine that they have...

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8.

Many people imagine that they have some kind of account with debit and credit sides with God. The debts and credits of individuals are constantly entered: on the one side what is evil – the wrongs and sins of omission, on the other side what is good – duties carried out faithfully and our good works. God will then assess the balance.

Such people hope that they will not be in the red and will therefore be accepted by God. This idea has no basis in the Word of God! As God’s creature man...More

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (103)

Now this he (Caiaphas) did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put him to death.
John 11:51-53.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (103)
The high priest Caiaphas had told the council that it would be expedient if one man, i.e. Jesus Christ, died for the people, so that the nation might be spared warfare with the Romans (v. 50).

Let us consider this from...More

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Nowadays many people do not believe in...

The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.
Psalm 14:1.

Nowadays many people do not believe in God. Although they see God’s creation and enjoy the wondrous harmony in nature, they refuse to accept that God created it all. They prefer taking refuge in theories on the origin of life and nature that leave God out, despite the fact that that, too, takes some believing, but not in God.

God has not given mankind up. He is patient, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He still reveals Himself to everyone through creation: “Since the...More

Friday, August 18, 2023

“Freely”? For no payment...

Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:17.

“Freely”? For no payment whatever? For nothing in return?

The young woman who brought me my meal in the hospital room was very surprised. She came from Sri Lanka and was a Hindu. She had come to our country as a child and spoke our language very well.

This friendly woman even owned a Bible, but had never read in it. So she did not know that God offers eternal salvation free of charge without our having to do anything for it.

In the course of our conversation I explained that...More

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Simon Peter – a sinful man

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord.
Luke 5:8.

Simon Peter – a sinful man
On an earlier occasion Peter and other later apostles had personally made the acquaintance of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, however, they were to give up their means of earning their bread and accompany the Redeemer on His travels through the land. First of all, however, they had to get to know their own hearts, especially Peter, their spokesman.

Jesus was sitting in Peter’s boat. After preaching, He told Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Peter protested,...More

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

This well-known, moving statement was...

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Psalm 122:1.

This well-known, moving statement was made by David. In his day the house of God was a tent – externally apparently insignificant, yet full of profound spiritual meaning.

Christians no longer think of the house of God as a material building, but as a spiritual house composed of believers, visible through their gathering together, as the apostle Paul wrote: “If the whole church comes together in one place” (1 Corinthians 14:23). We go there primarily to worship God.

David began his psalm with joyful...More

Tuesday, August 15, 2023


I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight.
Psalm 51:3.4.

We all have a keen eye for the sins and weaknesses of our fellow-citizens. We call it human insight.

The Pharisee in Luke 18 went to the temple to pray. But his words were no request. He was in need of nothing! He considered himself far superior to other people, particularly the tax collector standing there behind him. He could look down on him! So the Pharisee thought he had sufficient reason to be thankful. Thankful to...More

Monday, August 14, 2023

“He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him I will trust.
Psalm 91:2.

“He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)
Five years ago today a French couple were returning to France from their holiday in Toscany, when at 11.30 a warning light on the dashboard indicated engine trouble. It was pouring with rain, and there was a lot of traffic. The husband took the motorway exit just before a bridge in Genua. Surprisingly, the warning light went out; so they decided to take the motorway from the next junction immediately after the famous bridge.

Suddenly, they were phoned to...More

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (102)

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, What shall we do? For this man works many signs. If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.
John 11:47-50.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (102)
Jesus Christ had brought a dead person back to life. Lazarus had already lain...More

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Simon Peter meets Jesus

Andreas...first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messiah, (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, he said, You are Simon , the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, (which is translated, a stone).
John 1:40-43.

Simon Peter meets Jesus
Andrew, the fisherman from the Lake of Genessaret, was listening to John the Baptist’s preaching. He recognised that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, the Redeemer. He felt compelled to pass on this overwhelming news to his brother Simon first of all.


Friday, August 11, 2023

Standing outside a locked door is...

Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Luke 11:10.

Standing outside a locked door is annoying; if it is one’s own front door, it could prove expensive. A locked door can prove fatal. This happened in 1875 on the North Sea island of Borkum. On a December night a ship ran aground off the western beach of the island in a storm. The waves beat against the ship, and the crew tried to rescue themselves by swimming, but they drowned. Only one 17-year-old ship’s boy reached the island.

Nobody in Borkum had noticed the mishap. Fresh snow had fallen,...More

Thursday, August 10, 2023

When He was arrested, Jesus Christ spoke...

Do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus?
Matthew 26:53.54.

When He was arrested, Jesus Christ spoke these words to His disciple Peter, who had drawn his sword to defend his Master. At first sight it is indeed difficult to imagine that Christ, the promised Messiah and King of the Jews, should allow Himself to be captured by His enemies without any resistance. He knew what awaited Him; He had previously spoken clearly often enough about His death and...More

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

When someone finds himself in...

He who heeds counsel is wise.
Proverbs 12:15.

When someone finds himself in a totally new situation, he might well ask a more experienced person for advice. It is natural when children seek advice from their parents. If the relationship in the family is good, the children will readily consider and accept their parents’ advice. In later life there are certain experts whom we ask for advice, e.g. a doctor. If we trust him, we shall heed what he tells us.

If we really knew that there is someone who can assess every situation in our life correctly and knew the right decision, wouldn’t we go to him?...More

Monday, August 7, 2023

By grace is generally meant a...

May the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, … perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.
1 Peter 5:10.

By grace is generally meant a favour to which one has no claim. Good deeds that people do for each other rarely have this character: they are based more on reciprocation.

When God shows someone a favour, there is no question of reciprocation: it is always pure grace. Guilty man could otherwise never enter a relationship with God. It arises from undeserved grace, the grace that God wishes to bestow on us through His Son Jesus Christ.

In this matter...More

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (101)

Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.
John 11:45.46.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (101)
In the impressive account of the death and resurrection of Lazarus five expressions virtually summarise the entire story. We find them in verses 4, 5, 17, 35, and 39: Jesus heard, Jesus loved, Jesus came, Jesus wept and Jesus said.

Countless believers have already experienced the effect of the first four of these expressions in some way. They give us the...More

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Lifting and transporting heavy loads was...

My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!

Psalm 38:4; 68:19.

Lifting and transporting heavy loads was a tremendous challenge in ancient times. Just think of the pyramids in Egypt. From Roman times there exist illustrations of big cranes, e.g. a relief preserved in the Vatican Museum. It was part of the monument of a grave of the 2nd century A.D.. On the left is depicted an enormous crane driven by a treadmill. Such an illustration shows what skills existed and were applied in...More

Friday, August 4, 2023

No life without light! Everyone understands...

That was the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
John 1:9.

No life without light! Everyone understands what light and darkness are from experience. We also know that these terms have far more meaning in their figurative sense. This is especially true of their use in John’s gospel.

Today’s verse from the Bible speaks of the One who finally brought light into our confused world. Indeed, He was Himself that light. It is understandable that the people of the time wondered just who this Person was – and He was standing in their midst!

In the first verses of...More

Thursday, August 3, 2023

David, the king of Israel, wrote these...

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head.
Psalm 69:4.

David, the king of Israel, wrote these words. Despite his high position he suffered much trouble, including the conspiracy organised by his own son Absalom. We can understand David’s feelings when he lamented, “who hated me without a cause.”

These words uttered by David point to Jesus Christ. He, too, was betrayed, ill-treated and killed without a cause.

The high priest’s soldiers came with swords and rods to capture Him. The multitude gathered before the Roman governor Pilate shouted; “Away with...More

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The secret of true discipleship in...

Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.

John 8:31; Psalm 119:165.

The secret of true discipleship in our everyday life can be found in these verses. We may know this very well, yet it is important to remind ourselves of the fact and to pass it on to the next generation.

The best way to study the Bible is simply to read it attentively every day and prayerfully expose ourselves to the divine light that it sheds. It reveals much food for thought. Moreover,...More

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Losing one’s own child is a terrible...

Jesus … took her by the hand and called, saying, Little girl, arise.
Luke 8:54.

Losing one’s own child is a terrible ordeal. And that is what had happened in this incident related in the Bible. It is about a ruler of the synagogue who asked Jesus to come to his house because his daughter lay at death’s door. On the way there Jesus was held up because a woman who was gravely ill needed His help. While He was talking to her, the father received the news: “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the teacher.” But Jesus boosted his courage: “Do not be afraid,” He said, “Only believe” (vv....More

Monday, July 31, 2023

A major of the British army once...

Assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law, till all is fulfilled.
Matthew 5:18.

A major of the British army once demanded that a preacher should give him a clear, convincing reason why he should believe that the Bible is really God’s Word and not of human origin. Knowing that the major had travelled widely in the Middle East, the preacher asked him if he had ever visited Babylon. The officer was able to report the following impressions of that ancient city:

“The ruins of Babylon are filled with wild animals that are game...More

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (100)

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I know that you always hear me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that you sent me. Now when he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.
John 11:41-44.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (100)
The stone sealing...More

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Question: Isn’t it over-simplifying things to...

Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:21.

Question: Isn’t it over-simplifying things to maintain that one is saved for eternity, just because one is a Christian?

Answer: Yes, only those are truly saved who believe in their heart and have come to this point through an earnest examination of their conscience. Nor is a mere assurance that one is a Christian sufficient to be saved, for simply having Christian parents or belonging to a church does not mean that one has eternal life. Someone...More

Friday, July 28, 2023


Give ear and hear my voice. Listen and hear my speech.

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!

Blessed are those who hear the word of God.

Isaiah 28:23; Jeremiah 22:29; Luke 11:28.

The world today has a complex network of means of communication at its disposal: radio, television, internet, all relayed by undersea cables and satellites. Current events and news are transmitted instantly from one end of the planet to the other. In this way people and those who govern them spread their thoughts and opinions, put forward their philosophy of life and impose...More

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Three contrasts

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8.

Three contrasts
Grace instead of the law: “The law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). The law showed how great man’s guilt toward God is. It also made it clear that no-one can keep the commandments so as to obtain eternal life. Because the law cannot help the sinner, God acts in grace. He makes no further demands on mankind, but offers him eternal life in His Son, who once suffered and died on the...More

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Joy and pain

Jesus said,...She has done a good work for me....She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial.
Mark 14:6.8.

Joy and pain
The Lord Jesus must have felt both these sensations at the same time as He uttered these words. He was in Bethany. Only a few days later He would be going to the cross, there to die. The thought of that moved Him deeply.

Then during the meal a woman approached Him. She was Mary of Bethany, who was accustomed to listening to the words of Jesus and storing them in her heart. She had brought a flask of exceedingly precious anointing...More

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

On the 24th July 2000 the preliminary...

No-one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no-one has power in the day of death.
Ecclesiastes 8:8.

On the 24th July 2000 the preliminary contracts for the purchase of Airbus 380 were signed. This large capacity aircraft is the biggest non-military plane ever to be produced on a large scale. The conclusion of the contract was given an honourable mention in a regional newspaper the next day in Toulouse, the headquarters of Airbus in southern France.

A day later the same newspaper printed an article on an older “super plane”, the Concord. The report ended in these words: “The...More

Monday, July 24, 2023

Coming to Jesus, or departing from Him?

Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Depart from, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 11:28; 25:41.

Coming to Jesus, or departing from Him?
“Come to me!” “Depart from me!” These two statements were uttered by one and the same Person, but not at the same moment. The first of them still resounds today. It is addressed to all who feel weary and burdened. What is it that tires people? Sin and its consequences.

The Saviour’s appeal goes out to every human being: “Come to me, all...More

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (99)

And some of them said, Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying? Then Jesus, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?
John 11:37-40.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (99)
“Weep with those who weep”. Jesus exemplified this word of counsel from the epistle...More

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Being converted

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.

Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19.

