Saturday, September 24, 2011

By This Shall All Men Know

During our Passover service earlier this year, I was really struck by Jesus' statement "by this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another".

Really? That's how the world will recognise the disciples of Jesus? Not by speaking in tongues, or miraculous healing, or charismatic preaching?

More recently I heard a minister explain it this way: the proof of God's Spirit working in us is in the fruit (found in Galatians 5:22) we bear, not in the gifts (listed in I Corinths 12:1-11) we receive.

Love (which is explained in I Corinthians 13) is the very first fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Healing and speaking in tongues are gifts of the Spirit found in I Corinthians 12.

The love talked about by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13 is far beyond a warm and fuzzy feeling. In fact, he told us that we could even "give our body to be burned", and yet NOT have true Godly love.

Real, Godly love
"suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away."

Jesus Christ never said anything that He didn't mean. Read the words above carefully - real love is hard. The question is, are we willing to make the sacrifice to become Jesus' followers? Are we willing to really love one another?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do You Love God?


Do you believe in God? Do you trust Him? Do you love Him? More than your friends and family? The way He wants to be loved? Really? Really truly?

Jesus Christ who came to earth and died for our sins was the I AM of the Old Testament (He said so to the Pharisees in John 8:58) - the I AM who thundered to the Israelites in the wilderness and commanded them to kill those who had worshipped the golden calf (three thousand died that day - Exodus 32:27-28). This Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

So if you discovered that Easter and Christmas are pagan holidays, would you stop keeping them since God hates idolatry and pagan worship? Even if it really upset your sister? Or your kids? Or your husband? Are you sure you really love God? Or would you rather pretend to worship Him while enjoying the pagan rites of the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia?

What if you read in the Bible that it says that God hates lying - would you stop telling your kids about the tooth fairy? Even though it's "just for fun"? Would you?

If you discovered that the seventh day Sabbath was never changed or "done away with", would you give up Saturday football for God? Would you go to church then, even though your friends thought you'd gone a bit weird? Do you really love God?

Do you love God enough to read His whole Book? Without filters on? Not just bits and pieces but the whole lot, beginning to end - really paying attention to the details? Without finishing His sentences for Him, but reading what He is actually saying?

Do you love God enough to see you've been wrong and change? Do I? Because we've all been wrong and we've all got to change in some way. Do we really love God that much? If we don't ask ourselves that question, He will ask it for us some day. Are you ready for the answer?

I recommend watching God's Love Language to delve further into these questions.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Hole

There's a hole in the world we keep trying to fill,
Yet though we all work with all of our will,
The wound in humanity festers there still,
It will keep growing and throbbing until,
We see that our power and all of our might
Can't turn pain into joy or the dark into light -
Though we cry and we groan and we fume and we fight
Though we call the sweet "bitter", and call the wrong "right".
We can't hold back the shadow, nor pour down the rain,
Though still we keep trying... again and again;
We won't defeat death, nor conquer all pain;
But yet each generation toils on in vain.
There's a hole in the world that we never can fill,
But our Maker can, if we yield to His Will,
The wounds in our hearts will fester until,
We choose to let go, to trust God and be still.

K Mihalec

If you're looking for the solutions that come from making God a part of your life, try reading the free booklet Making Life Work.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Is Wrong Here?

A few months ago, a couple of news items caught my attention. One day I heard about the tragic death of a little boy hit by a train when he was playing on the railway tracks. The next day I heard that onlookers had rushed to the rescue of a swan being attacked by teenagers. The swan later died.

I am still overwhelmed with pain for the family of the young boy when I think about these two stories. People rushed to the rescue of the swan, but while witnesses had seen the child alone by the railway line, no one rushed to rescue the child. Some might argue that these events were sensationalised by the media and the news didn't tell the full story, but I have twice seen a frantic parent looking for a lost child and no one else helped - even though there were plenty of people around.

Truthfully, I am sickened and disgusted by this society that values an animal (with no thoughts or true feelings - values it so much that people will risk their own safety to protect it) above a human child created in the image of God. I am shocked that someone else's child in mortal danger is seen as none of our business. Shame on us!

If we keep on rejecting God's values and replacing them with our own, we will pay a terrible price in time. Just yesterday I read what that price will be in chapter 28 of the book of Dueteronomy in the Bible.

God put many laws in place to protect the weak and helpless. These were all part of the "golden rule" explained by Jesus Christ: "Love your neighbour as yourself" (and He then went on to explain through a parable that "neighbour" means everyone). I know what I would want others to do if they found my kid playing alone next to a train track - would I do the same?

We have a simple choice to make: will we start to live the give way, day by day; or will we insist that God prove His existence by pouring out the curses of Dueternomy 28 on us? Even now, the clock is ticking.