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"Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and guard it" (Luke 11:28). They are like a soldier/watchman on duty, who makes sure it's not snatched away by doubt ,or anything else. Those who hear and keep guard are the happy ones.
"And because of his glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature ... "(2 Peter 1:4).
"Those who bind to/twist in with, like threads of a cord/stretch towards/look eagerly for the Lord, shall be changed/sprout anew their strength." Is. 40:28
Hear the Word of the Lord. Don’t trust in your own preconceived ideas about things. Seek the Lord and what He has to say about things.
It’s easy to wave a palm branch and say "Jesus you are the king." The Hebrews found that easy enough. When things are going well it can be easy for us as well, to say, "Jesus be my King. Jesus You are my ruler. Rule over me". But who is He to us when things are tough, when someone dies? Is He still our Lord, our love, our saviour?
You want to love your wife like Christ loves the church? Then empower her to use the gifts God has given her. This is what Christ did when he lay down His life for the church. He said if He didn't go, the Holy Spirt wouldn't come. He died to empower His beloved.
A husband is not supposed to take the place of Christ in his household, but to be like Christ to his wife. When a man thinks he is the leader of his household and his wife, and doesn't recognise the role his wife has as a joint heir with Christ, and a co-worker with him, he is alone and in need of help, and more than this, he is robbing her of her glory and filled up with pride. Without her glory he is likely to look elsewhere. The husband serves her by laying down his life for her, and she yields to him, while to the Lord, not instead of the Lord. The Lord is still her leader as the Lord is her husbands leader. He needs her eyes, her tools and her head. How can a wife respect her husband if he denies her, her God given role of helping him, using whatever gifts the Holy Spirit gives to her? The kind of help she can be in their marriage is in the original Hebrew word for helper which is made from an eye, a plough/cutter, and a head. She is given to him as one who stands opposite him like the front of him.
What do you want, rules or relationship? The generation of those who wanted a set of laws to do, rather than coming into the presence of God, were given them, but they missed the promised land, and their children were left with the laws to do. Laws that showed them they fell far short of the glory of God. These laws became their guardian until Christ (Galatians 3:24).
Jesus isn't standing over people with a stick, dictating at them. His discipline is like the Hebrew word for discipline, which is like staking a tree to a post. He is the post (In Amos 7 Jesus is called the plumbline). It means to be entwined together like threads in a rope, bandaged and bound. The Lord's discipline means He entwines us to Himself, binds us with ropes of love and bandages our wounds. Don't you want that kind of discipline? It is different from the way the world often views discipline. Sometimes when people use the word, or meter it out, it sounds more like punishment for wrong doing. Bound to Jesus, going with Him, walking together, that's the best Christian meaning. God is our father and wants us close. Relationship. It's always been about relationship.
We can make others feet dirty, do nothing, or make them clean.
"Then, after washing their feet and putting on his robe again, he took his seat and said to them, Do you see what I have done to you? ... If then I, the Lord and the Master, have made your feet clean, it is right for you to make one another’s feet clean."
There are many ways God shows us He loves us. Today, being Valentines day, He wants you to know that you are His sweetheart.
It is good to meditate on the Scriptures, but we should also seek to be led by the Spirit of God, so that we eat fresh bread, and have the right word for the situation - so we don't by-pass a relationship with God. The Holy Spirit will often remind us of a Scripture, then it is the Word of God for us at that time. It is His voice we should be listening out for, as we read or study Scripture. The Scriptures point to Jesus, like the prophet who prepared the way. The Holy Spirit is not limited to using the Scriptures. He leads and teaches us in many ways. Some legalistically follow preferred verses of Scripture, and prefered versions, but do they know the Holy Spirit leading? Do they know the power of God who is in them? When Jesus comes again will He say to them, "Why do you want to be with me now? You know my name, but do you know who I am? I don't know you. You aren't close to me."