Being converted
The story behind every conversion is unique and surprising. Let us study that of Paul, as it is described in the New Testament. Before becoming an apostle to whom important revelations were confided, he was persecuting the Christians who formed the church in its earliest days. But when the Lord revealed Himself to him, he made a right-about turn. From then on his entire life...More

Friday, July 21, 2023

In debt, but acquitted

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9.

In debt, but acquitted
A wealthy British landowner once had posted all over his estate a notice signed with his own hand. It proclaimed: “Lord Crowe will be in his office on the first day of the month of March from 9 o’clock to midday to settle the debts of those who owe him money and who have not the means to pay.” This announcement surprised many. They crowded round the poster, discussed it, doubted and mocked.

On the appointed day at the...More

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Redeemer’s blood – its value and its effect

The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7.

The Redeemer’s blood – its value and its effect
If people wish to have an orderly relationship with God, they need to have their guilt before Him redeemed in a way that meets His righteous demands. They also have to be cleansed so that they are fit for God’s presence.

The simple yet so profound answer to this problem is: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” At the cross He gave His life to atone for sins. By His sacrificial death Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s holy claims. Now God...More

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

According to the account in the gospel of...

He (Jesus) took Peter, James and John with him, and he began to be troubled and deeply distressed.
Mark 14:33.

According to the account in the gospel of Mark the disciples Peter, James and John were deemed worthy to be present as witnesses of three particular occurrences.

They were there when the Lord raised Jairus’ dead daughter to life (ch. 5:37). They were also eye-witnesses when the Lord was transfigured on the mountain (ch. 9:2). Finally He wanted them to share His feelings in Gethsemane in view of the agony of His coming crucifixion (today’s verse). We thus learn that these three...More

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

“I am the way”

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it.

Jesus said..., I am the way the truth, and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.

Isaiah 30:21; John 14:6.

“I am the way”
During the Second World War an American aircraft was shot down over Burma (Myanmar today). The pilot was not killed but succeeded in freeing himself from his plane. He found himself totally lost in the jungle. Eventually he came across a native who could speak some English and was prepared to bring him to safety.

The problem was: how to get out of dense...More

Monday, July 17, 2023

Many people have an interest in God even...

No-one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
John 1:18.

Many people have an interest in God even in our day and age. But who is God? And what is God like?

These are extremely important questions that affect our whole life. The answer to them reveals the sense of life.

The first and easiest way to discover something about God is in nature that surrounds us: God’s own creation. If it was created, then it must bear the Creator’s handwriting. And this is so: God’s creation testifies not only to His greatness and power,...More

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (98)

Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, he groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And he said, Where have you laid him? They said to him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, See, how he loved him!
John 11:32-36.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (98)
Mary left the house, and the visitors who had come to express their condolence imagined that she intended going to the tomb. In fact she was doing...More

Saturday, July 15, 2023

This conversation is one of the...

If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.
Mark 9:22.23.

This conversation is one of the most moving in the New Testament. A man brought his only son, who was demon-possessed, to the Lord Jesus. The violent demon often cast the boy into water or fire from childhood on. The father recognised how helpless he was; so his request, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” is understandable.

At first sight we should judge that the man had turned to the right person. Jesus alone could...More

Friday, July 14, 2023

A Chinese Christian had been arrested...

When they bring you to … the magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.
Luke 12:11.12.

A Chinese Christian had been arrested because of his faith and spent a long time in custody in a prison before his case was heard in court.

“Do you still believe in Christianity?” the judge asked him in an ironical tone.

“It isn’t Christianity that I believe in,” replied the man.

“No? Then what do you believe in?”

“I believe in...More

Thursday, July 13, 2023

The designation of “Christian” occurs...

The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Acts 11:26.

The designation of “Christian” occurs only three times in the New Testament.

The name was first used in Antioch, a city in what is Syria today. The Christian faith had spread abroad beyond the frontiers of Israel. Non-Jews also accepted Christ, as here in Antioch. That they were followers of Jesus Christ was recognised in their surroundings; they were therefore called Christians.

We meet the word “Christian for the second time when the apostle Paul was standing before King Agrippa. Herod Agrippa II was king over the...More

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

With the work of redemption accomplished...

Truly this was the Son of God.
Matthew 27:54.

With the work of redemption accomplished, the prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled and the victory obtained, the Lord could exclaim, in yielding His life over to death; “It is finished!” (John 19:30). God confirmed this cry of His beloved Son by giving mankind clear and varied proofs both of that victory and of the honour He accorded His Son as a consequence.

First, God tore down the veil of the temple “from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51), thus showing that “the way into the holiest of all” had now been opened up by the Lord Jesus...More

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

He had stood on the threshold of...

The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he by no means clears the guilty.
Numbers 14:18.

He had stood on the threshold of death several times. Once he had been on mountain tour in the Alps, when a thin layer of ice broke and he almost drowned in a glacier lake. Another time his yacht capsized in a storm. Thanks to the lifeboat service he was saved.

In his mid-forties leukaemia was diagnosed, but thanks to excellent medical care the disease came to a standstill. God granted him fifteen further years, until he was struck by a falling tree in a...More

Monday, July 10, 2023

Whoever says, “I know God”...

They profess to know God, but in works they deny him.
Titus 1:16.

Whoever says, “I know God” should be aware of the responsibility he bears. He has stated in fact, “I know that He is my Creator and has given me life and the possibilities that life offers, and can and will take them away again. He has the right to judge me and decide my fate, because He is God.

All that He does is right and good, because He is God. As God and the Creator He can justly demand that I take the responsibility for my deeds. He decides the good and the evil and has given me my conscience to distinguish these...More

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (97)

She (Martha) said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world. And when she had said these things, she went away and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, The teacher has come and is calling for you. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, She is going to the tomb to weep there.
John 11:27-31.


Saturday, July 8, 2023

A miracle that failed to please all (2)

They came to Jesus and saw the one who had been demon-possessed … sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Then they began to plead with him to depart from their region.
Mark 5:15.17.

A miracle that failed to please all (2)
The dreadful condition of the demon-possessed man had previously kept everyone at a distance. Now it was the power and mercy of the Son of God that put them on their guard. They clearly dreaded the devil and his power and also Jesus and His gracious dealings.

People came to see what had happened and were suddenly confronted with the power...More

Friday, July 7, 2023

A miracle that failed to please all (1)

Immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no-one could bind him, not even with chains.
Mark 5:2.3.

A miracle that failed to please all (1)
The Lord Jesus was crossing the Lake of Gennesaret in a boat. When He landed on the shore, a grim looking, demon-possessed man approached Him. He lived among the tombs and graves of the dead and went about naked. Everyone would be afraid of him. He had often been chained and had his feet shackled, but had always managed to free himself. No-one could tame him; therefore everyone avoided...More

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Only a successful man could...

I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards. … I made myself waterpools.
Ecclesiastes 2:4-6.

Only a successful man could have not merely planned, but also carried out all this enterprise. How many can only dream of such possibilities! Some would readily spend time and energy trying out their creative abilities in order to express their artistic and aesthetic taste and attract admiration for themselves in the eyes of others.

The active person who undertook all the work of the above passage from the Bible calls himself “the preacher”. His...More

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Foretelling Christ

You search the scriptures, … and these are they which testify of me.
John 5:39.

Foretelling Christ
Even in ancient times people believed that great events were foreshadowed. This applies equally to the coming of the Lord Jesus. The prophetic indications of Christ in the Old Testament are manifold and impressive. They announce Him as a great Person.

In Isaiah 7:14 we read of His birth: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” As Matthew 1:23 shows, this prophecy refers unmistakably to the Lord Jesus. The name Immanuel means “God with...More

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

During the American War of...

If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Romans 5:10.

During the American War of Independence a preacher named Peter Miller lived in Pennsylvania. He was esteemed by his parishioners, but he had one neighbour who hated him and often insulted him. One day that neighbour was arrested and condemned to death in the city of Philadelphia for treason. When the sentence was announced, Miller didn’t hesitate to travel to General Washington, the later President of the U.S.A..

Miller pleaded vigorously...More

Monday, July 3, 2023

The few words that Jesus said to...

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and he found Philip and said to him, Follow me.
John 1:43.

The few words that Jesus said to Philip initially had the form of an order, and Philip obeyed it without further ado. Whether he had known the Lord previously Scripture does not state. Christ uttered two short words, and they had their effect. Later Philip became one of the twelve apostles.

If we consider the biblical report of creation, we learn that God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. God summoned light, and the response came at once. Later the apostle Paul explained:...More

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (96)

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
John 11:25.26.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (96)
Martha had twice told the Lord: “I know …” She had no doubt that her brother Lazarus would rise again at the last day. But it was not that future point in time that the Lord meant. He was going to perform a miracle there and then. Believing that was harder than what He would do in the future.

The “I AM”, eternal life itself, was standing there...More

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Jesus had the power to perform...

Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son of man can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do; for whatever he does, the Son also does in like manner. ...I can of myself do nothing...I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.
John 5:19.30.

Jesus had the power to perform astonishing miracles: He is, after all, God the Son. The words, “I can of myself do nothing” seem to indicate that His power was in some way limited.

Should anything in the Bible sound unusual, it is often important, as here. Jesus was speaking to the religious...More

Friday, June 30, 2023

Changing direction

I was brought low, and he saved me.
Psalm 116:6.

Changing direction
A former soldier gives this report of his life:

“I could sense a terrible vacuum within me, so that I sank into serious depression. I expected nothing from the Christian faith. God did not exist for me as a person. Divine things were simple and tangible – all that enabled people to live like air, sun, water and food. Jesus preached love, but He was only a human being. The Bible was a book like any other and belonged to the realm of fantasy literature.

I was doing military service. After an evening in the...More

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Where is God’s dwelling?

God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Judgments are prepared for scoffers.

Hebrews 11:16; Proverbs 19:29.

Where is God’s dwelling?
First, a tabernacle (or: tent) erected in the desert, later a magnificent temple built in Jerusalem, these were God’s habitation when He dwelt among His people on earth.

But that is not His home. Paul says that “he dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). Jesus used another expression to signify it: “my Father’s house” (John 14:2). He knows it well, for it has ever been His dwelling...More

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Our great High Priest

We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15.

Our great High Priest
The Son of God became true Man – just like ourselves (ch. 2:17). His goodness and sympathy are the impressive proof of this. Yet there are people who take this truth to propagate the false doctrine that He took on our sinful nature and was able to sin. It is therefore extremely important that we keep to the clear teaching of Scripture on this point.

The apostles Peter, Paul and John all comment identically on this...More

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The flattering portrait

Each one’s work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed.
1 Corinthians 3:13.

The flattering portrait
Tourists were wandering through the streets of Paris. At one corner they stopped to watch an artist painting a portrait of a stranger. The artist completed his work, and the customer went off with the picture. A woman then said to the painter, “Your portrait was more beautiful than the woman really was. “Madam,” replied the artist with a smile, “If that were not the case, no-one would want a picture of himself. It must always look a bit younger and more...More

Monday, June 26, 2023

We might wonder how the life of...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3.

We might wonder how the life of a man who walked this earth 2,000 years ago can concern us. However, it was Jesus Christ, who opened the way for a fresh relationship with God, a new attitude towards life and hope regarding death and deliverance from judgment.

When we have to do with Jesus Christ, we are not face to face with an ordinary human being but before God Himself, who shows us the way of...More

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (95)

Now Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha said to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
John 11:21-24.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (95)
As Jesus approached the house in Bethany, the two sisters acted according to their temperament: Martha, the active woman, went out to meet Him, whereas Mary, who was more pensive and sensitive, sat quietly in the house, waiting for the Lord to call her. They...More

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Jesus boarded a ship with His...

As they sailed, he fell asleep.
Luke 8:23.

Jesus boarded a ship with His disciples and asked them to sail over to the far bank of the Lake of Gennesaret. During the crossing Jesus fell asleep. Let us meditate on these words, for the Man Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the eternal Son.

