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Friday, 23 November 2018

Bless You part 2


Bless You
Numbers 6:22-27
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

                Continuing with the Benediction of Israel (Numbers 6:22-27)   We read in Psalm 84; 11 “God is a sun and shield” and Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Christians are the children of light and should walk in the light. What the sun is to our universe, Jesus is to His people, the source of light and life. If we want to know where we are going, we must live in the light. If we want to produce fruit for God’s glory, we must live in the light. For the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth.
we read “ God makes His Face to Shine on Us and Is Gracious to us”.
                We receive God’s grace when we need it, when we are living for God and when we come to Him. God’s grace gives us what we don’t deserve but because we belong to Jesus we are blessed in His abundant love.It is only by grace that we can enjoy the family of God because it is through God’s grace how we entered it.
                God is gracious throughout the Bible- to Moses, to King Hezekiah (2 Chron.30:9) and Ezra  (9;8) and Nehemiah.(9:17,31) Paul focused on God’s grace stating, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Rom.8:32 God, in his grace, gave us Jesus the best he had and so what would keep Him from giving us the lesser gifts that we need? God longs to be gracious and show his compassion but we don’t often pay attention!
                God lifts his countenance to us and gives us peace. What does this mean? God’s focus is turned toward us if we follow him. Our responsibility is to repent, confess our sins and seek His face. We need to have God pleased with what we do. The last words of Jesus are not the Great Commission but repent or else (Rev. 2-3) If we humble ourselves and pray ans eek my face and turn from their wicked way then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2Chron.7:14)
                But what is God’s smile? It is the secret of peace in the heart of the individual believer and in the church congregation. It is what we each as individuals and as church should be yearning to  have. It is shalom—which includes health , happiness, satisfaction and completion, kindness, agreement, salvation, friendship and the richness of a full life. If we are not experiencing this shalom, we need to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face as it turns from its wicked ways.  For then, God’s light will shine upon us.
REFLECTION:
Are you shining God’s light wherever you go? Are you enabling God to smile as you go about your everyday work and life? How does this blessing of the OT enable you to think and reflect upon your relationship with God and with others?

PRAYER Bless us O God as we seek your smiling face upon our lives. Hear us as we confess our sins to you and by your grace we pray that your will forgive. Hear these our prayers. Amen.

Next Week: “The Benediction of the Trinity”  2 Corinthians 13:14
RESOURCE:
Warren W. Wiersbe.  Bless You: Receiving and Sharing the Blessings of the Lord. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries, 8th printing- 2018. (p.24-27)

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Bless You


Bless You

Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

                Continuing with the Benediction of Israel (Numbers 6:22-27) we noted that it was considered in three ways—a) the benediction of Israel the nation; B) Israel the man who founded the 12 tribes and ‘C) the Israel of God” that Paul mentions in Galatians 6:16.   the Israel of God.
This week we focus on C)
                Who is the Israel of God? Is there is a difference in identifying this nation/people faithful community but are we understanding these as such?
Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches focuses primarily on the relationship of the Jewish law to the message of grace. Paul stated that all true believers are the spiritual children of Abraham and share in God’s promised blessing. Gal 3:6-15 If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s see and heirs according to the promise.
Under old covenant Israel is in relationship with God. But with Christ, this relationship is the church. The church can say with Israel—“The lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” and “I will fear no evil” Because Jesus is our Shepherd, as we trust and follow him, we always have provision and protection. This is because God blesses the Church and Keeps it.  God blesses those who follow him and prove that they are His because they listen to him. Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

REFLECTION:
In reading this portion of this blessing do you understand it differently? How? For many to read the ISRAEL as the church enables them to think that this means me, not just the people who entered the Promised Land, but those who today come to Christ and follow him. They are living out their faith in Christ as they serve their church.
Jesus prayed that His true disciples would be with Him in heaven and that the Father always answers the prayers of His Son (John 11:41-42)  When a believer dies, the Father answers this prayer and take that soul to heaven to dwell in the place Jesus has prepared.

NEXT week—We will consider the words” God makes His face to shine on us and is gracious to us”
Meanwhile Pray the words of the blessing over and over. Reflect on the words and pray for clarity in meaning.

PRAYER Thank you God that you call us your people –Israel the church, children in faith and co-heirs with Christ. Thank you for this enduring blessing as we continue to bless others in your name. Amen.

RESOURCE:
Warren W. Wiersbe.  Bless You: Receiving and Sharing the Blessings of the Lord. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries, 8th printing- 2018. (p.22-24)

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 5


Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 5
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
How to Handle Anger in Godly Ways:


1)      Acknowledge it. We all get angry and so recognize it for what it is. Pour out your thoughts and feelings to God.  Psalm 55: 1-3
Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.