We can do things in Jesus name and claim the glory, or we can recognize Jesus working through us and give Him the glory. We can think of ourselves as representing Him from a distance and He will agree that we are far from Him.Do you know Jesus? Jesus declared He is Lord when he said, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!"
He is YHWH - The 'I Am' of the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the Lord who is coming again.
In Exodus 3:15 God tells Moses (YHWH) is the Lord. "This is my name forever. Remember this from generation to generation." This is the same Lord who wants to dwell in us.
"All God-breathed writings are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, in order that the man of God may be complete for every good work having been fully equipped.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit, ενκρατεια means in strength, in dominion, in power. It's made of two words, εν - in, on, among and κρατος - strength, power, dominion. We have translated it SELF-control (Galatians 5:22-23). How awful! It should be "in the strength" of the Holy Spirit, in His power. Surely this means walking in power! If you walk in the Spirit you won't gratify selfish desires. Your focus will be eleswhere.
The fruit of His presence is present in the present.
Ever wonder why so much is hidden from us, why God hides Himself from us? Perhaps it's because we cannot cope with seeing Him as He is. He is so gifted, so Holy, so powerful, so beautiful, so deep ... His love for us is an ache that would consume us, bowl us over if we saw or felt the fullness of it. His passion for us would burn us like fire if we saw the fullness of it. Jesus stands in the gap as a human so we can experience God in a way we can cope with and yet sometimes our small mindedness makes us want to run from Him, or make Him as small as we are.
When we accept Christ as King, we are in the world and in the Kingdom of God, which is growing and not of this world. Let's build for the next generation, not just our own.
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world/universe. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36).
None of us are above falling foul of the crafty spirit of the anti-christ, so don't be afraid or critical of others if you think they have. Don't tear them down. The tares grow up with the wheat. Pray for them.
Pride - satan magnifies himself above all things. Magnify Jesus. If we think we are above falling foul of pride -we have already done so. Satan wants us to think our ministry is a special one - more special than others in the body. Satan also wants us to think we are above being corrected by each other. The scripture says "Submit yourselves one to another." This means listening to one another. This doesn't mean blindly trusting what others say. No-one is above needing to listen to others, but listen to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say through them and test what is said by the scriptures and the character of God. We are human vessels trying to share spiritual things and language is limited. We don't get it right all the time - only Jesus does. That's why we need each other. That's why we are a body. We love and care for our body. We correct in humility knowing we are subject to the same frailty. It's particularly important for those of us, who think we have a message from God, that we allow it to be tested by others in the body so that what is true and what is not can be discerned and don't forget to submit it to Jesus too and be prepared to let it go if it's not from Him. Even God is open to reason. Look at the times people have reasoned with Him and what the outcome has been. He wants honest communication. He listens to us and wants us to listen to Him too.
"Come let us reason together ..." Isaiah 1:18
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is ... reasonable." James 3:17
Where is your gaze?
False or True? What to do.
If you see or hear any prophet or leader you think is heading down the wrong path, pray for them; intercede for them. It is easy for anyone to fall foul of the same evil they start out binding or discerning. If you discover you are/were that prophet, then it's not too late to turn around. Sometimes you end up in the muddy waters but this can give you insight and wisdom on how to help others who are drowning in the same ones.
"And some of those among the people who instruct them shall fall, to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed." Daniel 11:35
Be aware that there are many end time views. Eat fresh bread each day, not last weeks bread and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paul faced many trials and told us not to be surprised if we do too, so don't let anything you face rob you of your bold confidence in God's unfailing love.
Remember we need each other's gifts to grow up into Christ. The apostle Paul said we see in part and should listen to one another. The early church checked out the Old Testament to understand what was happening. We can still do that today, plus we have some of what they discovered in the New Testament. Don't forsake the reading of it. Timothy was encouraged to keep reading it.