Psalm 121:4 states of God: “Behold, he who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” God needs no sleep. His power is ever constant and inexhaustible. When we reach the limit of our energy and become tired, whether physically or mentally, when our courage or confidence slips away, God is there to...More

Friday, June 23, 2023

After the preaching I spoke to...

We love him because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19.

After the preaching I spoke to a young man. He gave me to understand that he was deaf; so using sign language I told him, “God loves you.” He shook his head and explained, “That’s not true. He hates me. I know, because I’ve been told that He will cast me into hell for not living righteously and holy and not keeping God’s commandments. Since I heard that, I haven’t touched a Bible: I’m afraid of God.”

I told him that I knew the reason why he was there that evening, even if he hadn’t understood the preaching. He was to hear that...More

Thursday, June 22, 2023

This question is as topical today as...

What then shall I do with Jesus?
Matthew 27:22.

This question is as topical today as when the Roman governor Pilate asked it. He answered it in his own way and had Jesus Christ crucified without any justifiable accusation.

Later Pilate must surely have remembered that night. Hadn’t he heard again and again that this Jesus of Nazareth had done only good, healing people on His journeys through the land? Didn’t he notice that the religious leaders of the nation, the high priests and scribes, were accusing Jesus through sheer envy? And while Pilate was dealing with this case, he received a warning...More

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Our problems – God’s solution

They said among themselves, Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away – for it was very large.
Mark 16:3.4.

Our problems – God’s solution
Three women were on their way to the tomb, engrossed in their conversation and downcast. They were at their wits’ end over a great problem: the large, heavy stone sealing the tomb. Seemingly insuperable, it completely occupied their thoughts, revealed their weakness and hindered their plans. They arrived at the tomb and discovered that the stone had gone –...More

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

In search of truth

Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life.
John 6:68.

In search of truth
A student questioned the sense of life. She examined the ancient philosophical and religious writings: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and Thomas Aquinas. She found no answer there that satisfied her. The biography of the church father Augustine appealed to her but did not help her any further.

Finally she turned to the occult. However, when a medium informed her that she had lived a thousand years previously as the daughter of a Greek god, she turned away from it disappointed. No-one had the answer...More

Monday, June 19, 2023

Christ the Lord and Master

False teachers, … denying the Lord who bought them, … bring on themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:1.

Christ the Lord and Master
The Greek word for “Lord” in the above verse (“despotes”) is not the noun used in the title “Lord Jesus Christ”; it signifies supreme authority and rights through ownership, such as a slave owner had. In other scriptures this noun is translated as “master” (cf. 1 Peter 2:18). Today’s verse deals with the rights over the whole world and all mankind that the Lord Jesus obtained through His death on the cross: He “bought” them.


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (94)

So when Jesus came, he found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
John 11:17-20.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (94)
After Jesus had received news of Lazarus’ illness, He remained where He was, staying with His disciples for another two days. Their journey to Bethany on foot took them presumably another two days. When...More

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Good and bad soil (5)

Others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Matthew 13:8.9.

Good and bad soil (5)
The final type of soil is good earth. It is sufficiently deep and free from thorns and large stones. The seed falls in it and, finding ideal conditions, germinates, grows and produces fruit – an excellent process!

The Lord Jesus explains the imagery of the good earth in this way: “He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit, and produces some a...More

Friday, June 16, 2023

Good and bad soil (4)

Some (seed) fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
Matthew 13:7.

Good and bad soil (4)
The third type of soil is full of thorns. The seed is sown, but as it grows, the thorns choke it. Weeds grow more quickly and vigorously and take from the earth the nutriment that the seed needs. It withers away and fails to produce fruit.

In His explanation the Lord names three kinds of “thorns”: “The ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches and the pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke...More

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Good and bad soil (3)

Some (seed) fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth, and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.
Matthew 13:5.6.

Good and bad soil (3)
The second kind of soil was stony. A thin layer of earth covers it, on which the seed falls and quickly germinates. But it cannot form deep roots. When the sun begins to shine, it is burnt and withers away. Good seed was again sown, but brought joy only briefly; then all was again bare.

In this case someone has felt...More

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Divine dealings

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28.

Divine dealings
To understand and live out the truth of today’s verse we need to read it carefully.

We know. This is neither a supposition nor a wish, but a certainty regarding our love of God.

That all things. Our life and the various situations in which we are involved are not the result of chance, for our great God rules over everything (1 Chronicles 29:12).

Work together. It is through the wonderful...More

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Good and bad soil (2)

As he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
Matthew 13:4.

Good and bad soil (2)
The first type of soil was hard ground, possibly a well trodden path on the edge of the field. The sower scattered the seed, it fell on the path, but failed to penetrate it. It did not take root and was blown away or swept away by the rain, or, as here, birds devoured it. Good seed had been invested, but nothing came of it: it was total failure!

Why, to use the figurative meaning of the parable, can God’s Word prove ineffective in man’s heart? The message was not too...More

Monday, June 12, 2023

Good and bad soil (1)

Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Matthew 13:3.

Good and bad soil (1)
The illustration that the Lord Jesus Christ used in the parable of the sower comes from the time when farmers used to scatter the seed by throwing handfuls over the land. Maybe the Lord had a field before Him with a well trodden path at the side, some stony land with a thin covering of earth, thorns galore and some good soil, too. The seed fell on all four areas. Although it is a well known scene, gardeners especially will have experienced it.

The parable deals with three elements, two of which, the sower and the seed,...More

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (93)

These things he said, and after that he said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. Then his disciples said, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get well. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him. Then Thomas, who is called the twin, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
John 11:11-16.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (93)
The Lord...More

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The register of sins gets longer and longer...

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.
Isaiah 1:18.

“The register of sins gets longer and longer.” This was a newspaper headline. What was meant were erroneous decisions and negligence by the government, as the opposition maintained rightly or wrongly.

It is striking that the old word “sin” was used, although when applied to morals or an individual’s way of life it is avoided nowadays. If used at all, “sinning” generally signifies the failure to adhere to dieting regulations.

Here an entire register of sins was mentioned. If the reproaches against...More

Friday, June 9, 2023

Many years ago a young woman left...

Return..., says the LORD; I will not cause my anger to fall on you, because I am merciful, says the LORD.
Jeremiah 3:12.

Many years ago a young woman left the village where she lived to go to work in a big city. Her widowed mother, a believer in Christ, wondered anxiously whether her daughter Mary would lead her life there as God wished.

In her new surroundings Mary soon left the straight and narrow pathway. Her mother noticed that from her letters, which in due course became fewer, shorter and less intimate. Finally no more news arrived. Her own letters were returned marked “no longer at this...More

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Difficult tasks often discourage us...

Do no fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28.

Difficult tasks often discourage us. And forecasts like, “What you propose doing will prove really hard!” do not make things easier!

The twelve apostles must have sensed that when the Lord sent them out to preach the gospel in the towns and villages. He said: “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. … You will be hated of all for my name’s sake” (vv. 16 & 22).

But the Lord added that they should not fear those who hated...More

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Gathering much needed food

Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valour.
Judges 6:11.12.

Gathering much needed food
In Gideon’s day the Midianites were oppressing the people of Israel. They constantly invaded the land of Canaan and destroyed the harvest. As a result the Israelites suffered more and more.

What did Gideon do in this situation? He planted wheat in spite of the threat from the Midianites. After the harvest he threshed it in a secret place to provide food for...More

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The invisible helmsman

They cry to the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses.
Psalm 107:28.

The invisible helmsman
Daniel’s liability to become violent had caused his family many a problem. He had a passion for the sea. He started working on a fishing trawler and was at home on the high seas for some years. His colleague Tom often tried to talk to him about Jesus Christ, but Daniel was very resistant.

One night a violent storm broke out on the open sea. Daniel was standing on the bridge with Tom. The best solution would be to sail to the nearest port as quickly as possible. But...More

Monday, June 5, 2023

At first sight Cain and Abel seem to...

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous.
Hebrews 11:4.

At first sight Cain and Abel seem to have done the same thing. Both brought God a sacrifice. Cain brought the fruit of the land, the result of his own work. Abel sacrificed an animal from his flock. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. Abel acted in faith. He was clearly following the example that God Himself had given: God had clothed his parents with skins of an animal that had died in their stead to account for their guilt before God (cf. Genesis 3:21)....More

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (92)

Then after this he said to the disciples, Let us go to Judea again. The disciples said to him, Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone you, and are you going there again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
John 11:7-10.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (92)
The Jews’ intention was to arrest Jesus, but He had gone over the Jordan, “where John was baptising at first” (ch. 10:40). It may have been Bethabara (cf....More

Saturday, June 3, 2023

“I’ve never done anything wrong!”

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from, you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:6-8 & 10.

“I’ve never done anything wrong!”
A man came up to our Bible stand at a market. During our conversation I said to him, “Do you know that God forgives everyone who confesses his sins?” – “I’ve never done anything wrong!” he replied. – ”Never lied, stolen, hated, or cheated?” – “Never!” – “Fine, you must be...More

Friday, June 2, 2023

Joy is something everyone...

The fruit of the Spirit is … joy.
Galatians 5:22.

Joy is something everyone needs and seeks. Many are of the opinion that their joy consists largely in pleasures and distractions of any kind. But they do not provide permanent satisfaction; they finally lead to disillusion and sadness.

Other people seek their enjoyment in all that is beautiful and sublime in God’s creation and the creative arts. But that is all transient and will offer no comfort or help when they stand on the threshold of eternity.

Genuine joy that is not dependent on external circumstances but stands above them and...More

Thursday, June 1, 2023

The test of honesty

What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8.

The test of honesty
We used to cheat a lot in my class at the high school. I shall never forget the short speech that our maths teacher made one day before distributing our examination papers. “Today, my friends, I am setting you two exams: the first in geometry, the second in honesty. I hope you will pass both. If you fail in one, then preferably in geometry. You will have more opportunities to apply the principles of honesty in your career than geometrical theorems.”


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

From a hovel to the palace

We know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 Corinthians 5:1.

From a hovel to the palace
The apostle Paul compares our body with a wretched hovel. So long as we are young and healthy, this contrast appears to us to be unsuitable. However, when an illness plagues us or the troubles of old age make themselves felt, we notice readily how weak and frail our body is. As the years go by it resembles a dilapidated shack.

Although we are waiting for the Lord Jesus at the rapture, it may be that we...More

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Shortly before his death in 2007 the...

It is appointed to men for die once, but after this the judgment.
Hebrews 9:27.

Shortly before his death in 2007 the author Norman Mailer stated in one of his interviews: “In my life I was a decent mixture of good and bad. If I go to hell, then I can’t think what will happen to the worse half of mankind.”

This man had some idea of the existence of God and His opposite number. But he had formed his own image of them and his own imagination of heaven and hell. The worst thing about it was: Jesus Christ was also for him only a “mixture of good and bad”. In such a case Christ would Himself be...More

Monday, May 29, 2023

The working of the Holy Spirit

Having believed, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

In the power of one Spirit we have all been baptised into one body, and have all been given to drink of one Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13 (New Darby Version)

The working of the Holy Spirit
After His resurrection Christ returned to heaven. On the Day of Pentecost what He had promised was fulfilled: the Holy Spirit came to earth to dwell in believers thereafter. It happened under particularly conspicuous circumstances. It was the beginning of Christianity, the transitional period in which God bore...More

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Spirit of God in the believer

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30.

The Spirit of God in the believer
Ever since we have believed in the Lord Jesus and his work of redemption, the Holy Spirit has dwelt in us. The apostle Paul asks us an urgent question in connection with this fact “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Because our body is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, we cannot simply behave and act as we please. Our conduct in our whole life must be in accordance with God and His...More

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Simply believe

To him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
Romans 4:5.

Simply believe
God makes one thing about the human race absolutely clear in the Bible: “They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). That suffices for Him to pronounce everyone guilty before Him. Do I accept this judgment as applying to me personally? Do I admit my sins and my lost state?

