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Posts tagged ‘wise’

WISE – Giving

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Giving!

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Every person has in differing quantities time, possessions and money. These things in and of themselves are not evil. The whole Christian community is one that is to reflect the Holy Trinity. The Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members. This applies not only to the local church, but also to the universal Church and therefore has a national and international context as well. Too often, even as Christian Disciples we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our world and local communities.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of spiritual growth in the Christian Disciple concerns their financial giving. Paul writing to the Corinthians commands that giving be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9v7). For the Christian Disciple, it is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive behind the giving. All our money and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this. Giving is to be done out of love for God. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 16v2 a three-point system for giving: regularly, methodically and proportionately.

Failure to give back to God’s work what He has given the Christian Disciple in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3v8). The reason it robs is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. As a result of giving, the Christian Disciple will be blessed (Malachi 3v10) and have their needs satisfied (Philippians 4v19).

Remember in the Old Testament, Widows were important to God, because justice is important to God. God is a God of justice and mercy. In the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses, God commanded provision for those who were widows, oppressed or uncared for. The Apostles would have known about God caring for the widows and in Jesus teaching about justice for the poor and the oppressed. We know this because if you remember from Acts 2 and 4, people were selling and sharing possessions and ensuring that people within the Christian community were being looked after and cared for. This included making sure that everyone got fed, particularly those who had no family to care for them. And its not just for those in the church – but all in the community where you live.

The New Testament church made sure that giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of. People working fulltime for the Lord were given recompense by others for their efforts. People gave. How is your giving? How does your church give and care for those in need, in your community? The get out clause as it were these days, is that it would not be good stewardship to give to that person or that cause. After all, they say, “Didnt Jesus say in Matthew 7v6 ;Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you'”. Of course when they say that they are totally missing both the point and context of what Jesus actually meant.
God gave everything so that you and I may life and life in abundance. So by giving, you are reflecting that. This Christmas, give generously, just as God gave and gives generously, and gave His Son as a ransom for sin.

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WISE – Sovereignty of God

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Sovereignty of God.

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G’day! Welcome to WISE. The word for today is Sovereignty of God.

The sovereignty of God means that God is in control at all times and nothing can occur outside of His control and will. God loves His creation and cares for it. He won’t deny people their humanity when dealing with them.

Decrees – a part of Sovereignty

Sovereign decree: When God says “Eternal life is available for all. You may choose to accept or reject it. Those that accept it, I will call my children.” Your own reaction as a Christian Disciple is that you have taken up God’s offer and are trusting and obeying.

Conditional decree: When God says “I am willing to give you my opinion and help when you ask.” Our reaction should be to read the Bible, and pray and talk to God about the situation!

Natural decree: When God has created a lemon tree, that lemon tree wont produce potatoes.” Our reaction should be to plan in view of that.

But!

A question often posed is one that goes “Well if God is sovereign, then why doesn’t He do something about the suffering of the masses such as those in who are dying for lack of food?” But God has done something about it! God has provided enough food for all people everywhere, just that we in the West are greedy! So the problem is not with God, but with people! God’s provision to all people has become God’s provision for the minority, through humanity’s inhumanity to others. As for other kinds of suffering, that’s part of the reason for the cross, where God Himself experienced human suffering when Jesus died on the cross: Jesus, the man who was both fully God and fully human. God is not so removed from our sufferings, which He Himself endured and suffered at the Cross. Just because God allows free will to all people to sin, doesn’t mean that God is responsible for the sin – that is, and must remain, people’s responsibility! If not, we would all just be robotic automatons instead of free people.

God knows…

God’s sovereignty is inclusive in that it covers all actions of people, good or bad (Acts 2v23; Ephesians 2v10). The foundation of God’s sovereignty is wisdom according to Paul (Ephesians 3:8-11). So, when we are faced with a decision, God knows what is going to occur. He knows all the options and choices. It is important when faced with making decisions to pray about it and read the Bible. He seeks you to respond to Him with love and affection. Why not start today, and ask Him for help? God is interested in every facet of your life. If He were not, then He couldn’t be personal, and He certainly wouldn’t be sovereign!

WISE – Trinity

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Words In Scripture Explored – Trinity

G’day and welcome to WISE! The word for today is Trinity!

One of the problems that people tell me they have with the Christian God is the concept of God being a Trinity, asking “Why must God be a Trinity?” After all they say, the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible! And they are partly correct, insomuch as that there is no explicit Bible text using the word trinity. However, the concept is explicit throughout the Bible.

