Baby steps are confident steps

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1.6 

When our two little boys were learning to walk, like all children, they stumbled, fell, tripped, miraculously reappeared on their feet, and tried again. As their Dad, I knew that they would eventually get the hang of taking a few steps, then walking in a (fairly) straight line, then eventually they would build up the coordination to be regular walking humans. 

Throughout the process I tried to help (when not laughing) by removing obstacles from their path, holding their hand when they needed it, or sometimes even picking them up and reorienting them when they hit a dead-end. They knew I was there, and this gave them the confidence to walk on.

The same is true of our loving Father in heaven, perhaps without the laughing (although God does have a sense of humour, my choice in sports team can confirm that). He removes obstacles from our path, helps us past them, walks with us, and can even totally change the course of our lives when we headed down the wrong path. This is all with one goal in mind; our salvation and sanctification. 

I love what Charles Spurgeon said about this verse,

Show me for once a world abandoned and thrown aside half formed; show me a universe east off from the Great Potter’s wheel, with the design in outline, the clay half hardened, and the form unshapely from incompleteness. Direct me, I pray you, to a star, a sun, a satellite–nay, I will challenge you on lower ground: point me out a plant, an emmet, a grain of dust that hath about it any semblance of incompleteness…

But all God’s works are finished with wondrous care; He as accurately fashions the dust of a butterfly’s wing, as those mighty orbs that gladden the silent night.

God always finishes His work, so walk with confidence that our Father in heaven is there;

there directing those steps,

there clearing obstacles,

there holding your hand,

and will step in and change the path if He needs to.

Revelation 10.8-11 – Bittersweet

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying,

“Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me,

“Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”

10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

Often in our lives we have experiences that can be both bad and good, don’t we. They are often described as bittersweet. Living here in Bahrain, seeing friends that quickly become family leave for pastures new is probably the hardest thing, and these experiences are certainly bittersweet. Bitter in that we will miss their friendship and fellowship, but sweet in that we know they are moving on with the Lord to an exciting new chapter in their lives, following God’s call (and often the demands of an employer) and faithfully going where He is leading.

Here, John is given something bittersweet, he says, I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.

For those of us who have made a commitment to live for Jesus, who have given control of our lives over to Him as Lord and Saviour, who are living the Christian life (whatever your preferred phrasing may be on the matterI), the Word of God is sweet as honey, Psalm 119.103 confirms this.

God’s Word feeds us, fills us, and fires us up, it calms us, consoles us, and counsels us. Simply, it is good for us because we know the central tenet is that God loves us and sent His son (AWANA Cubbies badge, please!), and that if we truly trust and believe this He will save us unto eternal life.

However, the other side of the coin is bitter. For those that don’t accept the crux of Christianity, for those that refuse to accept the fact that God so loved the world that He gave His only son and that whoever believes in Him shall never die, for those who make themselves enemies of God, the Word of God is bitter because it convicts them of their sin, and gives them a message they do not want to hear.

It is not our job, or even within our capability, to change the heart of man, only the Holy Spirit can do that. But, through reasoned conversation, through evidence, examples, and facts, through a changed life and a testimony we can present people with an introduction to the Saviour, to Jesus Christ, and He will take it from there.

Then, what was bitter will become oh so sweet to those we have shared with.

So, who can you share with today?

Luke 17.24 – Lightning

For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

Luke 17.24

Did you see the lightning last week (or the week before, I can’t remember) in Bahrain? If you don’t live here on the island of a million palms, I’m sure you’ve seen lightning before!

It’s mesmerizing, isn’t it, you can’t take your eyes off it. You don’t know exactly where it came from, you don’t know exactly the plans and purposes of it, you aren’t even 100% sure how it came to be in the sky right here right now, but, when it comes, you can’t take your eyes off it and you want to look for more. Maybe you peer out of the window and around the corner to see if there is more to see there, maybe you just sit back and enjoy the show, but, deep down, it is very impressive.


Jesus said that just as the

lightning flashes and lights up the sky, so He will be in His day.