A further verse in the Word of God states: “By the works of the law no flesh shall be...More

Friday, May 26, 2023

One foot in the grave

God said to him, Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Now is the day of salvation.

Luke 12:20.21; 2 Corinthians 6:2.

One foot in the grave
In 1942 in a town in the Massif Central in France a young man lay bedridden, struck down by tuberculosis. He was very weak and almost unconscious. Three doctors standing by spoke in a low voice. One of them remarked, “Poor lad, he already has one foot in the grave.” But the young man heard him. Crushed by...More

Thursday, May 25, 2023

What is trustworthy?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1.

What is trustworthy?
We have probably all had frequent trouble with the trustworthiness of statements. We therefore prefer forming our own judgment on visible or tangible facts. Many a person is inclined to exaggerate or show himself in a more favourable light; so it is understandable that we are cautious.

We can judge our opposite number only by appearances. If we want to assess whether his statements are well-meant, sincere and accurate, or unrealistic and intended to deceive, experience can...More

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Christian’s hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13.

The Christian’s hope
From the time someone puts his faith in Jesus Christ he is saved. He then has a hope which is an integral part of his salvation. This hope is “laid up in heaven” for him (Colossians 1:5) and belongs to him, whether he realises it or not.

In our everyday language hope involves uncertainty. But there is no uncertainty in Christian hope: “faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). It is the assurance...More

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The substitute

Christ died for us.

Christ died for our sins.

Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3.

The substitute
In 1848 the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont stood at the head of the movement for the unification of Italy. Austrian rule was to be conquered by a military campaign. The government of Piedmont mobilised 100,000 men. Many young adults were snatched from their homes and confronted with the distress and dangers of warfare.

Young Caesar Manati had just married. He, too, was conscripted and could not refuse to serve.

Carlo Donaldi, on the other hand, one of Caesar’s cousins, was...More

Monday, May 22, 2023

What is sin?

You have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities. I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
Isaiah 43:24.25.

What is sin?
“Sin” is a moral concept. It is not a matter of simply transgressing a rule like a dieting instruction or something similar. In the Bible “sin” means any disregard of God’s standard.

We can sin both against God and against our fellowmen. Why has this word fallen into disrepute and been considered outmoded, so that people would prefer having it removed from their...More

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (91)

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was.
John 11:4-6.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (91)
In their concern for their brother Lazarus the two sisters, Martha and Mary, had appealed to Jesus. Full of respect and trust, they had simply reported, “Lord, he whom you love is sick.”

The Lord rejoices over such trust. But His answer and reaction are...More

Saturday, May 20, 2023

These words were uttered by Abraham...

Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.
Luke 16:26.

These words were uttered by Abraham, a deceased man of faith, to a wealthy man who had died after leading a comfortable, prosperous, but selfish life apart from God. The Lord Jesus Christ stated this fact. So we do indeed have reliable information about the hereafter.

The entire report in Luke 16 is therefore well worth reading. Please do so, for when someone has died, His eternal fate cannot possibly be changed.

Man’s existence does...More

Friday, May 19, 2023

The apostle Paul wrote these words to...

You put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man...and put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22.24.

The apostle Paul wrote these words to Christians. There are people who consider themselves Christians because they have been christened or confirmed, or because they stand for Christian morals. Christ Himself, however, means nothing to them; so they lack the power to lead a Christian life.

A preacher once had a conversation with a businessman on one of his travels. Here is a summary of it:

“I hold with Christian...More

Thursday, May 18, 2023

In the forty days after His resurrection...

He (Jesus) was taken up, and a cloud received him put of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go.
Acts 1:9-11.

In the forty days after His resurrection Jesus had had countless conversations with His apostles. Now the time had come for His ascension. The disciples watched their beloved Lord, as the cloud took Him up. As on other occasions it was clearly a...More

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

He prayed for his nephew

It came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Genesis 19:29; James 5:16.

He prayed for his nephew
Abraham, “the friend of God” (James 2:23), lived on the mountain, but his nephew Lot, who knew God, had settled in Sodom. God told Abraham that judgment would fall upon that depraved city. Troubled by the thought of the terrible fate awaiting his nephew, Abraham immediately besought God fervently. He begged Him to spare the town, if...More

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The number of people who hope...

Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:3.

The number of people who hope that the world’s problems can be solved sooner or later with the extensive knowledge of our “informed society” is by no means small. One expert from the media, however, regarded the matter very differently: “The serious problems like poverty, warfare and climate change do not exist simply because there are things we do not know. Information alone doesn’t help much.”

Indeed, the real value of information consists in its being not only accepted and understood by the receiver, but when the...More

Monday, May 15, 2023

A common objection

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16.

A common objection
A pastor once visited a home for young miners. He had hardly told them who he was, when one of them turned away with the remark, “I’ve left the church.”

The miner’s comment is commonplace nowadays. It can be expressed differently: “I’ve done with the church and priests.” or “I’ll have nothing more to do with a God who has taken away the person I loved most.” But that is not the point.

The pastor...More

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (90)

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick.
John 11:1-3.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (90)
From the introductory verses of this chapter we can deduce that John’s gospel was written after the other gospels. The writer assumes that readers will know the two women, Mary and Martha, better than the town of Bethany, for it is described as the town of...More

Saturday, May 13, 2023

The changing cubicles in clothes shops are...

If anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
James 1:23.24.

The changing cubicles in clothes shops are full of mirrors. We can see our reflection from all angles. We need to see what we look like in the new garment and are then expected to buy it, of course. But one can leave it and go away empty-handed. An adult woman, who considered herself beautiful but had never seen herself in a mirror, was so horrified at her true appearance when she was given one that she...More

Friday, May 12, 2023

In this encounter there is a...

When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed him, crying out and saying, Son of David, have mercy on us! And when he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. And Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this?
Matthew 9:27.28.

In this encounter there is a certain amount of tension. Two blind men followed Jesus and implored His help. But only when He had entered a house did He speak to them. Why didn’t He, who always sympathised with people in need, deal instantly with their problem? The answer clearly lies in His question, “Do you believe that I am able to do...More

Thursday, May 11, 2023

As Jesus approached the city of Nain...

He (Jesus) came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still.
Luke 7:14.

As Jesus approached the city of Nain with His disciples and a great multitude, a funeral procession was coming out of the city gate towards Him. A widow had lost her only son. What unspeakable sorrow! In her beloved child the woman had lost the one person who would care for her in the future. The inhabitants of Nain showed their sympathy, but they were no real help in her need.

When Jesus saw that, He “had compassion on her”. This means more than a passing emotion. Jesus felt deeply for that mourning...More

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The day of small things

Who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
Zecharaiah 4:10.

The day of small things
A number of Jews returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity and rebuilt the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. But their work was paltry and insignificant when compared with what Solomon had built. With today’s verse from the Bible God sent an encouraging message to those employed on the task through Zecharaiah.

We, too, are living in a day that can be described as one of small things. So the question, “Who...More

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

“What is my life worth...

Who is the man who desires life?
Psalm 34:12.

“What is my life worth? Is it worth living?” Such questions are rarely spoken aloud, yet almost everyone considers them now and again. There are people who agree with the French writer Albert Camus’ opinion: “Everyone knows that life is not worth living.” Others hold the view of the composer Franz Lehar. A character in on one of his operettas sings, “Friends, life is worth living.” Two contradictory statements, but only one of them could ever be right.

It does sometimes seem that everything is senseless. When plans fail to materialise,...More

Monday, May 8, 2023

A strange statement indeed...

Woe to those … who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
Isaiah 5:20.

A strange statement indeed! How could anyone possibly make darkness light and vice-versa? Here it is, of course, meant in a metaphorical sense. In the Bible light stands for what is good, i.e. that which God has communicated about Himself and His will. Darkness, on the other hand, signifies that any knowledge of God and His standards has been lost or arbitrarily altered.

In the prophet Isaiah’s day seducers were distorting God’s sayings, thus barring the way for those who were ready to seek after God. The...More

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (89)

Therefore they sought again to seize him, but he escaped out of their hand. And he went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptising at first, and there he stayed. Then many came to him and said, John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this man were true. And many believed in him there.
John 10:39-42.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (89)
The works that Jesus did are the unmistakable proof that here a Person of the Deity was acting out of love and authority. God the Father is in the Son, and the Son is revealed as being one with the Father in His...More

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The canoe of a native of...

My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2.

The canoe of a native of a South Sea island had drifted in a strong current far away from his island. For 32 days he drifted on the open sea, until the crew of a Japanese fishing boat rescued him.

Later the man who had been saved told reporters that He had survived in the true sense of the words of this psalm. Because he had constantly prayed the words of the psalm, meditated on them and held firmly on to God’s promise, he had been preserved from panic and confusion. Every time he prayed, a feeling of calm came upon him. Whenever...More

Friday, May 5, 2023

This was the declaration given by...

For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.
John 18:37.

This was the declaration given by the accused in what must have been the most unjust trial in world history. An extremely modest Man stood before the Roman governor Pilate: Jesus Christ. The accusation brought against Him was intended to create the impression that He was an enemy of the state. Therefore the governor had to examine the matter.

The interrogation proceeded strangely: the accusations could not be upheld at all. The supreme judge of the land established that...More

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Centuries ago two rulers...

Go away for now; when I have a convenient time, I will call for you.
Acts 24:25.

Centuries ago two rulers mobilised their armies. The general of one of the armies sent a messenger to the ruler of the other land with the order to surrender unconditionally. The reply was: “I’ll think about it!”

When the general received the reply, he told his staff: “Let him think about it. While he is thinking we shall march!” The neighbouring land was soon defeated, and the ruler taken captive. How he must have regretted only thinking about it! Now it was too late!

Today many people are...More

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Freedom from addiction

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:12; Galatians 5:16.

Freedom from addiction
Addiction, or dependence, is behaviour based on a repeated and irrepressible desire to do or consume something despite the motivation and attempts to avoid it. Some addictions are serious: drugs, alcohol, pornography, video games, gambling. … Sometimes we speak lightly of being “hooked” on certain transmissions or...More

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

How could we ever thank God...

Bless the LORD, o my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
Psalm 103:1-4.

How could we ever thank God sufficiently for all the good He has done in our lives? Like David, the writer of the Psalm, we might recount much, when we think of all God’s goodness towards us day by day, month by month, year by year.

“Who forgives all your iniquities.” That is the greatest...More

Monday, May 1, 2023

God is love

We have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love.

To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.

1 John 4:16; Ephesians 3:19.

God is love
Who is God? This question is both essential and unfathomable. We cannot answer it ourselves. God revealed Himself to the first humans as the supreme omnipotent God, close to them, but holy and too profound for the human mind. He revealed Himself to Moses as the One who is eternal. In the New Testament He is revealed as the Father of those who believe in Jesus. And towards the end of the New Testament we find these great, yet...More

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (88)

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said you are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me, but if I do, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.
John 10:34-38.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (88)
Jesus had just been accused of blasphemy by making Himself God. How did...More

Saturday, April 29, 2023

I can still see him...

Many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Matthew 19:30.

I can still see him standing in front of me with his question: “It says, ‘The first will be last, and the last first.’ I have always put others before me in my life, when I was at school and now in my job. I have never pushed myself forward. I am sure of a place in heaven, aren’t I?”

Maybe others see a chance to earn a place in heaven through their own efforts in this verse from the Bible. However, the entire Bible, and the context in this case, warn especially against confidence in oneself and one’s...More

Friday, April 28, 2023

For nine days and nights the...

When the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.
Titus 3:4.5.

For nine days and nights the doctor kept a close watch over his seriously ill patient. Finally the high fever was overcome. When she regained full consciousness, an Indian nurse told her how the doctor had taken care of her. “Why did he do that?” she asked. “After all, I am an Indian woman, and he is a white man. My own people cast me out, and he brought me here and gave me my life back. Why did he do that?” – “It is the love...More

Thursday, April 27, 2023

A missionary doctor who worked...

