Friday, 27 January 2017

God at the Centre

God at the Centre
“Reading God’s Book”
2 Timothy 3:16

                How might one grow spiritually? This is a question
asked by many who are unsure of how to grow in their relationship with God, His Son- Jesus and the Spirit. To be trained in godliness means to take on practises on a regular basis with God at the centre. In the next few weeks we will focus on these practises.
Another important part of growing in relationship with God is to read God’s book, the Bible. Believe in the authority of scripture is vital to living an authentic and victorious Christian life. Only through such faith can we experience the joy of being God’s children. “All Scripture is God breathed’—inspired by God and as His faithful people we need to understand the words of the Bible so that we might grow in faith.
                Psalm 119:137- 38 states “You are righteous, Lord and your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous, they are fully trustworthy.” But how do we read the Bible?  How do we remember its words?
                In order to draw closer to God we need to know what God inspired others to write down and so it is important to read the Bible and to remember it. To be filled with the Spirit is a command, a duty and a privilege for Christians. It means to be walking in God’s light and to let God’s presence guide our thoughts. We need to ready and meditate on the Bible and fill our minds and hearts with its wisdom. (Colossians 3:16)
                One suggestion—Read a chapter from Proverbs every day—there are 31! And then read other passages and meditate on them. Read them several times and try to remember them each day.
Palau suggests the following passages:

New Birth            1. Salvation   John 3:16                       2. Identity as God’s child I John 3:1-2
God                      3 Christ as the Word John 1:1-2          4 God’s strength Ephesians 6:10-11
Family                 5 Wives and Husbands   Ephesians 5:21-33        6. Children Ephesians 6:1-3
    7. Parents Ephesians 6:4
The Christian Life       8. Temptation                             1 Corinthians 10:13         
9 Confession and forgiveness     1 John 1:9
10 Meeting Together                   Hebrews 10:24-25
11 Walk in the Spirit                   Galatians 6:16-18
12 The Great Commission          Matthew 28:18-20.

Reading God’s word will help you in your life- relationships and in your understanding of God.

Wonderful God we pray that as we look to your holy word that we might find wisdom, understanding and hope in the words we read. Help us to remember these words as we continue to grow in relationship with you and with all whom we meet. Bless us we pray. Amen.

Luis Palau, “God at the Center: Habits for Spiritual Growth” ODB Ministries, p.9-12. 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Talking with God in Prayer

God at the Centre

“Talking with God in Prayer”
Luke 11:1-13

                How might one grow spiritually? This is a question asked
by many who are unsure of how to grow in their relationship with God, His Son- Jesus and the Spirit. To be trained in godliness means to take on practises on a regular basis with God at the centre. In the next few weeks we will focus on these practises.
Prayer is one of those things one learns by doing. You only really learn by doing. When the disciples had seen Jesus go off by himself to pray they knew that this was an important part of his daily living and wanted to learn more. They asked him, “Teach us to pray.” He then shared the words that we have come to know as the Lord’s Prayer beginning with “Our Father…” But to truly understand prayer you must begin to pray yourselves. As a Christian you are to pray.
Martin Luther committed much time alone with God in prayer and so should you. Set aside a time which is best for you—early morning, late night. When you pray don’t feel guilty if you miss a day but do get back to praying again soon. Aim for consistency and not just as something else to fill your day.
As you grow in confidence in praying God will hear you and you will know His response according to his will by what you experience. If the answer to your request is ‘no’, God will communicate with you by the internal witness of the Spirit. The answer may not be immediate. God might be asking you to be patient in trusting Him. And God will discern whether the request you make is good for you. We just need to keep praying.
There are many ways to see one’s prayer life grow. One is to keep a prayer notebook of who and what you pray for on a regular basis and then reflect back on the changes God has revealed to you in these situations. Another way to pray regularly is to read the Bible daily and pray on  and with the words of the Psalms or the passage you read. This then asks you for God to open the words for a clearer understanding.
The main thing about prayer as a habit for spiritual growth—is to do it regularly. Remember to pray and you will grow!
PRAYER: Holy God, I pray that you will enable me to grow. Encourage me and call me to pray more consistently and regularly. Call me to know myself and to grow closer to you as I learn more about being Christ’s disciple. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Luis Palau, “God at the Center: Habits for Spiritual Growth” ODB Ministries, p.5-8.. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Thank you, God

Thank you, God
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

                The New Year has begun and with it so have all the
activities that keep us active and busy throughout the winter. School has resumed for children and youth and they begin their daily journey to and from school. Many are feeling the urge to get away from winter and go to warmer brighter locations at least for a change. And many are feeling overwhelmed by being back into routine after the holidays that they wonder if there really was a holiday at all.
                We begin 2017 with joy and anticipation that these next twelve months will be prosperous and good. Yet within a few hours after watching New York’s Times Square ball drop we learn of the first heartaches that people are enduring. We have heard about murders, fires in homes and businesses, and we have listened to reports of murders and robberies. A gunman has fired shots into an airport filled with travelers killing some and scaring hundreds. And we wonder about this new year filled with hope.
                But there is hope. Because those who have hope have faith and this faith is focused on Jesus Christ. Jesus will enable us to get through whatever might come our way. Jesus will help us when we are afraid, and he will give us the support we need as we face uncertainties in our lives.
                On any given day millions of people are safe, secure and live what we would call normal lives. What is broadcast through media is what is not normal and safe but situations in which people face their humanity, their existence and even life and death issues. How do we respond to this?
                There is a time for every purpose under heaven. How often do we remember this teaching especially when we are experiencing the extremes—life and death, tearing and mending, building up and breaking down. What do we say? Think? Do?
                As we reflect on what might occur let us remember the words of Jesus, that no matter what we worry about, we cannot change what is to come nor the days of living. Only God knows and it is in God’s time that we live, breathe and have our being. Last year will be different from the one to come. This day in this year is different than what you did on this same day last year. Why? Because you are older, wiser and you have grown in your faith and understanding of Jesus in your life. What can you do in this moment? Give thanks to God.
                We have this moment just for a short time. How are you living it out? It will be soon gone- do you pray with thanksgiving or do you complain to your neighbour? Do you pray for the needs of another person or do you have a ‘things I want from God’ list? Give thanks to God. Pray and offer to God your time. This is what we are called to do in the months to come. Prayerfully and hopefully we will be well to faithfully serve Christ because we hope that will enable us to help us through any situation. Thanks be to God.

PRAYER: Holy God, we praise you and thank you for the ability to call on your name and offer you praise and thanksgiving. We ask O God that you would help us to put our faith in you, to trust you in all that we say and do and that we might rejoice each day that you bless us on earth. Hear our prayers for others and hear our prayers for ourselves. In love O God we believe you will answer. Amen.