Posts Tagged ‘spirituality

07
Aug
17

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

My family cannot say that we were called by God to the Kurdish people. Four years ago, I didn’t even know who they were. However, my wife and I both bought into Jesus’ name being made famous where it was not. Then, some of my closest Christian friends decided to move to Kurdistan, and their decision that really helped direct my steps. That’s how my wife and two daughters ended up here. No audible voice from God, no highlight on a map, no specific burden for the Kurdish people—just a young, passionate family who loves the Lord and wants others to love Him too.

I recently drove into East Mosul with a team for a food and water distribution. As we were passing out packages of food, we would see families sitting next to the goods while another family member would go find a wheelbarrow to transport it. I see this one kid, about seven years old, sitting next to four cases of water. And a few feet away I see another kid, same age, sitting on the ground with nothing next to him.

If you were on the distribution with us that day, who would you give your water to?

America is sitting next to four centuries of “water”—four hundred years of access to the Gospel. The Kurds aren’t. I’ll let you make the choice.

Read complete article here:
http://www.faimission.org/articles/2017/8/5/why-must-the-laborers-be-few

 

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I came across the above article at a very opportune time. The fact that it was written only a day or two ago makes it seem even more significant.

Recently many of my posts have been addressing Christian attitudes to Muslims, something that has concerned me since seeing some of the hateful things written about Muslims, even by those considered to Christian teachers. (What kind of Christian witness do those attitudes display?)

After publishing those posts I’ve received some (well-meaning) advice: that I’ve been venturing into risky territory; that ministry to Muslims requires a special calling.

Firstly, I’ve never considered myself to have (or need) a special calling to minister to any particular group of people, Muslim or otherwise, and I’ve never considered myself limited to addressing one particular group above another, (most of what I’ve posted hasn’t been directed at Muslims anyway – but to Christians who’ve taken a very un-Christlike approach to Muslims).

I try to deal with opportunities and confront issues as they  arise. I don’t believe I need to wait for a special calling to do so, and I don’t believe that the average Christian needs any special calling to permit them to act on whatever opportunities they find right in front of them.

Too many of us can be like the servant who chose to bury the money (“talent”) he was given by his Master, too afraid of doing the wrong thing and losing it, to put it to use and potentially make a profit for his Master.
Matt 25:14-30

We wait around for that assumed special, individual calling and in doing so miss the general universal calling of all believers. We rationalise our avoidance of certain possible actions with the excuse: “it’s not my calling”.

I know I wasted most of my Christian life avoiding so many opportunities that will never open up again. I look back and see so many possibilities that I didn’t act on – not because I wasn’t “called” to take them, but because they may have been inconvenient or caused discomfort: basically through fear of losing something I didn’t really want to give up.

I replied to that well-meaning advice I mentioned earlier by referring to the book of Acts and some of the experiences of Paul. Those experiences are also cited in the above article.

 If the Lord doesn’t want you to go, He’ll stop you the way He stopped Paul in Asia.

(Acts 16:6-7 )

 

Am I denying that there ARE some special callings for particular people?

No – it’s clear that Paul was called to be the apostle to the gentiles, and God appoints some people to particular roles and tasks within His church and in the world; but we should not allow that fact to hold us back from general obedience to what he has commissioned His followers to do, when the need is clear and while we have the opportunity to do it. And if we are faithful doing that, we’ll find more opportunities opening up.

 

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16
Jul
17

Mankind’s Response to God’s Son: Consequences

“You are my son;
today I have become your Father.

Kiss His son, or He will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (John 3

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1)

11
Jul
17

To Forgive or Not to Forgive.

From Noriko Dethlefs’ In His Strength (p53)

“It is rare that killers are brought to justice here [in Afghanistan], but in the case of a colleague – whose cousin was shot dead for not releasing some office documents – members of the family are taking the law into their own hands. When I spoke to them about forgiveness, they agreed to forgive after they found the killer and put him to death. It is a matter of honour”

Compare to:

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

And

Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

And

if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

The above quotes present interesting contrasts in attitudes to forgiveness. The resulting outcomes are also significantly different.

What is REAL forgiveness? Something we apply AFTER punishing someone for perceived wrongs? Or something we apply despite being wronged?

What do we think is more important?

Maintaining our personal sense of honour – or being eligible for God’s forgiveness?

22
Jun
17

Is This What You Do? Is This What You See?

