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Date Blog

Keep in step with God

Knowing biblical principles is essential for living the Christian life as God desires. Perhaps the most important one to learn is to obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. And alongside it is another one that’s very important—learn to wait upon God for His timing. Obeying the Lord doesn’t just include doing what He desires, but doing it when He says and how He says.

To keep in step with God’s perfect will, we must guard against jumping ahead of Him. Although waiting on the Lord is not always easy, we can never go wrong by patiently letting Him lead us according to His timing. When we step ahead of Him, trouble awaits us, but if we trust His guidance, He will lead us into His will and accomplish more than we had in mind.

When we are in a hurry to make a decision and move forward rather than seeking God’s timing, we need to heed the words of Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”

God’s timing isn’t just good; it’s perfect. He is omniscient and knows all things in the past, present, and future. The Lord sees every aspect of our lives, including our needs and desires. In His great wisdom, He understands what’s best for us. His divine schedule for our lives is always perfect and achieves His good purposes.

In contrast, we are often in a hurry to get what we want. Since we have limited knowledge and understanding, we should pray about the situation and wait for God to unfold the path He has for us. But in our haste to move ahead, we often make big decisions without asking the Lord to show us His perfect timing in the matter.

Yet God has provided everything we need to obey His will. When He saved us, He gave us His indwelling Spirit to be with us forever. One of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to guide us according to God’s will and Word. He cautions us regarding wrong directions and quickens us to do what’s right because we are not sufficient in ourselves to make wise decisions.

When God says “Wait” that’s exactly what He means for us to do. Therefore, we need to learn to listen to Him and follow His directions rather than trying to figure out a course of action and plunging ahead. If we make it a habit to listen to God throughout our lives, then we will be ready to hear Him when we need direction in pressing situations. The Lord promises in His Word that He answers prayer and will direct our path, but sometimes we must wait for Him to show us the way. Even though we may want the answer immediately, God in His loving omniscience knows what’s best for us both now and tomorrow because His perspective is eternal.

Rev. Dean Courtier


A different Hope and Victory

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. (Matthew 28:6)

In three days Jesus’ followers went from heartbroken sadness to triumphant jubilation. The cross had screamed, “The End” making them feel hopeless and helpless. But the resurrection shouted, “The Beginning” bringing confidence and courage. The cloud of doubt and despair that had shrouded them melted away and was replaced with unshakeable faith.

Can you imagine how they felt when they realised Jesus had risen from the dead? Suddenly hope came alive; everything He had said was validated as truth. They had not believed a lie. His victory over death was a reality that proved Jesus was the Messiah.

We remember Jesus’ death on the cross with solemnity, but the resurrection calls for thunderous applause, praise, and song:

“Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.” Charles Wesley

All the blessings that come our way through the Saviour’s cross are confirmed by the resurrection. It proved that the Father was satisfied with the Son’s payment for our sins. Now we can know that our transgressions are forgiven and we’re eternally secure.

What’s more, Jesus promises that we, too, will be resurrected and given new bodies. Physical death could not hold Him, nor will it overpower us. Because Jesus overcame the grave, His followers have the same kind of life He has — eternal and indestructible.As Christians, we have the right to celebrate Easter with great rejoicing. Because of this event, our lives have been forever changed. We’ve been transformed and given new life. With faith, we trust the Bible because Christ’s power over the grave proves He can and will fulfil every word.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Adjusting to a new normal

We are living in a way we would have never imagined a couple of weeks ago. COVID-19 reminds us of our frailty and vulnerability. This is a time of great concern for everyone, it will involve suffering and many will experience the sadness of bereavement. To stop the spread of coronavirus we have gone into lockdown. We have been told to stay at home and socially distance ourselves.

Non-essential shops have closed. The UK government has stopped all gatherings of more than two people in public and every church has suspended all services, gatherings and events. Thankfully God has enabled us to stay connected using technology solutions. We are now live streaming a Sunday service, and producing two short videos on Tuesday and Thursday. We have also launched a YouTube video channel and our audio sermons are available on Spotify and iTunes.

Psalm 23 is such a wonderful psalm for this moment. We are reminded of the sovereign care of The Lord, our Shepherd. God cares for each of us personally with the provision He makes for us in this life and the next. Psalm 23 promises His presence with us even as we ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’. God is with us, He will lead us, we shall ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’.

As Christians we have a glorious assurance in Jesus, Romans 8:37-39 reminds us: despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now is a time of extraordinary opportunities to love and serve those around us and to speak to those who have no knowledge of Jesus about the benefits of being known by him. For those without Christ, this is a time of even greater anxiety—even panic. We have a glorious gospel to offer them. Pray earnestly for an opportunity to help others and to speak of the love of Jesus, the promise of forgiveness and the certain hope of eternal life in Him.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Honouring mothers

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. (Proverbs 31:26-31)

One day a teacher gave her pupils a lesson about magnets. The next day she set a written test which included the question, “my name has six letters, beginning with the letter m and I pick up things what am I?” When the test papers were handed back the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the children answered the question with the word mother.

Mothers might pick up things, but they also do so much more than just picking up clothes and toys from around the house. Mothers have a higher calling than that.

A good mother loves her family and provides an atmosphere where each member can feel acceptance, security, understanding and above all unconditional love. Mothers are there when a child needs a listening ear, a comforting word, a hug, a loving touch and good advice. But the greatest joy for a Christian mother has to be in teaching and training her children to know and love Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.

Godly mothers not only bring their children up, they bring their children to God. That kind of mother deserves to be honoured - not just on one special day but everyday of the year. And that recognition should involve more than just words but shown in respect, with thoughtfulness and loving deeds.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Powerful Pathways

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sometimes we forget God has a plan and purpose for our lives. Often we move through life without giving God’s plan a second thought and we seem to forget He has designed a specific pathway for each of us. God commands us to trust His integrity, ability, and character. We can be confident that whatever God says or requires of us, is to keep us on the right pathway. If we lack trust we will not fully follow Him, we will find ourselves drifting away from His will and purpose.

We can spend our entire life trusting and obeying Him knowing He will never let us down. The basis for our trust in God is His sovereignty. He is the divine Ruler over all things, all people and all times. His wisdom, power, and righteousness are all part of His sovereignty. At times we might struggle to understand why God allows illness, trouble, or pain, but we know He is a loving and trustworthy God. God’s plan and purpose are always perfect, even if, from our perspective, it does not look that way.