He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness: he encircled him, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Deuteronomy 32:10.

A missionary doctor who worked among the Navajo Indians in the desert of Arizona had the following experience many years ago:

On one of his journeys he approached scrubland that stood out against the desert and was visible from a long distance. The nearer he came, the more clearly he heard terrible screaming. Assuming that an animal was caught in a trap, he left his vehicle, took his rifle and worked his way through the...More

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Prayer and speaking

We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
Acts 6:4.

Prayer and speaking
After the apostles had been freed from the task of distributing material support for Christians who were suffering or in need, they could again devote themselves exclusively to the duty with which the Lord had entrusted them. As His witnesses they were to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name (cf. Luke 24:47.48).

It is conspicuous that they mentioned not only the ministry of the Word in today’s text but prayer also. This comment is of significance to us today...More

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Living water (6)

The woman said to him, I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am he. … The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? Then they went out of the city and came to him.
John 4:25-30.

Living water (6)
The Samaritan woman’s encounter with the tired Jewish traveller had been full of surprises: He had condescended to speak to her; He had humbly asked her for a drink; then He had offered her...More

Monday, April 24, 2023

Living water (5)

The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. … The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:19-24.

Living water (5)
In the conversation with the...More

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (87)

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works I have shown you from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God.
John 10:31-33.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (87)
What could have led the Jewish leaders to become so angry that they purposed stoning Him? It was clearly because He had revealed Himself to them in His deity. Chapter 8 of our gospel reports that Jesus’ enemies took up stones for a similar cause (ch:...More

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Living water (4)

The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.
John 4:15-18.

Living water (4)
In the continuing conversation with the Son of God the Samaritan woman’s trouble comes to light. She had been married five times. Her husbands were unlikely to have all died. She must also have been...More

Friday, April 21, 2023

Living water (3)

The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock? Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 4:11-14.

Living water (3)
The Jewish stranger surprised the Samaritan woman even more....More

Thursday, April 20, 2023

In court

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10.

In court
Everyone will one day have to give account before Jesus Christ for what he has done and what he has left undone. Then will ensue the divine assessment of it all. This future court session will differ from every worldly form of justice.

Today some criminals escape a just punishment, because the prosecution can only penalise what is known. But no-one will be able to conceal things at the judgment seat...More

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A servant of the Lord who faithfully...

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1.

A servant of the Lord who faithfully preached the Word of God had delivered a sermon of salvation by faith alone, as the apostle Paul describes it in the epistle to the Romans. In the congregation was a man who was fully convinced that salvation could be attained only by good works.

After the sermon he went up to the preacher armed with the verse from James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” He told the preacher, “If your assertion is correct, then James...More

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Living water (2)

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink. … The woman of Samaria said to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.
John 4:7-10.

Living water (2)
A woman from the region approached the lonely traveller by the well. Why didn’t she fetch water from the spring at Sychar, but rather from the more distant Jacob’s...More

Monday, April 17, 2023

Living water (1)

He (Jesus) left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But he needed to go through Samaria. So he came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from his journey, sat thus by the well.
John 4:3-6.

Living water (1)
The shortest route from Judea to Galilee goes through Samaria. The Jews avoided the Samaritans who lived there owing to their origin and unacceptable doctrines of faith. Some Jews therefore preferred taking a detour through the Jordan valley.

Jesus Christ,...More

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (86)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no-one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
John 10:27-30.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (86)
Having told His opponents that they did not belong to His sheep, Jesus now explained the characteristics of His sheep.

The first characteristic was that His sheep hear His voice. This means accepting the message they contain by...More

Saturday, April 15, 2023

When we suffer injustice in...

According to the working by which he (Jesus Christ) is able even to subdue all things to himself.
Philippians 3:21.

When we suffer injustice in our life, we may well wish for some great “rectifier” to come and put right what has got out of hand. But we need someone who does not abuse his authority. It is to be feared that all who claim to act fairly, will fail in some way.

Our great God, however, has one such Person ready to act. All that has been predicted about Him and His coming reign is absolutely reliable, e.g. “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Samuel...More

Friday, April 14, 2023

Your sin will find you out

Be sure your sin will find you out.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. … And you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Numbers 32:23; Psalm 32:5.

Your sin will find you out
Five years ago the media covered the trial of a man accused of horrific crimes. The matter went back some twenty years, but the suspect had not been brought to trial until 17 years later following the findings of a DNA expert. He had escaped justice for a very long time, but his sin caught up with him. It is not the only case where the guilty have been unmasked only after decades of...More

Thursday, April 13, 2023

When someone recognises that...

God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:8-10.

When someone recognises that God loves him or her without any pre-condition, it is an overwhelming experience. Previously, thinking about God caused uneasiness. Our conscience reminds us of our faults, which God will hold against us when we meet Him, as we thought. How many people therefore imagined they must carry out a number of...More

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Sing a new song to the Lord

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For he has done marvellous things.

Sing … his praise in the assembly of saints.

Psalm 98:1; 149:1.

Sing a new song to the Lord
Each of the 150 psalms in the Bible was composed by a writer at a particular stage in his life. The thoughts and reflections expressed there help us to understand situations that we pass through nowadays. They also lead us to have confidence in God and praise Him. But who has never stumbled over expressions like “LORD, I have loved the habitation of your house” (Psalm 26:8), or “Preserve me, o God, for in you I put my...More

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

A sweet-smelling aroma

Christ...has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:2.

A sweet-smelling aroma
If we ponder over the work accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross, we recognise what concerns us personally: “Christ has loved us and given himself for us”. He suffered and died there at Calvary in order to save us. For this we are sincerely grateful to Him.

His death also has an aspect that is related to God. The Redeemer laid down His life as “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”. From this viewpoint...More

Monday, April 10, 2023

Jesus has risen from the dead...

He is not here, but risen! … Their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
Luke 24:6.11.

Jesus has risen from the dead! What tremendous news! But what was the reaction? “Idle tales”, i.e. pure nonsense! Many people react similarly to this message. But when the women told the disciples what they had learned, it was the latter, not unbelievers, who found it difficult to believe.

Let us imagine we were in their situation. Three days ago their Lord and Master, in whom they had put all their hope, had been crucified. Their ideas were dashed. They had thought that Jesus...More

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Like a thunderclap

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how he spoke to you, ... saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
Luke 24:5-7.

Like a thunderclap
Let us remind ourselves: it was almost 2,000 years ago. Several persons have reported what happened – the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, of course contemporaries of that time, but also Josephus, Justin and Irene, and others after them. Around the year 30 A.D. the tomb of a crucified victim guarded by soldiers was found empty one...More

Saturday, April 8, 2023

It is a tragic inconsistency in...

Thy all cried out at once, saying, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas, who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion … and for murder.
Luke 23:18.19.

It is a tragic inconsistency in human behaviour that people constantly choose what harms them most. About two thousand years ago the Jews demanded the release of a murderer named Barabbas instead of their Messiah. “Release to us Barabbas!” they shouted. Since then people have frequently had their Barabbas.

By choosing Barabbas, they chose the principle He stood for: having his way as a free man, if necessary even at the...More

Friday, April 7, 2023

“Why have you forsaken me?”

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Matthew 27:45.46.

“Why have you forsaken me?”
We can contemplate these words of Jesus Christ on the cross only with great reverence. They are of great significance; but we cannot fathom their depth.

Since midday a sudden, total darkness had reigned over the whole land. Previously the Son of God had been scorned; but suddenly contempt and derision fell...More

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Jerusalem was preparing for the...

The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him (Jesus) by trickery and put him to death. But they said, Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.
Mark 14:1.2.

Jerusalem was preparing for the annual Passover feast. People were streaming in from all over the country to take part. But the religious leaders, firmly determined to kill Jesus, were uneasy. They feared that the visitors might hinder their plan. Many had heard Jesus preaching and seen His miracles. They had often followed Him for days in wonderment. Would they allow Jesus to be killed? The instigators decided that...More

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Saying “No!”

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

Flee … youthful lusts, pursue righteousness, faith , love, peace.

Proverbs 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:22.

Saying “No!”
Saying no is difficult, especially saying it loudly when opposing a majority opinion. Being different is not easy.

Some men have, however, said no. It was a no that changed their life and determined the course they took. Moses’ future had been mapped out: he was considered to be the grandson of the Pharaoh who reigned over Egypt. He had power and riches. Yet he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s...More

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

When the first Christians came to Japan...

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9.

When the first Christians came to Japan, a group of Buddhist priests met to decide how best to prevent this new religion from taking root. One of them named Yohoi suggested that each priest should study the doctrine of this new religion. He himself set a good example and obtained a New Testament the same day.

For several months he studied it carefully. At first he was astonished at the literary beauty of the book; then he became convinced that it was of divine origin: its true character struck...More

Monday, April 3, 2023

The greatest wish of a paralytic is...

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven you. And some of the scribes were … reasoning in their hearts, Why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?
Mark 2:5-7.

The greatest wish of a paralytic is naturally to get better. But the Lord Jesus saw something that was even more important and said, “Your sins are forgiven you”. That irritated the scribes, who asked, ”Who can forgive sins but God alone?”.

Let us briefly consider this biblical word “sin”. Its significance in the Bible is indeed extremely broad,...More

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (85)

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded him and said to him, How long do you keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you.
John 10:22-26.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (85)
We last encountered Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles and afterwards (chs. 7-9). Between the Feast...More

Saturday, April 1, 2023

A few years ago the fog over the...

We walk by faith, not by sight.

Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).

2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:6.

A few years ago the fog over the English Channel was so thick that we could not see the water around us. But our ship stayed on its course. Radar indicated what was ahead of us. The screen showed the track of a ship before us. Radar penetrated the fog, making the ship visible.

Faith is, similarly, a kind of radar that ensures security against the unknown in the clouds of our difficulties.

Faith does not argue; it simply believes what God has said. When it is a...More

Friday, March 31, 2023

Jesus suffered for us

From that time Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priest and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
Matthew 16:21.

Jesus suffered for us
The time was approaching for Jesus to be crucified. He met with increasing suffering and solitude and had to bear the animosity and hatred of men alone. There were indeed a few voices raised to support Him: “Truly this is the Prophet” or “This is the Christ” (John 7:41.42). Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council, attempted to defend Him. But such voices were...More

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The most suitable moment

They have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of trouble, they will say, Arise and save us.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?

Jeremiah 2:27; Hebrews 2:3.

The most suitable moment
A Christian once told his unbelieving neighbour: “To be saved, it is not enough to say, ‘My God!’ when you fall off a ladder.” The number of those who cry to God instinctively for help when they are afraid, and forget Him when the danger has passed, is great indeed. In military combat, in planes or boats in perilous situations, in different...More

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

God and Father

I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.

The Father Himself loves you.

John 20:17; 16:27.

God and Father
Between the two terms God and Father, as they are used in the New Testament to speak of God, there is an important difference. When the word God is used, it is a question of His sovereignty. When He is called Father, as Jesus frequently addressed Him, it is the revelation of His relationship to Him, or that which He was about to establish between God and ourselves by His work of grace.

Here are a few examples: “The Father loves the Son and...More

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The conversion of a Chinese lady

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
John 8:12.

The conversion of a Chinese lady
A young Chinese lady recounted the following:

“One day I had heard a preacher make the following comparison: ‘If we leave a piece of wood in a dark place, all kinds of insects will hide underneath it. But if we expose it to the light, they will all flee, for they hate the light. It is the same with our heart: if Jesus, the light of the world, does not dwell there, it is in darkness, hiding all sorts of...More

Monday, March 27, 2023

What a wonderful release it was that Jesus brought about...

That through death he (Jesus) might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Hebrews 2:14.15.

What a wonderful release it was that Jesus brought about: freedom from the devil’s bondage!