Until I come, be devoted (apply the mind to, be occupied with, be addicted to, engage in,) to the reading of Scripture, to the exhortation, to the teaching.1Tim. 4:13
If you believe God has revealed some disaster that's about to happen, you can intercede for those who will be affected and pray that God will have mercy and stop it. Better to do that than try to make a name for yourself as a prophet by wanting the disaster to happen so everyone knows you're a prophet.
Some aspects of love only grow in suffering - e.g. how do you think you get to exhibit long suffering or patience?
We can sing and pray together, eat a meal together and worship together, but is there love among us? Is love visible to all? What would it look like if it was; God in our midst? The Scriptures tell us God is love. Whose glasses are we wearing when we critisize other's in our church or other churches?
Room in your inn
The manger is now empty but the light still shines. It shines through multi-coloured clothing of people decorated in the Christmas blessing, easy to miss if you are expecting to see it the way you want to see it. This was a first century problem and still is a problem today ... and Jesus has forewarned us. On the day when all see Him as Lord everyone will say, "when did we see You?" (Matthew 25) There are times when we all fail to see His light; to see Him as He really is.
It is time to wave the palms; to welcome and acknowledge Jesus' place. He is Lord. His life was and is a gift of great worth. Accept His life and celebrate with Him this Christmas. His life is still a gift born in the manger of human lives willing to accept Him. His life is still light to the world and light to our path. If you have this light, share what you have been given.
Gifts are one way we celebrate Christmas. Is there room in your life for the best gifts? Is there room in your church to open them? Is there love in your heart to let the light shine even in the dark places of the world?
"Sing a new song"
How many times has the Lord said "Sing a new song" and you complain. You want to sing the songs you know and like. You older ones, did you sing nursery rhymes to your children? Why then do you dig your feet in and complain about singing songs that others in your congregation like? Do you want all the younger ones to have to wait until all the older ones die out before they can enjoy a "new song" like those who waited for the promised land? Love considered others. You younger ones, the scripture doesn't say "sing new songs" but "sing a new song." One new song each service is more than enough, maybe too much for people to learn it and enjoy it. Let there be songs for all to sing and let us be aware that everyone likes to sing songs they know. We are in this together...or we should be. Should we cater to our own selfishness?Psalm 96:1-13 "Oh sing to the Lord a new song"
Psalm 98:1 "Oh sing to the Lord a new song."
Psalm 40:3 "He put a new song in my mouth"
Isaiah 42:10 "Sing to the Lord a new song"
Psalm 144:9 "I will sing a new song to you, O God"
Be open and upfront about the problems in your church. Don't back away from them or hide them. Talk about them before everyone so that an undercurrent of criticism is not encouraged.
"Seek my voice
What do you go to church to hear; the minister or lay preacher? a visiting speaker? a famous preacher? God wants you to go to church to hear His voice.
"What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you." Luke 7
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power (1 Corinthians 2:4)."
"Let Jesus lead " 29/10/13Is Jesus standing at the door of your church knocking because you have made your way of worshiping a tradition, or something else your leader?
Let Him in and give Him the place of honour. Let Jesus lead His Church for He is the head.
If Jesus came in singing and dancing would you tell him to be quiet?
If Jesus came in hungry or homeless would you give him the resources He needed?
If Jesus wanted to interrupt your sermon or your liturgy, would you listen to Him or is there no room in your inn?
When Jesus spoke of the "gathering" He didn't talk of outward things, not even a building. He wanted his disciples to take their eyes off the beauty of the physical temple and look at Him. He wanted people to worship honestly, not just do and say what others say. Worship from your heart. This doesn't mean never using prepared written words. David wrote words down to be read and sung formally like liturgy. It is what's going on in your heart when you read prayers or psalms or sing songs. Truth, worship truthfully in the Truth. Jesus told his disciples He was in the midst of those who gathered in His name. This is what is important. The church or gathering is a living building of people with their eyes on Jesus.
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Revelation 3 14-21
Check out 1 Peter 2:5 and Matthew 18:20