We question God’s will when situations don’t match our expectations. That is why it is important not to depend on our own understanding. When we don’t understand what is happening, we can trust God because He never changes. He is always gracious, merciful, and kind. He knows us intimately and He has chosen the right pathway for us.

We are to trust God with all our heart. Instead of relying on our own knowledge, perception, or reasoning, we must put total trust in our Lord. This trust requires more than just agreeing with Him (we can agree with God about many things in the Bible without actually trusting Him). Genuine faith responds to belief with action, we do what God says because we trust Him to guide us the right way.

Wholehearted trust means we are not to pick and choose the areas we entrust to Him while trying to keep other parts of our lives under our control. Our own perception is limited, but God’s understanding is total and eternal. We can rely on His loving wisdom, and respond in trust and affirm He is our Lord and He has authority over us in every area of our lives.

In every choice or situation, acknowledge Him by surrendering to His will and trusting Him fully. Obediently follow the Lord’s guidance along the path He has planned for you. His path is not always easy, but it’s always the best. Rely on the promises found in God’s Word, for there is no better place to put your faith.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Reluctant? Dull? Indifferent?

We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other believers. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrews 6:9-12)

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I love you, Jesus, but don’t ask me to do that!” Or perhaps you have served God, but your attitude was wrong: “If no one else will do it, then I suppose I have to do it.”

What causes us to be reluctant servants?

Busyness: Sometimes our schedules are so full that we don’t allow space to follow our Lord. We need to make sure that we have margin in our life.

Sense of Inadequacy: Maybe you feel unqualified, and you think, “Surely there’s someone more gifted”. Remember God promises to equip those He calls; We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

Selfishness: Sacrificial service is not convenient. It may require that we change plans, give up comforts, or make financial sacrifices.

Lack of love: This is the hardest for us to admit—that we just don’t care enough. A reluctance to serve others shows our lack of devotion to Jesus. If we love Christ with all our heart, we’ll joyfully serve Him by ministering to people in our family, workplace, community, and church.

Are you quick to follow the Lord’s leading, or are you focused on your own plans and desires? Any service offered in Jesus’ name won’t be in vain. You will experience the joy of giving and the assurance that He won’t forget your sacrifice.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Transforming Power

“Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:16-25)

As disciples of Jesus we can try to live holy lives relying on our own strength, or we can allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to change and transform us. Holiness is not a standard too difficult for us to achieve if we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Do not rely on your own strength, allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you, let the power of the Holy Spirit change and transform you.

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3)

Because of our union with Jesus, our lives have been transformed by God. If we have come by faith to Jesus, Jesus lives in us, He dwells in us, and we dwell in Him. The way we live our lives needs to reflect the fact that in Christ, God’s holiness is our holiness; and our lives needs to demonstrate the fact that in Christ, we have already been made holy.

Rev. Dean Courtier


The power of praying in Jesus’ name

Jesus told His disciples, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” (John 15:16).

Praying in the name of Christ declares our:

Association with the Saviour. Our relationship with Jesus allows us to approach the Father. You are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19). The Holy Spirit within us proves we belong to the Father, who listens to the requests of His family.

Access to the Father. Jesus’ death opened an immediate, unhindered path to the Father’s presence. When the Saviour offered Himself as the final priestly sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26-28), the temple veil that separated the Holy of Holies from man was torn in two (Mark 15:38). In that moment, access to God became available to all who believe. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. (Ephesians 2:18).

Authority to Petition God. Christ sits at the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25). He says to ask for what we need and gives us authority to enter the throne room at any time and speak with the Father. Everyone who trusts in the Saviour has the right to use Jesus’ name.

Agreement With God’s Purposes. In the Saviour’s name, we can make requests to the Father, but we must agree with His purposes. This means aligning our prayers with His character and will, and making His work the priority—not ours. We can learn to pray in accordance with God’s plan by abiding in His Word and letting it influence our thoughts.

Assurance of an Answer. “In Jesus’ name” is also a phrase of confidence. It shows we believe that our prayers will be heard and answered.

In Jesus’ name. These three words powerfully touch the Father’s heart. Using them is a mighty prerogative we have as children of God. Let’s exercise this privilege well.

Because of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we can freely access our heavenly Father. Let’s give Him thanks for the remarkable privilege of prayer!

Rev. Dean Courtier


Do you walk with God?

Enoch was a man who walked with God until the Lord took him to heaven. “When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24).

The world today is very sinful. Many people are lost and living in darkness, they walk a spiritually dark path and do not realise they are heading towards eternal death and suffering. Sadly, people claim they don’t need help to find the right path and that they want nothing to do with the only source of light, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour know we need God’s power to help us in our walk with Him. We are meant to live our lives in a way that pleases and honours God.

How can we walk with God in the way Enoch did?

We must listen to God.
We need to spend quality time reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer, this is how we receive guidance for our daily walk. Throughout the day we should ask God for wisdom and direction.

We must trust God.
We may not fully understand God’s plans or purposes, but we must always trust Him to always lead us on the right path. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” We might disagree with His direction and think we know a better way, but God’s Word tells us to follow God, not our own limited understanding.

We must obey God.
God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. We need to align ourselves with His commands and precepts. If we do not obey His Word then we are not obeying Him. if we are not obeying God then we are not walking with Him. God calls us to do what He says, when He says, and how He says, without obedience, we cannot fully be followers of Christ. We must surrender our will to Him, trust His guidance, and follow Him.

We must seek The Holy Spirit’s guidance.
We must be committed to doing whatever God desires us to do in the power of The Holy Spirit. He will always lead us to make wise and godly decisions.

We must love God.
If we truly love the Lord, we will do what He says because we will desire to please and obey Him.

We must forsake sin.
To walk with God we need a clean heart. Whenever we sin in thought or action, we must deal with it immediately and turn from it. We must ask God to reveal any sin in our lives that is causing us to stumble, so we can forsake it and continue walking with Him and enjoying the blessings of obedience.

To walk with God, we need to keep Him at the centre of our lives.
Is God at the centre of everything you do, say or think?
Is God at the centre of your relationships, your finances, your plans?
Do you allow God to be at the centre of every area of your life?

