Friday, 8 February 2019

Eureka! I Get it!


Eureka! I Get it!
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

You are my Son, whom I love;  with you I am well pleased. Luke 3:22

                In this season after Epiphany we read through the stories of   God reveals to those at the Jordan River, His Son Jesus.
Jesus and how under certain circumstances God reveals to those around him, who he is. At Jesus’ baptism heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. The voice from heaven spoke and stated, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
                At the wedding in Cana, Jesus, his closest friends and his mother Mary are feasting at the banquet. Wine has been enjoyed by all the gifts and Mary in her concern for the hosts of the wedding feast tells Jesus that they are running low. Jesus objects to getting him involved but the servants listen to his instructions. Jesus uses water and water jugs and it becomes good wine. Good to serve to the guests at the wedding which will now continue without embarrassment. But only a few realize what has occurred—the servants, Jesus, Mary and maybe the master of the banquet.
                At the synagogue Jesus reads from Isaiah and announces that the words he is reading are about him. He is the fulfillment of the prophet. Many hear this, are stunned and then grow angry. They start talking amongst themselves and the temperature rises so much so that Jesus leaves.
                Who is Jesus? From these stories Jesus is being introduced by God to the people in Jesus’ life. Jesus’ mother Mary knows who he is and encourages him to help at a wedding. God speaks at his baptism and when Jesus acknowledges Isaiah’s prophecy being fulfilled he is unsure of what to do.
                But do you know what to do as you hear the stories of Jesus being introduced? Do you make connections with him? Can you relate to this man who is the Savour? Are you ready to follow him- yet? What else does God or jesus need to do to show you who he is and can be in your life?
                We know that soon after his baptism, he was tempted but it was after this he acknowledged his life’s purpose. He realize there was no going back to the carpentry shop. He had to go forward with God’s plan for his life. He then called his disciples who seemed more ready for an adventure then they really understood what was happening. But they followed anyway.
               
Reflection:
An epiphany is when something- makes sense, a discovery is made, an understanding is made clear and then next steps are taken. Have you experienced this with Jesus’ presence in your life? Are you able to know how you can and do connect with Jesus? Do you understand why God’s voice spoke at his baptism and acknowledged his presence?  Do you know this Jesus who was rejected in his own synagogue and walked out? Will you reject him too? Or will you shout I finally get this man/ saviour as my own? I just need to have faith and believe!
               
PRAYER
God your Spirit is upon all who hear the message of Jesus as Saviour and lord. But there are many who need to respond and receive this message in faith and with hope in order to state fully, “I Get it”. In faith O God I believe and pray for those who are uncertain, or who just don’t get what having faith in you really means. Help us O God as we struggle in faith to know you and to grow closer to you.
Hear our prayers O God. Amen.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Judgement or Justice


Judgement or Justice
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

For he has set a day when he will judge the world. Acts 17:31

                The defense attorneys have stated their case.
The prosecuting attorneys have shared the information received from police officers, medical experts, psychiatrists, witnesses, and the defendant as well. The case is now in the hands of the judge. The defendant stands ready to hear the judgement which side will win—guilty or not guilty? Will the decision be correct, fair, helpful and bring about peace? Will there be justice?
                When we think of God’s promises to us we may not think of God acting as judge being one of them. Yet it is because sometimes to us human beings, life is not fair. How we understand justice and how we interpret judgement makes a difference as to how we respond to decisions, verdicts, and the end results.
                There will come a day when everyone will be held accountable for their actions and inactions as they lived a human life on earth. This moment of accountability is when each person comes before God and God makes a decision about their eternal existence. Now this might sound scary—if you are guilty of some sins, but we are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s glory. And yet, we do not need to be afraid because a part of the promise God has made is that we are not alone. If we have said yes to Christ, then we know that Christ received the punishment for our sins upon him. Jesus is with us as our advocate extraordinaire! We just need to know whose we are by faith.
                These ideas were shared in discussions about God’s promises. But what about your promises which you made in your life?
                Parents often make promises and if these are not kept, the children soon learn that they are not worthy to be counted upon. Children make ‘pinky’ promises and sometimes we wonder why- yet there is sincerity in their hearts for the friendships which they define. But are the promises we make today worthy anything?
                There is a story of a man who promised to give his wife everything- including the moon. Each time the man saw a photo or an image of the moon, he would cut it out and she would put it on a wall in their home. Eventually, the woman realized that she really didn’t want the moon—but that the promise was more important.. He tried to fulfill his promise in the way he could. She did not need moon rocks—but the man himself. A lovely story because of his promises.
               
Reflection
Have you made promises you cannot keep? Or have not kept? What was the result? What does this mean for you and your faith at this time? How do we respond in our faith and knowledge of God?
God keeps his promises. We are to be like him, so let us remember to do the same.

