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Archive for September, 2008

WISE – Evangelism

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Evangelism

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What is evangelism?

Evangelism is telling & showing others of God’s message of reconciliation to all people of all time. Down through the ages, the church has made two mistakes when it comes to evangelism. Firstly, it is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5v12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2vv8-10). God has a message for all people. This message from God says that everybody has sinned against God (Isaiah 53v6; Romans 3vv10-11); nobody can earn their reconciliation with God (Ephesians 2v9); that God sent His Son Jesus to be born, crucified and resurrected so that salvation can be had by all people of all time (John 3v16; 1 Timothy 1v15); Because of that, it is only by acquiescing to God, by faith in Jesus alone that people are saved (John 5v24; Acts 16v31). That is the message of evangelism. Finally, evangelism is also lifestyle! Jesus Christ is to permeate every area of your life! You are a messenger of Jesus Christ, and a message from Jesus Christ, whether you want to be or not! The way you conduct yourself, both in public and in private, shows Jesus Christ to people.

Why evangelize?

The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done for you, in that you love God because He loved you first (1 John 4vv10-12, 14,19). It was this sentiment Paul refers to when he writes, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5v14). When you evangelise, you reflect something of the character of God, because God Himself is a missionary God. Jesus was sent to save the lost and redeem mankind! The Holy Spirit was sent from the Father and the Son!

You are called to go!

While you may not be called to be an evangelist (Ephesians 4v11), you are called to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4v5). In Jesus’ last words on earth, His church was commanded to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1v8). You are a member of that church, and as a part of the Church, you are included in the way God has chosen to spread His message of reconciliation (Acts 4v12; 2 Peter 3v9). Remember Paul’s words from Romans 10vv14-15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””

WISE – Idolatry

Words In Scripture Explored – Idolatry

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Images of Idolatry

I wonder if you are like me and when you hear the word idolatry, you imagine somebody bowing before a statue and worshipping it. Such as the Israelites worshipping the golden calf, as recorded by Moses in Exodus 32, or people bowing down to the statue of the Buddha or one of the many Hindu gods. Therefore, idolatry is worshipping statues or worshipping in other religions. However, the Bible is very clear, that idolatry is a threat to living the Christian life. How can that be, you may very well ask!

Christian Idolatry

As a Christian, you are to love God and love others. Anything that replaces your love of God as your first priority, is an idol, and therefore, is idolatry. For idolatry is not merely worshipping statues. But idolatry is transference of allegiance to something apart from God. It is worshipping created things, and not worshipping God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. And idolatry can be anything, for anything can take first place in your life! It may be your computer, your car, your books, your family, your church, a Christian leader, entertainment, celebrities and even love of yourself! These are all good things, in and of themselves, but they are not good things if they replace God from first priority in your life. These things can turn out to be idols, because they relegate your thinking of Almighty God to below first place.

Idolatry is the mind’s sin

Paul writes to the Roman church in Romans 1v22-25. In that passage of scripture, Paul links idolatry with immorality. Immorality is the outer sins and idolatry is the inward sin. Idolatry is an attitude inside you that says to God “You are not first place, this other thing is”. Somebody who commits the sin of idolatry is a slave to that something else, and is not a slave to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So idolatry is not just worshipping in another religion and bowing down to statues. Idolatry is relegating God to second place, in both actions and attitudes. Therefore cast off anything that is blocking your relationship with Almighty God. As idolatry is primarily the sin of the mind, those depraved ideas turn to sins of lusts and idolatrous physical pleasures. Be renewed in your thinking and have a renewed mind, so that you can worship Almighty God through Jesus Christ the Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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POD – Psalm 18