Rev. Dean Courtier


Faith in our powerful God

“It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.” (Hebrews 11:23-29)

Sometimes we find it difficult to perceive what the Lord is doing in our life. We are limited by the passage of time, the confusion of present circumstances, and a lack of understanding regarding God’s goals and His means of accomplishing them. That is why studying the lives of men and women in The Bible can help us understand how the Lord worked powerfully in previous generations.

Examining God’s relationships with His faithful followers gives us helpful insights and examples for us today. When we face uncertainty, we can look to Moses’ example. His life was unpredictable and full of hardship, yet “He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27).

Moses successfully persevered by keeping his focus on God rather than on the events surrounding him. This is a good example of what our Lord calls us to do too. We may pray to be led away from a difficult situation as soon as possible, but God’s plan may require us to be led through it by The Holy Spirit. God’s purpose is not to make us comfortable, His plan is to transform us into the image of His Son. Endurance in our daily walk and a focus fixed on Jesus will help us become people of powerful faith and trust.

If God calls you to endure pain, hardship, or uncertainty, find encouragement in knowing you are never alone. God is with you and His grace and comfort will carry you through every situation. Trust Him, trust His plan, His purpose and His power.

Rev. Dean Courtier


As the new year approaches...

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24).

Among Jesus’ final words to His disciples were two of His greatest commands: “Love one another” (John 15:17) and “Preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Since then, it has been our duty and privilege, as His church, to live out His instructions with love, commitment and joy until He returns. Do you realise how intertwined those two commands are. The gospel is an invitation to salvation and eternal life in heaven, and also an invitation to join the church, Christ’s body, here on earth (1 Corinthians 12:27).

As Christians we are grafted into the worldwide family of His believers, we are part of a family bound together by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We are meant to operate as a single spiritual unit that lives, works, hurts, and grows together just like a physical body (1 Corinthians 12:26). Ephesians 5:30 says, “we are members of His body.” We are interconnected and when Christians work selflessly together to love each other and live for the Lord, individuals grow in Christ, find their spiritual gifting, and become all God intended them to be.

The enemy will try to undermine our faith, but the inspiration of other believers can keep us strong (1 Corinthians 14:26, Colossians 3:16). We can motivate each other to share the gospel. Believers can remind one another of Jesus’ command to proclaim forgiveness in His name to all the nations (Luke 24:47). What greater act of love is there than to tell those who are unsaved and destined for eternal punishment of the free gift of salvation available to all who repent and place their hope and trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour? We have the joy of salvation, and we must share this good news with the lost.

We must discover and use our own individual spiritual gifts so we can contribute to the proclamation of the gospel in the role to which God has called us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:6-8).

If God has given you a specific ability then use the talent you have for His kingdom. Take the time to understand how your gifting can be used within the church and how you can serve God’s plan in the coming year.

Rev. Dean Courtier


God’s Plan Fulfilled in Christ

Christmas is far more than trees, lights, gifts, food, and parties. It’s one of the most important events in human history. God’s plan for mankind’s salvation began with the birth of Jesus Christ. Without that, there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection, and no hope for humanity.

Once we understand the true significance of Christmas, our attitude about the holiday should change. Instead of focusing on all the externals and becoming exhausted from preparations and activities, we’ll understand that it’s all about Jesus, who came to offer us forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life.

We usually associate Christmas with happy celebrations, it’s also an appropriate time for serious reflection about eternal matters. When we’re busy with holiday activities and surrounded by friends, family, food, and fun, it’s easy to forget about the temporary nature of earthly life. Preoccupation with plans and dreams makes death seem distant. But there will come a day when our bodies are laid in the grave and we must stand before God.

Just eight days after Jesus’ birth. While Mary was experiencing the joy of being a new mother and the wonder of being chosen to care for God’s Son, she came face-to-face with the pain that awaited her in the future. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” (Luke 2:34-35)

Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul, though she did not understand it at the time, this was a prediction of her precious son’s death. The cross hangs like a shadow over the manger because this tiny baby was destined to die for our sins. 33 years later, Jesus bore God’s wrath on the cross for our transgressions so we could be forgiven. His resurrection proved that the Father accepted His sacrifice as full payment for our sins. Now, because Jesus Christ lives, all who believe in Him will permanently live in His presence when their earthly life is done.

This year, during all your celebrations, don’t lose sight of preparing for eternity. Be intentional about keeping Jesus as the central focus of your celebrations. Reflecting on your life, death, and eternal future makes Christmas more meaningful because you understand why Jesus was born. He came to earth to die so all who believe in Him could go to heaven and be with Him forever. As you open presents, remember that everything you have is from God, and His greatest gift to you is His Son. Take a few moments to recall how Christ saved you and then thank and praise Him for the gift of your salvation.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Prophecy Fulfilled

Advent helps us to remember and celebrate the amazing truth of John 3:16-17, “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

In the birth of Jesus, God declares you and I are worth something significant to Him, Father God declares His love for us and His willingness to save us from our sin. God loves you and me so much that He was willing to be incarnated, to come to earth, so that He could save us from our sin, He came to rescue us, and when we place our trust in Jesus we are saved.

Woven throughout the pages of the Old Testament is the prophetic promise that the Messiah would come, the promise that His advent would take place. The promise of the messiah, the Saviour has been fulfilled. The messianic prophecies in the Old Testament were made hundreds, even thousands of years before Jesus Christ was born. From Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the coming of this anointed one.

786 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 11:1 “Out of the stump of King David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” The fulfilment of that prophecy is found in Matthew 1:1 “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham”

Consider the words of Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Around seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the Prophet Micah prophesised exactly where the Messiah would be born. Micah also makes reference to the eternal nature of Christ’s existance, “a ruler whose origins are in the distant past”, Jesus, part of the eternal Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existed before He was incarnated as a baby in Bethlehem.

Remember God also declared through His prophet in Isaiah 7:14, “the Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)”. This prophecy was fulfiled in Matthew 1:22-23, “All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through His prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Isn’t the Word of God amazing, when God says something will happen, it happens exactly the way He said it would.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Different fulfilment

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.(2 Corinthians 1:20)

God’s Word is our source of comfort and hope because the Lord always does what He says. Every prophecy in the Bible either has come to pass or will be fulfiled in the future. In fact, Scripture is so trustworthy that Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.” (Luke 16:17).

