Monday, 24 November 2014

Trusting a Sovereign God

Trusting a Sovereign God

            This past Sunday we honoured and celebrated Jesus as the king
of kings and that God is the one who rules in the hearts of those who believe. Reign of Christ Sunday gathers all the ideas of Jesus birth, death and resurrection together and invites us into honour and worship Jesus who is the Promised Son of God who came and continues to be present in our live.
            As Gary Inrig has written in “True North” we should be focusing our entire lives on God who directs our lives. But we must trust in God to show us what to do and how to do it.
            Hebrews 11 gives account of many people who lived lives of faith. They were not exempt from trouble and suffering, but who lived loving God. Yet all were commended for their faith and yet none of them received what had been promised- God had planned something better (Hebrews 11:32-39) Even for Gideon, God planned more but he too needed to live by faith in Him. But what do we learn from this passage?
            People of faith receive God’s approval regardless of present outcomes. People of faith trust God’s purposes. People of faith await God’s reward. And what is this reward? To know and understand and receive the promises of God in Christ. We are forgiven, born into God’s forever family and have the Spirit within us but we are not yet home. One day we will return to God and we will see God. But we must have this heart-deep confidence in God who loves us and gave Jesus His Son.

            Inrig’s book invited us to use navigational tools to reference our God, His Son and theSpirit moving in us to a clearer understanding of faith and being faithful. Today all we need to do is ‘google for maps/ directions’ and find out where we need to drive. But in faith, what we still need is God- guiding us and showing us the way. Generations of explorers traveled to places unknown with only a few tools. They were the ones to draws the maps and yet they trusted that there journey was not in vain.
            Using maps and the Bible we too live a journey filled with many exciting and wonderful opportunities, but we focus on the One who will guide us further than we think it is possible. Let us discover Christ who calls us by faith, to love, love and reach out to others. .

REFLECTION:  By faith we have learned many things about our God and about ourselves. What does this mean to you? How do you understand navigating your way with God as your Morning Star, Christ your compass and truly trusting the Spirit to sail into your life?

Loving God bless us we pray as we strive to live by faith in this world where knowing you is not easy; searching for you is welcomed, and reaching out in your name is a gift. Enable us to grow in faith for you as we discover our way of living –today and in days ahead. Amen.

This reflection is based upon some ideas offered by Gary Inrig in his book, True North: Discovering God’s Way in a Changing World,  Discovery House Publishers, 2002; ch.12

Watch for a new series beginning next week!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

By Faith Alone

“By Faith Alone”
Hebrews 11

            Nothing else matters- if you cannot breathe. This is the  Gary Inrig describes this oxygen as essential to life. He also states, “The life of faith is the only life that pleases God, and nothing else matters if faith is missing.” No matter how many navigational devices may be present in our lives, if we lack faith, we lack the necessity for life
advertising carried out by the lung associations in the support of people who are unable to breathe due to asthma, bronchitis or serious lung disease. When flying in an airplane it is very important that oxygen be present in the passenger cabins as oxygen is essential for breathing and breathing is essential for life.
Hebrews 11 gives examples of those who lived many years ago but still have a message for God’s children. Each person who acted and served God by faith and through their actions were considered righteous and faithful in God’s sight. Abel, Enoch,Noah- each of these men’s stories is a story of faith. Abel- making an offering from his heart.  
Enoch lived 64 years and we know nothing of him. At the birth of his son at age 65 he walked with God. He pleased God and was taken. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”(Genesis 5:21-24)
Noah lived when people were wicked and evil but he was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God. He was called to build the ark and he worked building the barge as God had instructed him. And by faith God cared for him. To Noah, having faith means building the boat before the rain begins. Taking God at his word and stepping out and acting on the basis of God’s word.
Jesus comments about faith—“Jesus was amazed by their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:6) and in \Luke 7:9-“I have not found such great faith even in Israel”—the faith of a Roman centurion whose servant was deathly ill.  In these statements he sees both the abundant and the lack of faith. What would Jesus be amazed at in your life?—belief or unbelief. By faith what are you doing for God; who are you becoming by faith? 

By faith we live following God’s guidance. But do we have authentic faith that is faith that comes from within and that we may call our own? Many people today say I have faith because of my grandmother/ mother/ father/ but am unsure of what I believe. Have you discerned what you believe based on your ideas about God in your life? Has this changed through your years of believing?  How and were these changes good?

By faith, we praise you, we love you and we serve you. Hold us in your hand, strengthen us and catch us when we are weak. For by faith we believe help our unbelief to know and grow. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This reflection is based upon some ideas offered by Gary Inrig in his book, True North: Discovering God’s Way in a Changing World,  Discovery House Publishers, 2002; ch.10

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What is our Plimsoll line or Load line for Safe Living?

“What is our Plimsoll line or Load line for Safe Living?”

            Gary Inrig uses navigational principles of the North Star as
well as scripture prayer and the conscience to reflect upon how and what we see and need as God’s ways of living. But at some point in our lives we will wonder to what extent are we to pursue secular matters that is, what is our limit? That is how will we arrive safely at our destination unless we understand God’s Plimsoll line? Just what is our load limit as we sail along in our daily living?
            How content are we when we live a society that is built on chronic and compulsive consumerism. The issues of contentment, covetousness, character are among the most pressing we confront as we seek to navigate our culture. Why is it that we are unsure of who we are and the direction in which we sail even though Christ has called us to follow him? What is really calling to us is from this world. This call is in:
Covetousness- wanting what others posses; money is base but so are things and our society says you want/ need more! But covetousness corrupts our view of God’s truth, contaminates our values and capsizes our lives.(I Timothy 6:3-9)
Contentment or authentic spirituality which is an inner attitude of reverence and respect that is expressed in outward acts It is having security in God.
Character—Paul directs Timothy from covetousness toward contentment by having him pursue godly character. Pursue—this is over and in time but are we really willing to invest this time; that is to pursue what God has in store for us as we learn and grow spiritually?.(I Timothy 4:7-8)
Just what is the load limit that we may carry in order to prevent dangerous overloading with things. When is too much even way more than enough? And how do we change this attitude, this way of living, and this life of possessiveness? 
Inrig suggests:  1) develop a lifestyle of limits, not luxury
2) Cultivate generosity, not greed 3) Emphasize personal wroth rather than net worth and 4) Invest in the eternal, not just the temporal
And to follow up on these suggestions remember that you are not alone as you do this; God is with you; Christ leads you and you are led by the Spirit.

            REFLECTION:  Read Inrig’s suggestions to help understand our load limits as we sail along this life. Do you find any of these suggestions is more difficult than the rest to understand and implement in your life? How do you respond to the rest? What does a load limit mean for you as you pursue faith development and personal growth in your work and with family? How important is it to say when enough is enough?

Gracious God you enable us to do many things but we often do not know when enough is too much. Help us to realize that you will not give us too much to do alone. You are always with us as we discern your gift of love in Jesus. Be with us we pray. Amen.

This reflection is based upon some ideas offered by Gary Inrig in his book, True North: Discovering God’s Way in a Changing World,  Discovery House Publishers, 2002; ch.6