Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes you read a piece of news and it stands out to you.
You know, beyond all the murder, death, kill we are presented with every day…

Apparently there is a small company called Algordanza based in the mountainous southeast of Switzerland, which uses the ashes of dead people to make diamonds as a permanent memento for their nearest and dearest.
For around about $10,000 NZD you can wear your loved one on some jewelry where ever you go.

The technology for making artificial diamonds was first pioneered by General Electric in the 1950s, and mirrors what happens naturally in the earth by subjecting carbon to huge pressure and temperature.

Pressure can do amazing things like turning what looks like basic carbon into a precious stone.
Pressure keeps your car tires up.
Pressure exists in your body as blood is pumped around.

But when many of us use the word ‘pressure’ it is used to express something bad in our lives.
We complain about being under too much pressure, or that we feel under pressure.
I personally think pressure can be good or bad...it is just having the right balance of it.

Just as too much pressure can be bad...too little, and nothing much seems to change.
Take the diamond example.
Add the right amount of pressure and you get a diamond.
Add too little pressure and all you get is a lump of coal.

I think it is normal to have some pressure in your life.
Pressure will actually help grow you, help mould you, help make you the person God planned for you to be.
The Bible uses phrases that reflect this regularly.
Phrases like perseverance doing its work, being blessed when we persevere, that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Don’t panic...it is not all bad so to speak.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (message) says
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

So when you next face some pressure check it out. It may not be all bad...
Pressure in the right amount is good for you. It will change your life for the better.

Trust that God has your life in his hand and he will lead you and grow you.

Something to think about...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I have been thinking this week about something I read.
I actually read it many years ago as well and decided to give it a go...

This is it…

Romans 12:20
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

For me, it is two parts.
The first being the challenge to do the opposite of what we would normally want to do.
The opposite of what our flesh screams out to do.
The concept of doing good to someone who is doing something bad to you.
It is in fact finding a way to meet an enemies need, even when you think they don’t deserve it.

When you think about it...it is kind of like a ‘Jesus’ thing to do…
When you think of his life, you see him doing good all the time.
It didn’t matter what people said or did, he stayed focused on what he was here to do.
Even the events leading up to him being crucified, echoed these values...

Acts 10:38 says
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

The second part is what intrigues me the most about this scripture.
What is this heaping burning coals thing?
And what does it do?

It is a picture.
It is a spiritual response to what you do to your enemy.
Imagine having these burning coals on your head...
It would hurt. It would make you think about why you had them there.
Coals like this were a picture in the Word of cleansing.
Doing good to your enemy puts them in a spiritual position for God to cleanse them.
For God to fix them or the situation.

God promises to look after us.
To avenge us if we need avenged.
This passage is reminding us to do what is right.
To let God sort it out.To trust he is in control.
Because when we do...it is way more powerful and effective!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I worked out recently that I have now heard over 1000 sermons…
Now you may be wondering why I would even try to figure that out, but I was curious.

I wanted to know.

It reminds me that we can hear lots about God.
We can hear lots about what God can do in our lives.
And we can hear lots about what our response can be.

In fact we can spend a lifetime ‘hearing’.
Now that is a good thing!
I want us to ‘hear’.
But there is always a next step. Something else that needs to happen otherwise we get good or bad at ‘hearing’.

Something I am have always tried to do with any sermon, preachit...teaching thing, is I ask myself what I can do with what I have heard?
What can I learn?
And then how can I do something with what I have just learnt?
That is the step that bring our ‘hearing’ to life.

James 1:22-24 (niv)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The Message version help explain it better...
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

My encouragement to you is to make the most of what you hear.
Take it on board. Ask questions of yourself.
Then what you hear will make even more sense.
It will grow you beyond just a ‘hearer’ of the word into a ‘doer’.

I am looking forward to the next 1000 sermons I hear...because I will hear lots that I can live out loud!

Something to think about...

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