Friday, 30 September 2011

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgements,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has ever been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

My verdict

The whole of humanity is guilty of crimes against God.  It's called sin, we've all heard of it, from Adam and Eve to you and I.
It would be so much easier for me to understand someone taking the punishment for a man's crimes, if that man stops his criminal behaviour, but I can't imagine anyone offering to take the punishment of a man who continues to do the same crimes over and over again, seemingly without thought or remorse, or at best temporary remorse.
Jesus took our sin punishment even though he knew our chequered past and our inconsistent future. Jesus took the punishment on the cross knowing we would never grasp the full extent of God's grace offered so freely to us. Yet despite our sinfulness and our lack of understanding, He did it.  We sinned, He took our verdict,  He paid the price, and we get released, we get the freedom.
We got an amazing deal - not only a life fulfilled but then eternal life with someone who loves us that much.  Amazing.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Idol of Approval

September, 25, 2011, Daryl Bay Teaching Pastor
Idol of Acceptance and Approval - Sermon notes

Key Verse: 1 Cor 4:1-5
Paul speaks of his 3 key convictions of acceptance and approval;
1. I am not controlled by what you think of me.
2. I am not controlled by what I think of me.
3. I am controlled by what God thinks of me.

Now to flesh these out a little;
1. I am not controlled by what you think of me.
Paul says "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court..."
Paul wasn't controlled by human approval, are you?
Some questions that expose the idol of approval;
> Are you wondering what people might think of you?
> Do you manipulate situations so you can look important?
> Are you over-sensitive to criticism?
> Are you over-committed because you can't say no to others?
> Do you never share you faith because you fear looking stupid?
> Do you serve in order to impress others?

2. I am not controlled by what I think of me.
Paul says "I do no even judge myself"
Normally we jump to medicating low self-esteem with high self-esteem; You are wonderful, love yourself.
"My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."
In other words - we can be self-deceived.
It's not low self-esteem or high self-esteem, it's getting "self" healed and out of the way completely.
Humility is blessed self-forgetfulness
C.S Lewis says:
"Humility is not obsessed with thinking superior thoughts of yourself:
Humility is not obsessed with thinking inferior thoughts of yourself:
Humility is when you are set free to not think about yourself at all."

3. I am controlled by what God thinks of me.
Is it good news or bad that God judges us?  Because he does judge us.
v4 ..."It is the Lord who judges me."
It is good news, because ...
v5 "At the time each will receive his praise from God."
When He judges us, do we get condemned? NO, we get Gods approval.

At the cross, Jesus gots our verdict: Guilty
In the courtroom, we get Jesus' verdict: Approval

Whose verdict are you looking for? Whose approval are you seeking?

"Why do you crave the approval of the peasants when you already have the approval of the King?"

To listen to the above sermon

Friday, 23 September 2011

Idols of our hearts

Last Sunday at my faith family, our very kind-hearted teaching pastor gave us a ripper of a sermon and it was merely the introduction to the series on Idols. I can't wait for the rest of the series.  I'm going to put some points out for you, but I'd love  you to download Daryl Bay's sermon, this series will last a few weeks, so I'll post the link and some brief notes each week. Please don't read my terribly brief notes and let that put you off Daryl's fabulously honest preaching.

1. What Idolatry is
Ex 20:3 "You shall have no other God's before me."
An idol is ANYTHING that takes the rightful place of God in your life. Idols can be Good or Bad.  We all live for something ... what is that thing in your life.
2. How Idolatry works
Romans 1:18
Idols decieve us.  idols control us by fear "Life will be unbearable if you don't have me."
Ask yourself this question:  "What are my worst nightmares?"
Idols control us by false promises: "I can give you ultimate joy, security and life."
Ask yourself this question; "What are my best day dreams?"
The answer to these two questions will provide you with the answer to know what your own idols are.
3. The way to grow: smashing our idols.
Expose:  Admit it and look for the symptoms.
Repent: See through the lies your idol uses on you.  Repent means "change of mind"
Replace: With a greater love for Jesus and the truth of the gospel.

