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Archive for August, 2007

Words

13. Partake – The Christian Disciple and Words

 

speaking truth

Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived writes in Proverbs 15: A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire”; “Kind words heal and help! Cutting words wound and maim”; “Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful! “; “God can’t stand evil scheming, but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.” (Proverbs 15:1, 4, 23, 26)

Words are the central means of communication regardless of our language, culture or people group. Needless to say that every one of us has either been hurt, or hurt others, by communicated words. In his book “Conversation Matters”, Peter Shaw writes: “The quality of conversation matters for healthy family life, community life and work life.” He goes on to say that conversation is essential to our enjoyment and growth as people, let alone as Christian disciples. The power of the tongue in speech is awesome. It has the power of life & death and those who love it will eat its fruit. It is a fire, which left unguarded, can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of life on fire. We need to watch the words that we utter and control our speech, or it will control us. Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew Chapter 12 How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, which gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is blight on the orchard. Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Jesus took words extremely seriously and so must we for we are a result of our speech and we will be judged for what we say.

 

So what is a right use of the tongue in speech? We are to use our words to nourish others, encourage and lift them up. For the tongue of the righteous is choice silver. (Prov.10:21). Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet in the soul and healing to the bones. We find that if we give an apt reply we will find joy and discover the goodness and healing a timely word brings! But we are not to speak glibly and hypocritically but with truth, sincerity and love – as a mother speaks to her daughter.

 

Girl Talk

Photo courtesy of Jan

How can we guard its use? By asking the Holy Spirit to watch over our lips and set a guard over our mouth, according to the Psalmist in Psalm 141:3. It is a measure of wisdom to speak words when required and with discernment. Any fool can speak words all the time, but sometimes there is a need for silence, for even then foolish people are thought to be wise. Often we are told to be quick to speak and slow to listen, but as Christian disciples we are to do the opposite! We are to be slow to speak and quick to listen, according to James 1:19.

 

Our example of Jesus – People were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips according to Luke 4:22! At other times they were astonished at the authority of His words! He always used discernment in what he had to say and how he had to say it. Sometimes he spoke in anger, particularly against the oppressive religious leaders. He spoke with exasperation with his disciples when they showed no clue about what he had been talking about. But his words also healed, such as to the woman caught in adultery, when he used discernment and wisdom. He actively encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words lovingly to his mother. He even spoke words of kindness whilst He hung from His cross, during his last moments before death! He is to be our guide and Master in the use of speech, thoughts and words.

 

For more to think about please do read James 3vv1-11. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

 

Conversation

Photo courtesy of Petra

  • Are the words I speak, words that heal and encourage, or are they also used to hurt and damage people?
  • What areas can I improve upon so that my words can heal, encourage and uplift others?
  • When I am sharing with other people, is what I am saying really sharing or is it gossiping by another name?
  • Is there somebody who I know, that could do with being encouraged and uplifted by way of email, telephone, letter or postcard?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at http://www.davegroberts.podbean.com. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.

 

 

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Larry Norman – Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music

http://youtube.com/v/BnPBlI1kecg

I want the people to know
That He saved my soul
But I still like to listen to the radio
They say that rock and roll is wrong, we’ll give you more chance
I say I feel so good I gotta get up and dance

I know what’s right, I know what’s wrong and I don’t confuse it
Why should the devil have all the good music
I feel good every day
‘Cause Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away

Well now they say to cut my hair
They’re driving me insane
I grew it out long to make room for my brain
But sometimes people don’t understand
What’s a good boy doing in a rock and roll band

There’s nothing wrong with playing blues licks
But if you got a reason tell me to my face
Why should the devil have all the good music
There’s nothing wrong with what we play
‘Cause Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away

Roll ’em away now!

I ain’t knocking the hymns
Just give me a song that has a beat
No I ain’t knocki8ng the hymns
Give me a song that moves my feet

Jesus told the Truth
Jesus showed the Way
There’s one more thing I’d like to say
They nailed Him to a cross
And they laid Him in the ground
But they shoulda known they can’t keep a Good Man down

And I feel good every day
I refuse to lose it
All I wanna I know from all of you is
Why should the devil have all the good music
‘Cos I been filled I feel okay because Jesus is the Rock and He rolled all my blues
Jesus is the Rock and He rolled all my blues
Jesus is the Rock and He rolled all my blues

Larry Norman- Sweet Sweet Song of Salvation

http://www.youtube.com/v/M64Izj7na0E

Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation
Words and Music by Larry Norman

When you know a pretty story
You don’t let it go unsaid
You tell it to all of your children
As you tuck them into bed.
When you know a wonderful secret
You gotta tell it to all of your friends
Tell ’em that a lifetime filled with Happiness
Is like a street that never ends.

Sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And let your laughter fill the air
Sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And tell the people everywhere.
sing that sweet song of salvation
Tell every man in every nation
To sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And let the people know that Jesus cares.

Well, look around you
As you’re singin’
There are people everywhere
And to those who stop and listen
That sweet song becomes a prayer.
When you know a wonderful secret
You gotta tell it to all of your friends
Tell ’em that a lifetime filled with Jesus
Is like a street that never ends.

Sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And let your laughter fill the air
Sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And tell the people everywhere
Sing that sweet song of salvation
Tell every man in every nation
To sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation
And let the people know that Jesus cares.

Peace

12. Partake – Maintaining Inner Peace!

G’day & shalom!! Paul writing to the church of Philippi :Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4v5-9

 

The world we live in, wants peace! We hear it all the time! Politicians want peace and they are prepared to go to war to get it! New Age folk want peace! Atheists, humanists, Muslims and Hindus want peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! Almost all want and dream of it! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. On the other hand, God’s peace comes regardless of circumstances. So what does the Bible have to say about peace between God and humanity and peace within humanity itself? What does the Bible mean by “peace”? Just how can I as a Christian disciple maintain an inner peace?

Peace Definition:’Shalom’ was the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament. It means a wholeness of well-being & mind; the total absence of conflict and turmoil evidenced by an untroubled mind and a heart that does not fear! It is a total harmony with God, man, circumstances & self.

The end of peace was when Adam sinned and fellowship was broken with God and between humans (Genesis 1:3). We know that the God we serve is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We also know that the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9v6) and Zechariah prophecised in Luke 1v79 that Jesus would “guide our feet into the way of peace.” As Christian disciples, we have peace with God through the death and resurrection of our Jesus Christ our Master! But as you know, we are still fallible humans and we all have to some degree and at different times, inner turmoil caused by all sorts of things like asserting our rights, attitudes of unforgiveness towards others and guilty consciences reminding us of things past. What does peace with God mean? How does peace with those around me work? Why do I need to be at peace with those who do not like me? How can I maintain peace within me at all times?

Peace with God.

As Christian disciples we are justified by faith and have peace with God. This peace gives us access into grace and God’s blessings (Romans 5:1-2). Our Master Jesus Christ is our peace between God & humanity; also within humanity and the hostility has been removed (Romans 2:13-18).

Peace with Others

Paul commands us in Romans 12vv17-20, to live at peace with everyone and not to be proud or vengeful. We are to do what is right in eyes of other people and exhibit positive goodness in the face of insult & assault. He goes on in Romans 14vv13-19 saying that we are to make every effort to do what leads to peace & mutual edification. We are not place stumbling blocks in front of others! Mutual encouragement and edification is more important than personal rights. By being peacemakers we will according to James 3v18 show real wisdom which reaps a harvest of righteousness.

Peace within

As Christian disciples we have the gift of peace with God from the God of peace (Philippians 4:4-9) given to us by Jesus! (John 14v27). Being peacemakers and having internal peace shows the fruit of the Spirit. And according to John 16v33, we have peace in troubled times & world through an untroubled, unfearful heart & mind.

How do we gain peace within?

By living a life in obedience to Jesus we bear the fruit of righteousness, which is peace, quietness and confidence (Isaiah 32:17). A mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of peace gives us life and peace and total trust in God! (Isaiah 26v3; Romans 8v6). Lastly by being content whatever the situation enables the peace of God to guard your heart & mind. (Philippians 4v11-12)

For more to think about please do read James 4vv1-11. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

What areas of your life do you need peace in right now?Are there situations where you need peace to rule? When was the last time you asked the Spirit of peace to rule over a situation or relationship?

 

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Larry Norman – I Wish We’d All Been Ready

http://youtube.com/v/X1FcTKNXlO0

Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready

Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,
I wish we’d all been ready,

There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.

A man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise and turns her head, he’s gone,
I wish we’d all be ready,
Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one’s left standing still,
I wish we’d all been ready,
There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.

Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready,
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,
I wish we’d all been ready,
There’s no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind,
The Father spoke, the demons died,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.

Wipe my nose, please!!

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Wipe my nose, please!!, originally uploaded by emptybelly.

Matthew 25:31-46

“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

“Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

11 – Partake – The Christian Disciple maintains a Clear Conscience

11. Partake – The Christian Disciple maintains a Clear Conscience

Paul writing in 1 Timothy 1vv18-19 “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.”

