Sunday, July 30, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 3

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:12-17 niv - Message to the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

You may feel like you a living and/or operating in the middle of the most ridiculous of place?
Maybe you are in a job where the management isn't that ethical?
Maybe your family doesn't behave well?
Or maybe you have a lot of friends who have questionable morals compared to how you would like to behave.
Because you are salt and light to where you are, you can stay strong in the middle of whatever you are facing and wherever God has place you. Stay strong my friend.

Tradition has it that a man named Antipas lived in this pretty wicked place but went around doing good, even healing those under demonic oppression.
He lived his life faithfully in service to God and others.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

This reminds of something...just as back then, it appears to be so even more now.
This whole trying to 'entice away' vibe that is so prevalent. All around you right now is a lot temptation, especially sexual in nature.
The enemy knows that if he can tempt you away in a sexual area of some sort, that he can put a wedge between you and God.
The antidote to all this is to always consider the Word of God.
How does God want you to behave? What is healthy sexuality?

Be careful Christian what you watch and entertain yourself with. It gets into your thoughts and your spirit. It can lower your resolve and your values. And nothing is worth throwing away your faith over.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Friday, July 28, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 2

What is God saying today?
A little bit of a dangerous question to pose, especially as it hints that I might have some idea...

I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:9-11 niv - Message to the Church in Smyrna
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 

Jesus had regular groups of people ready to be offended, ready to pose questions to incite a reaction, ready, waiting and hoping to see Him to fail. And when He didn't, they made stuff up about Him.

Part of following Jesus is sometime having muppets try and steal your joy. They will critique and criticise you, even thinking they are doing it for God.
Don't worry about them.
Stay focused on God and what He has for you...
God wants us to know He sees, He notices, He is always mindful of the struggles many of us are facing in life.

Maybe you have a health complaint you can't shake or you always seem to struggle a bit financially, well again, God is fully aware.
And in this short sentence He tells us that even with what we lack we are rich.

Scripture reminds us that we actually have all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Live out of that richness and let Him sort out everything else...

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Modern Christanity struggles with reconciling suffering for your faith.
Sorry my friend but suffering is part of the call. Suffering actually is a friend to your faith.
It will develop your character.
It will cause you to keep hanging onto Jesus with everything you have. Just like Paul had his 'thorn', you and I will have one to. Better to be ready for it than surprised I guess...

Scripture tells us that it must finish its work...wow...so you will be complete and not lacking anything...even bigger WOW.
The even bigger payoff for you and me is that if we stay faithful to Christ and journey God has for us, not only will He get us through, but there is always a reward.
I like rewards!
If you quit part way through you will never discover what God wanted to reward you with...

Hang in there my friend whatever you are facing.
You can guarantee others are going through it with you.
God is faithful to help you complete the race marked out for you!

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 1

I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

What is God saying today?
A little bit of a dangerous question to pose, especially as it hints that I might have some idea...

I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:2-6 niv - Message to the Church in Ephesus
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

God knows all about your life. What you do. Why you do.
He knows what you struggle with as well as the effort you put into following Him.
These few sentences will either encourage or challenge you. Both are a good thing.

Today if you are struggling please know God is noticing and He cares!

While you pursue Christ, be mindful of who you have lead you.
Go after 'godly' leaders not just people who say they are leaders.

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

No matter how focused we are on being good or hardworking or whatever it is...nothing should ever trump our relationship with Jesus.
If you have stepped back from it in some way come back.
If you need to focus on it because it isn't where it should be, then do that.

God wants a relationship with you over everything else.
He is passionate about that, hence His language around this idea.

One of the worst things I think that can happen to any Christian is to become a professional Christian.
Where you think you have risen up through some experience ranks you don't still do the most basic things of your faith.
For me being a pastor is a dangerous place. I can make my relationship my profession...yuck!
I need to do what I did with Him before I got to this role!
I will never graduate from my own personal devotion time!