You have surely heard of David and Goliath. The young shepherd, David, brought down the heavily armed warrior Goliath with a single stone from his sling, then killed him with the giant’s own sword. The people rejoiced that they had been freed from subservience under the Philistines.

Today the...More

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (84)

Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to him? Others said, These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?
John 10:19-21.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (84)
By means of the comparisons with doors, shepherds and sheep the Lord had indicated what great changes would take place after He appeared in the midst of the people of Israel. They were words of grace and truth. But the ideas and interests of many of His listeners hindered them from accepting...More

Saturday, March 25, 2023

To understand this incident properly, we must grasp...

A leper came to him (Jesus), imploring him, kneeling down to him and saying to him, If you are willing, you can make me clean. Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing, be cleansed. … Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
Mark 1:40-42.

To understand this incident properly, we must grasp what despair the diagnosis of leprosy causes. In biblical times leprosy was incurable. It meant a deformed external appearance, crippled limbs and inconsolable solitude for the affected. Leprosy was infectious; so lepers were excluded from...More

Friday, March 24, 2023

Seeing through things

There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13.

Seeing through things
Almost 130 years have passed since the physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays. Since then it has been possible to see through the human body to the benefit of many sick persons. Every part of the body can be X-rayed. There is, however, one thing that man cannot do: recognise and record what is concealed behind what is not purely physical, i.e. our thoughts, motives and feelings.

By means of hypocrisy, lying and...More

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Everlasting life

He who believes in me has everlasting life.
John 6:47.

Everlasting life
During the age of grace whoever puts his faith in the Son of God, who became Man and died on the cross, receives eternal life. This is one of the greatest gifts that God could give us Christians who truly believe. But believing in this sense is not merely accepting the fact of Christ’s existence but trusting fully in His work of redemption.

Everlasting life is more that an existence without end, for all have that in any case, since they have an immortal soul. If they die unbelieving and unreconciled with God, they...More

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

In the Lord’s service

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:10.

In the Lord’s service
Every Christian has received a gracious gift from God according to his or her natural abilities.

One is able to encourage the brethren in the faith by ministering the Word of God understandably. Through God’s grace another is in a position to explain difficult passages in the Bible in simple language. A third has the gift of dealing with children and telling them about the Lord Jesus.

The Lord also gives each Christian a definite...More

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Called by name

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no-one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
John 10:27-30.

Called by name
In a small village in the French mountains an aged peasant woman kept an important herd of goats. Every evening, after they had returned to their shed, she sat down on a low chair in the middle of the herd and called the goats one after the other to milk them. She had given each one a...More

Monday, March 20, 2023

The assurance of salvation

We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.
Hebrews 3:14.

The assurance of salvation
Many believers begin to feel uneasy when they come across verses in the Bible that speak of Christians, but add the word “if”, as is the case in today’s verse above. They wonder, with some anxiety, whether they will steadfastly keep their confidence and faith right to the end.

Now it is important to consider this: we must distinguish between two different viewpoints. If we consider the matter from God’s point of view, there is never an...More

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (83)

Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment I have received from my Father.
John 10:17-18.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (83)
The Lord Jesus told the Jews twice that He would lay down His life for the sheep. That is how much He loved them. He had to die in order to carry out God’s plan that the scattered children of God should be gathered together (ch. 11:51.52). Believers from the Jews and the heathen should form one flock...More

Saturday, March 18, 2023

This incident probably deals with the first encounter Simon,...

When Jesus looked at him, he said, You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated, a stone).
John 1:42.

This incident probably deals with the first encounter Simon, later the apostle Peter, had with the Son of God. Simon had heard of the imminent appearance of the Messiah. Then he met Jesus of Nazareth personally at the river Jordan. And Simon recognised Him as the Messiah and Redeemer.

Now Jesus looked at Simon. What did He contemplate? The Saviour saw a man from the Lake of Tiberias in the north of Israel, a fisherman with whom He would travel through Israel for...More

Friday, March 17, 2023

Some tourists wanted to go round an ancient castle.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:9.

Some tourists wanted to go round an ancient castle. When they paid for their tickets, the custodian handed them a key, saying, “Would you please open the gate to the courtyard yourselves and wait there for me? I’ll be along at once.” One of the visitors put the key in the lock, but it wouldn’t turn. The others tried several times unsuccessfully before the custodian came.

“We can’t get the gate open,” one of the tourists said. “Oh, I’m sorry,” the custodian replied, “I...More

Thursday, March 16, 2023

God’s creation was colourful...

Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see.
Isaiah 42:18.

God’s creation was colourful. He could have created everything in black and white, but instead He has given us a multitude of colours to behold. How pleasant is the blue of the sky against white snow-covered slopes! In the spring we rejoice over the varied tender green of the trees and enjoy the vivid yellow and red of the flowers; we wonder at the colourful splendour of the setting sun against the evening sky. These moments call forth joy, gratitude and satisfaction in our hearts.

Sadly, sin has destroyed much in nature; now...More

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Jesus Christ, God and Man

Christ...is over all, the eternally blessed God.

There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 2:5.

Jesus Christ, God and Man
“I am what I was. I was not what I am.

I am called God and Man at one and the same time.”

(a Latin inscription of the 1st century)

“I am what I was.” This first statement can only be made by the unchangeable God. In the first part of the Bible, He presents Himself even more strikingly: “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:14). He is the eternal One, subsisting for ever and...More

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A young man of the age of about 25 undertook a...

Prepare to meet your God!
Amos 4:12.

A young man of the age of about 25 undertook a dangerous venture on his own initiative in the region of the Hay River in Canada. His plan proved tragic.

Some time later mountain troops discovered his corpse in a lonely hut. His emaciated hand lay on a letter that he had written to his mother when already overcome by weakness in his last hours. The touching lines read:

“The sun is shining, Mother, but I am freezing. I can walk a little, but that is about all. There is no strength in me, as I haven’t had anything to eat for a long time. I haven’t...More

Monday, March 13, 2023

Jews understood the metaphor, “the eye of a needle”...

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:25.

Jews understood the metaphor, “the eye of a needle”, to mean the smallest possible opening. If the Talmud of Jewish law indicated that something was impossible, it used the expression: no elephant could pass through the eye of a needle. So Jesus, too, used this imagery of a camel and the eye of a needle to express impossibility.

Everyone cannot simply enter the kingdom of God. We have to fulfil the conditions required. “A rich man” here signifies someone whose heart is...More

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (82)

The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by my own. As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
John 10:13-16.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (82)
One Person alone is the Good Shepherd: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He has the sheep at heart, unlike whoever works among God’s people for payment; such do not...More

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Many people wonder why Christian believers often...

I ask you, of whom, does the prophet say this, of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this scripture, preached Jesus to him.
Acts 8:34.35.

Many people wonder why Christian believers often speak of persons and events from the Old Testament and then say it is about Jesus Christ. And what have the extensive regulations about the service of God in the law of Moses to do with Christ and the faith of Christians nowadays? The evangelist Philip’s conversation with the high Ethiopian court official, from which today’s verse is taken, is a useful help for such...More

Friday, March 10, 2023

A fine outward appearance

The Lord...will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.
1 Corinthians 4:5.

A fine outward appearance
In 2016 the department of parks and green areas in Geneva had to fell a beech tree despite its magnificence. The tree was corroded with fungus. Why destroy such a beautiful tree? That beech tree was in danger of collapsing under its own weight and of affecting the surrounding trees.

Just like that beech tree, we, too, can make all around admire us. But doesn’t our outward appearance often conceal sombre secrets within us?


Thursday, March 9, 2023

Judging the weather or the time

He (Jesus) said to the multitudes, Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, A shower is coming; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, There will be hot weather; and there is.
Luke 12:54.55.

Judging the weather or the time
How often is the weather the subject of our conversation! With this subject we can remain non-committal and neutral, when we speak to someone we do not know. However much we may complain and moan about the weather, we cannot alter it in any way.

When Jesus Christ was on earth, He also took the weather as an...More

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The power of the deity

I lay down my life that I may take it again. … I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again.
John 10:17.18.

The power of the deity
The Lord Jesus revealed the power that He had as the Son of God in His life, His death and His resurrection.

On the Lake of Gennesaret He commanded the storm: “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39). The wind dropped, and calm reigned. When demon-possessed people were brought to Him, He drove out the evil spirits with a word; He was stronger than the devil (Matthew 8:16; 9:32; 12:22). At the tomb of a deceased friend Lazarus He cried out with a...More

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Mr. Barnes’ experience (2)

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:1.

Mr. Barnes’ experience (2)
The English pilot Erwin Barnes had been rescued by German lifeboat men after his aircraft had been shot down. He returned to England but could not forget his rescuers. He constantly saw their hands outstretched to help. He thought over his hostile attitude. In the course of time his doubts gave way to the certainty that he had done them wrong.

He decided to apologise, although more than 60 years had passed since his rescue. He set out, travelled to Bremerhaven and found the...More

Monday, March 6, 2023

Mr. Barnes’ experience (1)

Peter...cried out, saying, Lord, save me! And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him.
Matthew 14:29-31.

Mr. Barnes’ experience (1)
Erwin Barnes was 19 years old when he was conscripted into the British Royal Air force. On the evening of the 7th March 1945 his unit took off for an attack on Hamburg. On the approach his aircraft was hit, and three of the four engines caught fire. In the darkness the pilot made a successful emergency landing somewhere in the North Sea. The plane neither broke up despite the impact, nor did it sink: it had landed on a sand bank in the Weser estuary....More

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (81)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.
John 10:10-12.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (81)
What a blessing it is that Jesus Christ came into the world! Quite unselfishly He keeps His eye on the well-being of His sheep, granting not only...More

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Doesn’t God trouble about us?

I have loved you, says the LORD. Yet you say, In what way have you loved us?

When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Malachi 1:2; Romans 5:6.

Doesn’t God trouble about us?
Because of occurrences in recent times, numerous people wonder about God and His apparent lack of action. Might we imagine that God is indifferent towards our situation?

The God revealed in the Bible is entirely different from His creature man. He is eternal and infinite, we are mortal and limited. God is perfect and holy, “of purer eyes than to behold evil”...More

Friday, March 3, 2023

Crying in their fear, “Master, Master, we are...

Then he (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But he said to them, Where is your faith? And they were afraid and marvelled, saying to one another, Who can this be? For he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him!
Luke 8:24.25.

Crying in their fear, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”, the disciples awakened the Lord. Yet with the Son of God in the boat, how could they perish?

If He is in our life’s “ship”, i.e. if we stand in a living relationship to Him, we can never be lost. Through the Holy Spirit Christ is...More

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Jesus never promised those who trust Him an easy...

He (Jesus) said to his disciples, Let us cross over to the other side of the lake. And they launched out. But as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in jeopardy. And they came to him and awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing!
Luke 8:22-24.

Jesus never promised those who trust Him an easy pathway for their life but a safe arrival at their heavenly destination. The Lake of Gennesaret in the Upper Jordan valley is 600 feet below sea level. The surrounding mountains rise to 1200 feet above the lake. The deep cleft causes sudden...More

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
Today’s text from the Bible was written by the apostle Paul to the believers in Corinth. It was with good reason that he drew their attention to the grace of the Lord Jesus. The Corinthians were not averse to following up the thought of assisting believers in need. Some time previously that had resolved to act on it. But things went no further than that. Could anything other than a renewed...More

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Why does God keep silent?

Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?
Isaiah 50:2.

Why does God keep silent?
We can very easily ask this question when we hear of natural catastrophes, or see pictures of an attack, or when we personally suffer a stroke of fate. Why does God remain silent as to this misfortune? Why did I have to suffer it? We should so much like a reply, or we make God answerable for it, but He fails to speak. Does God really keep silent?

God spoke to people in Israel by means of...More

Monday, February 27, 2023


That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
John 3:6.7; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

What if we are not the product of chance but creatures of a God whose wish was that we should exist at a certain time? What if we have to account for our life before Him after our death? What if He is a perfectly holy God who cannot tolerate evil, a perfectly just God who will not clear the guilty, as if it were a trifling matter?

