Malcolm’s Magic Moments: 31st August 2019

“Open Your Eyes – God is Amazing!”

Podcast Version of the Newsletter

The Feast Is Free

This time last year I was regretting not having done some blackberry picking. The area in which we live is blessed with many blackberry bushes. In order to harvest this free food, all we need to do is walk out of our house turn left, left again and we are confronted with bush after bush bearing beautiful fruit.

This year I decided not to pass up such a good opportunity.

When Ben Dannatt rang me yesterday for our weekly discipling phone call, I grabbed two plastic bags and my airpods. Whilst we talked about many and various deep spiritual issues I picked two bags of blackberries. They are now washed and cooked. Some in the fridge for festooning my breakfast porridge. Some in the freezer for a taste of summer when winter comes. How sad it would have been to miss out on this free food!

There’s a line in song we sometimes sing, “shall they starve and famish while a feast is free?”.  I wonder how often I, and many of us, miss out on the richness of God’s offerings for us. Are you making the most of prayer, God’s word and spiritual disciplines? It’s all free!  Just open your eyes – God is amazing!

Penny and I took a few days away for our 34th wedding anniversary and spent most of the time in gardens and walking country footpaths.

The glorious riches of God’s creation were all around us. Interesting birds, majestic trees, impressive shrubs, beautiful and, on occasion, rather strange flowers! Not to mention the insects, cloud formations, butterflies and other wildlife.  Open your eyes – God is amazing.

Whether you’ve got blackberries to pick, or not, I pray that this week you find plenty of opportunity to make the most of what God has provided by his grace, love and power of the Spirit.  Let me know what helps you to be reminded that God is amazing.

The podcast summary contains a reminder of what’s been posted on my site this week. I.e. the usual TTT, SS & QTC. To watch/listen to any posts, just head over the the website.


Prayer request

I have a very interesting meeting coming up this Sunday 1st September. I shall be meeting with a number of people from the Thames Valley churches of Christ to discuss how my role might shift given the changing needs of the church.

The balance of my “doing” things as opposed to training people needs to shift more in the direction of training, in my opinion. Please pray that God gives us wisdom to see in which areas I can be the most helpful to his glory and encouragement of the church.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

The Sunday Sample, Episode 98: “Heaven is the Homeland of Music”

From “For the Audience of One” by Mike Pilavachi and Craig Borlase, this quote:

“Heaven is revealed to earth as the homeland of music.”

Christina Rossetti

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:    “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.””

(Revelation 5:6–10 NIV11)

The vision of the Lamb and the loving power of this sacrifice makes heavenly creatures and elders burst into song.

Let’s bring this vision to our collective worship the next time you gather with fellow-worshippers. No boredom here! No meaningless repetition. Just an outpouring of grateful praise.

How might you engender this attitude at your next gathering?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 103. “Father God as Rescuer”

Today we explore the topic of Father God as ‘rescuer’. What comes to your mind when you think of a rescuer?

These podcasts are my attempts to think through how to have a deeper walk with God. To enjoy more satisfying and meaningful times of quiet with him. As I explore topics on these recordings I hope they help you, and that you can reflect back what you are learning so that we can all grow and learn together.

The reason Father God as rescuer is on my mind is because I am reading my friend Andy Boakye’s book: “Death and Life”. His explanation of the connection between the Exodus (as well as the return from exile) and the new life offered by God through Jesus as detailed in Galatians has been inspiring me. I will preach on the following passage this Sunday 1st September 2019 for the Watford church of Christ.

I’ll share a few thoughts here today, and then I’d love your ideas too.

“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me. To the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

(Galatians 1:1–5 NIV11)

Father God is the one who’s will led to our rescue. I plan to explore this in discussion with the Watford church on Sunday. I will ask questions for discussion in small groups as well as asking people to write down their ideas.

Here are some of the preliminary questions – in draft form at the moment:

Complete the following sentences:

  1. “I have been rescued from…….in my past”
  2. “I have been rescued from…….in my present”
  3. “I have been rescued from…….in my future”
  4. “I have been rescued from…….in my eternity”

Discuss the following questions: 

  • How does it feel to be rescued?
  • How does it feel to be the rescuer?
  • What is possible because we’ve been rescued?
  • From what specifically for yourself has God rescued you? How does this make you feel?

Make the following lists:

  • List examples of God as rescuer in the Old Testament.
  • List examples of God as rescuer in the New Testament.
  • Describe an example from your own life when you’ve been rescued from something by another human being or organisation.
  • Brainstorm a list of what a follower of Jesus is rescued from
  • Brainstorm a list of what a follower of Jesus is rescued for

How else might you explore the topic of ‘rescue’ and Father God as ‘rescuer’?

Please drop me a line – malcolm@malcolmcox.org. 

There’s more detail in the podcast on my thinking about this topic. Have a listen and leave your ideas in the comment box.