Does the following reflect the way we live our lives – or at least how we ASPIRE to live?

Or do we prioritise other things that might be compromised if we obeyed what Jesus said?

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

(Luke 6)

09
Jun
17

Radicalisation Environment part 2. (Westernism)

People often don’t want to hear of  things that might complicate the simplicity of the environment they’ve created around themselves, and they shelter behind walls of ideological insularity.

 

Insularity can blind us to the truth – to reality.

An insular environment can create its own “truth” – making sense of a chosen reality in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we took the time to look beyond the exclusion barriers we’ve erected. In a previous post something very like this kind of situation was termed a “radicalisation environment”, a term initially coined and applied to a situation among some young Muslim men.

 

In many ways “western” Christian experience has been built within an insular exclusion zone (its own type of “radicalisation environment), keeping other cultures at bay, even non-western Christians, and holding to a sense of “specialness”. We have viewed western society and culture as being particularly blessed by God; western comforts and prosperity being the outcome of a “Judeo-Christian” heritage. Effectively, blessings gained because of assumed historical national characteristics more than an ongoing personal connection to God.

I often wonder about the truth of those assumed “blessings”.

 

…others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

 

Modern Western Christianity has been relatively safe and mostly free from the kind of hardship we read about in other nations. Our experience of “Persecution” has mostly been no worse than verbal abuse, or being sidelined by general society. It rarely involves imprisonment, torture or murder as it does elsewhere in the world.

In the west Christian faith has been shaped to make it compatible with western values. When challenges to our perceived blessings arise, the blame is placed on a societal shifting from that Judeo-Christian heritage, and we lament the risk of losing those “blessings”.

 

Popular Western doctrines have their foundation in the kind of thinking that sees western comfort and prosperity as a God-given right. Doctrines like: a pre-tribulation rapture to remove the church from earth before bad things happen. Or prosperity doctrines that promise earthly riches and lives of comfort here and now.

 

Instead of Christianity changing western society, it has increasingly BEEN changed to become a westernised religion quite separated from its origins in the Middle East and increasingly distanced from the experience of non-western believers in places of hardship where reports of revival are increasingly common.

 

Sadly, Western Christians seem to identify much more closely with their secular nation’s interests and their unbelieving compatriots than they do with fellow believers from different countries and cultural backgrounds, and they seem to go to great lengths to protect those national interests, even when there is potential for those interests to be at odds with the Kingdom of God.  *

 

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

___________________

 

* see here:
https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-attitudes-displayed-not-necessarily-in-that-order/

Compare the message of the video with the message in the preceding quote from the other blog.

08
Jun
17

The Good the Bad and the Ugly ( Attitudes displayed, not necessarily in that order)

A Christian teacher respected by many, a man I’ve written about in earlier posts, has recently written two posts on his blog* about “the West in prophecy” (what seem to be reposts of articles first published on his blog a year ago – probably revisited because of the recent Islamist attacks in Britain ).

As an example of the tone of those articles I quote a couple of sentences from the conclusion of the second article:

…Europeans for the most part cannot be bothered to have children, The All powerful superstate has seen fit to try to fill those empty taxpaying slots in the economy with Muslims. Millions of them.(After all people are interchangeable units aren’t they?)

What is happening in Europe physically through Immigration is a reflection of what has happened spiritually. For the most part the house is empty, this is not to say there isn’t a remnant of Christians in Europe(and America) for there is.

… into the larger vacuum in Europe are pouring hordes of third world , barbarian savages. America is experiencing similar problems.

Firstly I’d like to point out that I have something about Muslims scheduled to be posted early tomorrow morning (Eastern Australian time) in which I think the writer (Joel Richardson) expresses a much more Christlike view.

Secondly, I posted a comment on the blog mentioned above, that has now been deleted by the “Christian teacher”. And what was my comment? I posted a video that I think addresses the issue of Muslim refugees from a biblical perspective. A video I posted here a few weeks ago.

____________

* Link to the blog post containing the quote above.

31
May
17

Shavuot (Pentecost) and Transition to the New Covenant

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)

_________________________________________________________

 

Fifty days after the first Passover (on the first Pentecost) God first gave His commandments to His people Israel through His prophet Moses.

Fifty days after the Passover when Jesus was crucified, God first poured out His Spirit upon His people, those trusting in Jesus.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,
declares the Lord.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. (Jer 31)

 

 

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor: 3)




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