You can find the sermon on the link below:
Click here for Hope Community Church Sermons
Sermons are on the right hand side of the page.

It would be so much fun for you to join me in learning on this life changing topic.
Feel free to add your insights in the comments section.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

God's Word

The thing I'm finding about the Bible is it's simple and complex all in one. I can read a Bible chapter or book and get a whole lot from it, or I can study one word in detail and get a whole lot from it. I love that about God's Word, it's a book for all personality types, all intelligences, all cultures, all ages but best of all, it's a book for all sinners.

What other book in history is so simple yet complex, so convicting yet loving? No wonder it's the best selling book of all time (Approx 6 billion sold)! I love this book and the God whom it describes.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Made New 1 John 1:9

There was a white painted wooden table, shiny,  beautifully carved.  Appreciated when new, put in pride of place in the home, cared for, polished, taken care of.  Over time, maybe even many years, this table gets moved from room to room, through out the house.  At some point in time it is placed in the workshop of the property, used as a work bench. The shine has long gone. There are chips of white paint missing, cracks in the wooden surface, knocks off the edges.  Time has worn this table.  As a workbench it gets well used, slowly dust accumulates, grime sticks.  Paint spills, oil smears, knick and dents appear where tools have been dropped on it.  It's filthy and looks of no worth.  The stains and dirt are ingrained.  Yet all it takes is a wipe, an arm that clears the clutter, then another arm to wipe the table clean.  There is no hope for that table, it will forever be marked if not remade.  Our beautiful white table however can be restored, made clean, perfectly clean, like new, no chips, no dents, all stains removed, shiny, as new, even with all our expereinces.

"If we confess our sins He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

I know the table story isn't the most perfect story to encapsulate the way we were before forgiveness and how we are after we have been forgiven.  It was a picture the Spirit of God gave me during a confession time.  My Dad has a workshop, not unlike a mechanics workshop, that is well used by him and others, his work benches are covered in a layer of grime, it's like dust and dirt has settled on top of a layer of grease and oil, it's a sticky mess,  anything you touch leaves you with grime on your hands, you wipe it off and it smears.  What is needed is hot soapy water with a harsh scrubbing brush to make any change to it.  When I was confessing my sin I had this picture of my sin, then a beautifully carved, shiny perfectly clean and cared for table.  I am no longer a dirty workbench, I'm worthy of the dining room again.  I hope you don't mind my random thoughts I just wanted to share.

Friday, 16 September 2011

2 Corinthians 12: 8- 10

"Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away.  But he replied, "My kindness is all you need.  My power is strongest when you are weak."  So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly boast about how weak I am.  Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and suffering, if it is for Christ.  Because when I am weak, I am strong." (CEV)

These verses are just what I needed today.  How about you? At my church we sing this beautiful Jeremy Riddle song that resonates so powerfully with me, especially on day like today.  I am sweetly broken, God is so gentle with me, I want to grow and get desperate for it, the pace of my desire would shatter me into tiny piece, but God know's the best pace for me, and he breaks me sweetly, tenderly, compassionately.
Jeremy Riddle sums it up best;

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing

For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified

You've called me out of death
You've called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I'm reconciled


In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

John 1:1-13

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

The notes at the bottom of my bible say: "Because we are created beings, we have no basis for pride. With God you are something valuable and unique; apart from God you are nothing."

