29 March 2011

Find Your Own Way

I have heard it said that Jesus is one way, of many, to God.  ‘Because’, it is argued, ‘why would a loving God make only one way to heaven’?  As I was thinking about that this morning I came to a shocking conclusion.  If this is true, if God in order to be loving, has made many ways to him, then he has sent his son to be tortured and murdered as just another of many ways…In my opinion that makes for a much less loving God than if God was willing to allow his son to be tortured and murdered because it was the only way.

21 March 2011

Compassion Vs. Miracle

You may wonder why I would use ‘vs’ instead of ‘and’ between two seemingly compatible words, but that would hardly make my point.

In Mark 6:30-34 it says

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So he began teaching them many things.

I gotta say, if I was one of those disciples, ‘compassion’, would not have been the verb running through my head.  With this in mind I’ll continue with verses 35-37

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him.  “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late.  Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages!  Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

The disciples had a good point.  Not only was Jesus asking them to show compassion when they were very tired, but now it seemed he wanted them to give away all of their money as well.

Jesus never promised a miracle.  The disciples knew that he could do them, but all they could see was what they had to give of themselves, which was every ounce of energy they had left and every spare cent (does that ever sound familiar?). What Jesus asked them to do was to act on compassion (notice the word ‘act’).  This is what follows in verses 38-44

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked.  “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five-and two fish.”

Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.  Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people.  He also divided the two fish among them all.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.  The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Jesus never asked them for more than they had, but I wonder sometimes as we seek to see miracles are we missing the opportunity because as Jesus moves us to act, we give excuse after excuse?  ‘I’m too tired’, ‘I don’t have enough’, ‘that’s somebody else’s job’.  And then we wonder why we never get to see miracles.

**Important side note!  After this amazing miracle, please notice that Jesus Immediately made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him while he dismissed the crowd.  Times of rest do come and are important and Jesus made sure they had the rest they needed!

14 March 2011

A Quick Thought

Was just reading Acts, in particular chapter1 verse 23.  Perhaps everybody already knows this, but it just occurred to me. 

They cast lots to choose who would take Judas’ place, and it’s the last time they cast lots – it was obviously a way that they sought to receive God’s leading on an issue.  So why is this the last time?  Well, following this they receive the Holy Spirit, so they don’t need to cast lots anymore because they have leading from within, instead of without.

Something to keep in mind if you are waiting for God to give you an outward sign.  If you are a Christian you’ve got the Holy Spirit, so start looking for it from the inside.

13 March 2011

Ok, ok…

I have been reading a few articles by, and have begun reading the testimony/life story of, a man named Walter Beuttler.  He says this:

Several years ago, the Lord asked me to shut myself in with Him. I found a place where I could be totally alone with the Lord, in fasting and prayer.
Sunday afternoon, I realized that I had spent 48 hours in prayer, fasting, and seeking the Lord, with no results. I had neither felt nor received anything, nor was I aware of His presence. I knew the Lord wanted to speak, but He did not do so.
Then I said within my heart, “It takes God a long time to speak.” No sooner had I said this, than the Lord spoke to me in a voice that was as clear as a bell, and as sharp as a razor. This was a voice which was not audible, but a voice that I heard. He said, “To hurry God is to find fault with Him.”

‘To hurry God is to find fault with him’…it seems God has to remind me of that a lot lately.

11 March 2011

The End of the World??

Due to all the drama happening around the world there has been a lot of talk about Matthew 24.  I hadn’t read it in a while so had a look through and thought it was important to post it here so that those who haven’t had a look can see for themselves (NIV translation).

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Notice in verse 6 it says ‘but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come’.  These things have been happening and will continue to happen, the end is yet to come. 

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

you could argue that that is happening now…but I reckon it’s going to be a lot worse than things are now.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.

It continues, but I’ll leave it there.  After reading that I was a lot less alarmed, and will remain that way until ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ is seen standing in the holy place…er…whatever that means, but that sounds pretty specific.

05 March 2011

That One Again.

I was having a look back through my posts and had a read of one called ‘The Other Bit…’ from 2 June 2009.  It kicked my butt…again.  I reposted it again below:

The other bit...

I have, more times than once, found comfort in the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (NIV)

At times when I have been afraid, God has reminded me of the part that says 'God did NOT give us a spirit of timidity'. And I have found great strength in that. However, more recently God has made a statement out of the other bit...the bit about self-discipline.

When I am stressed or overwhelmed, and I go into my 'self preservation' mode, my tongue tends to become very sharp. I find fault with most things said by those closest to me (I imagine there may be a few of you who know me well reading this and nodding in a knowing sort of way).

Over the past few months, I've had a hard time of it and have therefore reacted in a not so nice way to those closest to me...mainly my husband Matt. Once I noticed the way I was acting I spent time asking God to change my circumstances so that I could get back to my more normal pleasant self. That's when He reminded me that He has given me a spirit of self-discipline...

'But I don't want to discipline myself to be nicer I just want you to change things so I don't react so poorly'

God wasn't having any of it, and so, every time I found myself reacting in a bad way, that part of the verse would pop into my head. I'm sorry to say, I did a pretty poor job of it. But I think I'm starting to get the hang of it...hold on, let me just ask Matt what he thinks...

01 March 2011

How to Get Men to Volunteer for Sunday School

I wanted to share this because my husband is the coolest.  He wanted to do something for the boys at church in the 10/11 year old age bracket who are too young to do youth group, but too old to play in the crèche/nursery.  On Sunday just past he brought his welder and grinder to church and made 3 pronged spears with the boys…you should have seen their eyes light up (only to be used under adult supervision boys).  Of course, those who were in the church service were a little curious about the strange noises coming from outside.  Next he’s going to have them over on a Saturday to add a bamboo handle and they will go reef walking on a still evening to spear crayfish (crayfish in Australia are like lobster in the states).  A few of the men came out after church and seeing what was happening were eager to get involved…