Why not pray about this topic today, or make it a theme for the week? Let me know what insight come your way.

The podcast finishes with the words of the song “Rescuer” by Rend Collective. The link to the lyrics is here.


Resources mentioned in the podcast: Lyrics to the song “Rescuer”; Andy’s Book; the Watford church of Christ


Scriptures referred to, or that you might find useful: Galatians 1.1-5; 1 Th. 1:10; Col 1.13; Exodus 18.10; Dan 6.27


Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 171: “Why Hard Learning Makes For Better Lessons”

  • Desirable difficulty is an established aid to learning
  • True for our hearers, but also ourselves as we prepare to speak.
  • Today we’ll focus on reading
  • Paul knew his Old Testament
  • And other writers…..
    • “‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (Acts 17:28 NIV11)
    • “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”” (Titus 1:12 NIV11)
  • Are we reading widely enough, and, just as importantly, material we find intellectually challenging?
    • Indeed, challenging enough to make us read slowly
  • I have a book like that at the moment: Andy Boakye’s book: “Death and Life”
    • I’m reading it slowly because I need to:
      • Re-read sentences
      • Check references
      • Put notes into Bible software
    • The benefits are many, but they include
      • New ideas
      • New connections
  • What reading is stretching you?
    • We need to know more than we’re saying

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample, Episode 97: “Songs With Stories”

Some songs have the most amazing stories behind them. If we shared them with our congregations, might we find greater engagement with the meaning of the songs?

Take the hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus”, as an example.

Written by Joseph Scriven in the 19th Century, it is a heartfelt cry of faith from a man who had seen more than his fair share of tragedy. His fiancee was accidentally drowned the day before their wedding. He moved from Ireland to Canada and lived as a broken man for many years.

Hearing of his mother’s illness he wrote the words of what we now know as this hymn to comfort her.  When you are aware of the story, these lyrics have more impact:

1. What a friend we have in Jesus, All ours sins and griefs to bear, What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

2. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour still our refuge; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there.

Do you have a favourite song story? Have you shared it in a time of corporate worship? What difference did it make? 

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 102. “Learning to Relax”

These podcasts are my attempts to think through how to have a deeper walk with God. To enjoy more satisfying and meaningful times of quiet with him. As I explore topics on these recordings I hope they help you, and that you can reflect back what you are learning so that we can all grow and learn together.

We continue our series today based on the book, “Unloading the Overload: Stress management for Christians” by Chris Powell and Graham Barker.

Today we explore the issue of learning to relax.

The Bible does not teach directly about “relaxing”. But, we are urged to “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Easier to say than to do. The key phrase is, “because he cares for you”. It requires some deliberate focus to be reminded of this and convinced of it.  If we can learn how to do this (to relax), it will have a profound impact on at times of quiet with God.

Here are some Scriptures which, if meditated upon, will help us to “relax”:

  • “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans 8:35.
  • “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10.
  • “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

Consider the example of Eliza’s servants (2 Kings 6:8-23). He needed to “relax” to be able to see the reality that was otherwise hidden from him, that God’s army was greater than that of the enemy.  Certainly Jesus seemed to be able to relax –  consider his attitude asleep in the boat whilst the storm raged (Luke 8.23).

Sure, the Christian life is not easy. We carry a cross (Luke 9:23). And Paul spoke of struggling for people on God’s behalf (Colossians 1:29). The key is that it is God’s energy which empowers us. How do we access this power?

How do we become aware of it and our need for it? It’s got something to do with relaxing.

Spiritual relaxing is a skill which can be learned. I have grown in this area by utilising the resources mentioned below. I won’t go into them in detail now, but bear in mind that awareness can be cultivated and learned. I would encourage you to have a look at the apps and resources below and to experiment with them to see what might help you.

To quote from the book:

“While the Bible does not directly say anything about relaxation, it does encourage us, at a number of points, to learn to “let go”. We are to let go of anxieties; we are to let go of activity and noise, in order to know that God is present; and we are to let go of the sense of carrying the Holyoke ourselves, and take on the yoga that is shared with Jesus-a yoke that is easy, involving a burden that is light. All of these injunctions have a relationship with the concept of relaxing and trusting in God’s faithful presence in our lives.” p86

What have you done which helps you to ‘spiritually relax’?  Please report back if you try any of the resources mentioned below. 


Resources mentioned in the podcast: Christian MindfulnessMind and SoulShaun LambertHeadspaceFeeling Good.


Scriptures referred to, or that you might find useful: Luke 8.23; 1 Peter 5.7; Romans 8.35;Matthew 11.28-30; 2 Kings 6.8-23; Luke 9.23; Colossians 1.29.


Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 170: “How to avoid the skills trap”

I was asked a very good question this week. 

“How can I avoid depending on my skills as a speaker, instead of on God?”