Trinity is Love

Love Indivisible – One of the main errors people make regarding the Trinity, is that the three names, Father, Son and Spirit are simply three different modes of the one God. However the Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that God, is made of one indivisible essence or substance, and this is expressed in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each belongs to the whole undivided essence of God. The totality of God exists in the Father, the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is co-equal, co-eternal, self-conscious and self-directing. The three members never act in opposition to any other member, but always in complete union and harmony. The three members are always in complete union with the other.

Love Precession – This endeavours to describe the relationship within the Godhead. While, there seemingly is an order of succession in their relationship, this in no way means superiority & inferiority. The Son is begotten of the Father (John 3v16) and does the Fathers Will. Both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (John 15v26).

Love Relationship – There is a communal honour between the Trinity Persons (John 15v26; 16v13-15; 17v1, 8,18,23). In the work of redemption or salvation, there is a co-ordination in the Triune Godhead (Hebrews 10v7-17; Ephesians 4v4-6; 1 Corinthians 12v4-6). The Father ‘elects’ (Ephesians 1v4); The Son ‘redeems (Ephesians 1v7); and the Holy Spirit ‘seals’ (Ephesians 1v13-14). Between the three Persons, there is an eternal unison in active purpose and yet seemingly external distinctive between the Three members of the Triune Godhead.

If God was a single essence, as some people say, then how could love possibly be shown, as love requires more than one Person for it to be active? God is love. The Father totally loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son totally loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit totally loves the Father and the Son. This Trinitarian God exhibits love and commands His Disciples, to love one another so that He will be seen (John 13v34-25). When you show love, you reflect and reveal the Trinitarian God, in whose image you are made.

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WISE – Partaker

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Words in Scripture Explored – Partaker

To partake, or to be a partaker of something, can mean at least three things! Firstly, it means having the qualities or attributes of something. Secondly it can mean having, giving or receiving something. Finally, to partake of something, means to consume!

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Jesus was, and is, a Partaker!

Jesus Christ was a Partaker! Did you know that? He was a Partaker, in so much as that when He became human, He adorned human flesh and blood Hebrews 2:14-18.

As a Christian Disciple, you also are a Partaker, for you are to hunger and thirst for righteousness or in other words, be Partakers of righteousness. In this pursuit of partaking after righteousness, the New Testament has a lot to say about what Christian Disciples are to be Partakers of.

Here is a list of other things the Bible says that Christian Disciples are Partakers of:

  • When you became a Christian, you became a Partaker of the Gospel – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
  • When you take communion, you are a Partaker of the Lord’s Table – 1 Corinthians 10:14-33.

Additionally as a Christian Disciple, you are a:

  • Partaker of spiritual things Romans 15:25-27
  • Partaker of the material benefits of one’s labour 1 Corinthians 9:1-23
  • Partaker of suffering and consolation 2 Corinthians 1:6-7
  • Partaker of the promises in Christ Ephesians 3
  • Partaker of Grace Philippians 1:3-7
  • Partaker of the crops that are sown 2 Timothy 2:6
  • Partaker of His holiness Hebrews 12:10-11
  • Partaker of Christ’s suffering 1 Peter 4:12-13
  • Partaker of the glory that will be revealed 1 Peter 5:1-4
  • Partaker of the divine nature through God’s promises 2 Peter 1:1-4

These things that you are to partake of, which lead to a full experience of the Christian life. Lets go, as Partakers of Jesus Christ, to show the world that He is alive through us.

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WOW Word – A God of Love

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A God Of Love

We live in a world that is in love with love. Love, according to some people, is what makes the world go around. In the Bible, God’s love is revealed. The Apostle John in 1 John 4 does not simply say that God loves, but rather that God is love. Remember that God is the Holy Trinity, three persons in one. The Trinity is a living, vibrant community of love, and every activity of the Trinity, is an expression of love. God loves because that is His very nature. Throughout the Bible, God’s love is described as an unfailing, everlasting, intimate, sacrificial, unbreakable, conquering, immeasurable and all-knowing. How is God’s love seen? It is seen in two ways.

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Firstly, it is shown supremely in that He has given His Son to be the Saviour of the world, so that if a person takes up that opportunity, they can know and enjoy God in a personal relationship. God had only one Son, Jesus Christ, and He sent Him on a rescue mission to seek the lost and to reconcile people to God. This is love in action. The lover dying for the ones He loves.