We must not assume that every promise recorded in the Bible is for us. The Lord’s biblical pledges fall into several categories, and it’s important to understand the difference so we don’t mistakenly claim one that is not meant for us. When we misapply the Bible, we can develop an inaccurate view of God, and that usually leads to disappointment and distrust of Him.

Some biblical promises are limited – they apply to a specific person, nation, time, or purpose. For example, in Genesis 18:10, the Lord assured Abraham that Sarah would have a son, so we cannot presume that He will do the same for us. God can use this passage to teach us about His providential care and provision, but we should not grab verses and expect them to be fulfiled in our life regardless of their context.

Other promises in the Word are conditional and apply only if we meet the requirements: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6) or “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)

But, there are some promises that apply to all believers—these are assurances that are certain because of our union with Christ, He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us His mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfil His own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him. (Ephesians 1:7-14)

Be encouraged, God is your loving heavenly Father and He will fulfil His promises to you.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Freedom to serve one another

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

As disciples of Jesus, we know the truth that our journey through life is not always smooth sailing. Even though Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, some of us seem to encounter more struggles than before we knew Him– but the difference is, He is always with us, we do not face those struggles on our own.

Before accepting Jesus as our Saviour, we were drifting along our path and there was no inner conflict between God’s will and our desires. But after our salvation, we began a new journey of sanctification.

God does not give us whatever we want, He knows what is best for each of us, the challenge for us is to follow His plan and path for us and not give up and drift back to the ways of the world.

Those who have counted the cost and surrendered to Christ as Lord, are not left on their own to do the best they can (that would never work because human efforts cannot overcome sin). What is needed is divine empowerment, which is exactly what we have in the Holy Spirit, who came to live within us at the moment of salvation.

In Galatians, Paul warns us not to use our freedom in Christ as an excuse to drift back into sin and worldliness. Instead, we are to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). Though it might be a struggle at times, as believers we should seek to move toward holiness and Christlikeness through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Every day we may grapple with sins like jealousy, strife, lust, selfishness or pride. Yet at the same time, we can learn to walk by the Spirit, who empowers us to set aside these sinful desires. By fully submitting to God, we can walk in victory over sin and self.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Freedom and responsibility

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. (Galatians 5:13-15)

The context for freedom in today’s passage is the Old Testament Law. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are freed from the demands of the Law, because Jesus Christ fulfilled it by living a perfect life and paying the penalty for your sin with His death on the cross. Your salvation is by God’s grace through faith, not by your own good works.

Your freedom in Christ does not cancel out your responsibility. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you know that God has called you to be different in your attitudes and your actions.

The words of Romans 12:2 are very clear, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Some Christians live as if this verse is an optional extra to their lives. Their behaviour, their actions or in-actions are no different to what the world says is permissible but God says is unacceptable.

Spirit-filled, born-again believers and disciples of Jesus are meant to be different - different in the way we live, the way we act, the way we think. Our focus is not meant to be on our wants, needs or desires - our focus is meant to be on God - His good and perfect plans and purposes for us.

We are not meant to be indistinguishable from an unbeliever. We are not meant to be bound by sinful desires. We are not meant to disobey God’s call and purpose for our lives.

Are you allowing God to change and transform you? Are you allowing God to change and transform the way you think? Will you allow God to bring difference to your life?

God has called us to live differently. The Holy Spirit is able to work in us and through us to bring change and transformation. God has called us to live lives that are holy and acceptable to Him.

When we come to Christ, we are freed from the consequences and burden of our sin. We are free from the punishment our sin deserves because Jesus has paid the price for our freedom, but that does not mean we are free to live as we want.

Let your life bring honour and glory to the one who has died to set you free.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Freedom from the penalty of sin

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Have you ever considered that spiritual rescue is even more important than physical deliverance? Although Jesus has freed us from the penalty and power of sin, there are times when we feel helpless in the face of sinful habits, emotions, rash words, and ungodly thoughts. That’s when we need to follow the example of the psalmist and cry out to God for spiritual rescue.

Admit your helplessness to God. In yourself, you have no power to overcome sin. But God’s Spirit within you is almighty.

Confess any sins, fears, unbelief, or self-reliance. Surrender all further attempts to change by self-effort, and make no provision for sinful desires.

Turn your gaze toward God. Think about who He is, what He desires, and what He has promised.

Fill your mind and heart with God’s Word. Meditate on it. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to follow Him with reliance on and submission to His Spirit.

Trust God, and wait upon Him to change you from the inside out. Although salvation occurs in a moment, sanctification is a lifelong process.

A time will eventually come when the helpless feeling departs and is replaced by the joy of obedience. When that happens, give God the glory.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Different Freedom

Since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:15-23)

Some Christians say their lives bear little resemblance to the Christian life described in The Bible. Some struggle repeatedly with the same sins, some feel that God rarely answers prayers, and others wonder why God hasn’t given them the desires of their heart. How is this possible?

The problem may be a lack of submission to Jesus Christ. People often want the forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven but are not willing to place themselves under the lordship of Christ. Therefore, they are disconnected from what He wants to do in their life. In refusing to submit, they forfeit the blessings that come to those who know Christ as Saviour and Lord.

“You become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” People strongly dislike the concept of slavery, that is the reality for every person who enters the world: We are all born as slaves of sin. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the final word. Anyone who turns to Christ in repentance and faith is set free. However, this is not freedom to simply do whatever we want. In fact, doing so would naturally lead us back to our old slave master of sin.

Avoiding submission to God results in wasted years of chasing after His blessings through our own cunning. True freedom and blessing are found only in being a slave to God, who is always good, wise, and loving. In obedience to His will, we find freedom from sin, answers to prayer, and new desires that come from a changed heart.

Rev. Dean Courtier


God answers prayer

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NLT)

We don’t always know exactly how to pray for others, or even for ourselves. In Colossians we read Paul’s prayer for the believers in that church. What is interesting is the absence of many of the requests we might normally make while talking with the Lord—for health, financial needs, or deliverance from difficult situations. Paul’s prayer is focused on the believers’ spiritual needs, and it’s a pattern we can all follow as we pray for others and ourselves.

