So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? Ecclesiastes 3:22 ESV Ecclesiastes is an unusual book within the Bible. Within a library of books about the meaning of life, here is a book about the apparent meaninglessness of life. Yet even within this rather pessimistic book, there are beams of light within it. There's no point being negative, grumbling and bemoaning our work. We have to work, whether in the home, or the office, or wherever else. There are exceptions who are unable to work, but maybe even they can work at praying for those who care for them. So considering the fact that we must work if we're able, we may as well make the most of it and seek to enjoy it. God created work before the fall, so there's nothing wrong with it in and of itself. Of course, because we've rebelled against God, work has become burde


for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 ESV   Paul doesn't deny the fact that bodily training has some value. It's good to look after our bodies and to exercise well. But we would do well to remember that our bodies are decaying and that we're fighting a losing battle on that front. Though outwardly we may be wasting away as we count down the days of our mortality, inwardly we can be renewed day to day. Becoming more like Jesus every day should be our focus, not simply delaying the days of our deaths (unless He returns first). If we physically  exercise, we will benefit our lives, but there's more to life than that. Godliness is of value in this life. It's not just 'pie in the sky when we die'. But like physical exercise, it's not easy to deny our natural laziness and to stretch ourselves spiritually. Physical exercise reaches


 If you search on Amazon for 'Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates', you should find a couple of books and an ebook of my devotional writings. I have also written a book of animal themed children's poetry called 'Menagerical Animalariumysterious Ponderosaeticalioness' (might have spelt it slightly wrong!) also self published and available on Amazon!


 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 ESV The Greek word translated 'brothers' here includes sisters! Paul and his team had a big ask of their brethren, so they asked and urged them in the Lord Jesus. They weren't asking them to make a promise they couldn't keep, because nothing is impossible with God. When Paul and company ask the Thessalonian church to walk the walk, they're not asking them to do anything they didn't do themselves. Paul didn't just talk the talk, he practiced what he preached. Whatever we communicate is what we preach: may our lives match up to our words! If we walk right, if we keep in step with the Holy Spirit, we will please God. This is our purpose: not to please ourselves, but to please God. A byproduct of living for God is joy. So pleasing God and being happy don'


 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV Affliction is inevitable in any life, never mind the Christian life. In the Christian life however, there is the additional affliction of persecution. Even if it only takes the form of 'microaggressions', mockery and insults, it still hurts. Imprisonment, torture and martyrdom aren't the only forms of persecution. Paul loved the Thessalonian church like a nursing mother or a doting father. So when he heard about the afflictions they were facing, he was concerned. Many people, when life gets tough, give up on whatever they feel is causing that hardship, such as faith in Christ. Paul showed the kind of care for the Thessalonian church that every believer should have for every believer. If we hear that a brother or sister in Christ is suffering, we should long to hear how they are bearing u


 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ESV This may just seem like an ancient story of how some primitive people decided to subscribe to a slightly more 'evolved' belief. Really however, it is the testimony of pretty much everyone who comes to faith in Jesus. Any other belief than in Him as God incarnate alongside the Father and the Spirit is idolatry. Even people who don't think they're religious have idols. They might be celebrity idols. Usually however, they're rather more subtle: things like money, sex, and power. There's not necessarily anything wrong with money, sex and power in and of themselves, but idolatry is 'good things being made into god things'. Money for example makes a great servant, but a terrible master. Sex isn't something to serve ourselves with, but something to serve our marriage partners with. W


 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Colossians 3:22 ESV We may not be bondservants, or slaves. But the likelihood is that we are employees. Even if we were slaves, we shouldn't rebel (although if we could peacefully gain freedom, by all means!). So how are we to act as employees? In obedience to our employers. Paul's words are unequivocal here: 'in everything'. I'm sure an exception would be made if an employer asked an employee to break God's law. But generally, work is good and we should do it wholeheartedly. I think a reason employers have been ambivalent about home working during lockdowns is because it's harder for them to keep an eye on their employees. As employees though, we aren't just to work hard when our employers are watching us. We are to always be diligent. We are to be sincere, not lazy. We are to fear the Lord,


 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, Colossians 2:13 ESV We don't simply need a bit of spiritual therapy, or even spiritual healing. We need to be raised from spiritual death! The Bible teaches that we are naturally spiritually dead, and need to be made alive by God. Why are we spiritually dead? Because of our trespasses. It's not however that we sin, therefore we're dead. We're dead, therefore we sin. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and the hands act. We need spiritual heart circumcision. We need our dead spiritual hearts to be cut away and transplanted with living hearts that beat to a different tune than sin. Only God can do this for us. When God transforms our hearts, we become spiritually alive. We're resurrected, and become new creations. All that old badness gets forgiven, and we get to live in newness of life. We still might


He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." John 21:16 ESV By this second time, I think Peter was getting a sense of what Jesus was doing. Jesus asked  him the same number of times he'd denied Him if he loved Him. It must have hurt, but 'the wounds of a friend are faithful'. Jesus refers to Simon as Simon rather than the nickname He'd given him of Peter. It seemed that Simon had given up being a fisher of people and had decided to go back to being a fisherman. But Jesus had other plans. Jesus asked Simon if he 'agaped' Him- loved Him with the kind of love with which He loved him- sacrificially giving His life for him. Simon however, replied that he 'philosed' Him- loved Him like a brother or a friend. Jesus however persisted a third time for Simon to give an assurance of his love. Simon had thought of returning to


 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" John 19:14 ESV Little did Jesus's murderers know that they were preparing the Passover Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Near the start of John's gospel, John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God. Now, near the end of John's gospel, pagan Pilate mockingly declares Jesus the King of the Jews. People often seem to try and paint a sympathetic portrait of Pilate, but I see little room for that in Scripture. This is a man who had already massacred Galileans come to worship in Jerusalem (Luke 13). Now he was going to murder the King of the Jews. Pilate might have tried to abdicate responsibility, and pass off Jesus's crucifixion as the doing of the Jews, but ultimately he had the authority to condemn Jesus, and he did. His death squads had already mercilessly flogged Jesus, digging furrows in His back, and mockingly r