In the...More

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (80)

Then Jesus said to them again, Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:7-9.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (80)
The Jewish faith and service of God was a religious system that God Himself had instituted. But when the Messiah came to His people, He encountered a dead system with much hypocrisy (Matthew 23:23). Then a big majority of the nation rejected its Messiah. The time had come for the...More

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The computer virus

There is none righteous, no, not one, there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. … There is none who does good, no, not one.
Romans 3:10-12.

The computer virus
The computer, this machine that avidly devours information at a phenomenal speed, analyses it, compares, calculates and displays its results on the spot – who could do without it today? However, if through malevolence a pirate programme is infiltrated, the entire content can be destroyed and the computer no longer obeys its master.

Isn’t that an illustration of what man is like? He is God the...More

Friday, February 24, 2023

The horror of death

Our Saviour Jesus Christ … has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:10.

The horror of death
People fear death because it brings to an end their life on earth and transports them into the afterlife. There all who die unreconciled with God can only expect punishment for their sins. They will be resurrected for judgment and sentenced to eternal condemnation. Although many people doubt and even deny this future punishment, the fear of death still remains.

To provide a way of escape the Son of God came to earth as a Man some 2,000 years...More

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Whoever believes in him receives remission of sins.
Acts 10:43.

On one significant occasion three crosses had been erected outside Jerusalem. Two criminals hung on the outer ones to the right and left of Jesus Christ in the middle.

One of the two robbers wanted no forgiveness. At the time of his death he had nothing better to do than to deride the Saviour. His conscience was hardened, his heart unreceptive. He had lived without God and would die without God.

The other robber sought forgiveness. He was no better than his fellow criminal, but he accepted his...More

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Knowing the love of God

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel – that will stand.

He has done all things well.

Proverbs 19:21; Mark 7:37.

Knowing the love of God
Which of us has not encountered anxiety, worries, troubles and suffering in life? Those who are true believers are happy to know that it is not blind fate that brings about the circumstances of our existence by chance. God Himself, who is omniscient and omnipotent, indeed watches over our lives, pursuing a plan for each of His creatures. The Bible gives us examples of people who suffered much though close to God....More

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

When the employer finds out

I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.

Psalm 32:5.1.

When the employer finds out
Karim works for a powerful Arab emir. The latter owns a large park with exotic birds, among them a duck of a very rare species that he is very proud of. One day Karim notices something emerging from a thicket and, as a reflex reaction, fires his catapult. … Oh dear! He has killed the emir’s duck! Terrified, he buries the duck, thinking...More

Monday, February 20, 2023

Eight negative statements

Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
John 11:26.

Eight negative statements
In John’s gospel eight valuable promises are expressed in a strong negative form:

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” (ch. 4:14). With Jesus Christ our thirst for true fulfilment is quenched for ever.
“He who comes to me shall never hunger” (ch. 6:35). In the Lord Jesus we have someone who can fill our heart and life, so that we never again suffer from inner hunger.
“The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out” (ch. 6:39). We are...More

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (79)

And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which he spoke to them.
John 10:4-6.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (79)
A shepherd with his flock of sheep never fails to impress us. Here the illustration applies to Jesus Christ and the way He leads and cares for believers.

When the Lord spoke these words to the Jews, only a small portion of the...More

Saturday, February 18, 2023

(Read 2 Kings 7:1-3 & 16-20)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Galatians 6:7.

(Read 2 Kings 7:1-3 & 16-20)
When a terrible famine weighed heavily on a city in which the people of Israel were under siege, God proclaimed some good news: their enemies had been put to flight, and the famine would end. At this news one of the king’s aides de camp derided God: “If the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” He refused the grace of God announced by the prophet Elisha, who retorted, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” And...More

Friday, February 17, 2023

Jesus, wearied from His journey

Jesus,...being wearied from his journey, sat … by the well.

Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 4:6; Matthew 11:28.

Jesus, wearied from His journey
Feeling tired, Jesus sat down by a well. Such fatigue indicates clearly that the Lord Jesus was truly Man. He devoted Himself physically to the service of others. He had to go through Samaria on foot, became tired and sat down. Nevertheless He was God! When Satan tempted Jesus, He quoted the Bible: “He shall give his angels charge over you. … They shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot...More

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The evangelist Luke reports that Jesus spent a whole night in...

He (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Luke 6:12.

The evangelist Luke reports that Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before choosing His twelve apostles. Why do the gospels repeatedly mention that Jesus prayed?

Let us remember how Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself, when He became Man. He “made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).

What an inconceivable distance separates eternal God and mankind! Jesus was God and remained God, yet He became a Man and as a...More

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The One who was separate

Such a high priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.
Hebrews 7:26.

The One who was separate
In today’s verse various characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ are enumerated, marking Him out as our High Priest. Today we should like to meditate on one particular point: He is “separate from sinners”. That applies to Him at the present time, because He is enthroned in heaven. But He displayed this characteristic already, when He lived here among sinful men.

The Son of God came to earth as a pure and...More

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Who was I really? (2)

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see.
John 1:45.46.

Who was I really? (2)
William continued: “I recognised Jesus as a Rabbi who spoke the truth. He spoke in a way that every Jew could understand and one that astonished me. I discovered that in all the gospels.

After a few weeks I stated my conviction that Jesus was truly the Messiah. I did not need a special revelation...More

Monday, February 13, 2023

Who was I really? (1)

Andrew … first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messiah (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
John 1:40-42.

Who was I really? (1)
William tells: “I was born as the son of a Jewish family in Tunisia. In the 1950’s my parents moved to Paris. It was then that I began to ask questions about my identity. At the age of 16 I went to Israel to live in a kibbutz for 6 months. It was an extraordinary experience that intensified my questioning.

Who was I really? A Jew born in Tunisia, brought up in France, seeking his identity. Should...More

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (78)

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:3.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (78)
The religious system laid down in the law of Moses for the people of Israel resembled a flock of sheep. The Jews were fenced in, as it were: keeping separate from the heathen, they awaited their Messiah. His appearance had been announced precisely by the prophets: the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem.

Yet there were actually dignitaries who would rather have refused the newborn King entry to the flock of sheep,...More

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Two questions that Jesus asked

Jesus … asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am? ... Who do you say that I am?
Matthew 16:13.15.

Two questions that Jesus asked
The first question asked by Jesus, “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” causes most people no problem: they are not involved personally.

Jesus Christ’s contemporaries had a very positive opinion on His Person. He was compared with the great prophets of the Old Testament, a very noble estimation indeed, but wrong! Equally high opinions of prominent persons also miss the point. The greatest personalities cannot be...More

Friday, February 10, 2023

The party was in full swing...

Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
Luke 10:20.

The party was in full swing. The atmosphere was tremendous. The music of the band was deafening, and when the exuberance had reached its highest pitch, everyone sang: “And we’ll all, every one get to heaven”. Patrick was still singing it when he tottered towards his friend’s car. Then the unexpected happened: the seriously drunken driver, driving the vehicle at a high speed, collided with a tree. The last thing Patrick remembered was the loud crash.

When he awoke, he was in hospital. Sparingly, they told him the truth: all the...More

Thursday, February 9, 2023

God offers eternal salvation to all without exception...

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Titus 2:11.

God offers eternal salvation to all without exception. Nobody will be lost because he did not have the possibility to be saved. But not everyone is prepared to accept God’s grace. Consequently people make God’s counsel ineffective, as Jesus Christ once said of the Pharisees (cf. Luke 7:30).

“God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), but He compels no-one.

When Christ was on earth, He bewailed the fact that they would not come to Him to have life...More

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Hold fast!

Hold fast what you have till I come.
Revelation 2:25.

Hold fast!
God communicates his thoughts to us in the Bible. Through the apostle Paul in particular He has given us an insight into what concerns us Christians. In the epistle to the Romans, for example, we learn the full scope of our salvation. In the epistle to the Ephesians we become acquainted with our position as Christians and with the truth regarding Christ and His church.

If we read the Word of God, accept what it teaches in our hearts and fulfil it in practice, biblical truth becomes our personal possession. We take this...More

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Pronounced innocent twice

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1.

Pronounced innocent twice
Philip was the director of a commercial enterprise known for its honesty. He enjoyed a good reputation and led a pleasant, peaceful life free of worry. But he didn’t need God – so he thought.

Then a gang of criminals started plundering the firm’s lorries. Philip was arrested and charged with being the leader of the gang. In fact he was absolutely innocent. His lawyer was on holiday, and all his friends turned their back on him.

In custody Philip was given a...More

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Lord Jesus Christ was about to begin His public ministry...

Bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Matthew 3:8.9.

The Lord Jesus Christ was about to begin His public ministry. In order to prepare people for His message, God sent John the Baptist, who spoke of righteousness and repentance and said the above words that sound somewhat strange, even ironical.

Big crowds were baptised by John in the Jordan. Even many from the religious elite came, from both the conservative and also the liberal line. Instead of...More

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (77)

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up come other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:1.2.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (77)
As in many other passages in the gospels the Son of God here speaks parabolically in order to illustrate a truth. He uses the image of a shepherd and his sheep that was well-known to His listeners from the Old Testament. The Lord had promised to visit His people and feed His flock like a shepherd. (Isaiah 40:10.11; Ezekiel 34). That shepherd was now...More

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Who is a child of God?

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Romans 8:16.

Who is a child of God?
Many believe that every person is a child of God. The Bible states that all are God’s creatures, but not all are God’s children. God created mankind, but as a result of the fall through sin man was separated from God and came under the bondage of the devil. From God’s viewpoint all who have not yet turned to Him are in fact “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

God, however, wishes to save them; therefore He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into...More

Friday, February 3, 2023

In his younger years Brownlow North (1810-1875) had led a carefree life...

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
1 Timothy 1:15.

In his younger years Brownlow North (1810-1875) had led a carefree life as a spendthrift. But at the age of 44 a change took place in his life. He turned to God and became a preacher of the gospel.

One evening when he entered the hall where he was to preach, someone handed him a letter with this content:

“You wretched hypocrite! Don’t you remember what happened in … and the part you played in it? And have you forgotten what you got up to...More

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Our message is: Jesus

God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son.
Hebrews 1:1.2.

Our message is: Jesus
What is the difference between Christianity and other religions? The latter put the emphasis on following teaching, adopting a philosophy and undertaking good works. Christianity directs us to a Person. It is not a question of doing, but of believing in Jesus Christ.

Buddha and Mahomet do not deliver from evil, and their message has not power to transform our life from its roots. Christian faith leads us to...More

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Mary’s perfume

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany … Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
John 12:1-3.

Mary’s perfume
Why was Mary there?

She had not come to hear a sermon, even if the greatest of preachers was present. Her purpose that day was not to sit at Jesus’ feet to listen to His Word, however much she enjoyed doing so (cf. Luke 10:39).

She had not come to pray to Him or to seek His consolation, as on the day when He, the...More

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Small children

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 11:25; 18:3.

Small children
While out for a walk Gregory, 3 years old, climbed on and walked along a wall that became progressively higher up to its end. Unable to come down alone, Gregory needed my help: he jumped into my arms full of confidence.

Gregory is no longer a small child; he is a grown lad who reasons. One day when...More

Monday, January 30, 2023

From astonishment to faith

They were astonished beyond measure, saying, He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.
Mark 7:37.

From astonishment to faith
Have you noticed, in the gospels, how everyone is astonished at Jesus? There was amazement among educated men at His intelligence, when at the age of twelve years He listened to them and asked them questions. There was surprise in the crowds over His miracles and sayings and fear and surprise among His disciples when the sea and the wind obeyed Him (Luke 8:25). Even His opponents were taken aback when they heard His response to the...More

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (76)

And Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind. Then some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words, and said to him, Are we blind also? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.
John 9:39-41.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (76)
The final verses of our chapter clarify the spiritual message it contains: Jesus did not come into the world primarily to heal physical troubles, thus doing good to mankind. He was concerned about the...More

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The body that is “sown”

So … is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ … has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:42.43; 2 Timothy 1:10.