There you are! You are a Disciple of Jesus, repented of your sins and all set to live your life as a Christian disciple and yet… and yet, you still have this continual nagging feeling inside you that you are still guilty! What do you do? Paul writes here that in the quest for living as an authentic Christian Disciple, faith and a clear conscience are essential for victory in our spiritual battle. Faith according to Hebrews 10:38 is belief plus trust plus action. A clear conscience is freedom from guilt (Acts 24:16). Your conscience is the spiritual faculty, which is sensitive to right and wrong and with the help of the Holy Spirit, judges our attitudes and actions. By having a clear conscience, the Christian disciple pacifies guilt and has inner peace (1 John 3:19-21); makes right decisions (Proverbs 14:30); builds right relationships (Hebrews 5:13-14; 10:19,22) and helps give effective service (2 Timothy 1:3)

However, as we know, we have this persistent battle with sin and disobedience. Persistence in disobedience and refusal to heed the conscience leads to the conscience becoming cold, hard and silent according to Paul in 1 Timothy 4v1-2. So what leads to the conscience becoming seared?

  • Escape. Attempting to overthrow God’s standards and hide from reality through substance abuse, sexual immorality and perversion etc.
  • Compensation. Seeking to balance guilt with an over concern for social or religious activity.
  • Preoccupation. There is feverish effort and activity and an inability to rest and relax the mind lest guilt causes further conviction and unrest.
  • Self-deception. Here we have a rationalising and justifying behaviour. Unable to live with guilt, the person blames others. Often gives much attention to minor detail and neglects the weightier matters of honesty, judgment and righteousness.

That’s a seared conscience. Then there is a guilty conscience, which arises from a violation of the conscience. This therefore also affects our relationships with God and with other people.

Relationship to God
  • To hide as Adam tried to do (Genesis 3:8-9)
  • Lack of concern for circumstances and insensitivity towards God and a devaluation of Him (Romans 1:21-25)

Relationship to others

  • Deceptive character or putting on masks/images (Romans 1:22-25)
  • Shame, embarrassment, Hiding from others (Genesis 3:7)
  • Defence mechanisms – Masks, Blame others (Genesis 3:10-12 ; Romans 1:21)
  • Deceptive nature (Proverb 12:15; 1 Timothy 4:2)

Both of these relationships types finish with a hardened heart and depraved mind if left unchecked (Romans 1:23-32)

Common symptoms of guilt feelings include exemplary behaviour – docile and well behaved; physical discomfort – fatigue, stress etc. ; depression – difficulty facing life; defeatist attitudes; self-condemnation – heaping blame on others; self-punishment – denial of self to atone for guilt; expectation of disapproval; undue criticism of others – ascribing ones own faults to others; hostility – antagonistic towards others; compensation – easing conscience by good deeds.

Opposed to the guilty conscience is a clear conscience. A clear conscience is the inner joy and peace of spirit, which results from having made all personal wrongs, right with those whom a person has offended. So what steps can you as a Christian disciple take in order to have a clear conscience.

The first thing is that you must confess your sin. It is a good thing to confess your sins to God the moment you realise you have sinned, coming to Him in penitence and praise. For when someone has sinned against God, the Apostle John says that the sin must be confessed (1 John 1:9). Similarly, when a person offends another, they must acknowledge the wrong to the person they offended and ask their forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24). As a Christian disciple you must decide to clear up all offences at all costs. Satan will do everything in his power to hinder you from gaining a clear conscience. You must recognize that any rationalizations are an attempt by satan, the world or your old nature in order to keep you from a clear conscience, and therefore fracturing your relationship with your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

The next thing is to gain an attitude of contriteness. This requires an attitude of brokenness, fully accepting responsibility for your own thoughts, actions and attitudes. This needs to be unconditional, not demanding that others admit their guilt as a condition for us asking. It is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, things we can do in life to genuinely say, “I was wrong, will you forgive me?” While this is a humbling experience, it is an essential step in gaining right fellowship with God and other people.

For more to think about please do read for your self (James 4:1-11). Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so you can pray over any issues together.

Are there things, which have happened in my past, which, every time I recall, I wish, had never happened?

Are there people I know who dislike me, and could it be because of some offence I have committed against them?

Are there those toward whom my life has failed to be an example of a Christian disciple?

Are there those in authority I have failed to respond correctly to?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at http://www.davegroberts.podbean.com. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.

Download this audio episode (right click and save)

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