Often we are impatient in prayer and want God to respond even before we say Amen. In contrast, Paul wasn’t burdened by a quest for immediate answers and never gave up speaking to the Lord about the Colossians. He was confident that God would hear, and he also knew that spiritual growth is a lifelong process, not a quick fix.

Paul didn’t settle for a simple appeal of “Lord, bless the Colossian church.” He really cared about the people there, and he focused on what God desired for them—that they would know the Father’s will, walk worthy of Him, and be strengthened with His power.

The Lord desires to answer petitions that line up with His will. Of course, we should also talk to our Father about our physical or emotional concerns, but we must not overlook our need for consistent spiritual growth. Through Paul, God has given us an example for an honest prayer that He longs to answer.

When you don’t know how to pray for others, let this prayer of Paul guide your requests. Then be patient, knowing God answers prayers in the best way and with the best timing.

Rev. Dean Courtier



Growth is exciting. Gardeners and farmers tend their plants with care and watch crops closely, hoping to see them flourish at just the right time. Parents constantly monitor the development and maturing process of their children, looking out for signs of trouble and celebrating accomplishments along the way.

Plants, animals, and humans are designed to grow and mature in an orderly fashion, but a lot depends on the conditions around them. Sometimes those conditions are beyond our control. Common sense tells us that we can expect to reap what we sow. If we plant strawberries, we get strawberries—not watermelons. If we plant a rose bush, we don’t expect tulips. What’s odd is how so many of us forget this basic principle when it comes to our spiritual life. “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9)

Just as gardens eventually take the shape of a landscaper’s vision, our lives reflect where we invest time, energy, and resources. If we’re self-focused and intent on experiencing as much pleasure as possible, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we’re left empty and dissatisfied—or if God’s discipline feels harsh. But if we seek opportunities daily for spiritual growth and for serving God and others, we’ll reap eternal benefits.

The Bible has much to say about the importance of maturing spiritually and often makes comparisons to agriculture and infants. (2 Corinthians 9:10; Eph. 4:14-15; Heb. 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:1-3.) It’s not enough for a seed to sprout or for a baby to be born. If they remained in their original weak and helpless state, they’d quickly die. Growth has to happen, and that means not only increasing in size but also being strengthened on the inside.

We can expect to reap what we sow, yet many of us forget this basic principle when it comes to our spiritual life, “you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) and “let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” (Hebrews 6:1).

God wants you to grow, allow the Holy Spirit to bring fruitful growth to your life. May you be a blessing to others and bring glory to God.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Jesus Christ is Lord

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:-9)

“Jesus is Lord” is the confession of every Christian because it is foundational to our faith. In order to be saved, the apostle Paul says we must confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9). Such doctrine is central to Christianity, and those who are devoted followers of Jesus Christ believe that He is Lord of all creation and all time.

However, when we say “all,” it means us as well. If Jesus truly is the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, then He is also the Master of our individual lives. Christ’s sovereign rule is not limited to governing the vast universe; it’s also a personal issue. He is Lord of our normal, daily lives—our choices, priorities, activities, attitudes, words, everything.

Paul captured this truth in Romans 14:8 when he wrote, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.” The apostle considered it impossible to compartmentalize Christ’s lordship. He knew his life belonged wholly to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t want to be part of our life; He made that clear with His disciples. When we give the Lord just a portion, then we are telling Him there are other things we consider at least as important as He is. Do you know what the Bible calls this? Idolatry.

Jesus never called people to give Him a try. He demanded full surrender: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). We can’t squeeze Jesus into one segment of our life and continue living as we please. If we are truly His, then Jesus is our life.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Functional Faith

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Here is a controversial statement “Everyone has faith.” Every person in this world has faith in something or someone. Atheists have faith that there is no God. They believe all of the complexities of life and the universe are all accidental. Atheists are blind to the realities of a personal relationship with the wonderful, creator God. Instead of a functional faith in God, they place their faith and trust in random chance and evolution.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us “it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. “

Because of a lack of faith, Jesus left the town of Nazareth, “He did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:58). The problem for the people of Nazareth was not a lack of faith, the problem was their faith was misplaced in other things instead of placed in Jesus.

The world may distract and confuse with ideas, theories and empty promises, but Jesus provides the right way, He is the truth and the life. The promises of God assure our future; the fact we are forgiven when we repent and turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviour is true. Our salvation is a past fact, not a future promise.

You can look forward to spending eternity with God, and functionally walk in the truth that you can “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Rev. Dean Courtier


We have Christ

The hymn “How Firm a Foundation” describes God’s purpose for our trials: “For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.” The pain and hardship we endure is meant not to crush us but to refine and shape us into Christ’s image. God alone knows how to replace ashes with a crown, and mourning with the oil of gladness (Isaiah 61:3).

This is what Mary Magdalene discovered on the morning of the Christ’s resurrection. She went to the garden tomb, overwhelmed by sorrow and loss. The darkness of despair was swallowing her when she turned around and saw Jesus. After He spoke her name, she immediately recognized the Lord and clung to Him, fearing that even now He might be taken away from her.

Jesus assured her that He had not yet ascended to His Father. Although there would come a day when He would physically depart from her and all His followers, in reality nothing could separate them from Him. Because He had paid the penalty of their sins with His death, His Spirit would soon indwell them. And one day Jesus would come to take them back to His Father’s house to be with Him forever: “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:3).

We can all relate to feelings of despair. Dashed hopes—even small ones—can lead to suffering. But when expectations are high or personal loss hangs in the balance, our hope can be crushed if disaster strikes. Then it is important to remember that when we have Christ, weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Rev. Dean Courtier


Passenger or participant?

Over the years I’ve noticed there are Christians who go to church and listen to sermons every Sunday but have no motivation to serve God in any way. Does this describe you? Do you feel more like a passenger than an integral participant of the church you attend? Are you ignoring what Jesus has called you to do?

