Archive for December, 2013

20
Dec
13

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

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While the time of year may be wrong to celebrate His birth, it is never wrong to celebrate Jesus, as long as we celebrate Him for the right reason and for who He actually is.

At Christmas the focus tends to be on baby Jesus, meek and mild, but here are some of the more neglected things that scripture tells us in its account of Jesus’ birth. To me they describe a Jesus far different to the one commonly  portrayed at Christmas.

“… you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”

“… that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

“there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ”

“…she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against …that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”

 

 

______________________

 

After today I’ll be away for two weeks and any comments will have to wait for moderation until after my return.

And over this period when so many celebrate christmas in ways that give Jesus so little thought (or if they do think of Him they think of a baby in a manger), my prayer is that more will see Him as the crucified King who could not be held by death. The Messiah, risen and seated at theFather’s right hand, who will one day return to rule.

 

The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,lest  He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

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19
Dec
13

Does God Have a “Special Purpose” For Every Individual?

YSome approaches to evangelism make the assertion that “God has a special purpose for your life”. But to what extent is that true when it comes to individuals? Does every one of us have a special, unique purpose that we need to find?

I wrote the following comment on a blog the other day after an article about determining God’s will for our lives:

What if God’s plan for our life is merely to LIVE life, but to live it in a way that demonstrates who He is and what He is like? That our path in life is not much different to the paths open to everyone else apart from the fact that we have a relationship with Jesus and that relationship reflects in our behaviour and character.

What if our lives aren’t rigidly planned out in a way that we need to discover each detail (what job should we pursue; who should we marry, what we should do tomorrow etc). Maybe we have been given far more freedom of choice about these things than we think, as long as we choose within the general guidelines God has revealed.
If for some reason God has something special for us to do, then HE will point us in the right direction, and will do it clearly. He has not set out a hidden plan for our lives that we need to discover and implement.

I later thought about the story Jesus told of the men whose master gave them money (talents) to invest. None of them were told what to do with the money, but there was an expectation that what was given should be used to produce a profitable outcome.

One of those men was so afraid of doing the wrong thing that he merely hid what he had been given so that it wouldn’t be lost. His master rebuked him, telling that investing the money in the bank would have at least given a small increase through interest.
So there is an indication that the means of gaining a profit wasn’t preordained, but had been left up to the initiative of the servant.

How often are we hindered by fear of “missing God’s will” for our lives? Or of not knowing what the “special purpose” for our life may be? And through that fear are we burying the talents our master has provided?

18
Dec
13

A woman of Samaria came to draw water…

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“Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

11
Dec
13

The Superstar Preacher Bible: a recommended article

Here is an article that raises some very important questions:
http://cross-purposes.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/the-superstar-preacher-bible.html

Some of my own thoughts regarding this issue:

I remember when I bought a Dake Study Bible. They were quite popular with a few people I knew, but were very hard to obtain. One day I found one and bought it, despite the significant cost and I spent a lot of time reading it. Unfortunately it wasn’t the bible part that I read. I spent more time reading Dake’s notes. But that wasn’t surprising considering there was much more written in the columns and pages of notes than in the columns of scripture.

How easy it becomes to avoid reading scripture while reading a study bible!

02
Dec
13

God’s Gifts or Our Own Strength?

1Two of the big issues that are the heart of a lot of controversy in the church today relate to divine gifts. Firstly the gifts of the Spirit, as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians:

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

And secondly the gifts given to the church by Jesus, as mentioned by Paul in Ephesians:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Today we find large sections of the church rejecting these gifts by insisting they are no longer valid, having been relegated to history; or we find other sections of the church abusing the gifts, changing them into something contrary to their intended purpose and nature as revealed in scripture.

Both “categories” of gift were given for a reason, to equip believers for life and service as followers of Jesus, making us into a living body of people truly representing Him. It therefore isn’t surprising that the validity of these gifts is constantly challenged and brought into question. Without them, all we can rely upon are our natural abilities and our own strength.




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