2)       Learn to get angry slowly. Angry words spoken quickly are usually regretted later. Make sure you have good reason to be angry. Listen and ask questions.
                What did I feel angry about today?
                Where is my anger coming from?
                Why did I feel so threatened that I believed my anger was justifiable?
                Is my intense anger over something that’s actually insignificant?
                Is my anger for the benefit of another? Or is it directed against another?
                Did my anger further God’s interests or my own?
                Did I provoke anger in someone else today?

3)      Change your beliefs about God. Where is our anger rooted? Most of our feelings are based on deeply held beliefs about where life and security and significance are found. Most often our anger is not rooted in feelings, but in what we believe about God.
The challenge is not to change our feelings, but to change our thinking. Paul urges us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing an perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

4)      Confession. Praying to God not just that you were angry, but that you need to live life on God’s terms not yours. It also means repent of the angry resentment you have held against God and all the anger you inflicted on God and on others.
It also means turning toward God and choosing to live by the belief that he exists and that he rewards those who look for him, even when things don’t turn out the way you think they should.

5)      Under New Management. We can change what we believe by giving ourselves to the Spirit of God and under his influence, we will find our anger increasingly shaped and restrained by a new kind of self- control. By placing our anger under God’s care we will not dissolve and lose all anger. But we will be free to express and new and godly anger toward the kind of sin in ourselves and others that slowly angers the heart of God. How we respond to God determines how we work through the more immediate issues of our anger. How we ultimately answer God’s call, and respond to him determines our eternal destiny.
Anger is such a part of our world today- we don’t like something, someone, some person’s actions we get angry. Yet what does this mean about how we are called to love. Yet there are moments when anger is the ideal response. But how we control that anger is what this series of reflections have focused upon. Growing angry slowly enables us to collect our feelings and thoughts and then we are able to put them alongside each other.  After discerning the reason for the anger we can act accordingly and through prayer we may be able to control this anger.
PRAYER
Loving God help us to grow in wisdom as we seek to have you control our anger. We know we will get angry but as we seek to live like Christ help us and show your way to respond in love and with hope. Amen.
RESOURCE  “When Anger Burns: A Biblical View on Handling Anger” by Tim Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries. (p.28-0323-27)  Watch for a new topic next week!

Bless You


Bless You
Numbers 6:22-27


The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
                The words bless, blessed and blessing are found over 500
times in the bible and describe such diverse things as rain, bumper crops, babies and salvation from sin. God blesses all kinds of people and through them brought blessing to the whole world. But what is a blessing?
                A blessing is any act of God that brings Him glory by accomplishing His will and helping His people grow and do His will. You cannot buy blessings or manufacture them as they can come only from God. God’s blessings are gracious gifts from heaven that meet our needs in ways that build us up and help us glorify the Lord.
                In some churches today just before the time of worship is over, a blessing is shared. It is also called a benediction which often is a biblical statement that states something good. This benediction enables the listener to receive a blessing in order to be a blessing to others in the coming week. But what are the blessings that God wants us to receive from Him and share with others? As followers of Jesus and believers in God’s love, we are channels of God’s blessings and not reservoirs only.
                Benediction of Israel  (Numbers 6:22-27) may be considered in three ways—the benediction of Israel the nation; Israel the man who founded the 12 tribes and ‘the Israel of God” that Paul mentions in Galatians 6:16.
A)      Benediction of Israel the Nation  God mentions the Israelites and they are the only nation in history that has entered into a covenant relationship with God. This began with God’s call to Abraham and the ‘covenant of a great nation’ (Gen 12:2-3)
Paul tells also of the blessings God gave the Jewish nation- Romans 9:3-5
God chose Jews to be His special people and gave them a land in which to live as long as they obeyed God’s law. Even though they were dispersed around the world the Jewish people were never assimilated into the other nations. Israel has glory and grace as well as provision and protection.

B)      Israel the man Jacob
Three experiences with God transformed Jacob into a man of God and a channel of God’s blessing to others: i) Jacob flees from his brother Esau and turns to God. He is assured by God that he would be blessed including the land of Canaan and descendants would bless the world.
ii) Jacob  sees the face of God after struggling with him. Gen32:22-32
iii)Jacob and son Joseph reunited and safe again in Egypt (Gen46:1-4,47-49)

REFLECTION:
When we consider this blessing/benediction- have we considered the 3 Israels or primarily the country of the Jewish nation? Does it make a difference for you that Jacob/ Israel was blessed by God in 3 different times and ways? What does this blessing mean for you?

NEXT week—We will include the 3rd way God blesses Israel in this benediction and reflect on it more.. meanwhile Pray the words of the blessing over and over. Reflect on the words bless and keep you; make face shine, turn his face…what do these mean to you in this moment?

PRAYER Holy God bless us O God through the words we have uttered many times before. Bless us as we praise your holy name. In Christ Jesus we ask. Amen.

RESOURCE:
Warren W. Wiersbe.  Bless You: Receiving and Sharing the Blessings of the Lord. Grand Rapids,MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries, 8th printing- 2018. (p.7-22)