The church is often described as His body, and the church is composed of many members who are gifted and called to serve God in a variety of ways. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you have already been equipped to serve the Lord in your local church. His process of equipping you for service began at the moment of your salvation when the Holy Spirit regenerated your spirit and brought it to life. Then He came to live within you to empower your obedience and transform you into the image of God’s Son. The Spirit also gave you a spiritual gift to enable you to serve in the way God planned. He gives a gift to every believer, and you are not an exception. If you’ve been born again, you have a spiritual gift, whether you realize it or not.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

What is a spiritual gift? The Greek term is charisma, which means a gift of divine grace freely given through no merit of our own but simply as an act of God’s favour toward us. It’s a special ability or empowerment so we can carry out the work God has called us to do. We don’t have to pray for it, and we don’t get to choose which one we want because the Spirit distributes them as He desires (1 Corinthians 12:11).

The lists of gifts are found in Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; and Ephesians 4:11. Our responsibility is to discover our gift and use it in serving God and each other. These gifts are not given to us for our own growth, enjoyment, and sense of satisfaction in the Lord. They are for the benefit of others in the church. Paul clearly teaches this in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” Having a spiritual gift is of little value if it’s never used in the church.

Rev. Dean Courtier



The Old Testament provides us with many names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals Him most fully. Jesus shocked the religious leaders of His day by claiming that He had a Father/Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce.

Jesus invited His followers to call God “Father,” He made this name the primary name by which God is to be known to His followers. That’s why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, “Our Father who art in Heaven”.

The Old Testament usually depicts God not as the Father of individuals but as Father to His people, Israel. Pious Jews, aware of the gap between a holy God and sinful human beings, would never have dared address God as Ab (Hebrew) or Abba, the Aramaic word for “Daddy,” which gradually came to mean “dear father.” Rather than depicting God as a typical Middle Eastern patriarch who wielded considerable power within the family, Jesus depicted Him as a tender and compassionate father, who extends grace to both the sinner and the self-righteous.

The most frequent term for “father” in the New Testament was the Greek word pater. The first recorded words of Jesus, spoken to His earthly parents, are these: “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). In John’s gospel, Jesus calls God His Father 156 times. The expression “Abba, Pater” is found three times in the New Testament, all in prayer. It is the form Jesus used in His anguished cry in Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)

Today: Praise God for His generous, fatherly love; Give thanks that God is your King and Lord and Father; and ask God to reveal Himself as Father.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Let the children come

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matthew 19:13-14)

We have to take care of our children. In a day and age when there are all sorts of assaults on our kids, it is not enough to stand with our children and dedicate them to God when they’re infants. Yes, it’s a blessing to have them begin their lives with people praying over them and joined by others who will stand with them at a baby dedication and commit to intercede for these children throughout their lives. But that’s not enough, for there are so many negative influences in our world today vying for the attention of our children and young people. Even in the apparent safety of their own homes, young people are being lured into all kinds of dangerous things through the Internet and ever-increasing forms of social media that enable kids to keep one step ahead of vigilant parents and guardians.

Children are a gift from God, and Jesus loves them even more than we, as parents, could ever love them. He demonstrated this when he was on this earth and didn’t allow others to just brush them aside as if they were of little importance. The Bible says that we have the mind of Christ, so we too – as parents and guardians and aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers and Sunday school teachers and, even, as neighbours – have to have the same concern for the children that Jesus had. We have a responsibility to know Jesus better every day, for their sake; we have to talk like Jesus and act like Jesus, so we can be an example for our children every day. And if don’t have direct responsibility for a child, we can always pray for the children we know and ask the Lord to bless their mums and dads and others who may have an impact on their lives.

Then, as we intercede – not as a one-time dedication prayer, but throughout the lives of our children – we will be able to rest and trust God for them.

We’ll be able to believe for great things for our children and for the children around us, trusting that they will have a wonderful testimony of the power of intercessory prayer over their young lives.

Rev. Dean Courtier


What defines you?

From birth and throughout life, we are defined in little boxes on forms by our origin, address, education, experience, bank account, credit score, employer, friends, race, ethnicity and religion. We are labelled one thing or another: educated or uneducated, responsible or reckless, qualified or inexperienced, young or old, shy or outgoing, too much or not enough.

Do you allow the names you, or others call you to define you? We can allow the labels that others place on us to define us. We can allow words and labels to limit us. A teacher, parent, colleague or ex can call us stupid, loser, fat, ugly or hopeless, and those labels can stick to us, hurt us and damage us because we begin to believe them.

Do you dwell on the labels other people have given you? Do you keep hurtful names in your heart and mind? Words and labels can hurt as much as sticks and stones can bruise and damage our bodies. If we believe them, and use them on ourselves, we can be brought to our knees and stopped in our tracks so that we don’t pursue the purpose God has had in mind for us from the beginning of time.

Are you ignoring the promises of God about you? Are you missing God’s truth about who you are and what you were created to do? Is there is a fight between your heart and your head? The best advice I can give you is pick up your Bible and remind yourself of what the Word of God says. The truth of God’s Word will last forever, do not dwell on circumstances that will change and fade. Say with the Psalmist, “Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:5).

It is God’s Word and God’s promises that empowers us to ‘Dare to be Different’ and to move forward and become the people God has called us to be. Listen to His voice and trust Him.

Rev. Dean Courtier


God does not always choose our first choice

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When the Prophet Samuel saw Eliab the eldest son of Jesse he assumed that He was the one chosen to be the next king of Israel based on his external appearance. The only problem was that although he looked to be the best choice he was not Gods first choice. So often we can make the same mistake. We think if someone is talented or gifted or smart or eloquent they must be the one whom God has chosen. More often than not we think everyone is a better choice than we would be.

God has always chosen those that no one else would choose so that His glory can shine through him or her. God sees possibility when no one else does. God sees potential where no one else does. God sees faithfulness when no one else does. God sees loyalty when no one else does.

God always sees more in us than we see in ourselves. He sees a king when everyone else sees a shepherd boy. If you feel overlooked or forgotten by man, know that God sees you. God has chosen and called you. Will you respond to that call today?

Have you ever felt that God could not use you because of your own limitations? Make a list of all of the strengths that God has given you and tell him you are ready to be used by Him!

Rev. Dean Courtier


Justified by Faith

The central theme in the books of Galatians and Romans is justification by faith. When Paul wrote these books, many early believers were emerging from a religious practice where righteousness was earned through adherence to the law. Paul stated justification by faith and justification by keeping the law are mutually exclusive. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection covered the law so that only the believer’s faith is required. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:13-14).