PRAYER
Thank you God for keeping your promises- even the promise to one day hold us accountable for our life. Show us and remind us of your love for us given in Jesus and guide us to live always for you. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Be a Blessing!


Bless You
Wednesday, January 16, 2018
Be a Blessing!
“…I will bless you…and you will be a blessing! Genesis 12:2

                God told Abraham many years ago is still relevant to His children today. “Trust me and obey me and I will bless you, and you will be a blessing>”
                It is a wonderful thing to receive a blessing but it is even  Christians are to be channels for the sharing of blessings—Lord make a blessing.
more wonderful to be a blessing. Our world needs benediction Christians!
                God kept His promise to Abraham and the Jewish people—the knowledge of the one true and living God, the written Word of God and the Son of God who is my Lord and Saviour. Where are you blessed?
                Worship services—should include the desire for God to be present and to bless those who have gathered. And at the end so that all may leave with the assurance the same Lord who came to blessing our worship is with us as we depart and wherever we go.
Psalm 1  (Blessings in  vs 1-2 and then becomes a blessing (tree giving fruit to hungry) in vs. 3)
Blessed is the man/woman who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither; whatever he does prospers.
How are we blessings to others?= through communication and prayer.to those with whom you come in contact. Give what you can and let God do the rest.
Blessed are the benediction believers, for they shall become more like Jesus as they share God’s blessings with others!
Reflection:
There shall be showers of blessing- an old hymn of faithful people. People who believed that God would bless them for faithful service and commitment. This is still held to be true and yet how often do we really feel blessed and are grateful?
A man had a great wife and family and yet did not fell blessed until he bought his dream car. Yet what occurred soon after was unthinkable. He had a terrible accident in the car and he was critically injured. As he recuperated in hospital he began to think about what was most important in his life—his wife of many years who stayed right beside him as he healed, his children, and their spouses, and his grandchildren. He realized then and there that the car was an old dream he had promised to himself many years ago and so he sold what was left of it to someone else. He declared to his family his renewed hope in God because of the blessings he forgot he had. This man now fully recovered ministers to others as one who was not sure about blessings from God until almost everything ws taken away. His faith was restored and he then in turn became a blessing by sharing his love for others with people who he believed needed to hear the good news of Jesus.

As we consider the blessings we have are we being fully honest with ourselves? Are we being focused on how we have been blessed and why us? Or are we seeking a vengeful reason? When we are blessed being human calls us to bless others. How have you blessed someone else today?

PRAYER God of love you have blessed us with the gift hope and promise of eternal life. Enable us to be a blessing to others in your holy and precious name. Fill us with your love O God and call us to be your faithful people. In Jesus’ name 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 179-183)      

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Benediction of Love:


Bless You
Wednesday, January 9, 2018
The Benediction of Love:
“Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” Ephesians 6:23-24

                Christian love is an act of the will; it means treating
others the way the Lord treats us. Christian love isn’t a fuzzy feeling that we piously work up; it’s a precious fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in our hearts as we walk in the will of God. In this benediction, Paul mentions three recipients of Christian love whom we must not ignore.
1)      Beloved co-workers Paul depends on his co-workers and appreciates them. There are at least 36 men and women named by Paul.   Paul’s first task with his co-workers is to love them and pray for them. He then shared his plans and helped them to find God’s will. He knew that the church needs everyone to work together and all are co-workers in Jesus’ name.
2)      Beloved church congregations  The three essentials for a vibrant church—peace, love and faith. No church is perfect because people are not perfect but what is essential is to be filled with the Spirit and not imitating the world.
3)      Beloved Saviour and Lord   Loving Jesus is essential for successful Christian ministry. We need to first love Jesus before we love the lost and each other. For it is in Jesus that we will find joy. Grace, peace and faith bind together the hearts of believers who love Jesus with an undying love.
If we truly love Jesus we will love one another and give all the glory to God. Worship and service will exalt Jesus and not the minister or church. Undying love for Jesus leads to unchanging love for one another, unwavering faith in the promises of God, unfailing grace to meet every need and unbelievable peace among the children of God.
Reflection:
How much do you love others, yourself and Jesus? When we truly believe in Jesus and what he has done for us, our love for him must be first as we strive to minister to others. So when we offer a blessing of love to others we are doing so because of the Love we have for Jesus and He for us. How relevant is this for you today as you begin 2019? Are there people whom you are unsure about whether you should reach out to them? Or are you afraid to put your love of Jesus on the line? When blessings are shared- all is renewed and faith is restored. How much do we believe this? Are we willing to show others the love we have for Jesus?
PRAYER Holy God, bless us with your love, peace, joy and hope for we are believers and truly love you, Jesus our Saviour and the Spirit which continues to guide us always. Show us your way to reach out and bless others. We ask in Jesus’ 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 93-98)