As much as want to see the lightning despite lacking a full understanding of it, the feeling will be multiplied infinitely when Jesus comes back. Those who say He is not coming back are in for a shock when He cracks the sky like lightning, appears suddenly, and commands everyone’s attention.

For now, enjoy the heavenly show as we await the true heavenly show!

Revelation 10.1-7 – Time with God

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying,

“Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”

5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

In chapter 9 we saw six of the seven trumpets blown and now there is an interlude, a break until we reach chapter 11. The best solution as to why is that this is a time for repentance; those living on the earth when the preceding events have taken place now have an opportunity to turn hearts and minds to the Lord.

An angel appears wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. Some ask if this is Jesus, but a more likely solution is that this is Michael, the mighty angel referenced in Daniel 12.1. Why does Michael have a rainbow over his head and a shiny face? Think back to Exodus 34.29-35 when Moses had to veil his face because He had spent time with the Lord. So Moses then, and Michael here, reflect the glory of God by being in His presence.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we can’t spend time with God in prayer, spend time worshiping Jesus, or spend time meditating on the wondrous works of the Holy Spirit to the extent we need to veil our faces; both Moses and Michael have spent time in the presence of God.


However, the principle is still very applicable for us; spend time with God and reflect His goodness to those around us.


When we have spent time in dedicated prayer, when we have worshiped, when we have pondered the deep truths and amazing goodness of our God, we feel different, don’t we? Then, when we feel different in this way, our actions follow accordingly.

So, we spend time with God and we reflect that to those around us witnessing through our actions and reactions just how good, loving, merciful, and gracious our great God is.

Michael here announces that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled. We are not announcing the coming judgement of God on a fallen world, but nonetheless, our changed lives proclaim a great witness to others when we have spent time with the Lord.

So, have you spent time with Him today?

Revelation 9.13-21 – Be mindful of God

Yesterday we said that the fifth trumpet was blown to release tormenting demons onto the earth, the aim of which was to turn people’s hearts and minds to God. Sadly, this did not happen, and the judgement only gets stronger. Again, sadly, despite the situation getting so much worse, people will still not turn to God, even though they have seen possibly the worst conditions ever experienced on earth, possibly.

The passage yesterday finished, rather ominously, with ‘The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.’, and it does here.

13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Yesterday torment, today death…on a huge scale. A third of mankind is upwards of two billion people, numbers we just can’t comprehend. The agents used in this are four angels who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year.

Are they good angels? Are they fallen angels? We don’t know because we aren’t told, but we can say that with such a big task comes a high rank. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, right? They had been prepared for this very task, this very year, month, day…this very hour. This is absolutely them doing God’s bidding, not rampant demons doing as they please. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, because He is sovereign, He is in control of His creation, all of it, every last being.

The saddest this is the last thing we read, the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The remaining two thirds of people on the earth at this time carry about their business as usual, they forget God’s lessons oh so quickly. There are period pauses of judgement throughout this book for people to stop, look, remember, repent, turn to the Lord, and sadly, they are not used! Some are saved during this time, to be sure (7.14), but sadly, many continue about their business and continue worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.


Application for us? Be mindful of what God is doing in your life.


If you are getting pushback on something, persistently and progressively, it might be time to stop.

If a door has opened up for you, an opportunity has presented itself, take it.

God disciplines His children because He loves us, there is never any punishment (Jesus took care of that) only purification.

If things are going from bad to worse, be mindful of the fact God may be preparing you for something new, bringing a chapter to a close before opening a new one.

If things are going from strength to strength, praise the Lord!, and be mindful of what God is doing in your life and partner with Him. What a privilege we have to work together with our Lord for the good of His Kingdom.

We should be mindful of what He is doing, take encouragement from the fact that He is there with us during the bad, and that He is equally as present in the good, making straight our paths.

Be mindful of what God is doing in your life, and look around too, what is God doing in the lives of others in our church family? Some are hurting, some are suffering, some are riding high, some quietly going about their God-ordained business.

Come alongside people, pray with them, partner with them, be mindful of them.