Believers are free from the law as a means of salvation, from its external ceremonial regulations as a way of living, and from its curse for disobedience to the law—a curse that Christ bore for all believers. This freedom is not, however, a license to sin. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)

When a person is convicted of a capital crime and executed, the law has no further claim on that person. It is the same with the believer who has died in Christ (who paid the penalty for the believer’s sins in full) and rises to new life in Him—justice has been satisfied and the believer is forever free from any further penalty. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

When a person trusts in Christ for salvation, that person spiritually participates with the Lord in His crucifixion and His victory over sin and death. The believer’s old self is dead, having been crucified with Christ. The believer’s new self has the privilege of the indwelling Christ empowering and living through them. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9).

The crucifixion of Christ was a one-time historical fact with continuing results into eternity. Christ’s sacrificial death provides eternal payment for all believers’ sins, and does not need to be supplemented by any human works. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:23-25).

Rev. Dean Courtier


A different Hope and Victory

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. (Matthew 28:6)

In three days Jesus’ followers went from heartbroken sadness to triumphant jubilation. The cross had screamed, “The End,” making them feel hopeless and helpless. But the resurrection shouted, “The Beginning,” bringing confidence and courage. The cloud of doubt and despair that had shrouded them melted away and was replaced with unshakeable faith.

Can you imagine how they felt when they realised Jesus had risen from the dead? Suddenly hope came alive; everything He had said was validated as truth. They had not believed a lie. His victory over death was a reality that proved Jesus was the Messiah.

We remember Jesus’ death on the cross with solemnity, but the resurrection calls for thunderous applause, praise, and song:
“Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.” Charles Wesley

All the blessings that come our way through the Saviour’s cross are confirmed by the resurrection. It proved that the Father was satisfied with the Son’s payment for our sins. Now we can know that our transgressions are forgiven and we’re eternally secure.

What’s more, Jesus promises that we, too, will be resurrected and given new bodies. Physical death could not hold Him, nor will it overpower us. Because Jesus overcame the grave, His followers have the same kind of life He has — eternal and indestructible.As Christians, we have the right to celebrate Easter with great rejoicing. Because of this event, our lives have been forever changed. We’ve been transformed and given new life. With faith,we trust the Bible because Christ’s power over the grave proves He can and will fulfil every word.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Are you afraid of talking about your faith?

Few people enjoy conflict. We want to get along with others, it is much easier to stick to topics where we can agree, or at least pretend to agree. Does the fear of offending someone keep you from saying anything about your faith? The truth is, you might offend people. Some might take offense at their need for a Saviour or to accept Jesus as Lord. Jesus said people will be angry at His message (Luke 21:12-19). If concern for keeping things pleasant stops you from talking about Jesus, you need to examine your priorities:

Choosing comfort over JESUS. Jesus commanded us to tell people about Him (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Jesus traded the comfort of Heaven for the brutal death of a criminal all for your sake, to exchange the eternal punishment you deserved for forgiveness and eternal life. Will you ignore His command and His sacrifice for your comfort? “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33.

Choosing comfort over LOVE. It’s funny we are afraid to tell people about Jesus, because it is the most important and awesome information anyone could ever hear. Penn Jillette, a famous atheist, once said, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” We should be sensitive to another person’s thoughts and feelings, but it comes back to being motivated by love and filled with the Holy Spirit. Listen well and meet them where they are rather than deliver a faceless, one-size-fits-all gospel message.

Choosing comfort over YOURSELF. You’re not going to experience God moving through you if you aren’t willing to step into the current of what He is doing. Look where God is at work and join Him! God is about rescuing the lost, and if we want to be a part of this story (what we were made for), we need to participate.

If you have looked at those things and put comfort aside for the greater cause, is it still possible to get it wrong? (Matthew 7:22-23). We can serve God relentlessly but never know Him. Living “for” God involves hard work and sacrifice, but God cares more about a loving relationship with Him than simply what He can get out of us. Don’t forget, He doesn’t need us at all (Matthew 3:9).

May I encourage you to dare to ask a friend or family member, “could we sit down and chat about your thoughts and experiences about spiritual stuff? I’d like to share mine with you as well.” When you have that conversation, be ready to ask good questions and listen well. Then, tell them your story and in love include how the Bible says they can know God personally.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Adopted into God's Family

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

Motherhood was not easy for Mary. Mary was young and inexperienced. Her baby was born far from home in difficult and dangerous surroundings. When Jesus was only a few days old, Mary took Him to the temple and Simeon’s prophecy for His future was both ominous and exciting. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul, then Mary had to live as a refugee in a foreign land because the King wanted to kill her child.

Jesus was different as a child, at the age of 12 He discussed theology. When Jesus was older and His peers were getting married and having children, Jesus did not. Thirty-something, single and still living at home. His public ministry alienated Him from His family and the religious leaders.

Mary had to learn to put her own feelings to one side to support Jesus in His mission. Mary suffered as she watched her son die a painful death on the Cross. For a Jew there was no more shameful way to die than on a cross. Men were crucified naked, something the Jews found shameful, yet Mary was there, supporting her son, no doubt with many emotions and thoughts racing around.

Jesus endured the suffering of the cross and was watched by those who loved Him. When we suffer, we concentrate on ourselves, Jesus didn’t. Even in pain on the cross He thought of others. All those who He would die for and also two people in front of Him.

Jesus asked Mary to adopt John as her son, and John to adopt Mary as his mother. They obeyed and John took Mary into his home. Through the death of Jesus new relationships are created. God has adopted us to be His children and to be part of His new, world wide family. The death of Christ is the moment of the birth of the church. Christ enters in to the reality of human suffering and makes life and love possible. Jesus conquered sin, injustice, violence, hatred and death on the cross through love. This is the foundation upon which His family, the Church is built upon. The church is a family in which we are all to care for one another.

On this Mothering Sunday, as we thank our mothers for all that they have meant to us, let’s also remember there is a wider family to which we belong. To the members of this family Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13.34)

Rev. Dean Courtier


Chosen Children

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:14-18)

On an average day, do you tend to think of yourself as a child of God? How often do you think of yourself as an heir of God? It’s not usually the first thing that comes to mind as we consider the blessings that are ours when we accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. Perhaps this is because we don’t really know what it means to be God’s heir. Nor can we begin to comprehend what awaits us in eternity or when that will be.

