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Classic quiet-times... These come from notes that my Grandpa wrote many years ago and have been adapted and had some things added to help. There's some gems in them so they're included here for your delectation and delight!

These will come in stages as we work through a number of small, hand-written notes!

The Light - John 8.12

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.

We are dependent on the sun for light. Without the sun, everything would die. The Lord gave us the sun as well as the moon and stars. In World War 2, Britain was in a state of 'blackout'. This meant that all lights needed to be put out or covered up (eg putting thick black curtains over the inside of houses) so that the German bombers couldn't see what was below. A life without God is like this - but God gave us light to see and Jesus is the light who if we see, will bring us truth and life.

For some people, Jesus is the lighthouse who warns of the dangers of rocks, wrecks and currents. For others, Jesus is the street lamp - helping us shine at school and at work, sometimes as the only Christian. This light is needed for us and others. For some people, Jesus is the table lamp, shining in the home like the parent who stays at home to look after the children with God's light, or shining God's light to a husband or wife who doesn't believe in God. Or maybe Jesus is your candle, shining in little ways that don't seem to be much but really add up to be amazing - helping your parent, helping a blind person across the road, running errands, telling the truth, being happy and kind. Finally, Jesus is also like a torch or flashlight - shining a focused beam into the darkness to seek, rescue and find.

Let's live lives like the old classic song, "Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light. Like a little candle, burning in the night. In this world of darkness, so we must shine. You in your small corner and I in mine."

The Fire on the Beach, Part One - John 21.7-10

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

There are different types of fires - a home fire, bonfire, buildings on fire and forest fires to name just some. Here we find Jesus on the beach tending a coal fire, cooking fish on it. But what other kinds of fires do we find through the Bible?

1. The burning bush: this is an Invitation. "There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up." (Exodus 3.2). Moses is working and sees something unusual, then meets with God and hears the Lord's call. Have you heard God's call for your life yet - while you are young? Ask God to speak and listen for his voice.

2. The fire on Mount Carmel: this is Choice. "Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench." (1 Kings 18.38). Elijah stood alone on Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal, God's enemies. Fire consumes everything. Choose who you will serve - choose right - God!

3. The King burns God's Word: this is Evil. "Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire." (Jeremiah 36.23). Jehoiakim burned the scroll that Jeremiah and Baruch had written, but he could not destroy God's Word. Are you 'destroying' God's Word by closing your ears to God, not reading the Word, not obeying it or turning away from the good news about Jesus? Jesus said that heaven and hell may pass away but God's Word will never pass away. (Matthew 24.35). Today, treat God's Word with the respect God deserves.

Added 12/01/13

The Fire on the Beach, Part Two - John 21.7-10

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

We've looked at some of the types of fire that we find in the Bible and what we can learn from this. Here are three more types of fire and some lessons we can learn!

4. The fire of Sodom and Gommorah: this is Judgement. "Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens." (Genesis 19.24). When the fire came from heaven in Genesis 19, we find that Lot and his daughters were saved, partly because of Abraham's prayers (Genesis 19.29 tells us that when God sent the fire, he remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the catastrophe - prayer changes things!) But Lot's wife looked back and was lost. Decide now to follow Jesus and don't play with fire - don't mess with evil or even look at it.

5. The fire at Peter's denial: this is Danger. "It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself." (John 18.18). Peter was standing around the fire after Jesus had been betrayed, with people who were like God's enemies. The fire was warm, but the hearts of the people standing around were cold. Peter had followed Jesus far off and was now with the wrong company. The Bible tells us we cannot serve two masters - choose to follow God and follow him closely!

6. The fire at the Resurrection: this is Love. "When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread." (John 21.9). The disciples were out fishing. Jesus showed them where to catch a great number of fish (prophetic for what would happen spiritually, with the disciples being used by God to see many people come into the Kingdom of God). Jesus was there on the beach with a welcome, warmth, food, love and success. 153 fish caught (verse 10) and the net did not break. Jesus loves you, wants to use you and has far more for you than you can imagine!

Added 12/01/13

Look To Me, Part One - Isaiah 45.22 (NKJV)

"Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."

In Isaiah 45.22, God tells Israel (and us) to look to him alone for he is God and there is no other. In today's quiet-time, we're focusing on different types of 'Looking'.

Look of Sin (Genesis 3.6). Adam and Eve chose the look of pride over wisdom. They believed the lie of the devil who questioned what God had said. Wisdom knows that God means what he says! Look of Defeat (Joshua 7.21). Achan coveted the gold and silver that he saw in the city of Jericho. But God had said to Israel that all the items of gold, silver and bronze were for the Lord alone. LOOK O (Genesis 19.26). Lot's wife looked back when God had said not to look back, and was killed. Her 'looking' back represents a rejection of the good news about Jesus.

Look of Repentance (Luke 22.61). "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." Peter had denied Jesus, as Jesus had predicted. That look from Jesus must have been a look of such deep pain. Peter 'wept bitterly'. Later, Jesus would see Peter on the beach (John 21) and Peter's sins had been completely wiped away - Jesus said nothing about this denial! How awesome is Jesus!