Psalm 18

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18:1 I love you, Yahweh, my strength.
18:2 Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
18:3 I call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised;
and I am saved from my enemies.
18:4 The cords of death surrounded me.
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
18:5 The cords of Sheol were around me.
The snares of death came on me.
18:6 In my distress I called on Yahweh,
and cried to my God.
He heard my voice out of his temple.
My cry before him came into his ears.
18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled.
The foundations also of the mountains quaked and were shaken,
because he was angry.
18:8 Smoke went out of his nostrils.
Consuming fire came out of his mouth.
Coals were kindled by it.
18:9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down.
Thick darkness was under his feet.
18:10 He rode on a cherub, and flew.
Yes, he soared on the wings of the wind.
18:11 He made darkness his hiding place, his pavilion around him,
darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
18:12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed,
hailstones and coals of fire.
18:13 Yahweh also thundered in the sky.
The Most High uttered his voice:
hailstones and coals of fire.
18:14 He sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
Yes, great lightning bolts, and routed them.
18:15 Then the channels of waters appeared.
The foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, Yahweh,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
18:16 He sent from on high.
He took me.
He drew me out of many waters.
18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
18:18 They came on me in the day of my calamity,
but Yahweh was my support.
18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place.
He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
18:20 Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness.
According to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me.
18:21 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
18:22 For all his ordinances were before me.
I didn’t put away his statutes from me.
18:23 I was also blameless with him.
I kept myself from my iniquity.
18:24 Therefore Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
18:25 With the merciful you will show yourself merciful.
With the perfect man, you will show yourself perfect.
18:26 With the pure, you will show yourself pure.
With the crooked you will show yourself shrewd.
18:27 For you will save the afflicted people,
but the haughty eyes you will bring down.
18:28 For you will light my lamp, Yahweh.
My God will light up my darkness.
18:29 For by you, I advance through a troop.
By my God, I leap over a wall.
18:30 As for God, his way is perfect.
The word of Yahweh is tried.
He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.
18:31 For who is God, except Yahweh?
Who is a rock, besides our God,
18:32 the God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect?
18:33 He makes my feet like deer’s feet,
and sets me on my high places.
18:34 He teaches my hands to war,
so that my arms bend a bow of bronze.
18:35 You have also given me the shield of your salvation.
Your right hand sustains me.
Your gentleness has made me great.
18:36 You have enlarged my steps under me,
My feet have not slipped.
18:37 I will pursue my enemies, and overtake them.
Neither will I turn again until they are consumed.
18:38 I will strike them through, so that they will not be able to rise.
They shall fall under my feet.
18:39 For you have armed me with strength to the battle.
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
18:40 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
that I might cut off those who hate me.
18:41 They cried, but there was none to save;
even to Yahweh, but he didn’t answer them.
18:42 Then I beat them small as the dust before the wind.
I cast them out as the mire of the streets.
18:43 You have delivered me from the strivings of the people.
You have made me the head of the nations.
A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
18:44 As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me.
The foreigners shall submit themselves to me.
18:45 The foreigners shall fade away,
and shall come trembling out of their close places.
18:46 Yahweh lives; and blessed be my rock.
Exalted be the God of my salvation,
18:47 even the God who executes vengeance for me,
and subdues peoples under me.
18:48 He rescues me from my enemies.
Yes, you lift me up above those who rise up against me.
You deliver me from the violent man.
18:49 Therefore I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, among the nations,
and will sing praises to your name.
18:50 He gives great deliverance to his king,
and shows loving kindness to his anointed,
to David and to his seed, forevermore.

WISE – Forgiveness

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Forgiveness

What is forgiveness?

True forgiveness is not just saying sorry!! Forgiveness is to include penitence and also a desire never to do that same thing again. Forgiveness of course is a major part of Christianity, both in the way that God forgives when approached in penitence and repentance, but also in the way Christians forgive others and themselves! In both giving and receiving forgiveness, consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness. Paul writes in Colossians 3v12-14 that forgiveness is part of the being in God’s family of Christians! If God forgave you for all that you have done wrong, then you also should forgive others, regardless of how difficult that might be to do. Nobody said it would always be easy though! Forgiveness enables you to have the same openness toward the person after they offend you, as you did before the event – if not more! When you truly forgive the person who has wronged you, any hurt you have will diminish.

Receiving and Giving Forgiveness

But why do we need to both receive and give forgiveness? Apart from being commanded to, a vast number of emotional and psychological problems are caused by failure to either give or to receive forgiveness.