Being an heir is usually associated with family ties, and the same is true of our relationship to God. When we were born again by His Spirit, we became His adopted children, and as such, we are heirs along with Christ. In Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called “the firstborn of all creation.” In the ancient world, the firstborn son had a place of prominence in the family and was the chief heir of all that his father owned. In the same way, Jesus Christ holds the position of firstborn and is the heir of all creation.

What’s truly amazing is that He has promised to share His inheritance with us. When He returns in glory to take up His rightful place as King of Kings on earth, we will rule with Him, under His authority (Revelation 2:26-27). The Christian life is filled with undeserved favour. What we experience now of God’s grace is only the tip of the iceberg.

Realizing all that Christ has done and will do for His followers should prompt us to live for Him today. The Holy Spirit dwells within us, empowering us to put to death our fleshly desires and to follow God in obedience, even when it’s costly. Anything we suffer here for Christ’s sake is insignificant compared to the glory that awaits us.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Different Courage

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

At some point in our lives, we all face difficult situations: poor health, financial problems, the loss of a loved one, or uncertainty about the future. We may be afraid of failure or feel inadequate for a particular task or challenge but, whatever our fears may be God is always with us.

Courage is the quality of mind or spirit which enables us to meet the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness. God’s promises empower us to walk courageously through every challenge. Our courage as believers comes from our relationship to Father God through His Son. God is living within us through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Whatever fearful situations we face, we are not alone. Instead of looking at the circumstances, we must look up to our Lord who is always faithful. We need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and do what He commands in His Word, not in our own strength but with the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Word is the key to different courage, we need to know, believe and apply what God has said in His Word: Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8).

By meditating on His Word, we acknowledge we need His help because we’re not smart enough or strong enough to direct our own lives. When we do what our Lord and Saviour says, He will enable us to live in accordance with His will and plan for us. Dare to make time for the Lord and His Word in your daily schedule.

Rev. Dean Courtier


What difference shines in your life?

Each of us has been uniquely created, God’s plans for each of us are individually crafted as well. One thing that is common in His plan for you and for me is that God intends for our lives to make a difference.

If I asked you to write in one sentence how your life is making a difference in the lives of others, what would you say? The truth is we all affect family, friends or colleagues in some way. What do your lifestyle, words, and attitudes communicate to those around you?

Does your life reflect the difference God expects from a disciple of Jesus? You have an opportunity to impact the lives of others, are you shining in a way that brings glory and honour to God? God is holy and we should be reflecting His righteousness in the way we live.

Jesus said: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

You are the light of the world, this is a fact based on your relationship with Christ. All who belong to Christ, believe God’s Word, and are indwelt by His Spirit are part of the light.

You are the light because Jesus, the true Light, lives within you through His Spirit. His life is manifest in your words and actions, let His light shine forth by living in a way that glorifies Him.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you, to bring others to Jesus. Those who watch you should see you are dare to be different because God is working in and through you.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Fix your Focus on God

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT)

Some people are convinced they have problems that are too big for God to handle. They seem to have either more faith in their own inability than they do in God’s ability or more faith in the problem than they do in God. If we focus on the problem and let it consume our attention, we will have faith in the problem to defeat us instead of looking to God who is the solution. But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory... because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.(1 John 4:4 NLT).

We have a choice in what we focus our attention on, we must look to Jesus and His finished work on the cross, instead of looking at our problems. Jesus took our sins on Himself when He hung on the cross. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT).

No matter how urgent the problem may seem, God’s answer for you is to look up and focus on God’s provision, Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7). Have faith in God! God is bigger than any problem we face and can deliver us from any situation, no matter how bad it is, Jesus has promised: “my Father is more powerful than anyone else.” (John 10:29).

Dare to fix your focus on God. Focus on how good God is, His goodness is more than enough. Instead of looking at what you lack, look at all God has already done and remember He is your Father and loves you. Focus on Jesus and His ability and He will carry you through to victory.

Rev. Dean Courtier


Action not just words

Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, He said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (John 2:7-10)

It’s a simple fact that actions can speak louder than words. We can say we care, but that’s hard to believe if we never dare to help, to listen or to serve.

At this early point in Jesus’ ministry, now His actions would start to reinforce the truth that He is the Son of God. Yet what an interesting first miracle Jesus chose to perform!

Consider the setting: a wedding reception as opposed to a life-or-death situation. Consider the need — or was it more of a want? The wine was running low. And Jesus — fully God, fully man — acted. It was not a crisis or an emergency or a necessity, yet Jesus showed His concern. He was concerned enough to act, yet He kept His involvement low profile. The servants and His mother knew the source of the wine. The master of the banquet and the bridegroom might not even have known the wine was running low.

Do you know that Jesus is paying attention to the details of your life? His actions speak louder than words. Jesus constantly shows He cares about the details of our lives.

May we never miss seeing His acts of love. Watch and see what He will do!

Rev. Dean Courtier


The Coming King

The Christmas season is full of activity. Sometimes we can be so busy with the shopping and celebrating that we miss the real reason for the season. Christmas is a time to celebrate both the past and the future, we remember when Jesus came into this world 2000 years ago, born as a baby, fully human and also fully God.

Christmas helps us to remember and celebrate the amazing truth of John 3:16-17, “This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

In the birth of Jesus, God declares you and I are worth something significant to Him, Father God declares His love for us and His willingness to save us from our sin. God loves you and me so much that He was willing to be incarnated, to come to earth, so that He could save us from our sin, He came to rescue us, and when we place our trust in Jesus we are saved.

There is Hope Found Here, this is the Gospel, this is the good news, this is the reason for Christmas, Christ Jesus came into this world, Immanuel, God with us, to save us from our sin. Jesus came, lived a perfect life, suffered a cruel death on a cross, carried the punishment of your sins and mine, rose triumphant from the grave, ascended into Heaven, and one day He will return.

Christmas reminds us Jesus has come, and He is coming again. His return is good news for those who have trusted in Him as Lord and Saviour. Good news for those who have already repented and turned from their sins. Good news for those who are living as disciples of Jesus. Good news for those whose destiny is to spend eternity with God.

God has come to be with you! Jesus has come to rescue you and save you from your sin. His love, His grace, His mercy, His saving power, is available to you today if you trust in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Rev. Dean Courtier