From what I can gather, the Nicolaitans had ideas about faith that didn't match God's expectations.
They mixed the things of this world with faith to suit a model they would like, especially around sexuality.
I think God is warning us to come back to our first love and watch we don't mix the world into our faith. You and I are the salt and light.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sceptre

What does Grace and an extended Sceptre have in common? Everything!

For many of us, when we know in our hearts we have done something silly, we don't feel we can approach God.
I have watched this in my own life at times. Thinking I need to prove my repentance with counter action. If I can show God just sorry I am, then and only then will He approve of me again...

I was thinking about this recently and remembered the account in scripture of a young lady.
She needed to approach the king and doing so, it could cost her very life. She understood from the handed down customs and expectations, that if the king didn't want to see her as she approached, he could actually have her killed.

She prepares her heart by fasting.
Goes to the throne room full of trepidation...

1...Esther dressed in her royal robes and went to the inner court of the palace in front of the throne. The king was sitting there, facing the open doorway. 2 He was happy to see Esther, and he held out the gold scepter to her.
When Esther came up and touched the tip of the scepter, 3 the king said, “Esther, what brings you here? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.” 
Esther 5:1-3 esv

Esther forgot what we forget.
The Kings heart for us.
When she approached the king she was so focused on culture, the rules, hers and others expectations, that she missed the fact the kings heart was always for her and not against her.

All that matters as we approach God is our heart.
It is always about that for Him and should be for us as well.
All you need to do is prepare your heart for a moment, take a deep breath and humbly come to Him.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, 
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
Hebrews 4:16 nkjv

Before you even need to come to God, His heart is for you.
God's sceptre of grace is ready and waiting to be extended to you right now!

Something to thing about...

Thursday, July 06, 2017

My summary on 'gracefull'

After studying this whole concept of grace and then sharing on it over 3 weeks, I have come a special place in my faith.
I can truly say that grace has proven itself to be amazing, outstanding and even to a degree, always beyond my comprehension. And that is a good thing!

I thought I had it sussed in my own mind for some time, but God has shown me it is even bigger, more far reaching and more powerful for my life and yours.
That is why scripture talks about growing in grace.
Being lead by grace.
Grace upon grace until you are promoted to glory in heaven.

Grace has work to do that is never finished.
And grace never gets tired of such work.

Every day of your following Jesus is another opportunity for grace to be the star of the show.
You can experience grace for yourself.
You can express grace for others.

None of us are exempt from grace.
And while we are not worthy, yet we still receive.
Grace is the 'charis' - greek for gift, that God generously dishes out each and every day.
Then He invites us to join with Him it dishing it liberally to our sphere of influence.

Can I leave you with 3 key scriptures today regarding grace and you?


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 niv

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 niv

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 niv

Something to think about...

If you would something to listen to, click here for the 1st in the gracefull series...


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Mouth Rinse

As a kid growing up I had to deal with a lot of mouth rinse...
No not the soap based kind you probably first thought of!

Because of dental issues, I had a number of teeth pulled and then the recommended salty mouth rinse regime ensued for a number of weeks each time.
There was a reason for doing it, it was just not what I wanted to do.

When I read this passage again recently I couldn't help but be reminded of this childhood experience...

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, 
that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 
Colossians 4:6 njkv

I regularly in my role as a Pastor, have to season my mouth.
I want whatever I say, whether encouraging or correcting to be seasoned with grace.
Supposedly being right is one thing...
Delivering in a way that is received is totally another thing all together!

As a husband and parent the same thing applies...

All of us are called to this very thing...to let grace season the words of our mouths.
Let grace slosh around. Rinse it around. Shake your face to and fro until grace has permeated your teeth, your tongue and your lips.
Practically that means for me that I think very carefully before I speak.
Sometimes I rehearse it. Many times I pray fervently about it.
Grace should be the sound that is heard along with the verbs that I perpetuate.

Scripture also reminds us that there is the power of life and death in each of our tongues.
It can be a weapon of destruction or a true minister of grace.
Let's choose to season our speech to one another with grace.
Can I encourage you today to choose to speak life to one another?

Something to think about...

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