Look of Life (Numbers 21.8-9). God told Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who looked at it would live. This was like John 3.14 where Jesus said that when he was 'lifted up' (on the cross), this would mean that everyone believing in Jesus would have eternal life. In a sense, the bronze snake Moses made 'became sin', just as Jesus became sin for us, so that we could live - the greatest exchange ever made!! Look of Salvation (Isaiah 45.22). The look here is to God - for faith. A parallel can be made when the thief on the cross next to Jesus 'looked to Jesus' and asked Jesus to remember him (Luke 23.42-43). Jesus answered that today he would be in paradise with Jesus. Salvation (the saving power of God) is only found in Jesus.

Added 13/01/13

Look To Me, Part Two - Isaiah 45.22 (NKJV)

"Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."

We're continuing to focus on different types of 'Looking'.

Look of Anger (Mark 3.5). The Pharisees were waiting to 'catch Jesus out' to see if he'd heal someone on a Sunday, which would be against their stupid man-made laws. (Same thing is happening today against Christians where people who hate God are watching on, creating laws against God's people so take a stand!) Jesus looked at them with anger (God hates man-made religion). Jesus healed the man with the bad hand. Jesus obeyed God first and foremost, so should we.

Look of Fear (Matthew 14.30). Peter jumped out of the boat when he saw Jesus walking on the water, but he took his eyes off Jesus and then cried out in fear, "Lord save me". Jesus did. We are always best served by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on our problems or situations. Look of Compassion (John 11.33). Lazarus had died. He was a friend of Jesus. Mary came to greet Jesus with the news of the death of Lazarus. Jesus looked at her and had compassion for her. Jesus is always looking on with eyes of compassion, at you, me and those who need help. Live by Micah 6.8 and James 1.27 - act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God, care for the widows and orphans and live for God and not for the things of this world.

Look of Victory (Exodus 13.14), "Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again." In WW2, Britain prayed and then took their stand against Hitler's evil. When things happen, we go to God. Romans 8.37 tells us that we conquer / overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus!

added 13/01/13

Sowing and Reaping - Galatians 6.7-8

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

Galatians talks about two main themes here. One is about sowing; the other about reaping. Let's look at sowing first... What are you sowing and what's your motivation? The Bible is very clear that what you 'sow' you will also 'reap'. Sowing is about putting seeds into the ground - reaping is about what you get as a result of this. So for example, if you sow sunflower seeds, you will reap sunflowers; if you sow tomato seeds, you will reap tomatoes. The same is true spiritually and practically: you will reap what you sow. There are always consequences to our actions.

It is incredibly important in our Christian lives to sow the right seeds. More than this, it's essential we 'sow' the things that God tells us to. Often times we spend time doing what is good but not exactly what God tells us to do. So you may be on a school sports team and helping other people but God has asked you to set up a Christian group in your school. Or - you're part of a Christian group in your school but God has asked you to be part of a sports team and help other people! What we all need to be doing is what God has called us to do. Yes, get busy doing something that is Godly and good, but always be seeking God for his best. The Bible also tells us that in the end times when Jesus returns, some people will be cast aside by Jesus for not truly being his disciples while others are accepted by him. These two types of people (called 'wheat' and 'tares' or 'sheep' and 'goats' by the Bible) will be together, but only those who have truly accepted Jesus and obeyed him will be with Jesus in eternity.

So: make sure that you sow the right seeds, the seeds that God (alone) calls you to sow. Know also that like the parable of the sower, some seed will fall by the wayside (atheists); some seed will fall on stony ground (people like Herod who knew the truth but turned a blind eye for convenience); some seed will go into the thorns (like many people, entangled in the world); but some seed will fall on good ground. Invest your time and energy into seed that falls onto good ground but sow good seed everywhere.

added 14/01/13

The Power Of A Look - Psalm 34.4-5

"I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

There are many different types of 'look'. The main 'look' that we should be looking at is God (eg through his Word the Bible), so that the main 'look' that others see in our lives is God! This is the pinnacle of the 'looking mountain'. This is what God is changing us to be like, step by step. But our world is filled with wrong things to look at - or things that we look at that aren't wrong, but aren't the best. These come on TV, through advertising, on phones and on the internet etc. Here are some good and bad 'looks'...

The Look of Sin - in Genesis 3.6, Eve saw that the fruit of the tree God had told them not to eat looked good, so she took some of the fruit and ate it. So did Adam. That act meant that sin entered the whole human race. So Jesus came to set us free from this sin. But stay away from what God tells you to stay away from. The Bible is your helper, so is the Holy Spirit!

Secondly, the look of compassion. In Matthew 9.36, Jesus saw the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd (harassed, helpless, lost, confused, vulnerable). So Jesus told his disciples to pray that God would send workers out to reach the people. We need to be like Jesus and see people as he sees them. People think they have it all together but the truth is that without Jesus there is no real hope. When life hits them hard, people quickly find this out!

Finally, the look of joy. Jesus had been crucified and his disciples were feeling hopeless. Tow of them were walking on a road to a place called Emmaus. On the way they were joined by a companion who started explaining the Scriptures to them. As the stranger did this, the hearts of the disciples started to burn with encouragement and joy. They encouraged him to walk and stay with them. He then broke bread with them (communion - remembering Jesus' sacrifice on the cross). When he did this, the Bible tells us in Luke 24.31 that the eyes of the disciples were opened and they saw it was Jesus. As you walk with Jesus, read the Bible, pray, worship, talk about God - God will direct you, help you, reveal his plan for your life and open up his Word to you. Ask God to do this in your life starting today.

added 18/01/13

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