You are something valuable and unique, God made you that way.  He made galaxies and fruit flies, in all their hugeness and minuteness.  With that same creativity, and more because you are made in His image, He made you and me.  The day we were created "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day." (Gen 1:31).  Created for purpose and on purpose.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Philippians 2:5-11

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death -
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife” Prov 21:19. KEEP READING I DARE YOU! My boys have a DVD of Bear Grylls in the Sahara Desert, eating scorpion, sleeping inside the carcass of  a dead camel, I won’t mention what else that man does, but let’s just say, that is not my idea of a wholesome diet or any way to live.  Yet, King Solomon, the wisest man to live, said it is better to live in a desert than living with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.  When looking into this verse I’m sure I came across a commentary that said, ‘Husbands, what did you do to make her quarrelsome?!”  I liked that, but for the life of me, I can’t find it now to reference, maybe I made it up! Don’t quote me on it.

Quarrelsome, Ill-tempered, don’t we like to think of ourselves as strong, not ill-tempered? Clearly I can only speak for myself. But I have a sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one who can be ill-tempered.  Anyone else watch the Sealy Advertisement on TV with that women who gets up with a bounce, and wonder if that bed is really that good?!  Understanding our strengths and weaknesses can give us knowledge that we can use to change our day. Yes, today! Ill-tempered yesterday, doesn’t mean you have to be ill-tempered today. There is nothing more powerful than the Holy Spirits work in our lives, and in our moods, the Holy Spirit is more powerful than a morning coffee, an Evening Primrose Oil remedy, or a Sealy magic mattress bed. Beth Moore said “God can change our mood, changing an ugly day.”  He can do it.  2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My kindness is all you need.  My power is strongest when you are weak.” (CEV) Isn’t that beautiful, He knows we need His kindness, it’s a sensitive subject for us. And did you hear? There is a way through our weakness! His kindness and strength.

Glenys Munn spoke at an event recently, she reminded us in an honest way that for some of us, our weakness is the rising sun, morning is not a pleasant time in our households.  She reminded us that as wives and mothers we set the mood for our families day. Act 13:50 and Gen 3:1, show how influential women are. The serpent chose to approach Eve first.  Why?  The serpent knew the feminine influence Eve had over Adam. Just as we have influence over the atmosphere in our households. There is power in our influence, and there is also responsibility. The atmosphere we create in the first 5 mins of the day can influence the rest of the day for our families. Huge influence/huge responsibility.  Glenys delivered a valuable ration of useful advice; If you can’t wake up in a pleasant mood … turn the worship music on and our mouth off!  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.   Smile, hug your family and keep your mouth shut!

My family consist of men, and I have to admit a part of me is relieved I didn’t have a baby girl.  I can barely handle my own emotional ups and downs, the thought of a teenage girl with my genes into that mix is somewhat terrifying!  Thank you Lord for your great mercy.  Don’t you just love it when God shines His big spot light on an area of growth for us?  Yeah, me neither!  I’m not going to pretend to be oh-so-spiritual, I hate it, it’s HARD.  I have to admit I’m not there yet.  I’m studying God’s word and that is causing change in me. I know today, I’m doing well, but that’s today, tomorrow is a new day and sometimes I don’t know who I am going to be unless I daily rest in the Spirit to reveal myself to me.  The Spirit of God knows me better than I can. 1 Cor 13: 12b “Now I know in part; then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Cor 8:3 “But the man who loves God is known by God.”  God knows us. I am learning everyday, and trusting everyday that even though I’m growing, I will fail at times.  BUT, (huge but here), when I confess my sin, my foul ugly moods, my selfish carnal nature, the Lord of all forgives me.  Confession, identifying the sin (and yes an ugly mood is sin, it’s selfish, self-serving and destructive, what part of that doesn’t sound like sin to you?), speak it aloud, this brings you to a place of honesty.  You can’t hide what’s shared, and to be honest, those we live with are well aware of our sinful moods.

Please don’t think I’m suggesting we refrain from our morning coffee, no need to make the situation potentially uglier in the mornings! I’m not suggesting we ditch the evening primrose oil either.  I’m suggesting we admit our moods can be ugly at times and ask for the Holy Spirit to give us the desire to make change.  If all else fails, confess it, keep our mouths closed and turn the music up!