Any speaker worth their salt will be adding to their skills as training and experience take affect. Skills are not the problem as such, but the temptation to depend on them is real. What to do?

We began the discussion by considering how we might notice this tendency. Then we considered our best defence.

Here are the fruits of that conversation.

  1. Personal devotional times with God. These suffer when we’re in “I’m relying on my gifts” mode. How are your times of quiet with God? Are you learning, listening and growing?
  2. Telling or taking along? When we’re self-focussed the tendency is to start telling others what they should be doing rather than urging/inspiring them to help one another (including yourself as a speaker) to follow Christ. Are you telling, or taking your hearers along together with you as a family learning and growing together. 
  3. Frustration or compassion? We’re likely to get frustrated with our listeners when we’re operating out of our own strength rather than speaking from within God’s heart for people. Are you ticked off with your hearers, or are you filled with compassion for their weaknesses and hurts (as you know God is for you)?
  4. Welcoming feedback. We are not our own most objective judge. Other people provide valuable perspective on how we are coming across and what they see of the state of our heart. Do you have people in your life who can tell you when you’re straying down the self-reliance track – and to whom you will listen?

What is our best defence against self-reliance as a speaker?  My suggestion is to meditate on the meaning of these words:

“The preacher does not prepare the sermon. The sermon prepares the preacher.”

In other words, we are not ready to speak until the message is within us. Not until it has been lived by the teacher, is the teacher ready to tell others the truth he or she has been given.

For this reason, it’s vital to pick the topic/text well in advance. Let your subject be the focus of your thinking, prayer and study as you work through how to live its message. Then the message you bring will be the message you have lived. When the topic is truly in your heart (because it is in your life) it will be delivered faithfully, whether skilfully or not.

None of this is to decry the significance of speaking skills. if we cannot speak clearly, with well-organised thought, we will confuse and frustrate our hearers. Instead, let’s marry skill and faith into a powerful package that God can use to deliver his truth to receptive hearts.

This week’s questions:

“What do you do to avoid the challenge of self-dependance as a speaker?” “How do you know you’re off-track?”

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample, Episode 96: “The right song in the ‘wrong’ place”

Have you ever selected a song for a time of worship that was the right song, but in the wrong place?

By the way, it’s just a  short episode this week, because my daughter is getting married on Saturday!

Let me report on something which happened at church today. I asked one of our worship team to select the songs this week (it’s always good to get different people to select from time to time, but that’s for another episode).

On this occasion it was Wale. One of the songs he picked was, “sanctuary”. A reflective, devotional song.  He placed it just before the sermon – the part of the service when we normally get people to sing more energetically before they sit down to listen for 30 minutes or so. I asked him why he had selected a more reflective song and he said that it was in hopes that it would help the congregation to prepare their hearts to receive the Word of God.

I really liked his thinking. I suggested that he explain this to the congregation when we sing the song. He did this on Sunday saying something along the lines of, 

“We normally sing a more upbeat song before the sermon, but today I thought we would sing this song because it’s about having the right heart with God, and we want to have the right heart as we listen to Ian preach in a few minutes.”

The congregation responded wholeheartedly, and I consider he made a brave and correct choice. It was the right song in the  ‘wrong’ place.

Have you ever selected an upbeat song where you would normally have a reflective song or vice versa? How did it go? What was your thinking, and, on reflection, did it work? Please let us know when you have defied expectation or tradition to good effect. We’d all love to try your ideas.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Wedding Fever”, “Malcolm’s Major Moments”

Week of 16th August 2019

The Joy and the Pain Flow Together

Our daughter is getting married on Saturday! Hence a short newsletter and sent ahead of normal schedule.

Just a couple of things to mention.

First of which is to reflect briefly on the companionship of joy and grief. Lydia our daughter has been staying with us for the last few weeks. She left the parental home for the final time yesterday lunchtime. Off she went to Bristol to make final preparations for the big day on Saturday.

My wife and I stood outside and waved until she was round the corner. Then I put on my walking shoes and went for a prayer walk. Boy did I need it! This time of my life is one of the most confusing ever. I’m delighted for her. She’s getting married, starting a new life, opening a new chapter, fulfilling her dreams and, indeed, mine. Yet.  The grief!

As I prayed down the country lane I told God that I felt as if part of me had been ripped away.  Never before have I felt such a mixture of elation and desperation. No doubt, God understands. Although it is not of the same order, Jesus fulfilling his destiny on the cross must have given our heavenly Father a tremendous sense of joyful anticipation for the good this would bring to humankind. Whilst at the same time, a powerful experience of the pain of loss.

Please pray for me and Penny as we process and embrace both the joy and the grief.