The body that is “sown”
On the tombstone of the French author Paul Claudel stands no date, but only this epitaph: “Here rest the mortal remains and the seed of Paul Claudel”, no doubt inspired by Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians....More

Friday, January 27, 2023

It won’t leave me in peace

God … now commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead.
Acts 17:30.31.

It won’t leave me in peace
Our professor of philosophy never missed an opportunity to attack the Bible. One day I asked him after the lecture: “Don’t you think you attach too much importance to the Bible? Why don’t you leave it alone?” His reply was: “You are right, but perhaps it is because it won’t leave me in peace.”


Thursday, January 26, 2023

Must we stop mentioning sin?

God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3.

Must we stop mentioning sin?
This is the wish of so many today. They think that sin is a word invented by religion to terrify people. But if you abandon the notion of sin, you must also reject the Bible. In fact, the God whom it reveals is our Creator, who knows exactly what we are and what we are capable of. He is sovereign, holy to perfection and cannot condone evil. It is to Him that must give account,...More

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Seek what is above!

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1.

Seek what is above!
On our conversion we underwent a positional change. We no longer belong to the godless world surrounding us, but stand in a relationship to the sphere of heaven. The apostle Paul refers to this fundamental change that God has brought about: “If then you were raised with Christ …”

The word “if” does not indicate a possibility that may be true or untrue. Paul presents our Christian standing in connection with this new...More

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What is the state of my account?

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity.
Psalm 32:2.

What is the state of my account?
The above verse was quoted in a Bible study group. An elderly Christian then remarked, “That is because God is not going to make a second account for anything.” He was clearly thinking of Romans 14:12: “Each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

God indeed settled the matter of all the sins of those who believe, when Christ bore them on the cross. They were all laid on Him, more numerous than the hairs of our head (Psalm 40:12). He underwent the punishment before our...More

Monday, January 23, 2023

Just retribution

Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?

Christ Jesus, whom God set forth … to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Genesis 18:25; Romans 3:24-26.

Just retribution
“I hope that good will be rewarded, and evil punished,” a philosopher once told a journalist who interviewed him on the afterlife. Countless persons think likewise, for the world is full of injustice. They would like justice to be done after death at least!

Justice will be done. The Bible tells us: “The LORD is...More

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (75)

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? And Jesus said to him, You have both seen him and it is he who is talking with you. Then he said, Lord, I believe! And he worshipped him.
John 9:35-38.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (75)
On account of his fearless confession of Jesus Christ the man healed of his blindness was cast out by the rabbis; He was unacceptable for their school of doctrine. But he found refuge with the Son of God. When he was blind the Lord...More

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Tender, gentle dealings

A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench.
Isaiah 42:3.

Tender, gentle dealings
This text about the “bruised reed” and the “smoking flax” (or: glowing wick) describes the manner in which the Lord Jesus deals with those among His redeemed who need encouragement amid their suffering.

The “bruised reed” illustrates a believer who, under the pressure and stress of external circumstances, has experienced a blow that he cannot cope with and from which his spiritual life of faith has suffered.

The “smoking flax” depicts a redeemed soul...More

Friday, January 20, 2023

I wanted to become a Christian and thought I knew the way...

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15.

I wanted to become a Christian and thought I knew the way. First I had to give up doing wrong (and there were a lot of things wrong in my life). Then, of course, I would have to do good, read the Bible a lot, pray a lot, regret many things and examine my ways.

I started one Sunday. Things went well. I was successful on Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday and Thursday I slipped up. I despaired so much that I gave Christianity up for Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday I made a fresh start. I thought I knew where I had failed...More

Thursday, January 19, 2023

What makes one a Christian?

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:8.9.

What makes one a Christian?
A dictionary defines a Christian as “someone who has faith in Jesus Christ and has been baptised”.

The term “Christians” was first given to the disciples of Jesus at Antioch (cf. Acts 11:26). Their conduct and their words made their attachment to Jesus Christ clear. Originally therefore the word “Christian” means a disciple of Christ.

Nowadays the term is often used to describe someone...More

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Our daily need

There was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.
2 Kings 25:30.

Our daily need
Today’s text from the Bible deals with Jehoiachin, who was in exile in Babylon. Every day he received from Evil-Merodach, the king of Babylon, what he needed to live. Our heavenly Father takes even greater care for us: every day He provides all our material and spiritual needs. We do not have to worry about the following day. God, our Father, will care for us tomorrow as well.

Our daily need is all that we can take in and enjoy on a single day. It is...More

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Burn them!

Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:21.22.

Burn them!
Several years ago an evangelist was travelling through Sicily. Going through a forest one day he was stopped by an armed man who asked: “What have you got in your rucksack?” – “Bibles,” the Christian replied. – “Then light a fire and burn them!” the robber retorted. With a heavy heart the evangelist lit a fire in a clearing then made one request: “Permit me to read a short passage from each book before throwing...More

Monday, January 16, 2023

Many of our readers will know this saying of the Lord Jesus very...

Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
Luke 23:34.

Many of our readers will know this saying of the Lord Jesus very well. But are we aware of the circumstances under which it was said?

He was hanging on the cross with wounds in His hands and feet, suffering from excruciating pain and thirst. Round the place of execution stood the soldiers who had just driven the nails through His hands and feet. Perhaps they had done so with the insensibility normal to their profession amid the mockery of their callous comrades. The Bible mentions the biting contempt of the leaders of...More

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (74)

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, he hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. They answered and said to him, You were completely born in sins, and you are teaching us? And they cast him out.
John 9:31-34.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (74)
The beggar whose eyes had been opened understood more about divine truth than the learned Jews who claimed to be “Moses’ disciples”. They considered Jesus to be a sinner...More

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Jesus Christ came into this world to bring people to God...

Christ … suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
1 Peter 3:18.

Jesus Christ came into this world to bring people to God. For this purpose He suffered on the cross. What a comfort this is for those who sense that their relationship with God is not in order.

The fact that there is One who can lead us to God because He Himself opened up the way is truly good news. God extends His hand to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are by nature far from God, “We have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). It was so in the early days of...More

Friday, January 13, 2023

When Jesus departed from the town of Jericho, blind Bartimaus was...

Be of good cheer. Rise, he is calling you.
Mark 10:49.

When Jesus departed from the town of Jericho, blind Bartimaus was sitting by the wayside begging. He had been told that Jesus was passing; so he cried out that He should have mercy on him. Voices all round ordered him to be quiet. But Jesus stopped where He was and commanded him to be called. Then people said to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, he is calling you.” Hearing that, Bartimaus cast off his garment, stood up and came to Jesus.

Wasn’t Jesus’ call alone reason enough to be of good cheer? The blind man’s trust was not...More

Thursday, January 12, 2023

“Say the word!”

I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass.
Ezekiel 12:25.

“Say the word!”
When Jesus was once in the town of Capernaum, He met a delegation of the elders of the Jewish religion. They asked Him to heal a sick person who was dying. The one concerned was a servant, and his master was a heathen officer. How would Jesus react? He “was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, as He said later.

How did this foreign centurion come to deserve such a friendly gesture? He had undoubtedly shown the Jewish people much benevolence, as they...More

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Still standing before God

Abraham still stood before the LORD.

Abraham went early ... to the place where he had stood before the LORD. … God remembered Abraham.

Genesis 18:22; 19:27.29.

Still standing before God
Abraham had the extraordinary privilege of being called “the friend of God” (James 2:23), because he was a man of faith who maintained a personal relationship with God and believed His promises, even though fulfilment seemed impossible (cf. Romans 4:18). The source of his faith and confidence was his regular, intimate contact with God. He “still stood before God”, an expression revealing his...More

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The prospectus for the new monthly magazine promised the readers increased...

In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2.

The prospectus for the new monthly magazine promised the readers increased comfort in their own home. New, up-to-date ideas would help to make our home nicer and cosier. I thought, “But what about those who have no home of their own, or couldn’t afford improvements owing to worries about unemployment? Or what about those who are under the poverty level? For them the magazine is worthless.”

The others, who can afford a home that is well looked after, are the target of...More

Monday, January 9, 2023

Many people find it difficult to believe that our great God...

Prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21.

Many people find it difficult to believe that our great God, who created everything, speaks or has spoken to us human beings. They do not deny the existence of God, but see Him as an exceedingly distant being in view of the inconceivable greatness of creation. It is incomprehensible for them that God could care about this tiny speck known as the planet earth, let alone each individual person. Whoever thinks likewise is unaware of the means that almighty God has at His disposal.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (73)

Then they said to him again, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? He answered them, I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples? Then they reviled him and said, You are his disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where he is from. The man answered and said to them, Why, this is a marvellous thing, that you do not know where he is from; yet he has opened my eyes!
John 9:26-30.

Thoughts on the Gospel of John (73)
The outraged leaders of Israel...More

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Is God indifferent?

I have loved you, says the LORD. Yet you say, In what way have you loved us?

When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Malachi 1:2; Romans 5:6.

Is God indifferent?
In view of current events numerous people wonder about God and His apparent lack of action. Can we really imagine that God is indifferent regarding our situation?

The God revealed in the Bible is entirely different from mankind, His creature. He is eternal and infinite, we are limited and mortal. God is perfect, holy and “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). We...More

Friday, January 6, 2023

Revenge or grace? (2)

When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … who predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, … to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he made us accepted in the beloved.

Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:3.5.6.

Revenge or grace? (2)
How did the Korean pastor Yang-won Son react to the news that the murderers of his sons were sought for execution? He acted far differently from what one might expect: he sent his 13-year-old daughter Rahel into the town to the place where the...More

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Revenge or grace? (1)

The carnal mind is enmity against God.
Romans 8:7.

Revenge or grace? (1)
Yang-won Son was a preacher of the gospel in Korea who had to suffer a lot because of his faith. During the Second World War, when Korea was under Japanese occupation, Son was arrested. He had refused to show the respect demanded to the emperor as to a god.

After the war in 1948 the town of Soon-chun, where Pastor Son’s two eldest boys attended school, was taken over by communist partisans. Some policemen and leading citizens were shot without any further ado.

The rebels also targeted Christians....More

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Really useless?

When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.

A vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the master, prepared for every good work.

Luke 17:10; 2 Timothy 2:21.

Really useless?
Today’s two verses appear to contradict each other, but it is in no way true.

Who is asked to consider himself useless? You and I! Faced with the greatness and power of God, I must acknowledge that all my efforts to participate in His work are but a drop in the ocean. God could easily pass me; He will achieve...More

Tuesday, January 3, 2023


Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain.

You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

Psalm 39:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

The word “virtual”, formerly used infrequently, has become highly significant through the digital revolution.

Our screens can present images that do not correspond to reality – virtual images. By means of the website you can make contact with fictitious speakers. Through the social network you can also create virtual friendships with persons you will never meet except on your screen. In...More

Monday, January 2, 2023

Rich without knowing it

You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

John 5:39; Proverbs 10:22.

Rich without knowing it
During the recession in the U.S.A. in 1930 a modest farmer owned a vast area of land in the west of Texas. He lived in poverty, struggling to feed his family, when a petrol company asked his permission to carry out a drilling on his property. Thinking he had nothing to lose, the farmer allowed it. At a moderate depth the company discovered the most...More

Sunday, January 1, 2023

The start of a new year

You, LORD; in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain.
Hebrews 1:10.11.

The start of a new year
We have just completed a further stage on our journey towards eternity. The New Year is a good opportunity to stand still for a while before we again take up the routine of daily life. Looking back over the past year may make us pensive; the future raises questions. The past has undergone changes. We do not mean changes that God the Creator intended in nature or the different seasons of the year, but those caused...More

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