Secondly, God’s love is shown when Christians love. As a Christian, you are a child of God, so you should want to be like your Heavenly Father, by showing the world your love for others and your transformed character. The Christian Church should be a community of love, for this is how the world sees God

If people see Christians that are not loving and kind, rightly or wrongly, the whole Church is branded as a bunch of fakes and hypocrites. Worse still, God is seen at best as nothing more than a distant uncaring irrelevant figure. The love between Christians is seen as a visible showing of the invisible God. The very character of the church should always be to reflect God in all aspects. The ultimate example of showing people God, is for you as a Christian, to love and be love. People should be seeing God’s love, through your love. For as Jesus said, “All men will know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).

His love releases us from the things that so easilyentangle our daily walk with Him. The more you hold onto His love, the more you will desire it and the more it will be revealed in your daily life. Your love in action today, reflects God’s love in action on the cross. Go and love – to the glory of God! Maranatha!

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WISE – Holy Communion

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36. Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper

Luke writes “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the Disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”(Luke 22v19-20)

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Depending on your church, it can be called amongst other things, the Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper. Christians are commanded to participate, as Jesus said: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22v19). Some churches do it every service and others do it monthly. Whenever we participate in it, we do it regularly as a remembrance of Jesus until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11v26)! The bread symbolizes His body broken on the cross and the wine symbolizes His blood shed on the cross. Therefore before we partake of the bread and wine, we are to examine ourselves and confess any unforgiven sin (1 Corinthians 11v28-29). This is done so because it would be hypocritical to eat it while harbouring known sin in our hearts and having fellowship with Jesus and others in the church!

What does it all mean?

It symbolizes the following things:

  • It also symbolizes the death of Christ for our sin (Luke 22v19)

  • It symbolizes our acceptance of Christ’s death for us.

  • Symbolizes our dependence on Christ for spiritual life.

Through your participation in it, you have:

  • fellowship with other believers in the universal church (1 Corinthians 10v17)

  • We receive the benefits of His sacrifice (1 Corinthians 10v16)

  • We spiritually feed upon Christ (1 Corinthians 11v24)

It also reflects the New Covenant between God and Jesus’ Disciples – a Covenant which guarantees salvation!

Two other main views insist that it is more than just symbolic! Firstly, there is transubstantiation, which believes that the bread and wine actually become the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Secondly there is, consubstantiation, which believes that the body and blood of Christ are present in the Communion meal.

However, it must be noted, that both of these views would indicate that Jesus Christ is being re-sacrificed and Hebrews 7v27 refutes these views. The bread we eat and wine we drink at Holy Communion is only symbolic of his sacrifice and not a re-enactment.

Through the act of Baptism and the partaking of Communion, we remember the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our lives.


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WISE – Almighty God

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Almighty God

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The word for today is Almighty God! Throughout the Bible, God is called Almighty. But how is God, almighty? God being Almighty, can be summed up in 3 words.

 

 

Omnipresent – That is God is wholly present everywhere. fills the universe in all its parts without division (Psalm 139v7-12; Jeremiah 23v23-24). For example in Ezekiel 1, Israel is in exile in Babylon and they thought God was left in the Temple in Jerusalem. Yet God appears to Ezekiel in order to show that God was also in Babylon with His people!

 

 

Omnipotent – That means God has unlimited power to do all things that are the object of power. With Almighty God nothing is impossible, yet there are things God cannot do such as He cannot do anything that is contrary to His own nature. For instance, He cannot declare something infinite if that something is finite. Omnipotence is an essential quality of God for if God were not all-powerful then He would not be God and would not be worthy of worship. Remember, He stopped the sun during Joshua’s time! Amazing power! God created the universe with His eternal and infinite power! God made everything out of nothing and He sustains it and gives all of it life!

Omniscient – God has perfect knowledge of all things. The Psalmist writes: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me, You know when I sit and when I rise…You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways (Ps. 139:1-2a & 3). God knows all things, past, present, and future and all possible circumstances and outcomes. Therefore He knows all that we do (which includes the remembrance of all that we have done), all that we think (and the record of those thoughts), and all that we do say and all that we could say.

So God is Almighty in presence, power and knowledge and He is mighty to save. As we seek to live holy lives, let us remember that whatever we do, Almighty God is watching. Watching not to condemn us, but watching in order to love us as any good father does to his children.

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