  • There is a failure to receive forgiveness. Many people try to pay for their sin by trying to punish themselves for they’re past sins. These people should let go, because God has forgiven them, just as they asked!
  • There is a failure to give forgiveness. When forgiveness is not offered to a person who has done you wrong, bitterness, resentment and anger may spring up in your life. There are parents who hurt; siblings who fail; and close friends who betray and reject. Yet forgive is the command, and it can only be done as the Holy Spirit and His power is relied upon.

By receiving and giving forgiveness, you will find an ability to love God more and love others more openly. Don’t let bitter unforgiveness destroy you and others, but rather let love & forgiveness build and strengthen.

God and Forgiveness

God’s ultimate concern is your holiness and not just your happiness, as you are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ! God is concerned not just about what is happening to you, but also what you are learning and how you are responding in His workshop of life, as you are being transformed. This involves both giving and receiving forgiveness.

Tests to see if there is someone I need to forgive

  • Resentment test – Is there anyone you resent?
  • Responsibility test – Do you find yourself thinking, “If only this other person or persons had done this, things would have been different!” and therefore blaming others?
  • Reminder/reaction test – Do you find yourself reacting negatively against a person because they remind you of someone else?

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POD – Psalm 17

Psalm 17

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17:1 Hear, Yahweh, my righteous plea;
Give ear to my prayer, that doesn’t go out of deceitful lips.
17:2 Let my sentence come forth from your presence.
Let your eyes look on equity.
17:3 You have proved my heart.
You have visited me in the night.
You have tried me, and found nothing.
I have resolved that my mouth shall not disobey.
17:4 As for the works of men, by the word of your lips,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
17:5 My steps have held fast to your paths.
My feet have not slipped.
17:6 I have called on you, for you will answer me, God.
Turn your ear to me.
Hear my speech.
17:7 Show your marvelous loving kindness,
you who save those who take refuge by your right hand from their enemies.
17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings,
17:9 from the wicked who oppress me,
my deadly enemies, who surround me.
17:10 They close up their callous hearts.
With their mouth they speak proudly.
17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps.
They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth.
17:12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey,
as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
17:13 Arise, Yahweh, confront him.
Cast him down.
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword;
17:14 from men by your hand, Yahweh,
from men of the world, whose portion is in this life.
You fill the belly of your cherished ones.
Your sons have plenty,
and they store up wealth for their children.
17:15 As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness.
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.

WISE – Peace

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Peace

The world we live in, wants peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. God’s peace, however, comes regardless of circumstances.

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 total harmony with God, man, circumstances & self. That is true peace!

History of Peace

The end of peace was when Adam sinned and fellowship was broken with God and between humans. God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23). and 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). As a Christian Disciples, you have peace with God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! There are three scopes of peace.

Peace with God.

As a Christian Disciple, you have peace with God because you are justified by faith. This peace gives you access into God’s grace and blessings (Romans 5:1-2). Jesus Christ is your bridge of peace between God & yourself. Jesus is also the peace between other people and you, and all hostility has been removed (Romans 2:13-18).

Peace with Others

You are to live at peace with everyone and not to be proud or vengeful (Romans 12vv17-20). You are to do what is right in the eyes of other people and exhibit positive goodness. You are to make every effort to do what leads to peace & mutual edification Romans 14vv13-19, and not place stumbling blocks in front of others!

Peace within

As a Christian Disciple, you have the gift of peace with God, from the God of peace (Philippians 4:4-9) given to you by Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace! (John 14v27). You are to be a peacemaker, by having internal peace, this shows the fruit of the Spirit. When faced with troubled times & a troubled world, you can have peace through an untroubled, unfearful heart & mind (John 16v33).

How do you gain peace within?

As you live a life in obedience to Jesus, you bear the fruit of righteousness, which is peace, quietness and confidence (Isaiah 32:17). A mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of peace gives a life of peace and total trust in God! (Isaiah 26v3; Romans 8v6). Lastly, when you are content whatever the situation , this enables the peace of God to guard your heart & mind (Philippians 4v11-12). Go, and be at peace with God, others and yourself!

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Keith Green – Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

Please note that this was not done by me!

Matthew 25:31- 46 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’

“The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’

“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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