Secondly, and on a very different note, the value of community for refining focus. I’m blessed to be part of a wonderful ‘Apollos’ group. On our most recent Skype call one of the members, Toye, gave me some feedback on the project I’ve have mentioned elsewhere of a teaching day for the Watford church – coming up this November.  I’ve been struggling to fix on a topic. Toye suggested that before deciding on the topic it would be good to clarify the focus of the teaching day. In other words, who is it for? At least, primarily?

I was so glad for the input because I already knew that’s what I should do. But I needed to be asked the question such that then I would take action. And take action I did. I sent a WhatsApp to the Watford church, and then had a brief discussion on Sunday. We found the necessary clarity of the focus. Which is, by the way, that the Watford church would like it to be primarily of benefit to their friends of faith.  Do you have people in your life you can help you refine your focus? It’s something we need if we going to have the kind of impact that God has in mind for us.

Right. I’m off to do a few last-minute pre-wedding jobs. 

I hope my posts this week will help you to grow in your confidence of and enjoyment of your unfettered, unlimited, unconditional access to our great Father.
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Prayer request

Please pray that all will go well at the wedding. Especially, please pray that we can bond deeply with Bintesh and his immediate family. We look forward to paying them many a visit in Bristol over the years to come. If any of you know the Gujarati for “Congratulations to the bride and groom”, then please pass it on to me!
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Teaching Day Update

I’m continuing to consider the book of Colossians for the teaching day in November. Do you have any favourite commentaries or books on that Epistle?
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Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 101. “Access All Areas”

These podcasts are my attempts to think through how to have a deeper walk with God. To enjoy more satisfying and meaningful times of quiet with him. As I explore topics on these recordings I hope they help you, and that you can reflect back what you are learning so that we can all grow and learn together.

Today I’m in Buckinghamshire on one of my prayer walks and I’ve come across a sign.

The sign reads:

“This is a protected site under section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Trespass on this site is a criminal offence.”

The sign has a picture of a man with a red line across his body, indicating no admittance.

Underneath it continues:

“The Chequers Estate is monitored by security cameras. Thames Valley Police.”

What is going on here? I had found myself walking along a footpath crossing the borders of Chequers. For those of you who don’t know, Chequers is the location of the country residence of the British Prime Minister, currently Boris Johnson. This is where he might come to entertain heads of state or notable people visiting our country, perhaps wishing to do business or discuss diplomatic issues.

As you can imagine, with a sign like that on the tree, I’m not going down that track. I’m clearly not meant to be going beyond that point. I don’t want to test the sign of no admittance. I have no desire to be jumped upon by soldiers or police. It’s not the place for me.


One can understand why heads of state need a high level of security and protection. Seeing the sign reminded me that no such barriers exist between us and God. Ephesians 2.18:

“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18 NIV11)

I love the way that we have all three aspects of God in this verse. Through him (Christ) we have access to the Father by one Spirit. Christ, Father, Spirit.

It is because of their cooperative work that we have access to the Father. An access that we can’t buy, earn, or deserve.

We often feel separated from people who are prominent in our society, but there is no separation between us and the Father. What an amazing thought. We have access to Him at all times. The word “access” is in the present continuous tense in the Greek. It’s impossible for a believer to exist outside of God’s presence. We always have access to His presence no matter what’s going on.


Consider Hebrews 4.16:

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV11)

Access is always ours. We can approach the Father. We can go to him, we can speak to him. There’s no reason to believe that anything can stand in the way of unlimited, permanent access.

A commentary I read puts it this way:

“We have access because we are those who desire to walk with the Spirit, those with whom the Spirit has chosen to walk.” Warrington, “The Holy Spirit”, The Bible Speaks Today, p217.

The Spirit has decided, “I’m walking with you.” I’m in a field at the moment in Buckinghamshire, and the Spirit is walking with me! What a thought. I am walking with the Spirit right now at this very moment as I record this. The Spirit is with you as you listen to this today, or in 10 years down the line. We are walking together because he has chosen to walk with us despite his divine status and our lack of it.

The quote goes on:

“Despite his divine status, the Spirit is presented as undertaking a service for believers, resulting in their being presented to God in a superlative fashion; they are located in the very presence of God himself.” Warrington, “The Holy Spirit”, The Bible Speaks Today, p216.

When you pray, when you consciously enter the presence of God, when you spend that time of quiet with him, you are being presented to Him as one who deserves to be there. You are not approaching him in despair, not crawling in, nor walking backwards, or bowing low as if you have some kind of subservient position. You have the same position before God as Jesus. The Spirit presents us to God the Father in the same way Jesus is presented – as the one who is victorious, the one who is glorious, the one who is perfected. That’s the way we are presented.


How does that affect the way that you pray? How does that affect the way that you approach God? Let me know what these thoughts stir in you today.


I am glad I had that unplanned encounter with the sign today. It has made me grateful for the glorious access I have with God.

Scriptures referred to or you might find useful: Hebrews 4.16; Ephesians 2.18


Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John